Sunday, January 20, 2008

I'm Getting Mixed Reviews on Freestyle Dining

Its been announced recently that Norwegian has won major kudos again for the freestyle dining options on board its ships. On many of the Norwegian ships there are as many as 12 to 14 restaurants to choose from. A recent radio add mentioned that some even have outside seating as well. So I have asked a handful of passengers on a recent Norwegian cruise about their experience with freestyle dining. As far as food quality goes, the responses were no different than I get when talking to people on any cruise. Most thought the food was exceptional while there is always one or two that were not happy. I usually attribute it to personal taste and people that will give a bad review based on one bad meal for the entire week. That aside, the surprising response that I received from many passengers was that they thought the word "freestyle" is not the right word for the dining arrangements. While it is true that there are many restaurants to choose from, they complained that some of them had extra fees and many had waiting lists and suggested that passengers call ahead to the restaurant to make reservations for a specific time. One person said to that if he wanted a specific time set he could have went with another cruise line and got that without making a phone call from his state room each day. To be fair, for every person that was not happy with the dining experiences, there was someone who stated they will never go with another cruise line again just because of freestyle dining.

1 comment:

Kay T said...

Hi, I came over here from Cruise Critic. I have only been on one cruise and it was Norwegian. Although it is true you might want to call ahead to make a reservation time, you are not limited to only two reservation times for the entire evening. We only called ahead on one night and most nights did not have trouble getting a table or having to wait long once we arrived at the dining room entrance. It is just like going to a restaurant, it might be crowded or you might just be seated immediately. We did eat in other restaurants a couple of times, but did not eat in the ones that cost extra. The service in these places was great, and you were seated as tables were available.

I am going on a cruise in November that has two seatings - 6 seems too early and 8 too late for me, but those are the times. I assume that for other restaurants on the cruise you could make reservations at any time or take your chances. I will let you know which I prefer!