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Eglesbrech

Latest survey - question about freedom dining

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Just had the latest survey and it was all the usual questions about price, dress code etc etc most Inhave seen several times before but a new one on me was a question re dining.

 

In the usual loaded P & O way they were asking about fixed sitting v freedom dining. I can't remember the exact wording but I would not be at all surprised if there is less club dining availability in future depending on who answers what. Pure speculation on my part but we all know that theses surveys are used for "customer demand for change"

 

Anyone else had theirs?

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Well there is definitely a far more significant demand for Freedom over Club, but Club is a cheaper option to deliver.

 

Therefore if it is a loaded question it will be to support the retention of Club.

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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.

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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.

 

Surely if it’s freedom dining, then booking a time makes a mockery of it? ;)

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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.

I believe you can book a time now if you wish, but as Goosebear Mum says what's the point, the whole idea of Freedom is surely to turn up when you want. Picking a table and time just restricts the freedom of others, especially if you turn up late.

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Surely if it’s freedom dining, then booking a time makes a mockery of it? ;)

We have often booked a time in freedom dining on Princess because it is the surest way of getting a table for 2 at the time that we prefer to eat. If we are on long day out then we book for a later time than if we are at sea or expect to be back on board early.

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I believe you can book a time now if you wish, but as Goosebear Mum says what's the point, the whole idea of Freedom is surely to turn up when you want. Picking a table and time just restricts the freedom of others, especially if you turn up late.

When freedom dining was first introduced, on Oceana many years ago, you could book a table and a time in advance. I understand that this was discontinued because of diners turning up late or not at all, leaving others on the table and waiting staff to twiddle their thumbs whilst waiting for their arrival.

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We've had ours -- makes me smile that they actually think that we don't know what their agenda is when they set the questions. Like every company they set them in such a way that they get the answers they want and then say that they are making changes as a result of the surveys.

 

Or is it me being cynical??!!!

 

They are really working on the type of dining options and dress code at the moment --------- coming soon ------ changes 'because of the survey results' for both. And, gosh, golly it will be OUR idea. ....

 

They haven't asked about embarkation as they daren't ....

 

Mmmmmmm

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I never seem to get these any more. I think it is because they don't want to hear my views as it won't suit them...

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I usually get these surveys but I haven't received this one. I've never tried freedom dining and don't want to. I do hope they don't get rid of club dining.:(

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When freedom dining was first introduced, on Oceana many years ago, you could book a table and a time in advance. I understand that this was discontinued because of diners turning up late or not at all, leaving others on the table and waiting staff to twiddle their thumbs whilst waiting for their arrival.

 

I understand the main dining room capacities are sufficient to seat all the passengers in 2 sittings. with club dining the times are usually 6.30 and 8.30 giving 2 hours between sittings.

 

If you have bookable 'freedom' what happens if someone wants a 7.30 time? The table can't be used before they sit down as eating dinner can take over 1.5 hours. This means that table may not be available until 9.00 or later.

 

What happens if diners turn up late or not at all?

 

It might work on Princess but that does not mean it would work on P&O. what are the dining preferences of Princess cruisers? Is the buffet heavily used freeing up capacity in the mdr's?

 

for me no booking on freedom dining and no unofficial reserving of tables for 'favoured' customers in the hope of getting a good tip at the end.

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In the main 2018/19 brochure, it says that you can dine in the Freedom Dining venues between 6.00 & 9.30. I suspect however that the most popular times might be 7.00 and 8.00.

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I was on the Oriana in Nov. and by 5.45 pm. there was always about 40 people waiting for the dinning room to open

don't know what it was like later if you turn up and they cant seat you they give you a bleeper to let you know when your table is ready

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I remember being on Oceana where a significant number on "Freedom" seemed to want to dine as soon a sthe restaurant opened. On the first day, I assume some were unsuccessful in getting through by a reasonable time. On subsequent days the queues got earlier and longer day by day.

 

The only way around this as I see it, bearing in mind that if people are permitted to chose time and table size is to increase capacity to 125% or more to prevent disappointment. This can only be done by opening at 5pm and staying open later than currently and putting an increased number of tables in the restaurant.

 

The problem as I see it is that it is more efficient to put two complete full loads of people in the restaurant sequentially.

 

Regards John

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I was on the Oriana in Nov. and by 5.45 pm. there was always about 40 people waiting for the dinning room to open

don't know what it was like later if you turn up and they cant seat you they give you a bleeper to let you know when your table is ready

I can only assume that those queuing are seeking tables for two, we have never had to wait for a sharing table. Similarly I can understand passengers who prefer tables for two wanting to pre-book these, but since we rarely seek a table for two it would be no problem for us if there wasn't one available, we would simply share.

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The problem as I see it is that it is more efficient to put two complete full loads of people in the restaurant sequentially.

 

Regards John

 

It is unless you factor in the fact that people on freedom often take less time at the table that those on club do. Just my opinion but there seems to be longer conversations and more lingering over the coffee on club than in freedom.

 

We have often noticed if we at a table for 2 on freedom that tables around us hoover up their food and are gone in half the time we are so the turnover is quicker.

 

P&O will also have to consider the general customer demand and if more people are requesting one dining type over another regulalry then they will take that into consideration, hence the survey.

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It is unless you factor in the fact that people on freedom often take less time at the table that those on club do. Just my opinion but there seems to be longer conversations and more lingering over the coffee on club than in freedom.

 

We have often noticed if we at a table for 2 on freedom that tables around us hoover up their food and are gone in half the time we are so the turnover is quicker.

 

P&O will also have to consider the general customer demand and if more people are requesting one dining type over another regulalry then they will take that into consideration, hence the survey.

 

I too think turnover is faster in Freedom. We prefer Freedom Dining and to eat early. As we have usually vacated our table by around 7.15, I have always assumed that table could be used 3 times during the evening. Theoretically I would imagine they could deal with a greater number dining in Freedom compared with Club for dining rooms of equivalent size.

 

I'm sure they have a breakdown of numbers which is likely to drive their decision making along with the implications for waiting staff and the galley. Customer preferences may influence them along the line but I don't have much confidence in the surveys. The style of questions often doesn't give scope to really get to the crux of issues then we're not party to the replies/analyses/conclusions so could be fed anything such that, as has been said before, they lead us to believe their decisions are driven by us. However if there is a significant mis-match in what passengers want, I think in the longer term they will make changes - perhaps retain Club but in a smaller, designated area of one dining room? Much will be determined by the practicalities and logistics I imagine.

Edited by kruzseeka

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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!

 

Sent from my SM-T700 using Forums mobile app

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I never seem to get these any more. I think it is because they don't want to hear my views as it won't suit them...

 

 

Might be in your junk mail, that’s where mine usually go to.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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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!

 

Sent from my SM-T700 using Forums mobile app

 

I agree we want to linger over dinner as well

However many passengers want to go to the theatre thus the rush

 

I like on Celebrity when the early show is at 7pm - we tend to go to that if we want to see the show followed up by a drink and dinner. I never want to rush to a show at 10.30

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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.

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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

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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!

 

Sent from my SM-T700 using Forums mobile app

 

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.

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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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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 :cool:

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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

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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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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 :cool:

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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.

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