Posted August 9th, 2010, 11:10 PM
With freestyle I have waited, sometimes WAY too long to be seated. Then again, I have never sailed on a NCL ship that was built with freestyle in mind.
A lot of it depends on how many double-occupancy rooms are at triple or quadruple cpacity. We made the mistake of cruising on the Majesty out of Charleston for the week that included Presidents Day back in 2008 thinking it would be too early for spring break and there might be a few kids since it would be in theory only four days of school missed. Apparently, schools in NYC have this thing called "Winter Break." HUNDREDS of kids... really. Long waits for pretty much everything. It was unfortunate.
Yes, I have heard that those New York School breaks in winter are disasters! (and for some reason, alot of those families take cruises..lol)
The other thing about the wait for the dining rooms is WHAT time you go. We are people who like to eat early... in fact my wife and mother-in-law will not eat if dinner begins after 7:00 p.m. because some doctor told them that is one of the causes of obesity. (now, I personally will eat anytime food is available... hey wait, maybe they are right..lol).
So that means that our eating times have been early.
Here is what I have noticed:
5:30 p.m. - there can be a wait of 10-15 minutes if you show up right when the doors open as there is usually a line. The wait is simply the time it takes for those in line to be seated.
5:45-6:30 - usually no wait for tables unless you are asking for something specific... table by the window, table for a larger number that they may have to put together, specific waiter, etc.)
This is the period that we try to hit and as I said... I or my parents have never waited more than 10 minutes for a table. (and my parents are Silver on NCL.)
6:30-7:30 - this is usually the period with longer waits. 10-20 minutes sometimes as the those who were initially seated at 5;30 are finishing up and leaving and the tables are being turned over for the next people.
7:30 - 8:00 - can be busy... depends on what evening activities are scheduled and if it was a port day, sea day, sailaway time, etc.
8:00 - close - another good time to go. I and a friend went once at this time when we were on the Star to Alaska due to a late tour.... no line and no wait. (actually a somewhat desserted dining room too.)
The number of people in your party can also dictate the time it takes.