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bobnsofi

Dining Q, no random group dining still? If so, NOT FOR US

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op the policy for dining is one aspect of NCLs that most people love. You might not be the type who would be happy with NCL> Lunch and breakfast it is pretty easy to share  table, dinner not so much.. You may be asked if you are willing to share but there has to be others also willing and most love the idea of dining only with those they are cruising with of maybe sharing a table with only one or two others. 

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7 hours ago, bobnsofi said:

OK, I called NCL and confirmed that there is no policy of seating small requesting parties together (if they request, and many MANY cruisers do request this, on other lines).

 

 

On other lines many may request to share tables but NCL is different. Lots of people started to cruise on NCL because of their Freestyle dining.

 

I should not cruise on a line were I wasn't guaranteed to be able to eat with just my wife and not with strangers.

 

People are different and that's a good thing but NCL may not be för you. 

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12 hours ago, Shidah said:

I’m the exact opposite.  I cruise only Norwegian because they don’t force you to eat at large tables with strangers.  

 

That is absolutely our reason for cruising NCL.  I don’t mind talking to the world and his dog, but DH only wants to converse with me.  

 

The tables for 2 can be a bit cozy, such that you are almost sharing.  We usually eat 8.45 - 9 pm ish and that (on our previous Epic cruises) has been quieter, we have not been very close.  

 

In the buffet on busy days you may well share for breakfast.  People don’t necessarily feel a need to talk before they have had their coffe..

 

 

Edited by ollienbertsmum

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12 hours ago, C cruise said:

I read where they specifically put solos grouped together - maybe since there are only 2 of you, you could join..

 

I think that this would be prearranged in the Solo lounge, rather than randomly happening at the entrance to the restaurant which I feel would be overwhelmingly awkward, reminiscent of being picked last for the sports team at school!!

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My husband and I have always passed over NCL because of the dining - we are 'traditional' cruisers who love set dining and having the same servers every night (though we always opt for a two-top because we treat our cruises as one long date night!).

I just never wanted to deal with having to decide where to eat, making reservations, etc. for a cruise.

 

That changed when we were researching the family cruise we're planning for December 2020.  We're treating our adult children and their spouses to a cruise over New Year's, and I simply could not ignore the value NCL offers with the inclusion of the drink package, shore excursion credit and internet minutes...AND the $50pp deposit.  We'd planned to book with RCL but the same category of accommodation (ocean facing balcony) would have cost almost $1200 more for the three staterooms and I'd have to fork over at least another $2500 for drinks (a lot more if I got the drink package on RCL).  I'd have to put down $1500 now as opposed to just $300 on NCL.

 

It was an easy choice.  We'll give NCL a try...go with an open mind and the idea we just want our kids to have a great and memorable trip...and see where it takes us.  Who knows, maybe NCL will enter the 'rotation' of our preferred lines.

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10 hours ago, WrittenOnYourHeart said:

 

Ugh. I despise solo dump tables. Just because I am cruising solo does not mean I want to be dumped at a table with other solos.

Dumped?  I find that an odd word choice.  My experience is that solos, couples, and families are equally likely to be interesting or boring or friendly or rude or exhibit any other human quality.   That being said,  as a solo, I would probably be more comfortable at a table of solos than, say, filling in the 6th seat with a family of 5, or being a 5th person at a table with 2 couples.  

 

I picked NCL for my upcoming solo cruise because of the itinerary, but I am pleased to find out that they appear to take a special interest in solo cruisers, especially for dinners.  I may or may not take advantage of it, but I will appreciate the option if it is done on my cruise.  

 

As for the original question, I would agree with those who suggest the OP would be happier on a line with traditional dining, especially since their own dining experiences on NCL have not been to their liking.   Or look at Anytime Dining on Princess - in my experience,  a friend and I were put at bigger table without being asked.  It appeared that unless you requested a table for two, the assumption was that you would be willing to share.  

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37 minutes ago, msmayor said:

My husband and I have always passed over NCL because of the dining - we are 'traditional' cruisers who love set dining and having the same servers every night (though we always opt for a two-top because we treat our cruises as one long date night!).

I just never wanted to deal with having to decide where to eat, making reservations, etc. for a cruise.

 

That changed when we were researching the family cruise we're planning for December 2020.  We're treating our adult children and their spouses to a cruise over New Year's, and I simply could not ignore the value NCL offers with the inclusion of the drink package, shore excursion credit and internet minutes...AND the $50pp deposit.  We'd planned to book with RCL but the same category of accommodation (ocean facing balcony) would have cost almost $1200 more for the three staterooms and I'd have to fork over at least another $2500 for drinks (a lot more if I got the drink package on RCL).  I'd have to put down $1500 now as opposed to just $300 on NCL.

 

It was an easy choice.  We'll give NCL a try...go with an open mind and the idea we just want our kids to have a great and memorable trip...and see where it takes us.  Who knows, maybe NCL will enter the 'rotation' of our preferred lines.

 

If you make reservations online for the same time each night and tell the maitre d you want the same servers,  it becomes just like set times but at your picked time. With a large group you will want to link your reservations and make mdr dining reservations in your cruise planner for everyone online otherwise you may have a wait for a large table. Also being new to NCL, make your specialty dining and show reservations online for your group too. It is better to have specialty dining booked ahead and you can modify it on board if needed. But do it ASAP as you board as everything may book up quickly. Comedy clubs and some other activities can only be booked on board and again should be done ASAP. One person can book this for everyone if they have all the reservation numbers. I think you will like NCL.

 

Mary Ann

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10 hours ago, bobnsofi said:

 

On NCL, by policy, NCL will turn you down.

This is total BS. Absolutely untrue.

 

 I have no idea who you spoke to, but the average NCL telephone customer service rep wouldn't know what NCL policy is if it kicked them in the shins.

 

You also say "it's been several years since we NCL'd"...well I've taken more NCL cruises than I can count in however long that "several years" might be and I'm going to be more blunt than I was in my first reply...your "problem" doesn't exist and is totally contrary to my personal experience.

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26 minutes ago, Joanne G. said:

Dumped?  I find that an odd word choice.  My experience is that solos, couples, and families are equally likely to be interesting or boring or friendly or rude or exhibit any other human quality.   That being said,  as a solo, I would probably be more comfortable at a table of solos than, say, filling in the 6th seat with a family of 5, or being a 5th person at a table with 2 couples.  

 

I picked NCL for my upcoming solo cruise because of the itinerary, but I am pleased to find out that they appear to take a special interest in solo cruisers, especially for dinners.  I may or may not take advantage of it, but I will appreciate the option if it is done on my cruise.  

 

As for the original question, I would agree with those who suggest the OP would be happier on a line with traditional dining, especially since their own dining experiences on NCL have not been to their liking.   Or look at Anytime Dining on Princess - in my experience,  a friend and I were put at bigger table without being asked.  It appeared that unless you requested a table for two, the assumption was that you would be willing to share.  

 

Yes, dumped. There is a difference between solos who willingly meet up and sit together - which is what sounds like is AN option on NCL - and on a line with fixed seating where the solos are dumped together just because they are solos. Happened to me a few cruises ago on Disney. They are GREAT with families and couples in terms of matching similar ages and stuff, but there were three of us who were solo and got dumped together simply for that. It was NOT good. Luckily I was able to change my table after the first night. This past cruise it was better - myself, a mother and adult daughter, and 2 adult friends were seated together - all female - and it was fine even if my preference was for a private table.

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1 hour ago, msmayor said:

My husband and I have always passed over NCL because of the dining - we are 'traditional' cruisers who love set dining and having the same servers every night (though we always opt for a two-top because we treat our cruises as one long date night!).

I just never wanted to deal with having to decide where to eat, making reservations, etc. for a cruise.

 

That changed when we were researching the family cruise we're planning for December 2020.  We're treating our adult children and their spouses to a cruise over New Year's, and I simply could not ignore the value NCL offers with the inclusion of the drink package, shore excursion credit and internet minutes...AND the $50pp deposit.  We'd planned to book with RCL but the same category of accommodation (ocean facing balcony) would have cost almost $1200 more for the three staterooms and I'd have to fork over at least another $2500 for drinks (a lot more if I got the drink package on RCL).  I'd have to put down $1500 now as opposed to just $300 on NCL.

 

It was an easy choice.  We'll give NCL a try...go with an open mind and the idea we just want our kids to have a great and memorable trip...and see where it takes us.  Who knows, maybe NCL will enter the 'rotation' of our preferred lines.

Have fun with NCL Freestyle Cruising. 

 

We cruise on NCL and RCCL a lot (multiple times a year on both lines). Even on RCCL, with the push of specialty dining, traditional dining is slowly dining. You now see waitlists for MyTime dining. The days of gowns and tuxes is slowly coming to an end. The contemporary cruiser wants to be on vacation. And cruise lines are catering to their customers of the future, not the past. Like the dinosaurs, if you don’t evolve with the times, you die. 

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13 minutes ago, WrittenOnYourHeart said:

 

Yes, dumped. There is a difference between solos who willingly meet up and sit together - which is what sounds like is AN option on NCL - and on a line with fixed seating where the solos are dumped together just because they are solos. Happened to me a few cruises ago on Disney. They are GREAT with families and couples in terms of matching similar ages and stuff, but there were three of us who were solo and got dumped together simply for that. It was NOT good. Luckily I was able to change my table after the first night. This past cruise it was better - myself, a mother and adult daughter, and 2 adult friends were seated together - all female - and it was fine even if my preference was for a private table.

 

Thanks for clarifying.    I see the difference between solos choosing to eat together and a cruise line assuming solos want to be together.  

 

The nice thing about NCL or the other cruise lines' versions of "freestyle" dining - if you have less-than pleasant table mates, it's only for one night.  If you have great tablemates, you can make plans to be together again.  

 

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4 hours ago, ollienbertsmum said:

 

That is absolutely our reason for cruising NCL.  I don’t mind talking to the world and his dog, but DH only wants to converse with me.  

 

 

Same for me! I love 💗 people and strangers are just friends I haven’t met yet. My husband on the the other hand is always asking me to stop talking to strangers. He is extremely shy so I make it it a little uncomfortable. 

 

OP, I’m not sure what would we the right cruise line for you but the Gem is a great little ship and a I made tons of friends! If you join the ships roll call you can find other like minded people. 

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3 hours ago, UFMOM said:

 

If you make reservations online for the same time each night and tell the maitre d you want the same servers,  it becomes just like set times but at your picked time. With a large group you will want to link your reservations and make mdr dining reservations in your cruise planner for everyone online otherwise you may have a wait for a large table. Also being new to NCL, make your specialty dining and show reservations online for your group too. It is better to have specialty dining booked ahead and you can modify it on board if needed. But do it ASAP as you board as everything may book up quickly. Comedy clubs and some other activities can only be booked on board and again should be done ASAP. One person can book this for everyone if they have all the reservation numbers. I think you will like NCL.

 

Mary Ann

 

Thanks for the information Mary Ann - appreciate it.  

 

My hope is to plan two, maybe three set-group dinners with the kids and then basically give them the freedom to do what they want.  We'll still join them if they don't mind, but I want them to have the freedom to do what they want, when they want.  Husband and I will move out of our comfort zone and 'wing it'!

 

Good to know about the reservations for the comedy shows.  We'll definitely want to get to at least one of those, so I'll be sure to have my details together and get that done ASAP.

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3 hours ago, BirdTravels said:

Have fun with NCL Freestyle Cruising. 

 

We cruise on NCL and RCCL a lot (multiple times a year on both lines). Even on RCCL, with the push of specialty dining, traditional dining is slowly dining. You now see waitlists for MyTime dining. The days of gowns and tuxes is slowly coming to an end. The contemporary cruiser wants to be on vacation. And cruise lines are catering to their customers of the future, not the past. Like the dinosaurs, if you don’t evolve with the times, you die. 

 

RCCL and Holland are the lines my husband and I prefer...both have the My Time dining option but we still opt for 8pm standard.  It's nice that the lines still have this option.  While I'm sure many like the idea that they can come and go as they please, have our set time means we stride right into the dining room at our time without waiting in line.  If that makes me a dinosaur, then call me T-Rex.  🙂

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3 hours ago, Joanne G. said:

As a solo, I would probably be more comfortable at a table of solos than, say, filling in the 6th seat with a family of 5, or being a 5th person at a table with 2 couples.  

 

 

Evan a a generally friendly person I think either of those two scenarios would be socially awkward for the whole meal.  If you join in the conversation you are interrupting a family meal.  If you don’t you are eavesdropping.  I can sustain that over a drink at a bar - but not for an hour or so.  

 

Maybe it was accepted 30 years ago but for me it breaks a few social roles of the 21st century.  

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I like meeting new people at the atrium bar, at the pool,etc. I do not like

sitting with random strangers to eat. If someone starts talking politics

or religion or exhibiting poor table manners it is easier to get up

and move if sitting at a bar, not so much in the main dining room

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, msmayor said:

 

RCCL and Holland are the lines my husband and I prefer...both have the My Time dining option but we still opt for 8pm standard.  It's nice that the lines still have this option.  While I'm sure many like the idea that they can come and go as they please, have our set time means we stride right into the dining room at our time without waiting in line.  If that makes me a dinosaur, then call me T-Rex.  🙂

 

We usually eat at around 9 pm and in the same dining room.  When on the Epic ( 3 recent cruises) we made reservations for the speciality restaurant, but for the MDR there were no reservations.  There may be a 15 minute  wait so we would ask for our table and then wait in the bar.  The first year I think we cannot have had a drinks package.  It was summer and the wait was longer (too hot to think about dinner before 8.30pm.  They used to offer glasses of Prosecco if you had to wait more than a specific time (I think it was 15 minutes).  We used to hope for a queue in order to get a complimentary pre meal drink!!!   

 

So you can still go to the same dining room, you can eat at the same time.  Not a dinosaur - it is human to have a need for routine, but if you get distracted  and think you might be 20 minutes later than planned you don’t have to feel stress for keeping your table mates waiting.  

 

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RCCL and Holland are the lines my husband and I prefer...both have the My Time dining option but we still opt for 8pm standard.  It's nice that the lines still have this option.  While I'm sure many like the idea that they can come and go as they please, have our set time means we stride right into the dining room at our time without waiting in line.  If that makes me a dinosaur, then call me T-Rex. 
If you don't go at peak times there's rarely a wait. Usually my only "wait" is waiting for the seater to walk back after seating the group before. If you are trying to eat with more than say 6 sometimes there's a small wait as they get tables together if you don't have a reservation. And if there is a wait on the away ships two MDR are right next to each other so I just go ask the other or ask/call the one on the other floor what their wait is.

Plus there's a bar between taste and savor, so if there is a short wait you just get a drink! Which is usually smart anyways because it takes a while for drinks to get to your table sometimes just like Royal.

I've never done this, but heard if you go back to the same MDR you can request the same server.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

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When we go to dinner at peak times, we tell the hostess that we are very willing to share.  They are usually grateful because the MDR is so crowded.

 

However, I have noticed that in recent years, nobody else shows up to share with us, and we end up eating by ourselves.  I can't believe that "no sharing" is a policy,  but clearly there are fewer and fewer people who are asking for it, so it's not working so well anymore.

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When I eat out at home (which is at least 6 times a week) I don't ask to be seated with strangers, so why would I want to sit with strangers on a cruise?

Truth be told, I could sit with anyone for one meal, but I would never want to be committed to sitting with a group of strangers during the entire duration of a cruise.

I find the tables close enough, MDR and buffet, so that if you see someone you want to talk to you...you can.  But, you don't "have to".  We met another couple the last time we were in Cagney's.

DH is hard of hearing and English is his third language.  "Forced conversation" is unpleasant for him.

If if anyone at my table started with politics....I'd just walk out.  I am also not a complainer....if I had to hear stuff like "the steward didn't leave a mint" or "the food isn't zagat quality"....I'd just walk out.

I meet people in many venues on a ship....the MDR isn't one of them.

And this is why NCL is good for us.  We have an upcoming cruise on MSC, where tradition is the policy. Maybe we'll get experimental and see who they put us with!

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Freestyle dining is different than what other lines have for dining.  For some, like us, we prefer the freedom of going when and where.  In the op case sounds like NCL may not be agreeable to what you want.  Both are fine, just personal preference.

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1 hour ago, crayola1932 said:

However, I have noticed that in recent years, nobody else shows up to share with us, and we end up eating by ourselves.  I can't believe that "no sharing" is a policy,  but clearly there are fewer and fewer people who are asking for it, so it's not working so well anymore.

 

I agree with you -- I don't think "no sharing" is a policy.  But I do think, as you said, that fewer and fewer people want to eat meals with strangers.  

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OP- why not try to find some folks on your roll call that like to share a table, or attend the m&g and if you find others that seem friendly ask what their preference is when it comes to dining, you might just end up with a table full of like minded people, at least about sharing a table that is.😉

My DH and I have always requested a table for two, I do remember sharing years ago on HAL, some table mates were great and some not so great. 

On MSC we requested a table for two and were given the same table for two every night so that worked out for us.

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I discounted the notion of cruising for years as the thought of dining at the same time each night with the same group of strangers is my idea of hell. 

 

NCL is perfect for me, I eat when and where I want with just my friend to blether to. 

 

I agree with with the poster who said it is much easier to remove yourself from a uncomfortable situation at a bar or the pool than it is at dinner. 

 

We we have chatted to many, many lovely people on our cruises but twice were glad to excuse ourselves when we were uncomfortable. 

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52 minutes ago, amelia3171 said:

I agree with with the poster who said it is much easier to remove yourself from a uncomfortable situation at a bar or the pool than it is at dinner. 

 

Slightly off topic, but this happened to us... we were asked to share a six-top with two other couples several times during our last cruise.  On one occasion, one guy started to veer into politics, and the eye-rolling got rather comedic :-)  Shortly after that, he shut up so abruptly that I'm sure his wife had kicked him under the table.  

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