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What Days and Times Do You Like to Dine: Specialty Restaurants

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Ahoy all Oceanians,

 

When making your specialty restaurant reservations, how do you decide what days and times to book? Do you like to top off a fabulous port trip with an evening at Toscana, or do you rejoice at Jacques after a relaxing sea day? Do you like a late dining time as an exclamation point to end the evening, or do you book a reservation that allows for some nighttime frolicking before bed? Do these preferences vary depending on whether it's been a day on the water or a port of call?  All biased, passionate and varied opinions welcome here 🙂

 

 

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For us, we prefer to do a specialty restaurant on a sea day (or at least on a day when we aren't touring).  Our preferred time is 7:30.  We often ask to share.  Sometimes that means we ask someone else to join us, or we left O pair us up.

 

Mura

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Posted (edited)

First two nights of the cruise at 6:30 or 7:30. Other than the first two nights, it doesn't matter to us whether we're at sea or at port. We'll take any day 6:30 or 7:30. Table for 2 only.

Edited by Rob the Cruiser

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we prefer 6:30 -7 pm

we just pick the nights that have availability  for 2 tops

sometimes  we will do sharing

We do not do all day tours anymore  so any day works for us

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There's a reason why those officer dinner invites are at 7:00 pm (preferably on sea days, particularly the evening of the captain's welcome party). Other than that we opt most often for 6:30pm on sea days or days when we leave ports before 6 pm.

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Never on the first night or the last one.

 

On the two O ships, I first book the La Reserve evening(s) we want and put together a Privee evening as we can. Then Specialties are booked with what’s left over.

 

Except in rare situations, we always book sharing. We usually split 6:30s and 7:30s depending upon what’s been happening on the day of the meal. This also allows us the meet a greater variety of fellow cruisers. Some only do one or the other, particularly the earlier seating, so taking both introduces us to more people and more discussions.

 

I avoid booking evenings before an early 8:00 docking particularly when negative time zone changes occur!!

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Posted (edited)

I am not sure I understand the purpose of OP’s question. Is it just pure curiosity (which is OK) or a strategy to book his/her own reservations.

For example - we prefer to dine at 6:30. No matter how many posters here were to post that they prefer dining at 8:30 I would still dine at 6:30. Ditto for others’ other preferences - they are their own and not mine.

OP - please explain.

TIA.

Edited by Paulchili

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Actually, we love dining in the specialties on boarding night.  And it's often easy to be given a reservation there at the last minute.

 

I've said this before but I know SOMEONE at least hasn't seen it.  On our first Marina cruise back in 2011 we'd tried to book a table for 6 in Jacques on departure night, but we asked our butler upon boarding and he couldn't get the table because I didn't have the other booking numbers.  (I knew you need them to book online but didn't think we'd need them when booking on board.)

 

Anyway, we all said, fine, we'll just go to the GDR.  When we got there and the maitre d' saw a table for six, he asked if we wanted to go to Jacques.  SURE!!  So off we went.

 

That night it was on the early side and the restaurant was pretty empty.  We had the benefit of a great view from our table of the chefs working ...

 

Ever since we've aimed to book a table in a specialty on boarding night, whether just for us or with others.

 

Then again, we don't fly in on departure day.  If we did, I wouldn't want a specialty restaurant that night either.  We'd probably go to Terrace.  But after spending a few days in the departure city, it's not a big deal to transfer to the ship.

 

Mura

 

P.S.  As to Paul's question as to WHY the question was posted, maybe the OP does just want to know when it's easier to get a reservation?  If so, there have been many threads on this question.

 

OTOH, lots of people recommend early or late times as a way to be more sure of getting a reservation ... we usually are in a high enough room that we don't have a problem getting a 7:30 reservation (which is what WE prefer) so this hasn't been a problem for us.  And of course we are happy to share.

 

 

 

 

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31 minutes ago, Paulchili said:

OP - please explain.

TIA.

 

Hi Paulchili,

 

Thanks for asking for clarification.  The reason I asked the question is because we are cruising "noobs". At home we are late diners, out of necessity more than choice as neither of us is home from work before 7:30pm, so we are used to eating dinner at 9 or even 9:30.  Our trip on Marina in September will be our third cruise ever (first with Oceania). 

 

On our previous two cruises we ate in the specialty restaurants quite a bit, but both cruises were shorter (one three nights, one seven). We usually made reservations for around 8 or so.   But I have noticed that cruise ship dining seems to be a lo-o-o-ng drawn-out ritual and though we enjoy special meals, a 2+ hour dinner every night started to feel...exhausting.  By the end of a meal we both found ourselves squirming with back pain from having sat so long in seats that were comfortable for the first 90 minutes and then got logarithmically less so over the subsequent half-hour or 45 minutes.  The food has, with one exception, been decent but not good enough to distract us from wishing we could just finish up and go.

 

Usually we just ate and went right to bed because evening entertainment was over by the time we finished, except for late-night dancing, and in any case we were too pooped to do anything but fall into bed anyway.  We had made all our reservations in advance--and paid, as the other lines had supplements that we didn't mind shelling out for--and there were times when we would have liked to have moved a reservation up, especially on a sea day when a particular performance that we would have liked to attend conflicted with our dinner reservation.. OTOH seatings at 6 or 7 often felt really early to us--we wanted to get cleaned up, relax with a cocktail, etc. and an 8pm dinner time was fine.

 

With a two-week cruise, I expect that we will eat more meals at the Terrace, so we won't be stuck for long drawn out dinners every night. But I am also wondering if eating earlier some evenings might make a difference in terms of the fatigue/back pain issues.  Maybe it's the same no matter what time you eat? 

 

I guess what I am saying is that I am feeling some pressure around making specialty reservations, not knowing what we really will prefer.  Our cruise isn't until September so we have plenty of time to research, but I am not at all certain what our "cruise dining style" really is yet. Hence I am interested in how others approach this, and what makes for a satisfying evening for people.  I am hoping for a range of opinions, and even for explanations on why folks make their choices, so that I can think about how to schedule us.  

 

Plus, I just like hearing about what things people enjoy about cruising.  Just nosy, I guess 🙂

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We like to mix it up with sharing and tables for two. If it is just the two of us, our dinner generally does not last 90 minutes.  The larger the table the longer the dinner.  If you are comfortable eating later, then do that.  The later reservations are easier to get.

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Mura;

 

While always flying in 2-3 days precruise also, we just enjoy being totally flexible on Embarkment Day. On our  most recent cruise , a great M&G from our Roll Call was arranged and set up for us on that evening . The safety drill wasn’t over until 6:10-6:15. Then we went up to Horizons for a cocktail and our M&G and meet many of what would be many our Outland tour companions. A group of us made our way to the GDR around 8:00.

 

Merely personal, but (1) I would have hated having to run back to the cabin, dump the life preserver, and make a 6:30 Dinner. (2) I would not want to miss the M&G because of a dinner reservation made. (3) I would not have wanted to leave the M&G any earlier than we did.

 

The GDR is a great meal with total flexibility.  Works best for us on disembarkment day.

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Understood.  Just because we like the specialties on boarding day (NEVER on departure day) doesn't mean we expect everyone to agree!  It wasn't until that 2011 Marina cruise that we realized that eating in a specialty on departure day could be so convenient -- FOR US.

 

We certainly don't plan on racing from the muster to a restaurant.

 

Mura

 

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Depending on how many reservations you can pre book space them out  for the length of the cruise

We rarely eat dinner in The Terrace  ..personal choice

we prefer  the GDR  with a different menus  each night compared to the Specialties  where it is pretty much the same  for the past 5+ yrs  😉

If you happen to be  in a PH or higher suite you can always "dine in" no need to get dressed up or sit in chairs that feel uncomfortable

mix it up  ..

JMO

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Afterward,

Thank you for the detailed explanation - it helps me much better to understand your question.

KS&JW said what I would say - the larger the table the longer the dinner. Table for 2 is around 90 minutes. On occasion we have informed the waitstaff of our plans (like attending a show) and they did their best to time the dinner with that. Later reservations and sharing tables are generally easier to get than early & two-tops. If you are in a PH or higher, you’ll have no trouble getting your first choice of days and times; later you might have to be more flegible. That said, you can try to change your reservations once onboard if you didn’t get what you wanted. You can also try for additional specialty reservations. We like the Terrace for choices, informality and control over the length of dinner and portions.

Hope you’ll enjoy your first Oceania cruise.

PS Don’t forget the outstanding afternoon teas.

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Red Ginger is now going to have a night in the Terrace Cafe. Reggatta, Insignia and Sirena and Nautica.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, BenMurphy said:

Red Ginger is now going to have a night in the Terrace Cafe. Reggatta, Insignia and Sirena and Nautica.

Perhaps not Sirena - they already have a full Red Ginger restaurant? Maybe they will do it anyway for those that want more RG and can’t get extra reservations?

I would prefer a Jacques night in the Terrace :classic_biggrin:

Edited by Paulchili

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I question how many of RG’s main entries that I would want mass cooked and set out on a warming table under the bright lights! How long would it take that luscious juicy sea bass to turn into dry cardboard under the heating lamps? Huge opportunity to “ Panda Express “ the menu and experience if not careful!

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3 hours ago, BenMurphy said:

Red Ginger is now going to have a night in the Terrace Cafe. Reggatta, Insignia and Sirena and Nautica.

where  does this info come from??

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20 hours ago, LHT28 said:

where  does this info come from??

Oceania on FB

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GDR during weekdays (share/anytime before  8pm); Specialty during weekends (table for 2 /6:30). Last night: tradition at Polo. There is no particular reason or logic.  It is what it is and it works for us.

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Posted (edited)

We're usually in an inside cabin, so we don't have tons of reservation slots available to us.  Also, because we book rezzies later than the upper cabins, the best days/times are often booked by the time we can book, so I like to make a little list of first, second, third and fourth choices for days,  aiming for 7 PM or thereabouts.  (Sea days are the hardest to get unless we're willing to eat at 8, which we're usually not.)   I try to space the reservations out as best I can.  Other considerations: I'm a lighthouse lover, so if there's a lighthouse I could possibly see around dinner time, I stay away from that day in case I want to eat outside on the Terrace. If we're in port any days past 6, I stay away from those days, since I might be getting back later than usual and don't want to be rushed.  (I stay out longer than many people.)   I sometimes avoid days when I might be expecting to be a little tired from sightseeing.  I've never booked on our last night because I prefer to space things out (as I said earlier), but might do that some day.  I would not recommend that for others, though, if you like to both eat late and take your time packing!  And since everyone will likely be getting up fairly early to be out of their rooms by 8 (I think), you may be wanting to get to bed at a reasonable hour that night, too!

Edited by roothy123

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What days do a I like to eat?  Everyday

What times do I like to eat?  When I am hungry.

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17 minutes ago, Redtravel said:

What days do a I like to eat?  Everyday

What times do I like to eat?  When I am hungry.

 

My cruise strategy:

 

Eat until I'm tired.

 

Sleep until I'm hungry.

 

 

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On 3/18/2019 at 1:41 PM, Flatbush Flyer said:

There's a reason why those officer dinner invites are at 7:00 pm (preferably on sea days, particularly the evening of the captain's welcome party). Other than that we opt most often for 6:30pm on sea days or days when we leave ports before 6 pm.

How do we know in advance when the captain’s welcome party will be? Our last cruise on Riviera was a couple years ago, and I think it must have been near the beginning of the cruise, but I can’t remember which day. Is there a rule of thumb for this?

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