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As You Wish Dining - Opinions, Comments and Discussions

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On our first cruise Mr. Gizmo was not thrilled with the idea. After boarding we managed to change to a table for 2. LOL at the table for 2, it was no more than 3 or 4 feet from a table for 6. We all struck up a conversation and had a grand time. I think some people just don't always give it a chance.

 

..............

 

:D We had a similar experience on the Cunard Countess in the early 80's. A couple had requested a table for 2 (a rare item in those days) and were furious when they were seated at our table for 6. The moment that sat down they told us not to get used to them because the Maitre D' would be moving them the next day.

 

They had such an amazing time at dinner that the next day they told the Maitre D' they had changed their minds. He said "sorry, too late!" It seemed another couple had asked if they could be moved to a larger table so he had honored their request and moved them to ours.

 

So my response is always "don't knock it until you've tried it". If you have and you don't like it, that's fine. I certainly wouldn't want to be forced on anyone. But you don't know until you've tried ... sort of like eating your first artichoke or lobster;) .

 

Having done it for 25 years without exception, we're comfortable in our preference and will always choose a line that offers it over one that doesn't.

 

As for land based restaurants, there are some and I've been to them. But it would never catch on the way it does on a cruise because dining out is just different when you're not on vacation.

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My husband and I love Princess and one of the reasons is the anytime dining. We are considering Holland, knowing that the option may soon be available.

 

We want a table for two on our cruise. Why? Because we both have jobs where we (have to) chat and make small talk with strangers, every day. We're friendly, and good chatters, but that is NOT what we want to HAVE to do, at dinner, on vacation. It's not fun for us. We want a table for two with time for just us. Dinner is a fun part of the cruise. I don't want to do the "where are you from, how many kids, etc., etc.

 

Don't take this wrong, please. We ALWAYS meet other people on our cruises, at the bars, on shore excursions, in the casino, at the buffet, etc. Many we have stayed in touch with over the years.

 

I have cruised with my sister many times, at shared tables, and many experiences were painful, to say the least. I also wonder about couples that are not comfortable dining with just each other and need strangers to make their time enjoyable. I find it somewhat sad that some would choose strangers over quality time with their spouse.

 

Bottom line: dinner is for just us, our choice. We've been married almost 40 years and KNOW we will have a great time together, so why chance it on a short vacation? We welcome the anytime option on Holland.

Judy

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My husband and I love Princess and one of the reasons is the anytime dining. We are considering Holland, knowing that the option may soon be available.

 

We want a table for two on our cruise. Why? Because we both have jobs where we (have to) chat and make small talk with strangers, every day. We're friendly, and good chatters, but that is NOT what we want to HAVE to do, at dinner, on vacation. It's not fun for us. We want a table for two with time for just us. Dinner is a fun part of the cruise. I don't want to do the "where are you from, how many kids, etc., etc.

 

Don't take this wrong, please. We ALWAYS meet other people on our cruises, at the bars, on shore excursions, in the casino, at the buffet, etc. Many we have stayed in touch with over the years.

 

I have cruised with my sister many times, at shared tables, and many experiences were painful, to say the least. I also wonder about couples that are not comfortable dining with just each other and need strangers to make their time enjoyable. I find it somewhat sad that some would choose strangers over quality time with their spouse.

 

Bottom line: dinner is for just us, our choice. We've been married almost 40 years and KNOW we will have a great time together, so why chance it on a short vacation? We welcome the anytime option on Holland.

Judy

 

We feel exactly the same way.

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We are either the luckiest people on the planet or just have a ton of interests. In all our cruises over the past 25 years we have never been at a table with people that we couldn't share some interest with ... just the fact that we share a love of cruising is a great start.

 

What I learned early on about traditional dining is that you really can get along with almost anyone if you give them a chance. Some people who you might not have bothered to come to know otherwise can end up being someone you're close to forever.

 

People close their minds and hearts too quickly sometimes and traditional dining gives you the opportunity to get to know yourself better as well as others.

 

I don't agree with people who say "things change", we "have to adjust and adapt". We really don't. If I like something a certain way, I stick with it. If HAL and other lines want to open up other possibilities for others, I'm fine with that of course. But don't take away what isn't broken for many of us. That's all I ask.

 

As for the auto-tipping, I think it's convenient. We just give a little extra to those who have earned it. I would have been equally happy to continue tipping the old fashioned way, but this is a change I can understand.

Heather, we too give a little extra here and there, usually the cabin steward and some of the bar staff. I have been known to give someone in the casino an extra few bucks: not because I win, but because they make my losing a little less painful.

 

As for table mates: our last experience, like I said was fine. We were 8 very diverse individuals, well our friends were like us, but the other 2 couples were a bit different from us, different parts of the country (one couple from Canada) certainly different interet and on a few occassions when politics came up some of us had totally different views. We still were able to enjoy each other. Normally this is the case. We did ask to be moved once and on our daughters last cruise she, her hubby and another couple at their table choose, after about 3 nights to eat together each night in alternative dining because of strange table mates. One cruise we were with a family (4 of them)the teen age son pretty much chosse not to eat with the family a single night which was too bad. he was the only one who knew how to talk. As hard as we tried and I, particularly am not only outgoing but love to learn about other peoples interest so I do ask questions. The mom, dad and 17 year old daughter probably didn't say a total of 500 words between them the entire 7 nights. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn't get them to talk. Because the ship was sold out we couldn't be moved. It was not the best situation.

 

Yes you have been lucky. As I said we are very outgoing and open minded. Still we have had bad table mates, if nothing else one we have nothing in common with. We are sports fans, into poliitics, love to travel, have lived in several places with in our country, I love to cook, garden, play bridge and read: DH is an avid reader, golfs a little and volunteers within the community. Obviously you would think, no matter who our table mates are we could find something to share, but that isn't always possible.

 

Nita

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I would think that as long as there is more than one solo traveler per cruise, these people could share a table.

I guess that would depend on the cruise, though. If there are not many solo travelers on a sailing, then it will be hard to seat them together since they may not all come to dinner at the same time.

 

I understand entirely your point about not taking vacations for the purpose of meeting new people. Sure, you want to reconnect with the people you are traveling with. That's very understandable. And it's why this "As You Wish" dining is going to be a problem for solos. I feel sorry for the matri 'd trying to find a place to stick the solo ... especially if it just so happens that there are no large "group" tables in the process of forming at the point in time when the solo walks into the dining room. Basically, the easiest thing for the matri 'd to do at that point is to just to seat that solo by themselves. I know if I were him, I wouldn't want to be in the position of having to ask every group coming through the door if they would mind having a solo seated with them. That's just too much trouble on a big ship.

 

Like I said, I look forward to "As You Wish" dining when I am traveling with somebody. But when I cruise solo, it's gonna be a major problem. I am basically a shy person, and it will be very difficult for me if I am "stuck" in the middle of another group who perhaps would prefer I not be there. It might just be easier to eat in the Lido every night ...

 

Frankly, between this and the ever-increasing smoking restrictions being implemented on cruise ships, I have a feeling my cruising days may very well be coming to an end.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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Here's an issue I see affecting the wait staff compensation: Many people keep the autotip in place and give more to their wait staff - which they can keep. But if you don't opt for traditional dining and thus usually have a different wait staff each night, I believe people would probably not offer an additional tip.

On NCL, isn't the auto-tip classified as a "service charge" and thus is non-removable from a passenger's bill? If that's the case, then I would imagine HAL will go the same route at some point. Having different waitstaff every night ... never having to worry about seeing the same server twice ... might just encourage some people to go ahead and delete the auto-tip altogether. Classifying it as a service charge and making it non-removable at least ensures the servers in the "As You Wish" Dining Room are getting the same tips as their colleagues over in traditional dining.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would have any problem at all with sharing a table with so called "strangers". Part of the reason we go on a cruise is to meet people.

It's just a matter of what people are used to.

 

Look at it this way ... if you and your significant other went out to a restaurant for dinner one evening, wouldn't you expect to be shown to a table for just the two of you? How would you feel if the matri 'd asked you if you would mind sitting with another couple who were already in the dining room? Bet you would probably have some problems with that, right?

 

Also, as some others have posted here ... vacations are often a chance to reconnect with family. They are not taken with the goal in mind of meeting new people. Therefore, when it comes to dining, they want a table for JUST their group ... their spouse, the family, whatever. "As You Wish" dining ensures they have this ... every night ... even if they may have to wait for a few minutes to get their table size of choice.

 

Many people who are new to cruising are put off by having to share tables. They don't do it at home, so why should they feel comfortable with it on a cruise ship? Also, people are not in the habit of dining at the exact same time every night. Maybe I dine early on week nights when I come home from work, but prefer to dine later on weekends when maybe I have a full day. It's the same thing on a cruise ship. Maybe I want to eat early on sea days, but after a full day in port, would prefer to relax for an hour after getting back to the ship, and then head to dinner.

 

"As You Wish" Dining is tailored made for this growing majority of people ... people who are not steeped in the traditions of cruising and who may be uncomfortable with some of them ... such as this shared tables sort of thing. Cruise lines are trying to attract this new breed of cruiser ... and if they want to be successful with that, then they are gonna have to find ways to keep them happily within their comfort zones. Sharing dining tables is most definitely outside of that comfort zone.

 

Believe me, if HAL is phasing in this flexible dining concept, it is only because the responses to the comment cards over the years have overwhelmingly favored a flexible dining option. In other words, the people are demanding it.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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Rita, I think you know that nothing anyone can say is going to change my mind about this. I'm very consistent in my view about "as you wish" dining. However I speak only for myself and really don't care WHY it's being done, I only know I have no interest in it because traditional dining is part of why we cruise. However I fail to see why bonding with families would affect anyone choice because they can simply get a table together.

 

But to your question about my reaction if someone asked us to dine with others here at home, we'd be fine with it. In fact it's happened a couple of times when we were waiting on line for a table. At Toojays not long ago a large table for 6 opened and we were 2. So the people in front of us and behind said why don't we just share? We did and had an amazing time getting to know people we never would have met.

 

My husband and I have dinner together every single night. Our children are grown and gone so we can sit and talk over dinner every night and we do. So we like to socialize on a cruise; it's part of the whole experience.

 

I could argue my position all day and get into a deep psychoanalysis about all the reasons people are resistant to traditional dining and being "stuck" with the same people every night for a week or more, but it would be silly to do that.

 

At the end of the day it's a personal choice. I admit I don't understand why people think it's so unpleasant, but it's okay. To each his own.:)

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HAL has been testing this since January. It does appear it will go fleet wide as many prefer it to traditional dining and offering both is a great idea. For me, it is the only way to cruise, that is one reason we stick with NCL when we can, but they don't offer the choice like Princess and now HAL. This should satisfy almost everyone except those die in the wool tradtionalist that don't want any change. I predicted about 3 or 4 years ago this would be the wave of the future. I expect all lines will adopt some form of choice in the next couple of years. NMnita

 

Excellent news. We love HAL but we find ourselves choosing either Princess or NCL just for the dining flexibility. Once HAL goes this route, we're there! :)

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Cruising seems to me the best way to travel when alone and it certainly beats spending vacation time alone at home (weekends give me plenty of alone time as it is!). I think the reason I'm so concerned about this next trip is that it's the longest cruise I've ever taken and the chance of having to deal with eating alone every night for almost 3 weeks may be too much. At this point I'm going to wait and see if I can get fixed dining confirmed by the time my final payment is due. If not I'll have to re-evaluate the trip before I make that payment. It's a trip I've always wanted to make but it sure would have been nice if they'd waited to make the change on the trip after I'm booked!

 

:D Well good news at least for me and my next cruise. I wrote to my pcc to see if I could find out how low in priority I was on the waiting list and she said I'm within the top 20 and should definitely get the late fixed seating that I want (she said the top 100 usually clear). So looks like I don't have to think about changing the trip because of that! For future trips guess I'll have to try and book earlier than the 7-8 months I usually do to make sure I can confirm the dining arrangements when booking.

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At the end of the day it's a personal choice. I admit I don't understand why people think it's so unpleasant, but it's okay. To each his own.:)

Oh, believe me ... I cruise to meet new people too. I'm not crazy about this "As You Wish" either ... for the reasons I have stated so many times before ... solo cruisers have high odds of getting shafted with this. I'm just saying that a lot of new cruisers today are used to flexible dining because basically that's what they are used to at home. If HAL wants to attract them, they can't expect to do it by shoving traditional dining down their throats.

 

I know that this would be a deal breaker for me if I couldn't get confirmed in traditional dining on a cruise I was planning as a solo. I just hope HAL always offers both formats so that everyone can have what they want.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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It's just a matter of what people are used to.

 

Look at it this way ... if you and your significant other went out to a restaurant for dinner one evening, wouldn't you expect to be shown to a table for just the two of you? How would you feel if the matri 'd asked you if you would mind sitting with another couple who were already in the dining room? Bet you would probably have some problems with that, right?

 

Also, as some others have posted here ... vacations are often a chance to reconnect with family. They are not taken with the goal in mind of meeting new people. Therefore, when it comes to dining, they want a table for JUST their group ... their spouse, the family, whatever. "As You Wish" dining ensures they have this ... every night ... even if they may have to wait for a few minutes to get their table size of choice.

 

Many people who are new to cruising are put off by having to share tables. They don't do it at home, so why should they feel comfortable with it on a cruise ship? Also, people are not in the habit of dining at the exact same time every night. Maybe I dine early on week nights when I come home from work, but prefer to dine later on weekends when maybe I have a full day. It's the same thing on a cruise ship. Maybe I want to eat early on sea days, but after a full day in port, would prefer to relax for an hour after getting back to the ship, and then head to dinner.

 

"As You Wish" Dining is tailored made for this growing majority of people ... people who are not steeped in the traditions of cruising and who may be uncomfortable with some of them ... such as this shared tables sort of thing. Cruise lines are trying to attract this new breed of cruiser ... and if they want to be successful with that, then they are gonna have to find ways to keep them happily within their comfort zones. Sharing dining tables is most definitely outside of that comfort zone.

 

Believe me, if HAL is phasing in this flexible dining concept, it is only because the responses to the comment cards over the years have overwhelmingly favored a flexible dining option. In other words, the people are demanding it.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

\\

 

Rita: very well thought out post, and I have to agree with many of your points. I do, also, understand that the "solo" cruiser wishes to dine with other passengers (the same ones very night) to make new friends on their cruise. It's a tough call. Hopefully HAL will be able to blend the two and make everyone happy.

 

As for us, we're very happy that HAL is going to "as you wish" dining, because that's one of our favorite features of NCL -- and we hope it works as seamlessly on HAL as it does on NCL.

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Oh, believe me ... I cruise to meet new people too. I'm not crazy about this "As You Wish" either ... for the reasons I have stated so many times before ... solo cruisers have high odds of getting shafted with this. I'm just saying that a lot of new cruisers today are used to flexible dining because basically that's what they are used to at home. If HAL wants to attract them, they can't expect to do it by shoving traditional dining down their throats.

 

I know that this would be a deal breaker for me if I couldn't get confirmed in traditional dining on a cruise I was planning as a solo. I just hope HAL always offers both formats so that everyone can have what they want.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

 

I feel exactly the same way. We're pretty flexible in what we do, so we pretty much go with the flow. But I've had so many friends/acquaintences say to me "but don't they MAKE you eat with a bunch of other people you don't know?" when I'm raving about how much we love cruising. Like that would stop them from going if they had to do that. They wouldn't like rigidness. Our son and daughter-in-law are some of those. They like the idea of AYW dining. I hope too that there will be a choice so everyone can be happy. :)

As for us, there can be times that we would prefer dining at a table for 2 (when we wish) and I know there are lots of others who feel the same way. Lots of times we're so darn tired out after a day of strenuous excursions, that by the time our "set" dining time rolls around, usually later than we'd care to be eating, we're just too tired to talk :o

I hope too that HAL will always offer both formats.

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"but don't they MAKE you eat with a bunch of other people you don't know?" Like that would stop them from going if they had to do that.

 

 

It stopped us from cruising again for 18 years.

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It stopped us from cruising again for 18 years.

 

Are you saying you didn't cruise for 18 years because you would have to eat with other people? :confused:

 

They've had tables for 2 for almost as far back as I can remember so that seems a little extreme. Worst case you could have gotten another couple, friends or family members you liked, to join you on the cruise and get a table for 4. Seems too bad not to cruise for 18 years just to avoid eating with other people if you liked it otherwise:( .

 

I had an Aunt and Uncle, both gone now, who cruised constantly. They were always able to get a table for 2 even when it wasn't nearly as available as it is now.

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:eek: Ok now this thread is giving me nightmares. Even though I now know I will probably have the fixed late seating that I want on my next cruise I woke up twice last night with bad dreams about it. The first one had me at a large table by myself for all 20 nights and in the next one I was with a very strange family from outer space that didn't speak any English and kept pointing and laughing at me all night. I was running around the Dining room trying to find someone to help me but they were all downstairs being mobbed by 1000 people wanting tables at 7:00. I think I'd better stay away from this discussion for a few days!

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Sharon, what did you eat for supper last night? :confused: And can I have the recipe? :D I'd enjoy a nightmare like that one. ;)

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Are you saying you didn't cruise for 18 years because you would have to eat with other people? :confused:

 

quote]

 

 

Yes. That is exactly what I'm saying. We also did not care for being told WHEN to eat. We don't like to be on a schedule when on vacation. And as I said before, we enjoy spending time with each other when on vacation; a table for 2 cannot be gauranteed on a ship that only offers traditional dining. Even if it could be, there was still the issue of dining at a set time.

 

Don't feel bad for us, we enjoyed wonderful land vacations. And now we are enjoying wonderful sea vacations.

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... but they were all downstairs being mobbed by 1000 people wanting tables at 7:00. ...

 

Yes, that is truly the nightmare I have. The cruise in which I am forced to wait more than 10 minutes for a table is the last cruise I take on HAL. I will switch to Cunard or other line -- if none still exist that can guarantee no waiting for a table, I will stop cruising.

 

Dave

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Are you saying you didn't cruise for 18 years because you would have to eat with other people? :confused:

 

quote]

 

 

Yes. That is exactly what I'm saying. We also did not care for being told WHEN to eat. We don't like to be on a schedule when on vacation. And as I said before, we enjoy spending time with each other when on vacation; a table for 2 cannot be gauranteed on a ship that only offers traditional dining. Even if it could be, there was still the issue of dining at a set time.

 

Don't feel bad for us, we enjoyed wonderful land vacations. And now we are enjoying wonderful sea vacations.

 

 

I can totally relate. My husband reluctantly (to say it mildly) cruised many times, for me, and even though we were assured of a table for two on Celebrity because of our Captain's Club, he said no more. We are "children of the 60's" and he HATES regimentation and having to be at a certain place at a certain time for dining. I talked him into a Princess cruise for our 35th anniversary, because of the anytime dining option. Now cruising on Princess is our vacation of choice. We are considering Holland for our Jan 08 cruise, for the itinerary. He has agreed, even though we are not sure it will be have "anytime" dining option. A table for two is mandatory...if not, we will eat at one of the alternative choices.

 

As hard as it is for some to understand, there are LOTS of others out there like us: we want to dine alone, when we choose. We are always assured that we will have great tablemates: each other!

 

Judy

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................

As hard as it is for some to understand, there are LOTS of others out there like us: we want to dine alone, when we choose. We are always assured that we will have great table mates: each other!

 

Judy

 

Judy, I completely respect your feelings. I hope I didn't give any other impression. It's true I don't understand it from my own place in life, but that doesn't mean I don't respect how you feel and all the others who feel the same way.

 

We're all different. I think it was on this thread that I mentioned my husband and I dine alone every night of our lives, sometimes in a restaurant, usually at home. We love that time together at the end of the day. I set the table, often light the candles, cook a nice dinner, and we sit for an hour or sometimes more. So on vacation we enjoy the friendship and camaraderie we've found during traditional dining.

 

So it's good to have choices. And the great thing now on HAL (and so many other lines) is that even if you don't get AYW dining, there are always the alternative restaurants. I hope you have a wonderful cruise if you go on HAL in '08:) .

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For sure there are two different preferences posted in this thread!

 

I've never been on any cruises with anytime-seating, just the traditional...and I like being seated with the same folk each night. My sister and I asked to be moved after one night only once--our 4 tablemates from the U.S. were traveling together, totally ignored us and kept bragging about their expensive purchases and telling bigoted jokes--trying to "impress" us, I guess (NOT). The rest have been interesting and fun, and only once, when traveling with my sister and four other friends, did we have a table to ourselves.

 

I'm cruising solo in October, and I'd hate to think I'd have to fend for myself each night in the anytime-world. I can see why HAL is trying this anytime-seating out, as it obviously seems to be popular with many; but I HOPE they keep at least half the seatings in the traditional way. The anytime-seating is one of the reasons I haven't ever cruised NCL.

 

Just a matter of preference, I guess. :o

 

Diane

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Sharon, what did you eat for supper last night? :confused: And can I have the recipe? :D I'd enjoy a nightmare like that one. ;)

 

Well it is funny now but it actually woke me up enough that I finally got up and did some work at 2 a.m. I don't think i had anything strange for dinner just the leftover BBQ Tri-tip and green beans from lunch! Now that I think of it I didn't have any chocolate for dessert so maybe that's it :)

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It stopped us from cruising again for 18 years.

 

And the people I talked to don't even want to cruise for the FIRST time because of it :(

I guess we've been lucky (so far), we have always been able to get a table for 2 with no problem. But we've only had 3 cruises so far! We always ask early, that helps too. Of course that doesn't take care of the too-late or too-early set dining times. Again, I hope HAL will offer both because there are lots of people who want traditional and lots of people who want ASW.

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