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hammybee

As You Wish Dining - What and How

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Another review of AYW.

 

 

I just returned from a 10 day cruise to the Caribbean on the Noordam. HAL instituted the As You Wish dining a few weeks prior to my cruise on this ship. I think it's a disaster. Only one floor of the dining room (deck 3) had assigned dining. Apparently many people requested assigned seating because you could barely move or seat yourself at your table because there were so many tables shoved into the dining room. Almost all the round tables were replaced by long rectangular ones, making it impossible to talk to anyone more than a seat or two from your left or right. It looked like a mess hall or school cafeteria. We hardly ever saw our waiter because he was forced to wedge himself between the tables, standing behind us to take our orders. Forget a little small talk. He was too busy. By setting up assigned seating on only one floor, HAL has basically provided only 1/3 of its seating arrangements for assigned seating (if you count the second deck and the Lido deck casual dining option). HAL has been my favorite cruise line for over 25 years. I've just switched my preference to Celebrity. Hopefully HAL will reconsider it's new policy (I doubt it) and Celebrity will NOT change it's dining arrangements.

 

Thanks for letting me vent.

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This is from waitingtoretire'11/10 Noordam cruise:

 

As You Wish Dining

 

When my onboard booking was transferred to my local TA, I requested traditional late dining at a large table, since I enjoy meeting fellow travelers. Along with other transgressions by our TA, this info was not communicated to HAL, so we ended up with As You Wish Dining. Okay, I thought, think positive, it’s just different…and it was. For the most part, we had a good experience with it. We tended to go to dinner on the later side, around 7:30, and the first couple of nights we were given the dreaded beeper… Fortunately, the Explorer’s Lounge is right beside the dining room, so we headed there for a pre-dinner cocktail. We usually waited about a half hour or so before they had a table ready for us. Then we figured out that if we went at about 8:00, there was a window of opportunity when the early diners left to go to the late show, and the early show patrons had not yet made it to the dining room, and we usually got a table right away. Some nights we requested a table for two when we didn’t feel like making pleasant conversation with strangers; other nights, we asked to be seated with others, and met some really pleasant people and had interesting and enlightening dinner conversations. And on a couple of occasions, had only the interesting (?) dinner conversation. While the downside to the As You Wish Dining is having different waiters every night, I thought all of our waiters were polite and respectful, with some being more friendly than others.

 

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Another review of AYW.

 

I thought about taking a copy of this for this thread too. I read it again and reconsidered. It appears to me that that cruisin judy had fixed seating that was jammed and perhaps blamed it on AYWD. Therefore I thought it was speculation and not factual.

 

I am thinking that with or without AYWD, this sail was strained due to the proximity to the tri state area and the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope Judy comes back and clairifies.

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This is from Terrydtx's late November, 2007 Volendam Panama Canal cruise:

 

AYWD and the Main dining room for Dinner:

We all opted for AYWD and contrary to the fears about this we never really heard any complaints the amounted to much. The first night we arrived at the lower dining room at 7 pm and got sat immediate at a table for 6 next to the aft windows. The next night we had to wait about 10 minutes for a table at 7pm, which was Ok by us. Again we had a table at the aft windows and both nights we were very hot up next to those windows. We were not overly impressed with the service we had from the dining stewards the first 2 night either. The Maitre D told us that the middle of the dining room was cooler than being next to the windows so on the 3rd night we requested a table in the middle of the dining room and had to wait about 15 minutes for table 307 in the middle of the dining room, this was the best decision we made the whole cruise as we had the most fantastic service staff, Apep, Kiki and our wine bar steward Eduardo. We opted for the rest of the cruise to make a reservation at 7:45 for table 307.

 

With out the AYWD option we could have been stuck for the entire cruise at a hot table with not as great service as we had at table 307. It only took us 3 night to find this table and serving staff that we loved. The service from day 3 to day 10 was just like traditional dining. Apep, Kiki and our wine bar steward, Eduardo knew exactly what we wanted every night down to after dinner drinks and espressos and cappuccinos. Unlike traditional seating we did not have to wait for the tables around us to finish their courses before our next courses were served. The food was always served promptly and as ordered. Meats like the steaks and prime rib were served as ordered every time. Apep also made recommendations every night on what starters and entrée to order, and he was almost always right on with his recommendations. We all found the selection of food and the taste, quality and presentation to be superior to past cruise experiences.

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The late traditional seating had 4 tables that had to be utilized in the lower dining room to fill the traditional dining requests. One was a table of 12 and the other 3 were tables of four. I would say it is working from what I saw on our cruise. It is truly a “what ever you wish dining”

 

The Baked Alaska Parade on the final formal night is still done in both upper and lower dining rooms at the regular time for the early and late traditional seating times. Since we had a 7:45 AYWD reservation, we waited a few extra minutes for the Parade to start for the traditional diners about 9:15 pm. I did not notice too many AYWD dining people coming into the dining room after the late seating traditional people were seated, so I would guess not too many were still eating salads during the baked Alaska Parade. In fact the lower dining room was only about 60-75% full after 8 pm, again I would guess most AYWD diners were eating earlier rather than later. 7pm was the earliest we sat down for dinner.

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The late traditional seating had 4 tables that had to be utilized in the lower dining room to fill the traditional dining requests. One was a table of 12 and the other 3 were tables of four. I would say it is working from what I saw on our cruise. It is truly a “what ever you wish dining”

 

Thanks Terry. It looks like we both tried to cover the same base. :)

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We just finished a 10 day cruise on the Volendam this week with AYWD and loved it. We had a group of 6 cruising together. For our group the early traditional seating was too early and the late was too late. The first 3 nights we took pot luck for tables at 7pm and waited no longer than 10 minutes for a table. The third night we found a table (307) for 6 with a serving staff we fell in love with. The last 7 nights we booked a 7:45 reservation for table 307 everyday as late as 3:00 in the afternoon. We showed up at 7:30 every time and were immediately seated to our reserved table. This was the equivalent of a 7:30 traditional diner seating (same table and service staff) and it worked perfect for our party of 6. With all the time zone changes on this cruise 7:30 was either 6:30 or 5:30 back home and we didn't miss any of the port sail aways either:D

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Our first experience with AYW was a mixed bag. Really enjoyed our table mates each evening. Traveled with my sister-in-law and she found our fellow diners interesting and fun as well.:) :)

 

The service, however, was not up to HAL standards. Perhaps it was because the supervision was lacking. The white coated gentlemen were absent from the room. While we had excellent service at tables aft port side, the service at tables in the center raised section around the staircase was slow and inattentive. I can't explain the difference. I also missed getting to know our stewards. :( :(

 

On the whole, I am now torn as to whether to continue with traditional seating on my long solo adverture in March or switch to AYW to meet more of my fellow passengers. :confused:

 

Isn't it great to have to make such dicisions???:D

 

Carole

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Thanks Hammybee, master editor, for pasting together this information. We're off on a 30 day cruise on the Ryndam and have been fussing about this new option.

 

It would be great if more threads were consolidated in such an effective manner with the key summary of an issue opening a thread.

 

Adding to the appreciation already expressed by others.

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From Nutrioso's 11/20-12/13 Ryndam cruise:

 

Opted for Anytime Dining. Loved it. Never had to wait in line and the freedom allowed, time-wise, was great. Found the main dining room quite noisy, but service really good

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This is from Shaco's review of the Thanksgiving Noordam cruise:

 

Not only are the front tables subject cigarette smoke wafting in from outside the dining room, .

 

Just how bad is the smoke on HAL? We just retuned from a Princess 15 day Hawaii cruise and would like to do this trip again, but Princess is cutting it down to 14 days next year and skipping Kona, so we are looking at HAL as an option. Is there more smoke on HAL than Princess? While smoke never wafted into the dining room on Princess; it did waft up the stairwell nearest the casino. Smoke wafting into the dining room would be a deal-breaker for us. Is this a fluke or is it common?

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Don't know what this has to do with AYWD, but we have never smelled smoke in a HAL dining room.

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Just how bad is the smoke on HAL? We just retuned from a Princess 15 day Hawaii cruise and would like to do this trip again, but Princess is cutting it down to 14 days next year and skipping Kona, so we are looking at HAL as an option. Is there more smoke on HAL than Princess? While smoke never wafted into the dining room on Princess; it did waft up the stairwell nearest the casino. Smoke wafting into the dining room would be a deal-breaker for us. Is this a fluke or is it common?

 

Just got off the Volendam and loved AYWD, :D my review of it is in this thread. I do not want to see this thread drift over to a smoking thread but I do feel I should comment about smoke on my cruise to answer this poster's concerns.

 

I hate second hand smoke as do most non smokers,:eek: but I have to say that I never smelled it in any of the dining venues on this ship. :) The only closed in places that had any smokers were in the Casino and the adjacent Oceans Bar which are amidships and very far from the dining rooms. The only other smoking venue was the open aft pool bar on the lido deck and the smoke never was in the Lido dining areas. Even with smoking allowed in cabins, I never noticed it in any of the common hallways. In fact compared to past cruise experiences on Carnival, Princess and RCCL this was the most smoke free cruise experience on the Volendam!!:D :D

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I want the original poster to know we smelled smoke every single time we had a table on the second floor dining room when we had a table on the raised portion near the entry. I am not kidding. Every time. Also, when we left the dining room, the smoke was very heavy for around 10 steps. There was a guy giving out after dinner mints, but the smoking was too bad to stop for some.

 

Sit to the rear of the dining room where there is no odor of smoke.

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I want the original poster to know we smelled smoke every single time we had a table on the second floor dining room when we had a table on the raised portion near the entry. I am not kidding. Every time. Also, when we left the dining room, the smoke was very heavy for around 10 steps. There was a guy giving out after dinner mints, but the smoking was too bad to stop for some.

 

Sit to the rear of the dining room where there is no odor of smoke.

 

I am the OP and I do not know why you wanted me to know this but thank you for sharing.

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I want the original poster to know we smelled smoke every single time we had a table on the second floor dining room when we had a table on the raised portion near the entry. I am not kidding. Every time. Also, when we left the dining room, the smoke was very heavy for around 10 steps. There was a guy giving out after dinner mints, but the smoking was too bad to stop for some.

 

Sit to the rear of the dining room where there is no odor of smoke.

 

The only way you could have smelled smoke would have been for people smoking near the entrance to the dining room and that is a no smoking area.:confused: :confused:

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The only way you could have smelled smoke would have been for people smoking near the entrance to the dining room and that is a no smoking area.:confused: :confused:

 

I am thinking that perhaps Shaco has a very sensitive nose and perhaps was picking up the odor off someone's clothes, given he/she smelled smoke

everytime they were seated near the door. What this has to do with AYWD, I do not know. :confused:

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What this has to do with AYWD, I do not know. :confused:

 

I imagine it is because dining "As You Wish" includes not smelling cigarette smoke.

 

If they really wanted to offer dining as I wish, they'd figure out some way to let me eat at home some of the time while onboard. Too many rich meals in a row is not quite what I want. Give us a kitchen in the cabin and a grocery store on Deck 3....

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I imagine it is because dining "As You Wish" includes not smelling cigarette smoke.....

 

Hear, hear! But actually, HAL's policy does not allow smoking in the dining room:) , so I for one experienced no smoke odor on my recent cruise. I don't know why the poster who complained could smell smoke where she was, but maybe hammybee is right that it was carried in on someone's clothes - probably because they had been smoking like a chimney right before dinner to fortify themselves to get through an hour or two without a fix.:rolleyes:

 

... If they really wanted to offer dining as I wish, they'd figure out some way to let me eat at home some of the time while onboard. Too many rich meals in a row is not quite what I want. Give us a kitchen in the cabin and a grocery store on Deck 3....

 

LOL! :D But seriously, for those whose "wishes" in regard to dining include an occasional break from rich meals (or even eschewing them altogether), HAL does offer quite a few options. It's just that it requires some effort to locate them - and to resist the delicious not-so-healthy options that are admittedly rather more plentiful. But I managed to get through my last cruise without TOO much damage by ordering cereal and fruit for breakfast through room service most days, and sticking to the veggies at the Lido salad bar for lunch (mostly, anyway - there was that bread pudding problem ...:rolleyes: ).

 

Okay, I've just made the thread drift problem even worse than it was. Sorry. :o

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I imagine it is because dining "As You Wish" includes not smelling cigarette smoke.

 

If they really wanted to offer dining as I wish, they'd figure out some way to let me eat at home some of the time while onboard. Too many rich meals in a row is not quite what I want. Give us a kitchen in the cabin and a grocery store on Deck 3....

 

You want to grocery shop, and then COOK on a cruise???? To be honest, I have NEVER seen that wish posted here before.

 

There are SO many food options that cooking your own food is not necessary to have healthy meal.

 

Please don't blame it on the cruise...Not to be mean, but maybe the will power needs a boost?

 

Just a thought...Judy

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MarmarJudy; I do believe you have hit the nail on the head! Anyone

who cannot find healthy choices aboard is not really trying.

 

My problem is that I know what I should be eating:

cereal & fruit for breakfast

salad for lunch

poultry or fish for dinner

 

and then there is what tempts me:

 

bagels or eggs & bacon for breakfast

barbeque for lunch

escargot & beef for dinner.

 

and then I say to self: You will be back on land cooking for self

in a very short time so treat yourself today.

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I have created a new thread about cooking onboard to avoid hijacking this very useful thread on AYWD. I don't know how to link to it, but it is below.

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I have created a new thread about cooking onboard to avoid hijacking this very useful thread on AYWD. I don't know how to link to it, but it is below.

 

Here is Two if by Sea's new thread:

 

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=677948

 

Thank you very much, Two if by Sea, for your courtesy and consideration in starting a new thread in order to keep this thread focused on the facts/actual experiences of As You Wish Dining.:)

 

Karin

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Thanks middle-aged mom!!!

 

Our doc's arrived this week for our for Feb 16th Ooserdam cruise and it's saying we are CONFIRMED for AYW. We are very nervous about AYW and we are thinking about cancelling this cruise.

This wil be cruise #13 for us and #5 with HAL. As I've mentioned in a previous post, we have tried sitting at large but that just isn't for us.

We have always had a late seating at a table for two. One of the reasons I prefer HAL was because of the traditional dinning.

How difficult will it be for us to get a table for two at 2nd seating?

I'm not going to be standing around with a pager or be told to come back is 10 minutes... I refuse to do it and home and I'm certainly not going to do it on vacation.

If this is the reality of what it will be like for our cruise, then we would be better off cancelling now. (sorry to sound so blunt)

 

Here is Two if by Sea's new thread:

 

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=677948

 

Thank you very much, Two if by Sea, for your courtesy and consideration in starting a new thread in order to keep this thread focused on the facts/actual experiences of As You Wish Dining.:)

 

Karin

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Thanks middle-aged mom!!!

 

Our doc's arrived this week for our for Feb 16th Ooserdam cruise and it's saying we are CONFIRMED for AYW. We are very nervous about AYW and we are thinking about cancelling this cruise.

This wil be cruise #13 for us and #5 with HAL. As I've mentioned in a previous post, we have tried sitting at large but that just isn't for us.

We have always had a late seating at a table for two. One of the reasons I prefer HAL was because of the traditional dinning.

How difficult will it be for us to get a table for two at 2nd seating?

I'm not going to be standing around with a pager or be told to come back is 10 minutes... I refuse to do it and home and I'm certainly not going to do it on vacation.

If this is the reality of what it will be like for our cruise, then we would be better off cancelling now. (sorry to sound so blunt)

 

Gentlemancruiser, I'm very sorry, but I myself have never experienced As You Wish Dining, yet. I'm definitely not the person to ask. If you read some of the previous posts here, you may get some idea of the As You Wish dining experience, which will aid you in your decision. Hammybee is the CC member who has put together this thread which contains factual posts from folks who have done AYW dining. I'm simply an interloper. I'm sorry not to be more helpful. I wish you all the best.

 

 

Karin

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