Latest survey - question about freedom dining


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#21
United Kingdom
524 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Freedom dining created immediate problems with theatre seats when it started on Ventura and Azura. People queued from 5.40 to get in at 6, dine quickly and grab all the seats for the 8.30 show at about 7.45, ensuring that Club diners on 1st sitting couldn't get a seat. This caused a lot of angst and some fights, though things have eased now. As more people like Freedom, I think they will restrict Cub to part of a restaurant rather than a whole one. 2nd sitting used to be the "popular" one but now most of the tables are half empty and saver fare passengers get 2nd and feel disgruntled. I won't be doing any more savers because 2nd sitting as it currently is, not as it used to be. just doesn't work for me.
#22
bucks
745 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Originally posted by Clodia
Freedom dining created immediate problems with theatre seats when it started on Ventura and Azura. People queued from 5.40 to get in at 6, dine quickly and grab all the seats for the 8.30 show at about 7.45, ensuring that Club diners on 1st sitting couldn't get a seat. This caused a lot of angst and some fights, though things have eased now. As more people like Freedom, I think they will restrict Cub to part of a restaurant rather than a whole one. 2nd sitting used to be the "popular" one but now most of the tables are half empty and saver fare passengers get 2nd and feel disgruntled. I won't be doing any more savers because 2nd sitting as it currently is, not as it used to be. just doesn't work for me.
We do freedom on Celebrity and 2nd sitting on P&O. Last Easter on Azura though there were lots of empty seats on 2nd and as the food wasn’t great it got worse as the cruise went on. Shame as dinner with fellow passengers can be very enjoyable
#23
Gt Britain
251 Posts
Joined Nov 2015
Originally posted by wowzz
Perhaps it's just us, but my wife and I do freedom dining, go to the restaurant about 8, and ask for a table of 6 or 8. We would normally be one of the last tables to leave, aroundv10:30. Why do people want to rush through dinner. As much as anything else, we don't want to drink a bottle of wine in 60 minutes, and we never 'keep' an opened bottle for the next night!

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No it's not just you. I've always seen Freedom dining as something for people who like to eat and go. That is definitely not we like to do. The evening meal is something we look forward to and is one of the things we enjoy most about our cruise.We like to take our time and enjoy our wine. We always have 6.30 club dining but did notice on our last cruise that the waiters seemed anxious to get us out in order to prepare for the 8.30 diners.
#24
West Yorkshire UK
3,459 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by Clodia
Freedom dining created immediate problems with theatre seats when it started on Ventura and Azura. People queued from 5.40 to get in at 6, dine quickly and grab all the seats for the 8.30 show at about 7.45, ensuring that Club diners on 1st sitting couldn't get a seat. This caused a lot of angst and some fights, though things have eased now. As more people like Freedom, I think they will restrict Cub to part of a restaurant rather than a whole one. 2nd sitting used to be the "popular" one but now most of the tables are half empty and saver fare passengers get 2nd and feel disgruntled. I won't be doing any more savers because 2nd sitting as it currently is, not as it used to be. just doesn't work for me.
I doubt that having freedom and club in the same MDR would be satisfactory to anyone unless they physically divide the MDR, but I could envisage them doing similar to Princess do on some ships, where they have first sitting club and then change over to freedom. But even this would have its detractors among the die-hard 2nd club seating brigade.
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Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the observance of fools. (Douglas Bader 1910-1982)
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. (Winston Churchill 1874-1965)
Future cruises --- June 2018 Ventura - W. Med. Sept 2018 Azura - Canaries. Jan 2019 Ventura - Caribbean. April 2019 Aurora W Med, July 2019 Independence Med Beaches,
Previous Cruises
March 92 - Carnival's Carnivale - Bahamas . October 97 - Thomson's Emerald, Med. Nov 2000 - Superstar Gemini, Straits of Malacca. Jan 2004 - Coral Princess - Panama-Carib. June 2005 - Island Princess - Alaska. Jan 2006 - P&O Arcadia - East/southern Carib. Feb 2007 - Celebrity Millenium - Eastern Carib. June 2007 - Tahitian Princess - Honolulu to Papeete. Feb 2008 - Sapphire Princess - Sydney to Auckland. Sept 2008 Emerald Princess - Mediterranean. March 2009 - Coral Princess - Panama Canal. Feb 2010 Celebrity Solstice - Eastern Caribbean . Aug 2011 P&O Azura- Canaries. June 2012 P&O Ventura Iceland & Fjords. Sept 2012 Celebrity Eclipse - Western Med; Apr 2013 P&O Azura Western Med. June 2013 Celebrity Eclipse - Baltic. Oct 2013 P&O Azura - Central Med. May 2014 Emerald Princess N. Spain & France. Sept. 2014 Celebrity Eclipse-Canaries & Azores, Apr 2015 P&O Britannia - W Med. June 2015 Celebrity Eclipse - Iceland & Fjords. Sept 2015 Celebrity Eclipse - Canaries & Azores. Jan 2016 P&O Ventura - No Fly Caribbean. Jun 2016 Eclipse - Baltic. Aug 2016 - Britannia Fjords, May 2017 - Azura W. Med. Sept 2017 - Navigator OTS Canaries & N Africa.
Feb 2018 Ventura - Caribbean & USA.,


#25
Cambridgeshire
3,014 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Originally posted by terrierjohn
I doubt that having freedom and club in the same MDR would be satisfactory to anyone unless they physically divide the MDR, but I could envisage them doing similar to Princess do on some ships, where they have first sitting club and then change over to freedom. But even this would have its detractors among the die-hard 2nd club seating brigade.
Sub-dividing an MDR makes no sense to me either. However on Princess there is an option for an extra early 1st sitting at one restaurant which you have to especially ask for then all your meals are 5.45 in that same MDR every day the whole cruise. When this sitting finishes, which varies by table, the MDR then accepts "Anytime Diners" or Freedom as P&O would call them. This system seems to work well offering good benefits to people from each crowd, with extra early for first theatre performance people who want best seat choice and extra numbers for Freedom fans after.

Regards John
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Ships cruised on
RMS Queen Elizabeth, SS France, Oronsay, Oceana, Vision of the Seas, Caribbean Princess, Aurora,
Queen Mary 2, Star Flyer, Star Clipper, Grand Princess, Queen Elizabeth, Azura, Ruby Princess, Ventura, Diamond Princess, Britannia, Emerald Princess, Navigator of the Seas, Queen Victoria
#26
1,542 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
In reality Freedom dining only allows for two covers most of the time.

There is a large rush at 6.30 when it opens with this group leaving around 7.30 to 7.45. The next large numbers of people arriving are around 8 to 8.30, and they will be leaving around 9.30 to 9.45 after the MDR closes.

As someone who tends to eat late I will often go to the MDR around 9.15 to 9.30 just before it closes as I cannot be bothered with the queueing or even the buzzers. It also gives you the opportunity to see the early show which usually finishes by 9.15 and the late show starting at 10.30.
#27
Dorset, UK
8,968 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by insanemagnet
In reality Freedom dining only allows for two covers most of the time.

There is a large rush at 6.30 when it opens with this group leaving around 7.30 to 7.45. The next large numbers of people arriving are around 8 to 8.30, and they will be leaving around 9.30 to 9.45 after the MDR closes.

As someone who tends to eat late I will often go to the MDR around 9.15 to 9.30 just before it closes as I cannot be bothered with the queueing or even the buzzers. It also gives you the opportunity to see the early show which usually finishes by 9.15 and the late show starting at 10.30.
Doesn't Freedom Dining start at 6pm? Most tables for two are vacated by around 7.15 in our experience and it is often these tables which are in demand and fill up quickly.

I would agree perhaps two covers per night on large tables is likely to be the case but think 3 is perfectly possible for tables for two.
#28
1,542 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
Three covers might be theoretically possible, but in my experience doesn't happen.

Even if the table is vacated at 7.15 and refilled by 7.30, it will not become free again until 8.45 or so.

You get very few people heading into the dining room towards 9pm.
#29
Scotland
1,143 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Originally posted by insanemagnet
Three covers might be theoretically possible, but in my experience doesn't happen.

Even if the table is vacated at 7.15 and refilled by 7.30, it will not become free again until 8.45 or so.

You get very few people heading into the dining room towards 9pm.
I have actually seen this happen quite frequently, particulalry on the tables for 2. We go in at say 7.00pm and the table next us is being vacated and refilled then the next lot are gone in an hour so table cover number 3 comes in at 8pm.

It amazes me how quickly some people actually eat their food. To be fair in some cases people are more retrained than I am and only have a main course and an small ice cream (as opposed to my starter, main, pudding, cheese, coffee and petit four with the accompanying wine and spirits )

You also see couples who never talk to each other and so just concentrate on the food or the ones who have a fork in one hand and a phone in the other!

We have sometimes gone to the early show and then to the freedom dining at 9.15 and in spite of being in well before closing the staff rush you through to get you out.
#30
Scotland
263 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
Originally posted by Thejuggler
They may move more towards Princess. Freedom dining in any freedom restaurant where there are more than one on a ship and the ability to book a time.
If you are Freedom Dining on P&O you can Dine in any of the Freedom Dining Restaurants, but not book a time.

As other thread says, this would then make a mockery of the F D
#31
Staffordshire, GBR
88 Posts
Joined Nov 2013
A particular question included in recent surveys we have received relates to the dining room staff. Something like, Do you wish your waiter to get to know you and your particular needs?
Some diners may have certain specific needs/likes that can be catered for without recourse to the Diet Chief's section, by a waiter who gets to know the diner.
Over the years, we have made friends with a number of dining room staff, learnt about their forthcoming marriage, growing family, and in some cases their promotion. This has been facilitated by Club Dining on two weeks or longer cruises. It also means that we have meet up, from time to time, on different ships. Alas, with the increase in number and size of the fleet's ships, this is happening less and less. The result, a move away from a 'friendship club like' Line, to one where crew and 'guests' are just numbers contributing to the 'bottom line'.
The Adonia, Aurora, and Oriana provide(d) such a cruise line. Obviously this comes at a cost, witness the sale of the Adonia. One fears that the mega ships will not and so a move towards Freedom may increase.


Finally, on the occasions we have not dined in Club, we have not made any longterm friends, whilst we have in Club from the USA and across the UK.


49 cruises 17 ships 3 liners
#33
West Yorkshire UK
3,459 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by joro44
A particular question included in recent surveys we have received relates to the dining room staff. Something like, Do you wish your waiter to get to know you and your particular needs?
Some diners may have certain specific needs/likes that can be catered for without recourse to the Diet Chief's section, by a waiter who gets to know the diner.
Over the years, we have made friends with a number of dining room staff, learnt about their forthcoming marriage, growing family, and in some cases their promotion. This has been facilitated by Club Dining on two weeks or longer cruises. It also means that we have meet up, from time to time, on different ships. Alas, with the increase in number and size of the fleet's ships, this is happening less and less. The result, a move away from a 'friendship club like' Line, to one where crew and 'guests' are just numbers contributing to the 'bottom line'.
The Adonia, Aurora, and Oriana provide(d) such a cruise line. Obviously this comes at a cost, witness the sale of the Adonia. One fears that the mega ships will not and so a move towards Freedom may increase.


Finally, on the occasions we have not dined in Freedom, we have not made any long term friends, whilst we have in Club from the USA and across the UK.


49 cruises 17 ships 3 liners
I disagree with you that the bigger ships lead to less friendly interaction with the wait staff. We have found that on RCI and Celebrity the wait staff are far friendlier than on P&O, and the standard of service is far higher, and all our cruises have been on big ships.
In my view this results from the style of management which on P&O is do as I say whilst on the RCI group the senior staff lead by example and regularly clear tables and help out on busy sections.
Possibly on smaller ships the rigid management style is a bit more relaxed, but this is one of the main differences we notice with P&O on all the ships we have sailed on.
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Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the observance of fools. (Douglas Bader 1910-1982)
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. (Winston Churchill 1874-1965)
Future cruises --- June 2018 Ventura - W. Med. Sept 2018 Azura - Canaries. Jan 2019 Ventura - Caribbean. April 2019 Aurora W Med, July 2019 Independence Med Beaches,
Previous Cruises
March 92 - Carnival's Carnivale - Bahamas . October 97 - Thomson's Emerald, Med. Nov 2000 - Superstar Gemini, Straits of Malacca. Jan 2004 - Coral Princess - Panama-Carib. June 2005 - Island Princess - Alaska. Jan 2006 - P&O Arcadia - East/southern Carib. Feb 2007 - Celebrity Millenium - Eastern Carib. June 2007 - Tahitian Princess - Honolulu to Papeete. Feb 2008 - Sapphire Princess - Sydney to Auckland. Sept 2008 Emerald Princess - Mediterranean. March 2009 - Coral Princess - Panama Canal. Feb 2010 Celebrity Solstice - Eastern Caribbean . Aug 2011 P&O Azura- Canaries. June 2012 P&O Ventura Iceland & Fjords. Sept 2012 Celebrity Eclipse - Western Med; Apr 2013 P&O Azura Western Med. June 2013 Celebrity Eclipse - Baltic. Oct 2013 P&O Azura - Central Med. May 2014 Emerald Princess N. Spain & France. Sept. 2014 Celebrity Eclipse-Canaries & Azores, Apr 2015 P&O Britannia - W Med. June 2015 Celebrity Eclipse - Iceland & Fjords. Sept 2015 Celebrity Eclipse - Canaries & Azores. Jan 2016 P&O Ventura - No Fly Caribbean. Jun 2016 Eclipse - Baltic. Aug 2016 - Britannia Fjords, May 2017 - Azura W. Med. Sept 2017 - Navigator OTS Canaries & N Africa.
Feb 2018 Ventura - Caribbean & USA.,


#34
Scotland
263 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
Originally posted by terrierjohn
I disagree with you that the bigger ships lead to less friendly interaction with the wait staff. We have found that on RCI and Celebrity the wait staff are far friendlier than on P&O, and the standard of service is far higher, and all our cruises have been on big ships.
In my view this results from the style of management which on P&O is do as I say whilst on the RCI group the senior staff lead by example and regularly clear tables and help out on busy sections.
Possibly on smaller ships the rigid management style is a bit more relaxed, but this is one of the main differences we notice with P&O on all the ships we have sailed on.
Funny you should say that, we are just back from a month on Azura and the M'aitre D was helping almost every night, he was clearing and re-setting up the tables to help the waiters
#35
United Kingdom
524 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
I also found this survey in my spam folder; it is easy to work out what each question is trying to elicit and where the company might move based on the answers, so it's worth filling in.