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Old July 19th, 2013, 06:15 PM
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Default Dining question for NCL ships

Thinking of trying our 1st NCL. Have cruised RCL, Celebrity & Carnival.
Live an hour out of Boston, looking at the Dawn.
Being Diamond members with RCL we always get a cozy table for 2 in the main dining room. How does it work on NCL? Open seating in the dining room ? How about all the other Restaurants ? If someone could outline how the dining works I would be very thankful !
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Old July 19th, 2013, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by CWolsten View Post
Thinking of trying our 1st NCL. Have cruised RCL, Celebrity & Carnival.
Live an hour out of Boston, looking at the Dawn.
Being Diamond members with RCL we always get a cozy table for 2 in the main dining room. How does it work on NCL? Open seating in the dining room ? How about all the other Restaurants ? If someone could outline how the dining works I would be very thankful !
In the additional charge restaurants you will, most likely, get a table for two. In the main dining rooms there are a larger number of two tops than on other cruise lines so it is "easier" to get a table for two.

When you go to dinner just request a table for two. If one is available you will be seated. If not then you will receive a pager and when it goes off you just go back and be seated. The longest I've had to wait is twenty minutes.

You will be seated faster if you don't mind sitting with someone else.

Take care,
Mike
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Old July 19th, 2013, 11:18 PM
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We took our first NCL cruise 2 weeks ago .Although we were a group of 8 most of our breakfast and lunch meals were by ourselves and we always were given a table for 2 without requesting same.
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Old September 28th, 2013, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
In the additional charge restaurants you will, most likely, get a table for two. In the main dining rooms there are a larger number of two tops than on other cruise lines so it is "easier" to get a table for two.

When you go to dinner just request a table for two. If one is available you will be seated. If not then you will receive a pager and when it goes off you just go back and be seated. The longest I've had to wait is twenty minutes.

You will be seated faster if you don't mind sitting with someone else.

Take care,
Mike
Have to disagree with you here. You will NOT be seated faster if you don't mind sitting with someone else. In fact, you will wait longer. Most people on NCL ship's have no interest in dining with strangers, and ask for tables for their party size. You can make a request to be seated with others, but just know that it may not be possible. We have cruised with NCL 4 times and have waited once for a table. We were given a pager and a voucher for a free drink and were paged from the bar area before we could take a few sips. NCL is set up for Freestyle cruising and it is very efficient and easy to get tables for your party size.
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Old September 28th, 2013, 08:23 PM
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Have to disagree with you here. You will NOT be seated faster if you don't mind sitting with someone else. In fact, you will wait longer. Most people on NCL ship's have no interest in dining with strangers, and ask for tables for their party size. You can make a request to be seated with others, but just know that it may not be possible. We have cruised with NCL 4 times and have waited once for a table. We were given a pager and a voucher for a free drink and were paged from the bar area before we could take a few sips. NCL is set up for Freestyle cruising and it is very efficient and easy to get tables for your party size.
Nope, not correct. If you walk up and simply tell them you will accept the first available table, you'll normally get seated right away and usually won't have to wait. You could end up getting seated by yourself or you could be seated with someone else, but we've never had to wait when telling them we'll take 'whatever'.

If you walk up and request a specific size of table or request not to be seated with others, you could end up waiting because it may or may not be immediately available.

They try to seat first come first served just like any restaurant does, which is the whole idea behind 'anytime dining'.

Pete
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Old September 29th, 2013, 08:35 AM
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Nope, not correct. If you walk up and simply tell them you will accept the first available table, you'll normally get seated right away and usually won't have to wait. You could end up getting seated by yourself or you could be seated with someone else, but we've never had to wait when telling them we'll take 'whatever'.

If you walk up and request a specific size of table or request not to be seated with others, you could end up waiting because it may or may not be immediately available.

They try to seat first come first served just like any restaurant does, which is the whole idea behind 'anytime dining'.

Pete
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Have cruised with NCL 4 times now and talk regularly with the NCL community. The majority of folks who cruise with NCL do it because they like the Freestyle dining concept and want to dine with their spouse only or their family of 4 or 6. If there are two of you dining and you REALLY want to dine with others, then ask to be seated with others and hope for the best. What is generally going to happen is they will ask the next in line, and the next in line, and the answer they'll get will likely be a polite "no thanks". In the meantime, you are waiting, when you could have already been seated at your table for two!

The scenario you are talking about is much more likely to happen on say, Royal, where when you ask for a table for two, they beg you to join a table for 4 or 6 and if you refuse, you have a long wait in store. Most of the NCL dining rooms are set up with many two tops. It really is mostly fast and efficient.
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Old September 29th, 2013, 10:11 AM
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Yep:

I guess it will have to be an agree to to disagree. You are correct that NCL has more two tops than most other cruise lines but I've cruised NCL a lot (Top Tier) and I have found that you can get a table quite often if you want to share. It is more likely to happen at peak times.

You are correct that people will ask for a table size for their party and their party only.

However, the problem of waiting for a table is pretty rare. Like you, I have had little wait for a table and when I have it wasn't long. NCL has been doing open seating the longest of the major cruise lines and they have their system down to a science. On Celebrity and Carnival they still have a number of glitches and sharing a table is encouraged on those lines.

Take care and no one should worry about a long wait for a table.
Mike
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Old September 29th, 2013, 04:10 PM
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I agree, Mike. Waiting for a table is a rare thing at NCL, as is being pushed to join other parties in order to avoid a wait. I have never been asked to join anyone else and have never even observed it. Those who are new to NCL and are used to "traditional" dining on other lines sometimes get the mistaken impression that long waits are to be expected because you do not have "your" table. Just did not want anyone to think that it will be difficult to dine with just their party. Probably the biggest reason I have stuck with NCL for the past four and future three cruises is that I can avoid having to make small talk with a group of strangers every night.
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Old January 20th, 2014, 11:02 PM
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Yup never waited, we always want to sit with people n we have never waited
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Old January 21st, 2014, 04:51 PM
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That's what I was saying - we've never had to wait for a table on NCL, except twice that I can remember. One time was because we wanted a specific table by a window, but it was only a couple of minutes till we were seated. The other time we just chose the wrong time to go to dinner and there was a short line, but that was unusual. Other than that, usually we just walk right up and got seated right away.

Pretty much the same as it is on any ship we've ever done anytime dining. In fact, I was just asking my wife about it and only once did we ever have to wait for a table - it was on Holland America. We only had to wait about 5 minutes, but the matre'd felt so bad about it, he gave us 2 glasses of champagne while we waited and then brought another 2 glasses after we were seated for dinner. And then, to top it off, we received a tray of chocolate covered strawberries in our cabin the next day with a handwritten note apologizing again for the wait. Thought that was pretty awesome service!

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