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Solo cruiser dining room seating options


SummersOff4Me
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I will be going on my first solo cruise on the Bliss.  I enjoy meeting new people and dining at at large table.  In my experience on other lines,  you could ask the dining room check in staff to be seated at a table with others for dinner.  Is this option available on Norwegian in the complimentary dining rooms?

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I've heard people on here say that they ask for a shared table. Also mentioned that there's not always a shared table when they want to go. The best way to not eat dinner alone is to either 1) go to the solo meetups and go to the host arrange dinner (usually at 530) or 2) ask the people that you've talked with earlier in the day if they want to eat dinner together.

 

I can't tell you any success rate on asking about the shared table because I always forget to ask. Though, after going on a large group cruise and getting stuck at shared tables for meals with people I did not want to eat a whole meal with I'm rather shy about asking for a shared table. At least with the solo dinner I can see who is leaving to go to the dinner and make the decision then. 

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3 minutes ago, smplybcause said:

I've heard people on here say that they ask for a shared table. Also mentioned that there's not always a shared table when they want to go. The best way to not eat dinner alone is to either 1) go to the solo meetups and go to the host arrange dinner (usually at 530) or 2) ask the people that you've talked with earlier in the day if they want to eat dinner together.

 

This is my experience as well.

 

You are more likely to get a shared table on request at breakfast. When I requested one on the Epic (another large ship), they would usually seat me at a table for four or six and then bring a others within a few minutes. They will not add people once orders have been placed, because there is a general goal of keeping diners at a table in synch.

 

Last year on the Gem (smaller than Bliss or Epic) there were never enough tables for two at breakfast in the MDR that they were using, and all parties of one or two were asked to share tables for six. This would vary according to the passenger composition of the ship - when school is in session there are very few family groups.

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The Bliss has the Studio Lounge for solos which means that the Solo coordinator should be arranging a dinner time every night for the solo travelers.  Of course it's always possible to eat by yourself or make your own arrangements, but having just come off a cruise, I really enjoyed eating with the other solos.  Even some people who had balcony cabins etc. but were singles or solos joined us. 

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I just did my first cruise in a solo cabin a couple of months ago. The first night, I hung out in the Lounge when the bar opened & there were quite a few others lounging about. Our solo “host” took a group of us to dinner. That’s how I made friends with other solo cruisers & we ended up meeting in the Lounge every night and making dinner + evening plans!

 

Prior to my cruise I’d seen people comment that the Lounge was pretty empty but there was always a decent group around dinnertime. Maybe I lucked out but would encourage you to meet some of the other solo cruisers for dinner!

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When I don't feel like reading on my Kindle during a meal, I always ask for a sharing table.  My success rate is perhaps 75 percent.  I have found that just about every fellow diner has something interesting to contribute; sometimes you have to ask leading questions to dig it out of them. 

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OP,  most definitely participate & go to the Roll Call's Meet and Greet/Mingle - Charlie is very good (we sailed together this January on the Escape on the same basic itinerary) in organizing & running things, it's a big group and we know of others active/helpful in the Roll Call - they will do what they can to help the solo cruisers, in addition to making use of the onboard NCL solo liaision, etc. - tips posted already (as above).

 

As always, be mindful & guard your personal and privacy info onboard.  Enjoy your cruise !

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17 minutes ago, SummersOff4Me said:

Thanks so much for the dining information.  I am not staying in a solo cabin, but I will definitely try to find the solo host to check into dining with a group of others. If the dining time for that group is usually an early one, that would be great!

Your key card won't work for the studio lounge but there's always people in there usually from 5-7 PM when the bar tender is there (at least he was on the Epic).  Solo meet ups each evening were usually in the 530-545 range with dinner at 6 in one of the main dining rooms.   YMMV though as this is based off of my experience on the Epic.

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14 minutes ago, anaslile said:

Your key card won't work for the studio lounge but there's always people in there usually from 5-7 PM when the bar tender is there (at least he was on the Epic).  Solo meet ups each evening were usually in the 530-545 range with dinner at 6 in one of the main dining rooms.   YMMV though as this is based off of my experience on the Epic.


That was the same on my cruise on the Epic. Any solo cruiser can come to the Lounge even if you’re staying in a different cabin. But someone else would need to let you in since your keycard won’t have access.

Edited by ammorgan86
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16 minutes ago, anaslile said:

Your key card won't work for the studio lounge but there's always people in there usually from 5-7 PM when the bar tender is there (at least he was on the Epic).  Solo meet ups each evening were usually in the 530-545 range with dinner at 6 in one of the main dining rooms.   YMMV though as this is based off of my experience on the Epic.

 

Bliss doesn't have a bar in the lounge. Only Epic, Breakaway, and Getaway do.

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1 hour ago, SummersOff4Me said:

I will be going on my first solo cruise on the Bliss.  I enjoy meeting new people and dining at at large table.  In my experience on other lines,  you could ask the dining room check in staff to be seated at a table with others for dinner.  Is this option available on Norwegian in the complimentary dining rooms?

I've found that as a solo cruiser, it's up to you to let the Maitre'd know your preference unless you've made it a point of joining the solo group.  I've done 5 solo cruises now and have found the solo hosts to be wonderful alies when seeking out dining companions. 

 

Make it a point to go to the gatherings and you'll never dine alone again. (I think there's part of a song in there somewhere).  Keep in mind though, that not all hosts are created equal and some will flat out refuse to make dining reservations for the group.  Be prepared, as I was, to go and make the reservations for your group yourself.  I only mention this since I've had to do it twice.   I'm always prepared to do it now. 

 

Hope you enjoy your solo cruise! 🙂

 

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11 hours ago, SummersOff4Me said:

I am not staying in a solo cabin, but I will definitely try to find the solo hos

Attend the first meet on embarkation day, usually around 5:00 at Sugarcane (I've been on the Bliss twice and it was the same both times).  The solo host will meet the group there, then escort the group to the Studio lounge and show you which door to the studio section will be propped open around 5 for the meet-ups the rest of the trip (port side deck 11 is the door right by the lounge entrance so this is the one they prop open).  The solo host generally has a reservation for 5:30 or 6 PM for the group in one of the MDRs.

 

You could also end up with what happened to me on my first trip - someone with a large table reserved in a specialty restaurant is looking to fill out  their reservation and offers for others to come along, if they haven't booked all of their SDP credits yet.  I ended up eating with that group 3 nights on a 6 night cruise.

 

The point of which door is open for the meet was a HUGE point of contention on my last trip - several of the solo people in balcony cabins on deck 11 but on the starboard side near the Studio entrance on that side were upset that THAT door wasn't open to them and they had to walk all the way around to get to the propped door.

 

As noted - the Bliss doesn't have a bar, but on my trip in October there were several nights a bartender was there and got people drinks upon request.

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11 hours ago, SummersOff4Me said:

Thanks so much for the dining information.  I am not staying in a solo cabin, but I will definitely try to find the solo host to check into dining with a group of others. If the dining time for that group is usually an early one, that would be great!

There will be solo traveler meet up listed in the Daily, go to that and enjoy dinner with that group. Eventually you may find a few solos that you click with and can dine as a group, for dinner or other meals.

 

Personally I don't think it's on the dining staff to match me for meals and I sail solo about once per year, usually on a Christmas curise. It's easy to eat solo in the buffet and invariably I end up in conversation with someone while there. Eating in the Local is likely to remain solo as people are more engaged with their table mates. I have matched up other solos or other buds on the cruise for dinners for all my dinners except the first night when I decided to eat light and late in the buffet. I think I made it to the solo cruiser event for the first time on Day 2.

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13 hours ago, SummersOff4Me said:

I will be going on my first solo cruise on the Bliss.  I enjoy meeting new people and dining at at large table.  In my experience on other lines,  you could ask the dining room check in staff to be seated at a table with others for dinner.  Is this option available on Norwegian in the complimentary dining rooms?

I was on the Bliss in May. JoJo was the solo coordinator. Honestly, he was the best ever! Just check the daily paper for the solo meeting and go. We met in the studio lounge every day at the same time and JoJo set up dinner at whatever restaurant the group wanted. I went to dinner with the group a couple of times and also to specialty dining with one other solo. If you do meet up with JoJo say hi from Nancy - May Alaska cruise - and thanks for the keychain for answering nothing right during his trivia thing 🙂

Edited by NRWPA
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1 hour ago, hallux said:

 

The point of which door is open for the meet was a HUGE point of contention on my last trip - several of the solo people in balcony cabins on deck 11 but on the starboard side near the Studio entrance on that side were upset that THAT door wasn't open to them and they had to walk all the way around to get to the propped door.

 

Wow. A whole deal over maybe 100 more steps? 

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3 hours ago, NRWPA said:

JoJo

JoJo may have moved to another ship.  Rod was the solo host on my trip in April, Una was the host in October.  Rod was great, Una needed to do some work on the solo stuff but was otherwise FANTASTIC.  I didn't come across a JoJo on either of my trips.

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1 minute ago, hallux said:

JoJo may have moved to another ship.  Rod was the solo host on my trip in April, Una was the host in October.  Rod was great, Una needed to do some work on the solo stuff but was otherwise FANTASTIC.  I didn't come across a JoJo on either of my trips.

Oh that's too bad! Wish I knew which ship he transferred to - I have a couple solo cruises coming up in 2020. Other solo hosts I've had were duds unfortunately.

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12 minutes ago, NRWPA said:

Oh that's too bad! Wish I knew which ship he transferred to - I have a couple solo cruises coming up in 2020. Other solo hosts I've had were duds unfortunately.

 

My favorite was from my first cruise on the Getaway in 2016. Completely forget his name though - the meetups were much more of a happy hour vibe. I had Rod when I was on the Bliss. He was pretty good. 

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One of the solo cruisers on my Getaway cruise was doing several back to backs.  The solo cruise coordinator changed each week.  We ended up asking about it and at that time (Dec 2018) the protocol was for crew members to be switched out for every single sailing.  One guy was on a career path to cruise director, so he rocked.  Another one was resentful about being assigned the task for the week and spent the time on his phone, ignoring the guests.  But as long as you are comfortable starting your own conversations with the other guests at the meetup, then the host is not essential.

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On 12/30/2019 at 7:49 PM, SummersOff4Me said:

I will be going on my first solo cruise on the Bliss.  I enjoy meeting new people and dining at at large table.  In my experience on other lines,  you could ask the dining room check in staff to be seated at a table with others for dinner.  Is this option available on Norwegian in the complimentary dining rooms?

 

Yes, the option i available, BUT it assumes that others want to share tables. My experience i that most people don't want to share.

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Sharing a dinner table 1:1 with a stranger would seem risky for me. Dinner is a long meal and if someone irritates me my meal and hour are ruined.

 

I shared with a senior solo for lunch at Osheehans on a sea day. The restaurant was packed so no problem to offer my empty chair. I enjoyed delightful conversation with my guest. I would probably do the same in the buffet, but in a MDR I might have pause unless seating was a  real issue. 

 

The solo meet ups are good. You get to meet or observe people prior to the meal. Candidly, those 15 minutes of observation allowed me to avoid sitting next to someone who would have ruined my meal, whew. I enjoyed the seatmates I had. 

Edited by Nola26
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