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JerryInIL

Avalon Flexible Dining

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What is Avalon’s flexible dining?  Do they have 2 seatings or a separate dining room with a different time?  

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At breakfast and lunch meals are come and go during specific times so you can eat in the dining room at any point during the posted hours. At dinner you may eat in the dining room at a set time or in the bistro at different times during the posted dinner hours. The bistro is a lighter menu (it is also open for lighter breakfast and lunch). But it is a good option if you want a change of pace 

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I think 2019 is the first year for Avalon’s flexible dining. I would be interested to hear from 2019 cruisers how this works.

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I would think most would do the main dining room if it has the better food.  I have another question; what is the seating in the main dining room, tables for 2,4,6 or 8?  We wouldn’t be going with a group, so just seat ourselves?

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We're going in a few weeks, so I'll report back if nobody else has.  Last year on Impression they had the Bistro dining up in the forward lounge, but it didn't start until after the lounge was cleared at 7:00 for everyone to go to the dining room.  They brought the food out around 7:30, and it was very limited.  By the time you looked at it and decided if it was enough/okay, dinner was in full swing in the dining room, and showing up would probably been a bit of an imposition for the staff.

 

I hope the flex dining includes something earlier for those of us who are happy to skip the 6-7:00 happy hour.  I like to eat early and have some down time in my cabin after dinner.  That's the only thing I don't love about river cruising - a 2 1/2 hour dinner starting at 7:00.  That doesn't bother me so much on big ships for some reason, but on river cruises I'm often tired in the evening and just want to eat and get it over with.  Sometimes you just want a quick buffet, ya know?  

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, JerryInIL said:

I would think most would do the main dining room if it has the better food.  I have another question; what is the seating in the main dining room, tables for 2,4,6 or 8?  We wouldn’t be going with a group, so just seat ourselves?

 

Yes, you'll just seat yourself.  There are tables of all sizes, but it seems like I remember mostly tables for either two, six, or eight?  There was one big table that a larger group (if you have one) will commandeer immediately, maybe a 10 top.  The tables for two are mostly a long bench down one side, with tables for two spaced about 18" apart and a chair opposite.  The tables for six are (I think) four tops with an attached two-top that can be separated: 

DSC05944.jpeg

Edited by amyr

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48 minutes ago, amyr said:

We're going in a few weeks, so I'll report back if nobody else has.  Last year on Impression they had the Bistro dining up in the forward lounge, but it didn't start until after the lounge was cleared at 7:00 for everyone to go to the dining room.  They brought the food out around 7:30, and it was very limited.  By the time you looked at it and decided if it was enough/okay, dinner was in full swing in the dining room, and showing up would probably been a bit of an imposition for the staff.

 

I hope the flex dining includes something earlier for those of us who are happy to skip the 6-7:00 happy hour.  I like to eat early and have some down time in my cabin after dinner.  That's the only thing I don't love about river cruising - a 2 1/2 hour dinner starting at 7:00.  That doesn't bother me so much on big ships for some reason, but on river cruises I'm often tired in the evening and just want to eat and get it over with.  Sometimes you just want a quick buffet, ya know?  

 

The galleys on river ships are very small, so they can’t be as flexible as land restaurants or ocean ships. You don’t like to dine as late as 7; we don’t line to dine that early — but we both have to cope 😉

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Do the other river cruise lines (ama waterways, Viking, Crystal, etc) also offer 2 and 4 tops?  Our only river cruise has been on Uniworld and I believe it was mostly 6 and 8 tops.  We just prefer the smaller tables as it is sometimes hard to hear at large tables.

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29 minutes ago, JerryInIL said:

Do the other river cruise lines (ama waterways, Viking, Crystal, etc) also offer 2 and 4 tops?  Our only river cruise has been on Uniworld and I believe it was mostly 6 and 8 tops.  We just prefer the smaller tables as it is sometimes hard to hear at large tables.

My Uniworld experience (albeit in 2010 and 2011 on the older ships) there were plenty of 4 tops, but only a few 2 tops. I don't remember any 8s except the Captain's table; most tables were 4 or 6.

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Amyr-I would be interested in a report on what is “flexible “ this year. Like can you go to the dining room for dinner anytime during certain times. Also what the menu is like in the bistro. Have a great cruise 

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18 hours ago, mj_holiday said:

Amyr-I would be interested in a report on what is “flexible “ this year. Like can you go to the dining room for dinner anytime during certain times. Also what the menu is like in the bistro. Have a great cruise 

I'll let you know.  I'm really curious to see whether flex dining is expanded dining room hours or an enhanced Bistro menu in the lounge or something else altogether, and how well it works.  Maybe some of the Tulips and Windmills folks who are out now will reports back too.

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We leave in 2 weeks so I will post if anything has really changed. 

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Posted (edited)

Thought you might like to see a few of the meals from the Illumination last May. I can honestly say that everything I tried was delicious, and I never once ordered off the menu for one of the also avaiables (steak, chicken, salad).

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Edited by MagnoliaNC
Pictures didnt attach

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On 4/14/2019 at 5:51 PM, JerryInIL said:

I would think most would do the main dining room if it has the better food.  I have another question; what is the seating in the main dining room, tables for 2,4,6 or 8?  We wouldn’t be going with a group, so just seat ourselves?

The main dining room has two tops up to 8 tops.  It’s part of the experience to get to know others.  We’ve done three Avalon’s in the past four years. We usually befriend other couples after a day or two and enjoying having dinner with the same ones each night, though we go our own ways during the day.  Don’t be afraid to meet others.  It will enrich your experience. 

The “Bistro” service in the main lounge lounge is exactly the same food as the dining room, though perhaps the portions are a wee bit smaller.  It’s quieter and more intimate. My bride and I enjoy the Bistro on two or three nights during each cruise. 

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We had 10 in our group and if we got to the dining room soon after it opened(usually opened at 7) we could all get 2 tops and push them together if we wanted to do so. The bistro dining in the lounge was the same meals but in container and not plated. We only did that once. 

We just got back from Legendary Danube last night. You can also order beef tenderloin if you don't like the menu offerings. Make sure you check out the bottom of the menu for other options. Also at breakfast you can order eggs benedict  or  Belgian waffles.

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Just now, crimson lady said:

We had 10 in our group and if we got to the dining room soon after it opened(usually opened at 7) we could all get 2 tops and push them together if we wanted to do so. The bistro dining in the lounge was the same meals but in container and not plated. We only did that once. 

We just got back from Legendary Danube last night. You can also order beef tenderloin if you don't like the menu offerings. Make sure you check out the bottom of the menu for other options. Also at breakfast you can order eggs benedict  or  Belgian waffles.

Ah, so the bistro dining is the same as last year, just some of the regular menu in odd little containers put out around 7:30?  The time I was up there it didn't seem like the whole menu, just a few choices.  Are they calling the bistro dining 'flexible dining' now, or is that something else altogether?  Two names for the same thing?  

 

It's nice they have that tenderloin along with (I think) one or two other 'always available' options.  My sister ordered it one night when nothing else appealed, and she said it was really good: 

 

 

Screen Shot 2019-05-08 at 12.49.48 PM.png

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I was at an Avalon presentation last night. When he talked about flexible dining he said arrive any time between 7 and 8:30  

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Two names for the same thing.   Portions were a little smaller also. The lounge had smaller tables and we had rather eat downstairs.   The tenderloin was delish. Charred on the outside and nice and juicy inside.

Since we had 10 people and wanted to sit together we usually ate at 7-7:15 so we could get table together. After 7:30 it's hard to do that but if it's only 2-4 people there's not a problem.

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Could someone take and post a picture of the bistro menu, just a sample will help.  Thanks again of time.

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Unless you're on the boat there's no way to get a menu. The Bistro area doesn't have a menu, Food is just put out on a counter for you to pick up and take to your  seat.

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@mj_holiday, you don't say which river you will be sailing on.  I have the menu's from last years Rhine cruise.  I can try to scan some if you wish, but they try to make the menu's for the areas you sail in, so the food may be different.  Could give you an idea though.

 

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I am in research mode, looking at Eastern Europe. We have done one river cruise and everything was great except dinner logistics.   I want an option to get something lite from a casual place. A look at a bistro menu and times the menu is available (from any european cruise) will give me an understanding of what is available. 

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Posted (edited)

Sorry, we always ate in the main dining room...met up with our "breakfast couple" (we toured on different tours) and chatted about our day.  I have the lunch & dinner menus, but not for the bistro.  As far as I can recall, the bistro was open for the same hours as the dining room but opened 15 minutes later.

  

 

Edited by Daisi

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On 4/14/2019 at 4:39 PM, Reesaroo said:

I think 2019 is the first year for Avalon’s flexible dining. I would be interested to hear from 2019 cruisers how this works.

We've done three Avalons now over the past five years.  On the last two, 2016 and 2018, the flexible dining was offered, meaning the lighter meals in the lounge at lunch and dinner.  For dinner, it is basically the same offerings as in the main dining room but the items are served ala carte.  You just choose what you want from the individual dishes. 

I don't think we've ever eaten lunch in the main dining room as we don't care for heavy lunches.  The bistro lunch in the lounge is usually a choice of salads, sandwiches, and soups.  Perfect for us. 

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Posted (edited)

I promised to take some pictures of the bistro and come back here when we were done.  I'm just now sorting through it all because we drove through Romania for 3+ weeks after the cruise.  


They put out at least three entrees off the main dining room menu, but none of the 'always available' things like the steak filet.  They choose entrees that

lend themselves to being kept warm in individual glass bowls with lids.  They will have two appetizers, a soup, one or two salads, three entrees, two desserts, and cheese, crackers, and bread.  We ate there the night of Hungarian dinner, and I was really pleased because we could choose two different entrees and take them to our table if that's what we wanted.  

 

The presentation doesn't look as appetizing as it actually is.  We were exhausted and delighted to be able to sit down, eat, and be done in 30 minutes.  The regular dinner takes from 7:00 to about 9:00.

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I realized after I got home that I didn't actually take pictures of the whole table, just about 1/3 of it.  There's plenty of food.

 

Edited by amyr

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