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SPECIALTY DINING AS A SOLO


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Hi All,

I would like to take advantage of the free specialty dining but I am solo. If I did, I would want to make reservations in advance(I understand it can be difficult on the ship) but I don't know how hard it would be if I met another solo who would want to join, etc. i feel that I would be out of place also. Any thoughts from people who have done the specialty as a solo diner?

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Make reservations for 2. If you meet someone, no problem. If you eat alone, no problem.

 

I've never sailed without my family but I've eaten alone in specialty restaurants. There is no reason to feel out of place.

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6 minutes ago, victory2020 said:

Hi All,

I would like to take advantage of the free specialty dining but I am solo. If I did, I would want to make reservations in advance(I understand it can be difficult on the ship) but I don't know how hard it would be if I met another solo who would want to join, etc. i feel that I would be out of place also. Any thoughts from people who have done the specialty as a solo diner?


I was a little concerned about cruise dining as a solo but at least on NCL, it’s no big deal! The staff see a lot of solo diners.


The only problem I experienced was at Ocean Blue, when the server brought enough pre-dinner bread for four people and I wound up eating most of it… (dang, that was tasty) 

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Have eaten at specialties solo and find the service to be particularly attentive.  Make reservations.  I've never seen a one seat table yet, so when you meet someone who would like to dine with you, just bring that person along to your 2 top.  No problem.

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Thank you all. How much in advance can you make reservations? Final payment isn't until July & Cruise is in September. Also, if I add the dining perk can I remove it before final (just in case!) 

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32 minutes ago, victory2020 said:

Hi All,

I would like to take advantage of the free specialty dining but I am solo. If I did, I would want to make reservations in advance(I understand it can be difficult on the ship) but I don't know how hard it would be if I met another solo who would want to join, etc. i feel that I would be out of place also. Any thoughts from people who have done the specialty as a solo diner?

I went on the Escape in May of '18 and ate every night with a great group of people- but no one wanted to do anything other than the dining room.

So when I went back in Sep of '18- I purchased the dining plan but on the ship - was 4 meals at the time and my last night they actually didn't charge me for the 5th.

This cruise was a little more low key so I felt comfortable eating a quick 5pm-530 dinner and then would join others later. Also, I found for this early time i didn't need to make a reservation.

 

-And believe me I understand- for some twisted reason I am okay eating breakfast or lunch alone but not dinner. 

I also have some strange thing where I won't go see a movie by myself at night.

However, this was my last solo cruise as its time for me to find a wife and quit my BS

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Minimum booking in the specialties (except for Teppanyaki) is 2, you'd get the same size table as a pair as you would as a single.  On my second Bliss cruise I was sailing with a couple, we booked a 4 for La Cucina, when we showed as 3 they said it wasn't an issue as it would have been the same table.

 

Reservations open 120 days prior to embarkation, 130 if in a suite or higher.  Also keep in mind that only a fraction of the reservations are available online prior to sailing, the rest book on board on embarkation day.  Depending on the ship, you may be able to avoid the lines at the reservation tables by using touchscreens near the elevators or the app on your phone (once you connect to the free WiFi on the ship, no fee needed for that functionality) to make reservations.

 

One more thing - don't discount the value of the solo gatherings.  I had reservations made for my SDP on my first Bliss sailing.  On embarkation day I met a whole lot of great people from CC (thanks to the roll call), in addition to people at the solo gathering.  There was a group of solos that had all sailed the previous cruise and were back on for a B2B, they had a reservation for which they had extra seats and were looking for others to join - I ended up dining with them 3 nights on that cruise and had to cancel my previous reservations to do so.

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Great, sounds like I won't have a problem (don't know why I would have - I was a server at an upscale steak house for 39 years!) Can you share a table in the main dining room for dinner like you can at breakfast & lunch? 

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I cruise solo a lot & never had a problem with the speciality restaurants. I always have a great experience. Sometimes I’ll meet another solo & we’ll go together. Enjoy

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2 minutes ago, victory2020 said:

Can you share a table in the main dining room for dinner like you can at breakfast & lunch? 

I believe you can.  What will often happen, though, is the solo host (a staff member is designated as the solo host to arrange the solo meet every night) will organize the group that wants to go to the MDR and will walk down with the group and get them set up with a table.

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When I ate alone, I always asked the server NOT to remove the extra place setting.  Told 'em I'd rather have people think a gorgeous blond was about to join me but late, rather than I couldn't get a date.

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2 hours ago, victory2020 said:

Hi All,

I would like to take advantage of the free specialty dining but I am solo. If I did, I would want to make reservations in advance(I understand it can be difficult on the ship) but I don't know how hard it would be if I met another solo who would want to join, etc. i feel that I would be out of place also. Any thoughts from people who have done the specialty as a solo diner?

You would not be out of place as a solo diner. There are lots of them in the MDR and specialty restaurants. Book a 2-top for the maximum availability. And you can adjust when you arrive. 

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5 minutes ago, hallux said:

I believe you can.  What will often happen, though, is the solo host (a staff member is designated as the solo host to arrange the solo meet every night) will organize the group that wants to go to the MDR and will walk down with the group and get them set up with a table.

Oh wow, that sounds great! Guess they somewhat cater to solos. I like the idea of the solo lounge so I booked one of those rooms. Just hope they still have the cappucino machine.

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11 minutes ago, cabincop said:

I cruise solo a lot & never had a problem with the speciality restaurants. I always have a great experience. Sometimes I’ll meet another solo & we’ll go together. Enjoy

My experience is the same as cabincop's.  I have dined in the specialty restaurants solo numerous times and always had a great experience.  I never felt uncomfortable.  They really look after you if you are solo.  If you meet someone to join you its a bonus!!

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, victory2020 said:

Hi All,

I would like to take advantage of the free specialty dining but I am solo. If I did, I would want to make reservations in advance(I understand it can be difficult on the ship) but I don't know how hard it would be if I met another solo who would want to join, etc. i feel that I would be out of place also. Any thoughts from people who have done the specialty as a solo diner?

I've done solo cruises and done the dinners as a solo and with the group of solos on the ship (NCL organizes group dinners for solo travelers at the main dining rooms if you want to eat with a group).  If you make a reservation for one, then there will be an empty seat across from you so it won't be any issue adding one extra when you show up - the smallest table is for two people.

 

Not sure why'd you'd feel out of place. If its just you then you got more room to store plates of food at the table.  That sounds like a positive.  It's your cruise, cruise the way you want.

 

I've also never had issues as a solo with getting reservations, changes, or even waiting long when just walking in.  

Edited by robcolem
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34 minutes ago, victory2020 said:

Can you share a table in the main dining room for dinner like you can at breakfast & lunch? 

 

I have been far less successful requesting an impromptu shared table for dinner on NCL than on other lines that still commonly have traditional dining seating.  A few times the hostess has even ignored the request completely and seated me alone.  It's been about a 50-50 success rate.  I think the majority of NCL cruisers looking for the Freestyle experience tend to skip this option, but, shared tables can be requested. You may be the first at the table and have a bit of a wait for tablemates. 

 

The group from the studios tends to be arranged for an early dinner seating and I generally prefer later.

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15 minutes ago, Steeler Nation At Sea said:

 

I have been far less successful requesting an impromptu shared table for dinner on NCL than on other lines that still commonly have traditional dining seating.  A few times the hostess has even ignored the request completely and seated me alone.  It's been about a 50-50 success rate.  I think the majority of NCL cruisers looking for the Freestyle experience tend to skip this option, but, shared tables can be requested. You may be the first at the table and have a bit of a wait for tablemates. 

 

The group from the studios tends to be arranged for an early dinner seating and I generally prefer later.

I got that impression from other NCL cruises (which is why my DH & I like NCL - they don't try to make you share a table). I don't mind eating early if I'm back on the ship but I have some really great ports that I have never been to before so  I will take advantage of every minute I can be off the ship

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The only time I have done specialty dining is when someone from the solo group has asked me to join.

Depending on the weekly solo host, they will sometime set up dinners at a specialty dinner for the solo group.

The solo group dinner is too early for me on some nights so I don’t hesitate to speak up at the first solo meetup and ask if anyone else would prefer a later meal. (Depending on the host/ship sometimes the first real meetup may not be the first night, the second night usually has more people at the meetup)
Liked mentioned before, sign up for your trips CC roll call . Usually I have been communicating with some solos and other pax prior to boarding the ship. 

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I've eaten in the specialty restaurants any number of times as a solo. A few times I've met another solo passenger who wants to join me, but only a few. It is no problem to reserve for one and show up with two, or for two and show up alone. Either way, your reservation is for a two-top and IME they are always set for two.

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I dined solo several times. Teppanyaki was a blast. Always get seated with 2-3 other groups who were surprised that a 20-something was cruising solo and were very welcoming. 

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9 hours ago, kelib said:

Liked mentioned before, sign up for your trips CC roll call . Usually I have been communicating with some solos and other pax prior to boarding the ship. 

I mentioned that, and would like to add.  On my April 2019 Bliss cruise we actually organized an embarkation day lunch for solos on the roll call.  This was a WONDERFUL idea and helped to "break the ice" among that group.  It got the cruise started off right, and allowed me to recognize some folks during that first day and later on as well.  That was a GREAT group...

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Another thought: if you are going to do specialty dining as a solo at all, I recommend reserving it on the first night out, for two reasons: (1) IME, the solo host doesn't arrange a group dinner on embarkation night, and (2) the MDRs are a shambles on that night. The latter happens, I think, because the sequence of embarkation and muster puts everyone on the same schedule, so everyone heads to the MDR at the same time, and because fewer people plan specialty dining for the first night. 

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9 minutes ago, kochleffel said:

IME, the solo host doesn't arrange a group dinner on embarkation night

I must have had a solo host that was on the ball - he did organize a group dinner on the first night.  I didn't go as I took up the offer of the specialty with the group that had extra seats...

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12 hours ago, rbschultz said:

I dined solo several times. Teppanyaki was a blast. Always get seated with 2-3 other groups who were surprised that a 20-something was cruising solo and were very welcoming. 

That sounds fun - does the Getaway have the teppanyaki & can you reserve the same restaurant more than once with the dining package?

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