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Old June 6th, 2007, 10:59 AM
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Default WHAT IS "FREESTYLE DINING"? NCL

My husband and I are considering going on the NCL for the first time.....do all the Freestyle restaurants cost to eat in? What if we don't want to pay the extra price do we just go to the dining rm and buffett?

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Shan
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Old June 6th, 2007, 11:37 AM
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HI,
We sailed on the Dawn last August. We had been on Carnival 2 times before and both were a bit concerned about the "freestyle dining".
But I am here to say, WE LOVE IT!
We always got into our choice of dining rooms. The food was always superb. And yes there are $$ restaurants. I think the steak house, french restaurant(dont' know the name) and the japenese all cost. But not all that much really, $20?? person.

But I really dont' think I would go to the pay restaurants again though, our food and service was always so good. We didn't eat in the large rooms, we chose the smaller ones.
And eating when you want! ?? How perfect is that? Not right at 5:45, but you could actually go at 6:00 or 6:15!

I love the whole idea. Though you do miss out on meeting table mates. There was only my husband and myself, so we sat alone each dinner. I don't mind, I love his company. But if you want to meet others, it is a bit more difficult.

Have fun!
Nicki
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Old June 6th, 2007, 01:08 PM
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Freestyle dining gives you the choice of eating in any of several restaurants, some with an extra charge, at the time of your choosing rather than according to an assigned dining time. The specialty restaurants available will depend on your choice of ship, with the newer ships (Pearl, Jewel, Gem, soon to be Jade, Dawn) having a bigger variety of restaurants choices than the older ships in the fleet (Dream, Crown, Majesty). If you want to post the specific ship you're considering, you'll get a more definitive answer.

We just got off the Pearl. It has two main dining rooms and a "buffet" (The Garden Cafe) which are no charge. The Blue Lagoon (limited diner type menu), La Cucina (Italian), Mambos (Tex-Mex) are specialty restaurants without an additional charge. The Teppanyaki restaurant, Lotus Garden (Asian), Cagney's (steakhouse) and Le Bistro (French) do carry an additional charge, depending on the location. For the specialty restaurants, you normally need to make a reservation, which can be done either by phone or stopping by the designed restaurant (on the Pearl, it was Mambo's), for that night or the next night.

We normally choose to eat fairly early (between 6 and 6:30) and have rarely had any wait in the main dining rooms. I hope you'll enjoy freestyle as much as we do!
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Old June 6th, 2007, 06:13 PM
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We have sailed 5 times on the Majesty and founfree style is the only way to go. They do charge extra in the La Bistro but if you resreve at 5-6 PM its only 10.00 and well worht it. The crew is very friendy and helpfull. We just came back May 30 2007 and will be going again Set. 9 2007 out of Boston.
Hope this helps enjoy your cruise
Pat
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Old June 6th, 2007, 06:31 PM
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I think the concept has been explained pretty well but here is a little more detail. LIke Ute-fan suggested, it would help if we knew the ship. Most of the ships have about 10-12 restaurant choices; some with extra sur charges. The main dining rooms, the buffet and the snack restaurant as well as some others are part of the price of your cruise. Those with extra charges are optional. I do suggest everyone give one of theme a try but many passengers choose to stick with the basic dining options.

BTW, more cruise lines each day are adding some form of freestyle. It is the wave of the future.

Nita
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Old June 30th, 2007, 12:43 PM
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When do you make reservations for these restaurants? Can you book for the whole cruise or only day to day? What is the best way to guarantee you will get in? Sorry all the questions, just dont want to miss out.
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Old June 30th, 2007, 02:08 PM
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The current policy is that you can only make reservations for that night or the next night -- unless you have concierge service, and then I think that they can take care of it for the entire week. One of the restaurants will have someone available to make your reservations, starting at 7 AM each day. On the Pearl, it was Mambo's, but I'm not sure about the other ships.

You can also call from your cabin phone, but I read a post that said they don't answer the phone until they're done with all the walk-up passengers. We didn't have any trouble getting reservations in May on the Pearl, but you'll definitely want to make reservations if you want to dine in the specialty restaurants.
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Old June 30th, 2007, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ute_fan
The current policy is that you can only make reservations for that night or the next night -- unless you have concierge service, and then I think that they can take care of it for the entire week. One of the restaurants will have someone available to make your reservations, starting at 7 AM each day. On the Pearl, it was Mambo's, but I'm not sure about the other ships.

You can also call from your cabin phone, but I read a post that said they don't answer the phone until they're done with all the walk-up passengers. We didn't have any trouble getting reservations in May on the Pearl, but you'll definitely want to make reservations if you want to dine in the specialty restaurants.
Not answering the phone was our experience years ago on the Sun when they had the same policy as now: 24 in advance (or actually 36 I guess) It was a bit frustrating. I preferred when you could book the first day of the cruise, obviously I was in the minority as we know.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 04:54 PM
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The main reason we stick with NCL is freestyle. There is no other way for us any more. It's just great. We do not use the specialty places to eat. Where I come from, we have fine dining gallor, and I wont pay extra for it on a cruise and frankly there just has not been the eed. The food in the main dinning area's is plentaful and and nice and so there is just no need. I go with some one who enjoys food alot and if he is happy..........then you know it is OK.
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