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Dining questions from newbie, Zandam

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Posted (edited)

I am a newbie planning a solo Zandam cruise short notice as another cruise line cancelled my cruise.  Prior two HAL cruises were with groups years ago and I know there are a lot of changes.

Will be in a Vista cabin.


I cannot find how to search a forum for threads on a specific topic ( just found the general CC search option: so pardon my primitive questions):


1.  Is there a place on board for a nice table service lunch with tablecloths, rather than a busy buffet?


Is MDR open for lunch on all ships, and can you get any real entrees, rather than just sandwiches and burgers? Or is MDR just open on sea days?


2.   How does open seating work at dinner for solos now in MDR? Can you have your own table, or are you required to join others to save space, even if you are willing to wait? I usually like socializing on cruises, but sometimes am not in the mood if I feel off,  and may want to try and eat solo.

Same question for the specialty venues.


3.  Are there charges for minibar contents like diet coke and sparkling water? What about tap water, tea, or coffee in the restaurant, is there a charge? 

I am used to cruising on ships that are mostly inclusive, so have to get used to a few new things!


Thank you in advance!

Edited by Catlover54

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1. I have read (on CC) that the MDR is only open for lunch on sea-days, although I've read that sometimes there is lunch on embarcation day, so your mileage may vary. We have never eaten lunch there as the "busy" buffet suits us for the many choices, namely pasta prepared to order for me!


2. We always have open seating when it is just us two (or three). But it is our pleasure to see the great relief in the Md's face when we say "Seat us wherever is easiest for you." Almost always shared. But you may quote me when I say, you will not be REQUIRED to join others; however as with a couple wanting a "table for two" (in your case, for one) there will probably be a wait. As far as up-charge restaurants, since you will have a reservation, I would expect that a table for two, occupied by one, will be provided for you! Sharing with strangers would not be the rule at specialty restaurants.


3. Contents of mini-bar are charged to your account. We always have the steward empty the fridge to avoid mistaken charges AND to free up space for the spare beer or water from the BOGO at happy hour! Ship's water, coffee, tea (hot or iced) are free in restaurant, additionally lemonade and I believe a punch-like drink in the Lido, possibly in the restaurant I never asked for them.


Have sailed on the Zaandam twice (South American and Alaska), and we really liked her and her wonderful staff! Enjoy!

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The majority of the time the dining room is open for lunch on Embarkation day.  There are some sea days when the dining room will be closed like when there is the Mariner's brunch.


If you want a specialty coffee like latte or a capiccino in the dining room, then there is a charge.


In the specialty restaurants, you will definitely not be seated with anyone else.

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Dining Room lunch hours are quite limited, usually noon to 1pm.  However, you can come in close to 1 pm and be seated.  I have never had to wait more than 2 or 3 minutes for a table for 2 at lunch.  It's quite pleasant.

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On sea days, the Pinnacle Grill serves a nice lunch.  Last summer, it was $10 per person.  I believe it was only open for an hour or so, so if you are interested, be sure to book early.


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