Survey for New Ship Dining Experience


Unregistered, just back from your Cunard cruise? Get published on Cruise Critic; Write a Review!
Cunard Line

Read hundreds of Cunard Cruise Reviews from cruisers like you.

See posts about:
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 06:46 AM.
#21
Charlotte
69 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
Staffordshire
2,499 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
21 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
165 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.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

FRANCE-RAFFAELLO-LEONARDO DA VINCI-STEFAN BATORY-QUEEN ELIZABETH 2-CANBERRA-UGANDA-GUGLIELMO MARCONI-EUROPA-CENTAUR-VISTAFJORD-BALTIKA-ORIANA-ACHILLE LAURO-OCEANIC-BRITANIS-AKDENIZ-ROTTERDAM-ST. HELENA-EUGENIO C.-BLACK PRINCE-BLACK WATCH-R7-PILGRIM BELLE-REGAL EMPRESS-VICTORIA-REGATTA-MAASDAM-CARONIA-QUEEN MARY 2-EURODAM-NIEUW AMSTERDAM-MARINA-RIVIERA-QUEEN ELIZABETH
#25
Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
7,487 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
183 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
854 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.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#28
635 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
This is an amazing discussion.
The main concern is that Cunard may lose this line identity if "any time" dining is added to MDR and the experience will be "no different from other cruise lines".
I personally don't mind it.
At the moment the experience is different.
Unfortunately.
The quality of the food in MDR is far below HAL and NCL (specialty restaurants that is the only way to dine on NCL, often included in price), not to mention Oceania, TUI or Viking.
Even Carnival and RCI MDR experience on our most recent cruises was superior to Cunard.
I cruise on all cruise lines so I can compare.
It's a shame.
As a cruiser who want to enjoy more cruises and TA crossings with Cunard, I don't want Cunard dining experience to be different from other cruise lines. I want it to be the same quality as HAL and NCL. At least!

BTW our experience with "any time" dining on the Nieuw Amsterdam in March was excellent.
No doubt, they will set the upper deck of the MDR as "any time" dining on the "new" ship.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
My cruise blog - my personal cruise travel
#29
Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
7,487 Posts
Joined May 2000
I also sail on all cruise lines, just recently reached cruise #125. Personally I haven’t found Cunard’s dining experience to be lacking. It’s not the best by any means but certainly not the worst. Anyway that has nothing to do with an open or traditional dining concept. I’ve also sailed on Nieuw Amsterdam. The dining experience was mediocre at best. That pretty much sums up my feelings towards HAL. Yawn. Anyway food is highly subjective. Ask 10 people and receive 10 vastly different opinions.

I do agree with the previous poster that said more specialty dining options on Cunard would be nice. The Verandah leaves a lot to be desired. Something else would be nice.
#30
New Hamsphire
556 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.
#31
USA
165 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
To each his own as they say. And should when it comes to something as subjective as food on a cruise ship. But having cruised on HAL and Cunard (and more than a few times), I am astonished anyone would consider the food on Cunard inferior to HAL on any level. HAL has been progressively downgraded in the last decade. And if anything, the cuisine overall on Cunard is far superior to what it was 25-30 years ago. HAL doesn't even serve proper luncheon in the dining room except on sea days.

Cunard is not without its faults but I sure wouldn't put cuisine and overall service among them.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

FRANCE-RAFFAELLO-LEONARDO DA VINCI-STEFAN BATORY-QUEEN ELIZABETH 2-CANBERRA-UGANDA-GUGLIELMO MARCONI-EUROPA-CENTAUR-VISTAFJORD-BALTIKA-ORIANA-ACHILLE LAURO-OCEANIC-BRITANIS-AKDENIZ-ROTTERDAM-ST. HELENA-EUGENIO C.-BLACK PRINCE-BLACK WATCH-R7-PILGRIM BELLE-REGAL EMPRESS-VICTORIA-REGATTA-MAASDAM-CARONIA-QUEEN MARY 2-EURODAM-NIEUW AMSTERDAM-MARINA-RIVIERA-QUEEN ELIZABETH
#32
635 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
Congratulations on the great number!

My comments are related to MDR food, not the whole dining experience on Cunard.
I'm very satified with the Golden Lion Pub, afternoon tea and the buffet on the QM2 (the buffet on QE was awful last time).

I do agree that more specialty dining option will be a plus. And we'll see it on the new ship (not me though).

What is upsetting is to dress up for the Gala Dinner (we are on Cunard!), enter the opulent Britannia Dining Room (designed after the SS Paris Grand Salle a Manger) and .... get a barely edible Lobster Thermidor as a Gala Dinner Main Course on the passenger ship #1 in the world.

Cunard


Carnival


Nieuw Amsterdam
Gala Dinner Menu


Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
My cruise blog - my personal cruise travel