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Old July 9th, 2007, 02:49 PM
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Default Dinner Reservation Confusion

When we booked our cruise on the Pride of Hawaii, we were told we could make dinner reservations when we boarded for the entire week. Recently I read a post on this site stating that this had been changed and now you were only allowed to make reservations 24 hrs. in advance. Both my sister and I called NCL direct and got two different answers to this question! Does anyone out there know just what the policy is?
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Old July 9th, 2007, 08:30 PM
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Here is the story as best I have been informed:


There are basic dining rooms like all ships plus the buffet where you would not need or want reservations.

AS for the specialty dining rooms with or without a sur charge, you can only make reservations the day before or day of dining. When freestyle was introduced close to 7 years ago the policy was you could only make reservations the day of dining. Well complaints went rapid and NCL decided to allow reservations anytime from the day of boarding on. I loved this. We used the method, both on the Jewel and Sun. The first afternoon we decided when and where we wanted to eat and got our desired days and times. Then the comment cards stated this policy defeats the reason for freestyle so about 3 or 4 months ago NCL went back to only allowing bookings the day of or day before the desired dining date. Everyone now is griping. It seems to be a no win situation.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 08:47 PM
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I just returned from a cruise on the Pride of Hawaii last week and you can only make dinner reservations 24hr. ahead. Dinner reservations are very confusing and I think this will be the downfall of this cruise. Just stick with the buffet if you don't want to waste alot time trying to get into resturants that really are not very good.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom1014
I just returned from a cruise on the Pride of Hawaii last week and you can only make dinner reservations 24hr. ahead. Dinner reservations are very confusing and I think this will be the downfall of this cruise. Just stick with the buffet if you don't want to waste alot time trying to get into resturants that really are not very good.
Are you saying the specialty restaurants like Le Bistro are not very good or are you referring to the main dining rooms that do not require reservations? As for the specialty dining rooms, it is a no win situation. AS I mentioned it has been tried both ways with complaints reagardless. As for the specailty dining rooms like Le Bistro and the steak house not being very good, that is normally not a complaint. I can't believe anyone would prefer the buffet to the dining rooms.

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Old July 12th, 2007, 11:31 AM
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I have never sailed before with NCL and will be doing so for the first time in September. THe whole idea of "Freestyle" does seem to be defeated when you must make a reservation committing yourself to a specific time to dine. How is that any different than being assigned a early or late seating in the dining room on other cruise lines? We enjoy the formal dining room every night so we are not bothered by that fact.

My question......How much are the speciality dining rooms? Are they worth it? We will be sailing on the Crown, which we are a little apprehensive about due to her age. Also, we LOVE the food on Holland America and Celebrity.....should I plan to be disappointed on NCL?
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Old July 12th, 2007, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruze Lover
I have never sailed before with NCL and will be doing so for the first time in September. THe whole idea of "Freestyle" does seem to be defeated when you must make a reservation committing yourself to a specific time to dine. How is that any different than being assigned a early or late seating in the dining room on other cruise lines? We enjoy the formal dining room every night so we are not bothered by that fact.

My question......How much are the speciality dining rooms? Are they worth it? We will be sailing on the Crown, which we are a little apprehensive about due to her age. Also, we LOVE the food on Holland America and Celebrity.....should I plan to be disappointed on NCL?
Cruze lover, I will try to answer some of your questions but it still may be confusing as it seems so many do not understand the freestyle concept.

On all NCL ships there are several restaurants that do not require reservations nor do they have extra fees. It is the same as you have experienced before except you choose what time you want to eat. You DO NOT make reservations for the main dining rooms, in fact, unless you are a large group you can't make them I don't beleive.

As for making them for the speicalty dining rooms, again that is pretty similar to HAL and Celebrity; on both those lines you need reservations.

Quality and pricing:

I have cruised both Celebrity and HAL. My personal opinion, Celebrity does not offer anything specail in dining, no better than any mass marketed lines except their waffles and the lunch salad bar. So will you be disappointed in NCL, I don't know, food is subjective. For us, we have no complaints about NCL food as a rule. I am not fond of their buffets, but I wasn't impressed at all with Celebrity's either. In fact I might like NCLs a tab bet better. Buffets are just that, a place to grab a bite to eat with goumet quality is not what you are seeking. We were very impressed with HALs food. The lunch buffet was diffently a step above any other mass market line and so was dinner. Again, this is our opinion.

Are NCLs specialty restaurants worth the money? Only you can decide, did you think they were on the other lines? If yes, then I would certainly suggest you give at least one restaurant a shot. I didn't think Pennicle Grill was worth $30. When it was $20, yes, but certainly not $30. I felt the same about Celebrity. They were very similar to NCLs and NCl is cheaper. Le Bistro, our favorite normally will run $15 per person with the speicalty choice, $20.00. The Steak house is $20 with Lobster or 24 oz Rib Eye running $25.00. The rest depend on which ones you are interested in.

I hope this helps some. Again, I don't think NCL has food the has the same quality (main dining) as HAL. If you can't guess by now, I am an NCL loyalist, but being a Travel consultant I have to do my best to assist my clients with their choices. I am not a strong Celebrity supporter.

Nita
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Old July 12th, 2007, 07:08 PM
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We saw no need to pay extra and we dont. We are used to very good dining options in Montreal, and what they serve on the ship is no better and not worth the extra money, but that is only our opinion, I know others who did it, they would again, although they said it was no better than what we get here locally. The atmosphere is just more intimate and close.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 08:59 AM
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I posted about being on Pride of Hawaii a week or so ago but I forgot to mention that when you do go to the resturants expect to have to wait. We ate at the Italian resturant our first night on the ship and thought it was better than any others so we made reservations again for the last night. When I call about noon the day before I was told they couldn't get us in until 9:00 pm and when we arrived a little before that time we were told it would be a few minutes. A "few minutes" ended up being 30 minutes and when we were finally allowed to go in we noticed that over half of the tables were empty. I can wait at resturants and eat average food at home, don't need a cruise for that to happen.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 11:00 AM
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It is important for everyone to remember NCL ships and itineraries are very different than NCLA, American flagged ships. yes, some things are the same, but because of the work force situation and the port intensive itinerary you will experience something totally different on NCLA> of course as we all know food is a very subjective topic, one persons likes can be anothers dislikes.

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