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Dining options on full ships


FFMilesJunkie
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You will have a great time. I totally understand the pressure of being the leader of the hoilday trip! But with the 1:45 boarding slot you are set. I don't know how big your group is, but I do know Virgin does assist groups 8 and over with dining reservations. My group was just under that, which made it more challenging from the outset, but still doable. If you are a bigger group inquire with your travel agent about what assistance Virgin might provide.

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@aqlollipop we are currently under 8. I'm trying to get more to book. All the cheap cabins are sold out or unavailable now (I warned them not to wait).  Trying to convince folks to book with high airfare these days is a bit of a challenge . 

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We are on Valiant right now. I believe this sailing is almost full capacity.  Dining has been difficult to secure for three. We tried before boarding and times between 7-8 were already full. Once on board, you can monitor the app, which is great unless you don’t want to babysit an app to eat.
Walk-ups are not accommodated unless there’s a table to sit at. We have tried three times at two restaurants and they were full.  We ate at  9:45 last night at The Wake and and 9:45 tonight at Extra V. All shows are full and have been since boarding and I stopped trying. 
it is what it is.  While I’m not a huge fan of main dining room fare on competitive cruse lines, we are seeing the merits of having sort of a main dining room as a fallback. Because honestly, it has been a drag having to work at finding reservations. 
It’s reminiscent of going to Disney World and trying to get reservations at restaurants that filled up three months ago.
Yes, there are a lot of smaller places to grab a bite, but ****I personally**** would not say that we have found one so far that is a substitute for sitting at a proper table in a proper venue with waiter sit-down services.  

****Just my own opinion.  
 

I think the people on here saying not to worry, they’re holding reservations back for people to secure at or after boarding, are doing a disservice and misleading future pax into thinking reservations will be magically appearing. Not so much.  Supplies are limited because venues are smaller. Also, Sailor Services does not change  dining reservations. It must be done at the hostess stand of the venue.

if I were traveling with 8, I’d be very concerned.  Perhaps breaking into smaller groups might work. 

Edited by WatermelonSugarHigh
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You are very correct that Sailor Services on board does not do reservations.  On day 1, there is a crew in Razzle Dazzle to help with reservations, and after that it is the hostess stand outside restaurants.  I'm convinced that a lot has to do with who is at the stand.  We had no trouble showing up at 6 and asking if they could get us in later that night.....and they often could at 8 or 8:30 or something....but if I'm hearing you right, they won't do that for you on this sailing.

The Galley has a dinner special each night; the menu is listed on the daily paper schedule.  Some of them were VERY good on our cruise.  Not lovely atmosphere, but amazing food if you like the special item.

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We had no trouble booking restaurant reservations ahead of time, nor have we had trouble adjusting our reservations if needed day of. I’m on Valiant now and saw a post that suggested there were about 1450 on the ship. YMMV. 

Edited by Watchmen
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32 minutes ago, Watchmen said:

We had no trouble booking restaurant reservations ahead of time, nor have we had trouble adjusting our reservations if needed day of. I’m on Valiant now and saw a post that suggested there were about 1450 on the ship. YMMV. 

We booked about a month ago so maybe later than most and after the of booking reserved restaurant seatings were starting. 
 What time is your preference for dining? We’d like to eat at 8 and have had no luck. I’ve seen 6 and 7 but we don’t eat that early. Plenty of seatings for two, but the third person blanks out the time slot on everything.
Funny, we were told there were over 2,000 on and that did seem too high.  Who really knows I guess except the purser.  
 

But if there are 1450 and we are having to eat between 9 and 10 and can’t see a show, that’s not a great sign.  We aren’t receiving a daily schedule or paper of any kind so not sure about the galley special.  
 

I don’t find that area very aesthetically pleasing anyway.  Feels like dining in a 80s mall food court. I don’t want to eat dinner in there.  
 

We had some decent shrimp and chicken skewers at Dockside today.  The little side tables or beds are not my idea of a comfortable dining experience. I’m not crazy about eating with my food on a bed or in my lap.  Call me picky but I like a real table. Pizza area kinda the same,  Richard must not like big tables that hold more than two plates.

The included WiFi is good and my husband who is not much of a gambler won $1800 in the casino last night, and my son $500- so I’m off for some nice champagne 🙂 🥂 hoping to find some nice French cheeses somewhere. 
 

 

Edited by WatermelonSugarHigh
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51 minutes ago, WatermelonSugarHigh said:

We aren’t receiving a daily schedule or paper of any kind so not sure about the galley special.  

You can pick up the paper guide at Sailor Services on deck 5, the Chart Room (big red table) on deck 7, Grounds Club coffee bar on deck 7, Grounds Club coffee bar in the Galley deck 15.

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6 hours ago, WatermelonSugarHigh said:

We booked about a month ago so maybe later than most and after the of booking reserved restaurant seatings were starting. 
 What time is your preference for dining? We’d like to eat at 8 and have had no luck. I’ve seen 6 and 7 but we don’t eat that early. Plenty of seatings for two, but the third person blanks out the time slot on everything.
Funny, we were told there were over 2,000 on and that did seem too high.  Who really knows I guess except the purser.  
 

But if there are 1450 and we are having to eat between 9 and 10 and can’t see a show, that’s not a great sign.  We aren’t receiving a daily schedule or paper of any kind so not sure about the galley special.  
 

I don’t find that area very aesthetically pleasing anyway.  Feels like dining in a 80s mall food court. I don’t want to eat dinner in there.  
 

We had some decent shrimp and chicken skewers at Dockside today.  The little side tables or beds are not my idea of a comfortable dining experience. I’m not crazy about eating with my food on a bed or in my lap.  Call me picky but I like a real table. Pizza area kinda the same,  Richard must not like big tables that hold more than two plates.

The included WiFi is good and my husband who is not much of a gambler won $1800 in the casino last night, and my son $500- so I’m off for some nice champagne 🙂 🥂 hoping to find some nice French cheeses somewhere. 
 

 

We’ve been dining at 6pm. You’re right about it not being a good sign if there are only 1450 on board and you can’t get reservations except at odd times. I’m guessing the number I heard is wrong. 
 

I hear a lot of people prefer The Galley over the traditional cruise food court but I’m not sure I agree. On the fence with that one. 
 

We were fans of the chicken and shrimp at The Dock. The beef was a bit tough and the octopus was terrible. Pizza is hit or miss, as is the ice cream. The orange ricotta was good (it was the special Sunday). 
 

Did you find any French cheese?  A nice charcuterie would be perfect for The Dock or maybe Sip. 

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On Scarlet we showed up just after 8:15 to Extra Virgin one night after tasting and passing on dessert at the Pink Agave. Saw some empty spots at the bar, asked the hostess if we could grab dessert seated at there  (tried to switch our dinner rsvp to here earlier, but no room) they said sure, and when the waiter came up, he was ready to take our dinner order. So maybe stop by and check if there is room at the bar 💁‍♀️ not sure if it works in the bars at other restaurants.  

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46 minutes ago, Watchmen said:

We’ve been dining at 6pm. You’re right about it not being a good sign if there are only 1450 on board and you can’t get reservations except at odd times. I’m guessing the number I heard is wrong. 
 

I hear a lot of people prefer The Galley over the traditional cruise food court but I’m not sure I agree. On the fence with that one. 
 

We were fans of the chicken and shrimp at The Dock. The beef was a bit tough and the octopus was terrible. Pizza is hit or miss, as is the ice cream. The orange ricotta was good (it was the special Sunday). 
 

Did you find any French cheese?  A nice charcuterie would be perfect for The Dock or maybe Sip. 


No cheeses to be had.  I miss the cheese course served many moons ago after dinner with the desserts on Princess and Celebrity.  And the after dinner coffee drinks. 

 

 I’m not a fan of the food court at all. Bento box always has the same three sushi types.  Why are they using so much plastic and putting everything in plastic containers? So wasteful. Why not just have all the foods sections like a buffet - and use plates? The court style is too kitschy and not at all functionally better.
 

it also seems half the stations aren’t open when we’re there.  Why is the taco bar open from 7 am- 11 am ? Who is eating tacos at 7 am? Same for paninis…

 

I have to say, so far it’s been fine but not great. 

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2 hours ago, WatermelonSugarHigh said:


No cheeses to be had.  I miss the cheese course served many moons ago after dinner with the desserts on Princess and Celebrity.  And the after dinner coffee drinks. 

 

 I’m not a fan of the food court at all. Bento box always has the same three sushi types.  Why are they using so much plastic and putting everything in plastic containers? So wasteful. Why not just have all the foods sections like a buffet - and use plates? The court style is too kitschy and not at all functionally better.
 

it also seems half the stations aren’t open when we’re there.  Why is the taco bar open from 7 am- 11 am ? Who is eating tacos at 7 am? Same for paninis…

 

I have to say, so far it’s been fine but not great. 

The plastic containers are no more wasteful than the plates, they all get washed and resided, it’s just the containers have lids as they go in self-service areas. Also the grab and go containers are designed so that you can take them back to your room if you wish (used containers get collected by housekeeping for washing and re-use. There are no single use plastics anywhere on the ship.

 

Taco bar serves breakfast burritos 7am to 11am then Tacos 12-3pm. I agree that some of the hours don’t make sense as most of the stations are closed for dinner, but they do show the hours in the app and the printed times guide, then the menu shows the options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s also better than it was a year ago, used to close breakfast at 10.30am with very few options available in that hour and a half until lunch and then the same at 3pm, they used to close the entire sweet counter just when we want afternoon snacks. 

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This was a problem for some on my last sailing.  I was lucky because I fought through the app crashing constantly when dining opened to make reservations.  Those who book last minute or after dining has been opened for awhile probably have the most issues.  It's definitely something VV needs to address along with the limited availablity of shows  and paid activities.  Things were sold out by 2:30 pm on my last sailing.  People were still standing in line at this time.  By the time they got on all the best events were sold out.

 

With ships sailing at higher capacity and the rising cost VV needs to figure out a better way to do dining and activities.  A crashing app or 10 PM dining isn't it.  Everyone who pays for a cruise deserves an opportunity to eat in one of the dining venues and participate in activities.  Some paid activities are scheduled one time per sailing for about 40 guests.  How does this make sense with over 2k people on board?  Perhaps more than one happening cast will help since the cast is running the activity.  

 

The other frustrating thing is the event line up isn't released until after you make dining reservations.  Pre-cruise it it's hard to re-schedule dining because everything is usually booked a few days after dining opens.

 

On a positive note, there was a different main dish at the Galley each night.  

 

I'm on a holiday sailing this year that will probably be sold out.  It wont be be my first VV cruise so dining is not a big deal.  I also like a late dining time, which has more availability.  If it was my first VV cruise, I would be concerned.  

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2 hours ago, WatermelonSugarHigh said:

it also seems half the stations aren’t open when we’re there.  Why is the taco bar open from 7 am- 11 am ? Who is eating tacos at 7 am? Same for paninis…

I agree.  Let's Taco Bout it, Hot off the Press (paninis) and Noodles Around have the oddest times.  It's almost like they don't want people to eat there.  

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2 hours ago, crusinthrough said:

 

On a positive note, there was a different main dish at the Galley each night.  

 

 

Tonight’s Galley special was chicken fried rice with Asian vegetable medley,I think some General Tso’s-style chicken and grilled chicken thighs.  It was really delicious.  It’s situated in a very odd place, sandwiched in between the burger bar and the diner.  I would never have known it was there if I hadn’t read about it here and then accidentally stood in front of it.  

Why does it seem like it’s hiding or placed there as an afterthought?

 

 

 

 

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Early in December I sailed on the Scarlet with the largest number of sailors  to date - 2600. After we boarded, we got the remaining dinner reservations we needed. Though we could tell there were more people on board, I cant say it felt crowded.

 

In fairness we had taken a number of VV cruised prior and new the routine. For anyone new to VV the process is vastly different from traditional cruises and may seem confusing until they get their virgin-legs. 

 

I do agree there could be more options in the galley, but I do like it better than buffets. 

 

On all our cruises there has been a special sushi variety daily in addition to the normal selections. The plastic containers used on the ship are reusable the same as the plates and silverware. 

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I’m glad they’re reusing them.  What is it about the galley that you like better exactly?  Is it the cute names? Because if you take away the cute names, put some actual food in the closed ones (tacos, paninis, noodles) and remove the dividers between the booths-  it’d be a nice buffet.  I saw no one there acting as a server.
We walked up, and ordered what we wanted and took it to our table  on

 

a plate 😮

 

shockingly buffet like. 😉 

I predict they will be redoing the galley style and adding a main dining room in coming years.  They need a place to sit-down dine that doesn’t require any effort reserving on an app. 

Edited by WatermelonSugarHigh
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6 hours ago, WatermelonSugarHigh said:


No cheeses to be had.  I miss the cheese course served many moons ago after dinner with the desserts on Princess and Celebrity.  And the after dinner coffee drinks. 

 

 I’m not a fan of the food court at all. Bento box always has the same three sushi types.  Why are they using so much plastic and putting everything in plastic containers? So wasteful. Why not just have all the foods sections like a buffet - and use plates? The court style is too kitschy and not at all functionally better.
 

it also seems half the stations aren’t open when we’re there.  Why is the taco bar open from 7 am- 11 am ? Who is eating tacos at 7 am? Same for paninis…

 

I have to say, so far it’s been fine but not great. 

The food court hours aren’t great. I know a lot of people return from excursions after 3pm but half the food court is closed, so they miss out if they want a snack. 

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1 hour ago, WatermelonSugarHigh said:

I’m glad they’re reusing them.  What is it about the galley that you like better exactly?  Is it the cute names? Because if you take away the cute names, put some actual food in the closed ones (tacos, paninis, noodles) and remove the dividers between the booths-  it’d be a nice buffet.  I saw no one there acting as a server.
We walked up, and ordered what we wanted and took it to our table  on

 

a plate 😮

 

shockingly buffet like. 😉 

I predict they will be redoing the galley style and adding a main dining room in coming years.  They need a place to sit-down dine that doesn’t require any effort reserving on an app. 

would still be a food court or cafeteria rather than a buffet as it’s not self-service.

 

I think the main thing is that the whole set up is they assume 90% will done in the full service restaurants or at a dinner show, so most of the food court counters are only open breakfast and lunch, closing down around 3-4pm. 
I agree it should have redesigned menus with more dishes at dinner than currently and the existing lunch menu should continue to at least 4pm.

Edited by jon81uk
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26 minutes ago, Watchmen said:

The food court hours aren’t great. I know a lot of people return from excursions after 3pm but half the food court is closed, so they miss out if they want a snack. 


 I think they assumed people waiting late afternoon snack food would go to the Dock, Social Club or Pizza Place, but often I want a panini sandwich when getting back from a port!

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47 minutes ago, Watchmen said:

The food court hours aren’t great. I know a lot of people return from excursions after 3pm but half the food court is closed, so they miss out if they want a snack. 

This has always been my biggest gripe. Especially on an island-heavy itinerary, you want some good food and a cool cocktail after a day on the beach. 

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1 hour ago, WatermelonSugarHigh said:

Especially on an island-heavy itinerary, you want some good food and a cool cocktail after a day on the beach. 

 

Thats when i get back on board, swoosh along to the Dock, and order some nibbles, and a nice cocktail, then along the deck to get an ice cream and sit outside late afternoon resting my feet. 

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9 hours ago, WatermelonSugarHigh said:

 

Why does it seem like it’s hiding or placed there as an afterthought?

 

 

 

 

It is listed each day in the paper program that you can get at the big red desk, sailor services, or either Grounds club locations--either glance at it to see the special or take one with you. The server will be happy to bring it to you.  
I thought the location for the special was part of the diner.

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On 1/29/2024 at 11:20 PM, Watchmen said:

Did you find any French cheese?  A nice charcuterie would be perfect for The Dock or maybe Sip. 


Not sure if it is french, but there is a grab and go charcuturie available at the Dock and the Galley. Also one available via room service, but I think that one is the same as Extra Virgin. 

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I’ve been lucky on both virgin cruises and gotten in to restaurants but I really don’t like dealing with the app.  

of the restaurant choices, Test Kitchen and Gunbae are experiences more than traditional restaurants, and Razzle Dazzle has great food but is really lacking in charm. That leaves 3 legit “fancy dining” experiences in my book and big surprise, those are the 3 that are usually always sold out.   
 

they really need a main dining option that doesn’t require a reservation.  I can’t tell you how much more relaxing my celebrity cruise was this summer with anytime dining…. SO much better.  
 

virgin does a lot right, but they need to fix this. 

 

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