Iona - Dining Options


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#2
Surrey
191 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Always try to get Freedom so no problem.
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#3
Lancashire... UK
1,115 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Hi....For us Freedom dining is our first choice but I feel that at this moment in time it could be a " change to far".

Many people still enjoy the club dining experience of knowing exactly when they are dining and who there dining companions will be. My brother & sister in law because of health reasons need to know exactly what time they will be dining so that Freedom dining for them wouldn't work.

I will be very surprised if Freedom dining is the only choice.....maybe a few years later down the line it will become totally the norm as it does seem to be becoming more popular but not at this point in time.
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#4
England
1,764 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
At the moment, there are two reasons for choosing a Select fare rather than a Saver, being able to pick your cabin and your dining option. If there is only Freedom dining, one of those reasons disappears. So P&O may find this move affects their sales of Select fares, which cannot be good for them financially.

I dislike all the queueing involved in Freedom dining and prefer just to walk in to my table each night without messing about with queues and pagers. Hopefully they will also bring in the ability to make reservations as they do on some other lines.


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#5
UK
2,512 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Fred Olsen's policy is to pay their equivalent of our Select to be able to choose your sitting and your restaurant. ... They have a larger main dining room and two small ones.
Maybe some of Iona's restaurants might be more formal than others - and maybe Select fares will be able to reserve a table in advance in the their choice of restaurants or have some advantage like that?
I can't see everybody taking to Freedom Dining as we know it, with all the queuing and pagers.
#6
Carlisle, Cumbria, UK. No Carlisle is not in Scotland
416 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
As a solo traveller I always request (and so far got) club dining. Usually on a table with other solo travellers. I don't feel like a gooseberry, or pitied by 'smug marrieds'. Before I was widowed we once shared a table with another couple who had children the same age as our son, and one elderly lady. Of course we had a lot in common with the other family and none at all with the solo lady. It was rather awkward.
Also sharing a table with the same people every night ensures that "first night questions" only happen once during the cruise, and not every night. And gives me some chance of getting everyone's names right before the end of the cruise.
Even though I love big ships for the variety of activities and the space it looks like I won't be sailing on her.
#7
England
1,764 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Originally posted by Scriv
Fred Olsen's policy is to pay their equivalent of our Select to be able to choose your sitting and your restaurant. ... They have a larger main dining room and two small ones.
Maybe some of Iona's restaurants might be more formal than others - and maybe Select fares will be able to reserve a table in advance in the their choice of restaurants or have some advantage like that?
I can't see everybody taking to Freedom Dining as we know it, with all the queuing and pagers.
That is a good idea. As you say, on Fred we have asked for the nicer smaller restaurants with a view. And then as you suggest, maybe only Select fares are allowed to make reservations? We shall see!
#8
Manchester, UK
10,604 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Well if P&O are only to offer Freedom dining then they need to start offering reservations as most other lines operating ships of similar or larger size do. E.g. RCI, Celebrity, NCL etc.

I have just been able to make reservations for our upcoming TA on NCL 120 days before sailing and we've not even made final payment yet. Even better than RCI and Celebrity as we can request a table for 2.

I've always been able to make advance reservations for RCI and Celebrity but this doesn't mean you can't make changes once on board. But this does prevent you having to wait in line and be given a pager.

P&O need to get in the 21st century.
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Peteukmcr from Manchester, UK




#9
237 Posts
Joined Aug 2017


I posted this on another IONA thread but since this thread is specific to the dining options I thought it may be useful to post it here.


Dining aboard Iona, P&O Cruises


Iona will offer guests unprecedented levels of quality and flexibility when it comes to food and drink. The exciting array of options combines brand-new dining and drinking concepts with much-loved signature venues to give new meaning to the word ‘choice’. With 29 different venues to choose from, there’s something for everyone, whatever their mood, at any time of day and night.

A P&O Cruises First, Iona will exclusively offer Freedom Dining in the main restaurants. This puts guests in the driving seat, giving them the flexibility to dine with friends and family any time from 6–9pm. At peak times, a pager will alert them when the table is ready so there’s time to relax with an aperitif.
Other P&O Cruises Firsts include two brand-new dining concepts and a new live music venue.

The Quays is an exciting foodie piazza offering a great range of self-service and takeaway venues and a lively atmosphere for sociable dining. Within The Quays, a host of new dining venues showcasing cuisines from around the world will create a vibrant buzz – from American diner classics to Asian fast-food favourites. Another foodie first is The Keel and Cow, a fabulous British gastropub serving hearty pub fare. The 710 Club serves up live music and stylish cocktails: the perfect combination to let the good times roll long into the night.

Of course, it’s not just about the new. Iona also celebrates the best P&O Cruises dining and drinking traditions with favourites such as Brodie’s, The Crow’s Nest, The Epicurean, Sindhu and The Beach House, along with pool bars and a pizzeria and grill.

Iona brings iconic P&O Cruises stars and new trends in food and dining under one fabulous roof.

The 710 Club

Deck 6
It’s all about the music at The 710 Club. The secret haven – exclusively for adults – is the perfect spot in which to relax and enjoy the musical atmosphere, day or night. During the day, it’s a retreat from the hustle and bustle, offering something a little different. At night, it transforms into a sophisticated venue hosting a diverse range of top-class singers and bands tailored to British tastes: acoustic covers, ‘impromptu’ performances, classic and modern jazz, swing, Rat Pack, modern and acoustic rock music will feature. The 710 Club offers a fun and lively atmosphere, and is sure to captivate guests night after night.

The Keel and Cow

Deck 8
The Keel and Cow is an unpretentious gastropub, where food and drink have been crafted into something truly special. Located on deck 8, it offers a quick and convenient breakfast for those going ashore, and lunchtimes bring top-quality, authentic gastropub fare to the fore, with dishes such as a signature beef and stout burger, beer-battered fish and triple-cooked chips, black-pudding scotch eggs and more. At night, guests can gather with friends to enjoy hearty dishes or select from a range of steaks from the dry-ageing fridge. With views over the Grand Atrium or out to sea, or even to the chefs at work in the open galley, The Keel and Cow is the perfect place to bring friends and family together to enjoy delicious food, real hand-pumped ales and a great selection of craft ales in a relaxed, informal environment.

The Quays

Deck 8
Head to The Quays for informal dining options to suit every mood. This multi-venue dining piazza offers an amazing array of eateries and restaurants and is a lively hub for socialising over food and watching the world go by. There’s a fun street-food atmosphere with plenty of buzz, theatre and colour adding to the beachfront promenade vibe. With access onto the Promenade Deck, outdoor dining is available too. It’s all about flexible, fun, family-friendly food – the perfect place for a quick snack, light lunch or informal dinner.

With such a choice of foodie venues, The Quays will hit the hunger spot, from morning breakfasts to late-night snacks. New dining concepts found in The Quays include:

• The Boardwalk Diner (all-day, self-service): American classics meet Southern soul food with an all-day menu including chargrilled burgers, hot dogs, eggs over easy, southern-fried chicken with a side of slaw and so much more. Head on over for informal fast-food dining from breakfast until dinner.

• Fusion (all-day, take-away): Fusion is a hot spot for lovers of authentic Asian flavours. Offering take-away dishes all day, enjoy an odyssey around South East Asia in a relaxed and casual environment.

• Hook Line and Vinegar (all-day, self-service): For seaside hunger cravings at lunch or dinnertime, nothing beats traditional British fish and chips. Think crispy battered fish, calamari, fish burgers, scampi, crab cakes – all served with chips and mushy peas.

• The Olive Grove (restaurant, lunch and evening service): With a strong focus on food provenance, The Olive Grove celebrates the flavours of the southern and eastern Mediterranean with authentic dishes and sharing platters. Mouthwatering aperitifs and a well-chosen list of regional wines completes the menu and adds to the relaxed dining experience. The Olive Grove is the ideal venue for intimate dinners for two or a celebratory family meal – with options to eat in the restaurant or in the conservatory area.

Eric Lanlard's Afternoon Tea

Deck 17
For the ultimate daytime indulgence, Eric Lanlard’s Afternoon Tea is an on-board experience not to be missed. His unique twist on this classic British institution elevates the humble afternoon tea into something utterly decadent. As expected from the imagination of master pâtissier Eric Lanlard, delicious savoury and sweet surprises adorn each tempting cake stand, all served with a wide array of speciality teas.

Andersons

Deck 6
By day, Andersons is a quiet lounge bar with a library for browsing – the ideal spot for reading and relaxation. By evening, it becomes the place for before or after-dinner drinks – the main dining restaurants are located next door. The atmosphere is intimate, stylish and sociable with the feeling of a private members’ club. The exciting focal point of Andersons is a boutique gin distillery. Situated to the side of the bar, the statement piece in shining copper champions the art of artisanal gin. Guests will gather around it for masterclasses and gin tastings. Andersons is a must for connoisseurs in search of the finest tipples.

Beachcomber Pool and Bar

Deck 18
Situated to the fore of the ship, the Beachcomber Pool and Bar area offers plenty of space to relax in the sun and shade. The bar will rustle up a wide range of much-loved cocktails while guests relax and soak up the sunshine.

Brodie’s and Casino

Deck 7
Brodie’s, the much-loved British pub, is a sociable place where a good time is guaranteed. It boasts the ship’s largest range of British and international bottled beers, ciders and real ale. There’s a great selection on tap too, not to mention a well-stocked wine menu and tasty traditional British bar snacks such as pork scratchings, peanuts and crisps.
During the day, Brodie’s hosts quizzes and live sport. By night, it’s a popular spot for live entertainment, karaoke, quizzes and game shows. And don’t forget the adjacent Casino, which offers the latest gaming technology and games to suit all pockets, for novices and experts alike.

Crystal Bar and Laguna Bar

Deck 16
These poolside bars offer a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and are perfectly placed for al fresco refreshment when relaxing by the pool or enjoying fun activities such as sail-away parties. Both bars are located in the SkyDome.

Emerald Bar

Deck 6
For evening glamour, the stylish Emerald Bar in the Grand Atrium is the cocktail hotspot, thanks to its relaxed living-room feel and a Covent Garden-style buzz. With a large menu of premium cocktails, it’s an ideal location for pre-dinner drinks or as a late-night bar. From mid-morning, the space will host pop-up entertainment such as buskers and musical performances. From the early evening, guests will be treated to aerial circus performances. Whatever the time of day or night, spectacular sea views add to the unforgettable ambience.

Horizon Restaurant

Deck 16
The all-day self-service buffet is the perfect option for casual, flexible dining. The elegant design adds to the relaxed and easy atmosphere. Whatever the time of day or night, Horizon offers a wide range of tempting dishes, from traditional British favourites to foods from around the globe. Catering to a wide range of dietary requirements, vegetarian dishes, gluten-free choices and healthier eating options are all available. To top it off, all meals come with the best panoramic ocean views on the ship.

Main dining restaurants: Pearl, Coral, Aqua and Opal

Decks 6 and 7
All four main dining restaurants will offer Freedom Dining. This allows guests to enjoy dining with little more sense of occasion, and the flexibility to dine with chosen companions at a time that suits them. Although the surroundings are elegant in each restaurant, the atmosphere is always relaxed and welcoming with sittings for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
All Main Dining venues will also host the popular Gala Nights with a special Gala menu devised by P&O Cruises Food Hero Marco Pierre White.
Each of the restaurants has a distinctive design and style. Although grand in scale, the dining rooms will include more intimate areas with low balustrades and atmospheric mood lighting.
The largest, Pearl and Coral, are located on decks 6 and 7 respectively at the aft of the ship – and combine to make one large dining space over two levels. Here, the dining space spanning both decks is glazed full height with a feature staircase and uninterrupted views over the ocean. Aqua and Opal are smaller restaurants, located port and starboard side respectively.

Gelateria

Decks 8
Located at the top of the Grand Atrium at the entrance to The Quays, and with access to the Promenade Deck, this is an informal and family-friendly gelateria serving scoops of modern Italian-style gelato in addition to premium tea and coffee. Guests can enjoy their goodies in the Gelateria or take them away to savour on the Promenade Deck.

Sindhu

Decks 16
Visit Sindhu to be treated to authentic Indian cuisine with a British twist. This Select Dining favourite offers a menu that is a triumph of perfectly balanced spices, delicate flavours and wonderful aromas. Dining amidst its sumptuous fabrics and opulent décor is a treat for the senses and an experience not to be missed.

SkyDome Pizzeria and Grill

Decks 16
For peckish moments at any time of day, deck 16 is the place to go for fresh oven-baked pizzas and grilled goodies such as top-quality burgers and classic fish and chips. The food venue will also offer more global flavours with popular street foods from around the world.

Sunset Bar

Decks 8
At the aft end of the Promenade Deck, the Sunset Bar is the best place to enjoy a sundowner at the end of the day, with easy access to The Club House and its chilled evening vibe. By day, it’s equally atmospheric with cooling sun canopies to relax under and drink in the sea views.

Sundaes

Decks 16
For happy holiday treats, Sundaes in the SkyDome is perfect for all the family with a wide range of ice cream favourites to choose from.

The Beach House

Decks 16
In the evenings, the forward section of Horizon Restaurant transforms into a fun and informal Select Dining venue, The Beach House. Inspired by South American, Caribbean and Stateside cuisines, the menu offers hearty dishes and comfort-food favourites. Highlights include the steaks, ribs, grills and burgers, hanging kebabs and a range of sharable sides. Save space for the decadent and delicious desserts.

The Club House

Decks 8
This flexible venue leads out into the aft end of the Promenade Deck to offer relaxing inside and outside spaces. It’s a bright, spacious, multi-purpose lounge by day – ideal for afternoon entertainment and family fun. By night, it transforms into a modern live-lounge and late-night disco, offering entertainment and dancing long into the night. The extensive bar area inside serves drinks and bar snacks.

The Crow’s Nest

Decks 17
The iconic observation lounge is a well-established feature of the fleet. Offering panoramic views of the ocean in a relaxed, modern and elegant setting, it’s a delightful spot for daytime reveries and reading. In the evening, the venue becomes a sophisticated cocktail lounge with a live pianist adding to the nostalgic sense of style. Located adjacent to The Epicurean, it’s a popular spot for aperitifs or after-dinner drinks, and relaxed socialising into the night.

The Epicurean

Decks 17
The Epicurean offers a gastronomic blend of classic and contemporary fine dining in elegant surroundings with uninterrupted sea views. The mood in this Select Dining restaurant is refined and intimate: impeccable service, crisp white tablecloths and a premium wine list complement the extraordinary food.
The focus is on provenance. Dishes are made with the finest and freshest local produce and prepared with great skill, fusing the best modern British and destination culinary traditions. The simple ingredients are the stars of the show. A Chef’s Table and a private dining area for up to eight guests provide further opportunity for special occasions and celebrations.

The Glass House

Decks 7
Created by award-winning wine expert and P&O Cruises Food Hero Olly Smith, The Glass House is for lovers of fine wine and great food. The premium wine bar boasts an impressive wine list curated by Olly and offers a sophisticated environment in which to enjoy breakfast, a light lunch, a leisurely glass of wine or an evening meal with family or newfound friends. Wine connoisseurs are well taken care of: Cellar Door at The Glass House offers wine talks, tastings and wine-pairing dinners. It’s in prime position to enjoy the Grand Atrium’s aerial performances, as well as magnificent views out to the horizon.

The Limelight Club

Decks 6
This supper-club venue is a fixed favourite. After the daytime dancing classes, The Limelight Club is the place to be for adult-only evening dining and entertainment. The club exclusively hosts established and emerging vocalists and is the dedicated venue for resident performers and the house band. As the entertainment gets underway, guests enjoy a unique dining experience: it starts with a welcome drink before a themed multi-course menu is served at intervals throughout the show. After the performances, the bar is open to all and becomes a lively late-night hotspot.

Vistas Café Bar

Decks 6
Located in the heart of the Grand Atrium, Vistas is a warm and welcoming café with a buzzing atmosphere. Serving premium tea, coffee and snacks, as well as tempting treats from P&O Cruises Food Hero and master pâtissier Eric Lanlard, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing pit stop while looking at fabulous ocean views or watching the world on ship go by.
In the evenings, it’s an ideal spot for an after-dinner coffee or wind-down tea. From mid-morning there will also be pop-up entertainment, and from early evening impromptu aerial circus performances will add to the drama and excitement of the Grand Atrium space.
#11
Carlisle, Cumbria, UK. No Carlisle is not in Scotland
416 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by ohnonotmeagain
OH go on be a devil...…….what WILL they do about grats????
Oooh. You are a one. But I like you.


(But they would have to make them compulsory as on NCL freedom dining only ships)
#12
237 Posts
Joined Aug 2017
Originally posted by ohnonotmeagain
OH go on be a devil...…….what WILL they do about grats????
Can't say I have come across that dish before but if it's on the menu I will give it a go.
#13
norwich uk
238 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Originally posted by P-L-B
Can't say I have come across that dish before but if it's on the menu I will give it a go.
maybe he means grits ? LOL !!! I think it all sounds great and so much choice...specially like the sound of the Quays just wonder how many will be extra fee though. Hope Iona has an appealing itinerary would like to try her.
#14
West Yorkshire UK
3,514 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by peteukmcr
Well if P&O are only to offer Freedom dining then they need to start offering reservations as most other lines operating ships of similar or larger size do. E.g. RCI, Celebrity, NCL etc.

I have just been able to make reservations for our upcoming TA on NCL 120 days before sailing and we've not even made final payment yet. Even better than RCI and Celebrity as we can request a table for 2.

I've always been able to make advance reservations for RCI and Celebrity but this doesn't mean you can't make changes once on board. But this does prevent you having to wait in line and be given a pager.

P&O need to get in the 21st century.
We find freedom dining to be our favourite choice and see no reason at all for advance bookings, in fact it totally negates the essence of dining whenever you want, and at different times to suit your mood and evening entertainment choices. However for it to work effectively P&O would need far more tables for 2 and 4 than they currently have.
Although I know other lines have encouraged prior bookings, on our first RCI cruise last year the dining room greeter expressed his fervent hope that RCI would ditch it, as it made his job ten times more difficult, especially with some passengers arriving later than their booked time.
I suspect that the negative feedback from club dining supporters may make P&O change their mind, and with 4 MDR's they could easily allocate one to traditional first and second sitting.
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Feb 2018 Ventura - Caribbean & USA.,June 2018 Ventura - W. Med.


#15
England
1,764 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Originally posted by blueboo
maybe he means grits ? LOL !!! I think it all sounds great and so much choice...specially like the sound of the Quays just wonder how many will be extra fee though. Hope Iona has an appealing itinerary would like to try her.
I think they will all be extra fee apart from the main dining rooms and the buffet. It is all about extra onboard revenue.
#16
Manchester, UK
10,604 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by terrierjohn

Although I know other lines have encouraged prior bookings, on our first RCI cruise last year the dining room greeter expressed his fervent hopesitting that RCI would ditch it, as it made his job ten times more difficult, especially with some passengers arriving later than their booked time .
Well with having 21 RCI cruises under our belt, most using MTD I suspect this door host is in the minority and not doing their job properly. The more stressful door hosts are those trying to pacify those turning up without reservations and it’s very doubtful RCI will drop reservations for MTD as it helps them organise the dining room for better than our experience on Azura which was nothing but a shambles IMHO, so it better be good when we’re on a Britannia TA.


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Peteukmcr from Manchester, UK




#17
Kent, England
6,516 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Originally posted by peteukmcr
Well with having 21 RCI cruises under our belt, most using MTD I suspect this door host is in the minority and not doing their job properly. The more stressful door hosts are those trying to pacify those turning up without reservations and it’s very doubtful RCI will drop reservations for MTD as it helps them organise the dining room for better than our experience on Azura which was nothing but a shambles IMHO, so it better be good when we’re on a Britannia TA.


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What penalty do RCI impose on those passengers who reserve a table and then don't turn up and don't inform the dining room that they will not need the table that evening?
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#18
Manchester, UK
10,604 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by davecttr
What penalty do RCI impose on those passengers who reserve a table and then don't turn up and don't inform the dining room that they will not need the table that evening?
In the MDR, no penalty, you are just requested to advise you won't be dining as a matter of courtesy, but even then, no charge for no show. For speciality restaurants reservations, the published cancellation fee is 50% of the cover charge if cancelled within 24 hours, in practice, no fee if date/time changed to another day/time.
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Peteukmcr from Manchester, UK




#19
UK
555 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by marylizcat
I think they will all be extra fee apart from the main dining rooms and the buffet. It is all about extra onboard revenue.
It would be nice if maybe one or two of the other options were free, but I won't hold my breath.

P&O have become money orientated and greedy since being taken over by Carnival. Its a shame.
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#20
Lancashire, England
952 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by terrierjohn
We find freedom dining to be our favourite choice and see no reason at all for advance bookings, in fact it totally negates the essence of dining whenever you want, and at different times to suit your mood and evening entertainment choices. However for it to work effectively P&O would need far more tables for 2 and 4 than they currently have.
Although I know other lines have encouraged prior bookings, on our first RCI cruise last year the dining room greeter expressed his fervent hope that RCI would ditch it, as it made his job ten times more difficult, especially with some passengers arriving later than their booked time.
I suspect that the negative feedback from club dining supporters may make P&O change their mind, and with 4 MDR's they could easily allocate one to traditional first and second sitting.
When freedom dining was trialed on Oceana prior to introduction across the rest of the fleet it was possible to book tables in advance. Many diners arrived late or not at all. Waiters were instructed to take orders 15 minutes after the time booked whether all diners were present or not, sometimes leading to the absent diners turning up when the others were already eating. If P&O were to ressurect this, they would IMO need to stipulate that reservations would be forfeit if not taken up within 15 minutes, the places then being filled by diners who had not reserved.