Survey for New Ship Dining Experience


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#21
Charlotte, NC
77 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Background information: We have been on HAL, where their version of Any Time Dining was horrible (possibly an anomaly, since others laud HAL and we had a not-all-that-good experience), and Seabourn, where their version worked impeccably. Our only experience on Cunard has been in Grills, which is a different category entirely.

My question: Would it be possible to set aside a number of tables (obviously a variable, depending on the sailing) where flexible dining times are offered, yet have a number of tables reserved for those that prefer more structured dining times? I'm not sure how the logistics would work or whether this is a manageable approach. Just curious as to whether it would be a reasonable compromise.
#22
Midlands
2,819 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
Originally posted by ExArkie
Background information: We have been on HAL, where their version of Any Time Dining was horrible (possibly an anomaly, since others laud HAL and we had a not-all-that-good experience), and Seabourn, where their version worked impeccably. Our only experience on Cunard has been in Grills, which is a different category entirely.

My question: Would it be possible to set aside a number of tables (obviously a variable, depending on the sailing) where flexible dining times are offered, yet have a number of tables reserved for those that prefer more structured dining times? I'm not sure how the logistics would work or whether this is a manageable approach. Just curious as to whether it would be a reasonable compromise.
If Cunard decide to offer freedom dining on their new ship I think they will go down the route of Princess and P&O. The ship will be big enough to have more than one MDR and there will be a designated one for freedom and another for fixed dining and you choose which when you book.
#23
Newcastle
60 Posts
Joined Mar 2018
Originally posted by ExArkie
Background information: We have been on HAL, where their version of Any Time Dining was horrible (possibly an anomaly, since others laud HAL and we had a not-all-that-good experience), and Seabourn, where their version worked impeccably. Our only experience on Cunard has been in Grills, which is a different category entirely.

My question: Would it be possible to set aside a number of tables (obviously a variable, depending on the sailing) where flexible dining times are offered, yet have a number of tables reserved for those that prefer more structured dining times? I'm not sure how the logistics would work or whether this is a manageable approach. Just curious as to whether it would be a reasonable compromise.
In essence that is the point of Britannia Club. For which there is often a hefty premium to be paid.
#24
USA
228 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
What makes "Freedom Dining" work... mostly... is number of diners/tables. It certainly works with the 125-diner max Grills, Seabourn, it barely works (in my experience after nine cruises) on Oceania and it doesn't work on HAL (three experiences). And it's not just the wait for the table at peak times but the often very long time spent at the table waiting to be served, waiting for courses etc. etc. We hadn't been on a ship with sittings for years after so many Oceania cruises until we sailed in QE last year. We marveled how efficient the service was, the hotness of the food etc, with a set table and set dining time compared to Oceania. Sure, we wish 2nd sitting was half hour earlier but we had a better dining experience all around AND got out of the dining room before 10.00 pm.. something we seldom managed with Oceania.

I can't see Cunard offering this only on the new ship, it's just too confusing so it would have to be fleet-wide. On HAL, they have accommodated it by having the upper level of the dining rooms have set sittings/tables and the main level is Freedom Dining. Behind the scenes, though, the galley must border on chaos sometimes trying to work around both systems. At least it felt like it sometimes.
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#25
Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
7,589 Posts
Joined May 2000
I'm almost certain you will see some portion the dining room on the new ship implement an open concept dining arrangement. Along with it will come an even more dumbed down dress code. Cunard more and more wants to appeal to a broader audience to increase market share. Once this inevitable transition happens, there will be little reason for me to sail Cunard except for the occasional crossing on QM2 (a ship I love). What I love about Cunard is the formality, tradition, and yes even the old school structure of the dining arrangements. Cunard is pretty much the last hold out, and if or when that changes they will become like everyone else. In that case I might as well sail on Celebrity or Princess (which I do already). I go to Cunard when I want something a little different and more special.

Of course by sending out these surveys, Cunard can proclaim any changes implemented were customer driven.
#26
216 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Received the survey. Personally, even traveling Grills class, I welcome more alternate restaurants. The offerings have shrank over the past couple of years (yes, even QG) and I find it is more of a struggle to get off menu items. Just MHO.
#27
Inverness, Scotland
861 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Originally posted by majortom10
The ship will be big enough to have more than one MDR and there will be a designated one for freedom and another for fixed dining and you choose which when you book.
So the lowest grade of restaurant would have two sittings, and then the next one, of a similar size, would have a single sitting? You could even name them after former Cunard ships. How about, oh!, I don't know, Mauritania and Caronia, say.

I'm sure I've come across a set-up like that somewhere before.

Regards, Colin.
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#28
New Hamsphire
560 Posts
Joined Feb 2015
For a solo male passenger, anytime dining is a death sentence as few parties willingly accept a solo male to their table. This leaves one sitting alone and receiving sympathy comments from the staff and a lack of passenger camaraderie. Experienced this on several NCL cruises and would not sail with them again if the cruise was free.