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Dining experience.


Pendle Witch
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We did a river cruise with Emerald last year and found the whole evening dining experience a very noisy bun fight type of situation. It was difficult to hear what people were saying, and a lot of people were shouting because of this. There was only one sitting, which made it very crowded.We are thinking of going with Viking but really don't want the same experience, can anyone enlighten us on this.

Thankyou

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I think most cruise experiences are the same since the cruise lines only have one seating at dinner time. With that being said, I think the congestion eases after the first couple nights as most people tend to sit in the same place with the same waiter. On our 3 Viking trips, there was always a mad dash to get to a table after the evening lecture, especially for people with more than 2 in their group so they can sit together. But, like I said, as the week went on, everyone usually sat at the same table as previous nights.

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Thank you for the quick response.

It sounds very much like the experience we had, it was like a bun fight for the first few days with people hanging around the restaurant doors to dash in and bag a table, then there was the noise, with the ceilings being so low making it worse.

I think you have made our minds up and sadly that will be our one and only experience of river cruising.

Thankyou again for your response.

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Not all river cruises are characterized by a mad rush for dinner. If that is your only issue with river cruises, I think it's eminently fixable.

 

On Uniworld you can come as you please. We often waited until 8:00 to have dinner and thus avoided the stampede. It was much more pleasant to hang out in the (nearly empty) bar with a glass of wine while everybody else ran to dinner. Then we'd come in at our leisure, and enjoy. As a bonus, the pace of service was often faster because we were later.

 

I think that Caviargal has mentioned that AMA is the same with regard to dinner times. She, or somebody else familiar with AMA, can correct me if I'm wrong. I am not familiar with the dining policies of any other lines, but this topic has been brought up on other discussions so if you do a search you may find other information.

 

All that said, river boats are designed similarly, so having one large DR with a low ceiling is the norm. There is not much design flexibility in a river boat due to size constraints. Some may use soundproofing materials more effectively than others. Honestly, I did not ever find this to be a problem on Uniworld but others may.

 

Lastly, some cruise lines offer alternative dining arrangements in small more private venues. You could look into those options as well.

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I agree with jpalbny re: Uniworld dining room experience. I’ve been on 4 Uniworld cruises and never found the dining room overly noisy—and we prefer to dine earlier participating in the mad dash to the dining room after the evening cruise director’s daily talk.

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I agree with JP and Kathie about Uniworld's flexible dining time. It was wonderful being able to relax after the port talk, go up on deck and go through the locks with a cocktail, and watch the crew work. Then, at our leisure, meander down to the dining room, seat ourselves, and enjoy dinner. The waiters were a little more relaxed, as the bulk of their work had been done with the mad rush.

 

On our Italy cruise, we spent most nights dining al fresco, on the top deck. The weather was too perfect to be inside.

 

Robin

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We did the Viking grand Europe, Budapest to Amsterdam, in Oct. 2015. Did not have a problem with a mad rush for seats. BUT did have a major problem with the noise level, especially after the wine took affect and people were shouting at tables of 6 or 8 (the normal seating configuration) to hear each other. 190 people with low metal ceilings, no dividers in the entire restaurant, no sound proofing.

Doing Uniworld this May, Grand France, fewer passengers, more sound proofing and relaxed seating procedures.

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I think most cruise experiences are the same since the cruise lines only have one seating at dinner time. With that being said, I think the congestion eases after the first couple nights as most people tend to sit in the same place with the same waiter. On our 3 Viking trips, there was always a mad dash to get to a table after the evening lecture, especially for people with more than 2 in their group so they can sit together. But, like I said, as the week went on, everyone usually sat at the same table as previous nights.

 

Let me second that in my several cruises the Viking dinner experience is a mad rush of geezers stampeding downstairs to the restaurant. If this concerns you, consider a different river cruise line such as Uniworld, etc.

Never found the restaurant too noisy to hear table conversation and get a kick out of the geezer stampede. We also ate dinner quietly and peacefully on Viking's Aquavit Terrace.

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We have been on 4 Viking cruises, with our 5th booked for April. We have not had any problems with dinner, ever. We choose where we like to sit with a nice wait person, and have never found any problems with noise, no "bun fights" and we have always met interesting people and had interesting conversations. The "geezer rush" doesn't bother us at all.....just relax and enjoy the experience.

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this is why I enjoy these boards...

experienced the rush on our AMA sailing this holiday - like the idea of casual walk to the dining room at our choice of time on uniworld. What time does the dining room typically open and how flexible are they at arrival time - meaning between opening time and... (of course within reason of course)

 

Bob

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We also ate dinner quietly and peacefully on Viking's Aquavit Terrace.

 

We dined here about 10 out of 14 nights on our Viking cruise, and 12 out of 14 nights in the similar Vantage second dining room.

 

Both quieter, more personal service as the same 2 waiters were there every night. If you wanted to eat quickly, you could, and walk the top deck when no one else was around.

 

For me, the MDR's have too many people with too low a ceiling, not enough sound reflecting material (all the glass windows bounce the sound back, absorbing none). combined with wine making people talk louder and LOUDER....it's just too noisy for me. And my wife is kind enough to indulge my preference, for the most part.

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this is why I enjoy these boards...

experienced the rush on our AMA sailing this holiday - like the idea of casual walk to the dining room at our choice of time on uniworld. What time does the dining room typically open and how flexible are they at arrival time - meaning between opening time and... (of course within reason of course)

 

Bob

We showed up an hour after starting time (at 8PM) without any problems. Never tried pushing it much beyond that.

 

Sent from my SM-G930T using Forums mobile app

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this is why I enjoy these boards...

experienced the rush on our AMA sailing this holiday - like the idea of casual walk to the dining room at our choice of time on uniworld. What time does the dining room typically open and how flexible are they at arrival time - meaning between opening time and... (of course within reason of course)

 

Bob

We showed up at 8:30, no problem....

 

Robin

 

Sent from my SM-N950U using Forums mobile app

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Yes, it is open at dinner. We were on Viking 3 years back, and there was only a limited menu. More recent reviews have some people able to order the same meal that is being served in the MDR.

 

On Vantage, the morning omelette guy was manning a grill just outside the seating area. We're not foodies, and BBQ isn't fancy...but that guy knew what he was doing, and it was delicious.

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Thankyou all for your responses, I will definitely look into AMA.

On Viking I was of the understanding the acquivit terrace was only used for lunch dining, is it also used for evening dinner?

Pendle, just for clarification, JP and I were referencing Uniworld's open dining time policy. I've not sailed on AMA.

 

Robin

 

Sent from my SM-N950U using Forums mobile app

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Given the general age demographic on a river cruise, is a stampede possible?

 

More a trot?

 

I've only been on 2 river cruises. However, I found most of the passengers to be quite active and fit, so a stampede of sorts would be possible. I'm 65 myself and hardly slow moving. I can run circles around a lot of the young people I work with who are plagued by morbid obesity, diabetes, asthma and arthritis.

 

Roz

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I've only been on 2 river cruises. However, I found most of the passengers to be quite active and fit, so a stampede of sorts would be possible. I'm 65 myself and hardly slow moving. I can run circles around a lot of the young people I work with who are plagued by morbid obesity, diabetes, asthma and arthritis.

 

Roz

 

My post was 'tongue in cheek'.

 

Even though frequently one reads criticism of the slow pace of participants in walking tours.

 

I had this mental image of them attempting to stampede.:)

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(Tongue in cheek) Isn’t it the sheer numbers constitute a stampede regardless of the speed.

I have heard this comment about dining on several different cruise lines although never having observed it myself but I do now a friend who had a problem to the extent of having her hearing tested on her return home she was diegnosed with a hearing problem. Her subsequent river cruises have been problem free. CA

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(Tongue in cheek) Isn’t it the sheer numbers constitute a stampede regardless of the speed.

I have heard this comment about dining on several different cruise lines although never having observed it myself but I do now a friend who had a problem to the extent of having her hearing tested on her return home she was diegnosed with a hearing problem. Her subsequent river cruises have been problem free. CA

 

In a stampede, there is an element of sudden mass panic.

 

Perhaps the dining room doors will remain locked?:)

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