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sciencegrrl

Choose a dining time or anytime dining?

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On 4/14/2019 at 9:57 PM, NSWP said:

We prefer traditional dining, but it is often filled up early, eg. I booked Noordam 6 months ago, to sail Sydney to Honolulu on Sunday.   There were wait lists for 1st and 2nd seating, so I got waitlisted, now we have been given 'open seating' which we don't want, tried through my Agent and HAL Customer Relations to get a TD spot, but no good.  I am Celiac and have to order dinner the night before, so having same time, same table, same waiters makes it easier for the staff to find me and serve me.

 

We prefer fixed dining as well, which is why we always book extra early (sometimes more than a year out) to be sure we get it. We have not been wait listed yet.. 🙂

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10 hours ago, KroozNut said:

 

We prefer fixed dining as well, which is why we always book extra early (sometimes more than a year out) to be sure we get it. We have not been wait listed yet.. 🙂

 

I have been waitlisted twice. Once, was for a cruise we booked as soon as it was available. We did get it changed on board. The other time it couldn't be changed so we just went early each night and asked for the table because we had such good waitstaff the first night. So it was like having fixed dining. 

 

I'm not sure booking early is the only way to get what you want. The latest we ever booked was about 4 months out and we got early fixed, which surprised me. We were in a NS, so I wonder if they hold out some fixed dining spaces in order to accommodate suite pax. (I was in an OV when we got waitlisted 18 months out)

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1 hour ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

I'm not sure booking early is the only way to get what you want.

 

I'm sure it is either, but so far it has worked for us every time. And I'm one who doesn't fix something that's not broken. 😉

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2 hours ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

I have been waitlisted twice. Once, was for a cruise we booked as soon as it was available. We did get it changed on board. The other time it couldn't be changed so we just went early each night and asked for the table because we had such good waitstaff the first night. So it was like having fixed dining. 

 

I'm not sure booking early is the only way to get what you want. The latest we ever booked was about 4 months out and we got early fixed, which surprised me. We were in a NS, so I wonder if they hold out some fixed dining spaces in order to accommodate suite pax. (I was in an OV when we got waitlisted 18 months out)

Being in a NS will normally get you whatever dining time you want.  I have been waitlisted for Early and when I took an upsell to a NS I immediately was assigned Early fixed.

 

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On 4/17/2019 at 8:47 AM, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

If you have fixed/main dining, that is your slot in the MDR and you can't go to "anytime" in the MDR. You would have to go to the Lido or have room service if it's a last-minute decision. If you know in advance that you're going to want to eat at a different time, you could make a reservation in a specialty restaurant at the time you need. 

 

 

true, if you don't make your dining time (or relatively close, like with in 15 mins) no MDR that night.  Have a quiet "evening in" with room service and a movie, or try the Tamarind, it is AMAZING, and I have never had a problem getting into Canaletto last minute! HAL is accommodating (they are NOT going to let you go hungry LOL) , so go, enjoy and figure out the details as you go along.  

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Ummm. I was able to make a standing 6:15 dinner reservation on a HAL cruise.  It was an “undesirable “ table, ha! We loved it.   They let us keep it from 6 ish to end of evening.   The last cruise I used anytime/no reservation dining. I was taught a silly little trick. Ask for a table for 2 at 6ish and you are going to have to wait. While waiting you are given a voucher for wine 

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We always request main (8:00 pm) seating, fixed dining time.   We find that if we want a table for 2 or 4, during the busy times, anytime will usually have a line.   Also, if we are off the ship for shore excursions, we come back sweaty and looking for a shower.  We relax in our cabin, shower, dress and head to the Pinnacle bar for a few pre-dinner drinks and listen for the chimes to announce main seating dinner.   

We contact Ship's Services 9 months out from our cruise.  We ask for the e-mail address of the Ship Coordinator for the specific ship we will be on.  Then we go to HAL Facts dot com and download the MDR table layout PDF for the upper level of the MDR.  The tables are listed by number.  We make up a list of 10 or so tables that would work for us and send that request to the Ship Coordinator, maybe 7 or 8 months out.  We have received one of our top 3 favorite tables every time.   

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We have gravitated to Anytime dining.  We like the flexibility, especially on our last cruise on Koningsdam where our priority was getting to as many music sets of Lincoln Center Stage.  We're happier just having each other's company at a 2-top instead of a large table of 8, which will take 2+ hrs for dinner and give difficulty hearing several cross-conversations.  Maybe we are more introverted, or just done with the big dining feel. 

A 2-top was always available for us on K'dam, usually we requested a reservation in advance, but if we decided to dine in or go to Lido, no problem.  The only time we had off-service was when we were seated upstairs amongst the fixed time diners... the wait staff was confused, and I don't blame them.  

Never had trouble getting our open bottle of wine.  Never had a problem getting dietary needs met - the room number flags those needs.  We tended to eat later most of the time and it was much quieter - K'dam's dining room is IMHO noisier than the other ships.  Many times we had the same servers and wine stewards but we did get to sit in various places in the dining room and experience the different environments, but that was over 21 nights.  

On Amsterdam on a long cruise, 47 nights, we had a very poor experience with Anytime dining - no 2-tops left, all had been reserved for the whole cruise by those who boarded in Vancouver whereas we got on in Los Angeles for the full 47 nights.  It  really does vary by ship.  I think the newer ships are better for Anytime dining, and the shorter itineraries.  

Hope you find what works for you.  And if you are not happy, you can make a switch during your cruise but usually only once from fixed to Open/Anytime, or vice versa.  m--

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10 hours ago, RMLincoln said:

We have gravitated to Anytime dining.  We like the flexibility, especially on our last cruise on Koningsdam where our priority was getting to as many music sets of Lincoln Center Stage.  We're happier just having each other's company at a 2-top instead of a large table of 8, which will take 2+ hrs for dinner and give difficulty hearing several cross-conversations.  Maybe we are more introverted, or just done with the big dining feel. 

A 2-top was always available for us on K'dam, usually we requested a reservation in advance, but if we decided to dine in or go to Lido, no problem.  The only time we had off-service was when we were seated upstairs amongst the fixed time diners... the wait staff was confused, and I don't blame them.  

Never had trouble getting our open bottle of wine.  Never had a problem getting dietary needs met - the room number flags those needs.  We tended to eat later most of the time and it was much quieter - K'dam's dining room is IMHO noisier than the other ships.  Many times we had the same servers and wine stewards but we did get to sit in various places in the dining room and experience the different environments, but that was over 21 nights.  

On Amsterdam on a long cruise, 47 nights, we had a very poor experience with Anytime dining - no 2-tops left, all had been reserved for the whole cruise by those who boarded in Vancouver whereas we got on in Los Angeles for the full 47 nights.  It  really does vary by ship.  I think the newer ships are better for Anytime dining, and the shorter itineraries.  

Hope you find what works for you.  And if you are not happy, you can make a switch during your cruise but usually only once from fixed to Open/Anytime, or vice versa.  m--

 

I still prefer early fixed at a large table, but I agree with many of your comments.

 

I was very disappointed that nearly all the Lincoln Center sets were in conflict with my dining time. It hadn't been like that the previous year. 

 

I don't like the idea of mixing anytime with fixed. One of the good things about fixed is that the dinner has a sort of cadence--starters all at once, then mains, then dessert--which I think makes for smoother service. Adding someone who is 45 minutes "behind" the cadence makes it awkward for the waiters and adds to the bustle in the area. On other ships, when a couple at our table was dining at a specialty restaurant, we might have "anytime" passengers seated in their spots, but because they were seated at the same time as the rest of us, it worked out fine. 

 

As you said, my understanding is that you can opt out of fixed to anytime, but you can't go back. 

 

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On 4/12/2019 at 6:19 PM, sciencegrrl said:

DH & I are going on our first cruise to Alaska on Eurodam (Seattle to Seattle).  We do plan on enjoying the entertainment on board, happy hours, and ports.  

 

Am puzzled as to what dining to choose.  Early?  Late?  Anytime?  We prefer to get to know our servers and have them know us at our local restaurants, so fixed time dining seems like the ticket.  But which one?

 

Advice appreciated.

 

~ Marci

I personally prefer any time Dining.

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On 4/18/2019 at 4:17 PM, Mary229 said:

Ummm. I was able to make a standing 6:15 dinner reservation on a HAL cruise.  It was an “undesirable “ table, ha! We loved it.  

 

Ummmm, can you elaborate on exactly what 'you loved about it'?

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6 hours ago, KroozNut said:

 

Ummmm, can you elaborate on exactly what 'you loved about it'?

5:15 is late lunch, 8:00 is too late to eat, solitude.  The undesirable table is never rushed since no one else wants it.  But that may be changing.  It seemed to us that the Koningsdam has a larger percentage of tables for two than the older ships.  I would have to assume that is because of customer demand .

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