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MrandMrsCoz

dining preference question

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I fully agree that most local TA’s are not cruise experts by any means. I have a number of times been into shops to find out how much they knew. I do not use local TA’s. I used to use a local one many years ago but she had the backing of a cruise department she could refer to. 

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Back to the point, you book a saver fare, save your 10%, and take a gamble. 

 

If they want early dining then upgrade to select fare. Much as the advice to talk to Maitre D is meant to be helpful.  Everyone on a select fare must have priority of choice over saver fare that's why it costs more.  

 

If the TA didn't point this out,  then they may have a claim against the TA. Especially as dining preference is given in order of booking. So they may have left it too late. Before paying extra for select fare get the TA to talk to P&O and check where they would be in the queue. Sometimes even select fares do not get their dining choice.

 

But to get priority dining choice must first pay select or it's not fair on those who paid more.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

The trouble you have MrandMrsCoz is that you have effectively gone through two middle men, your mother in law and the travel agent. So you don't know for certain what was said or agreed or explained when the booking was made. 

 

If it was my mother in law making the booking for the entire party we would all probably land up booked onto different ships and going on different cruises. I wouldn't trust her to buy a ticket for the car park never mind arrange a family holiday. 😈

Edited by AchileLauro

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43 minutes ago, Windsurfboy said:

But to get priority dining choice must first pay select or it's not fair on those who paid more.

 

 

 

 

Lots of things in life aren't fair. We always book Select - though mainly for the certainty of the accommodation - but if someone who hasn't done manages to get the meal requirements they're looking for, good luck to them! It doesn't hurt me in any way, and I'd rather see someone such as the OP happy than not.

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Who was present when mil booked the cruise and did mil express a preference for a dining time? Was mil given any instructions as regards dining times beforehand? Unfortunately  and I appreciate it is a generalisation but we are all prone to jump to conclusions before we know the facts.

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1 hour ago, seadog18 said:

Who was present when mil booked the cruise and did mil express a preference for a dining time? Was mil given any instructions as regards dining times beforehand? Unfortunately  and I appreciate it is a generalisation but we are all prone to jump to conclusions before we know the facts.

 

If we had to wait for the facts before making a comment, most forums I know would die overnight!

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I have just got off the phone to P&O as I wanted to add an extension to a cruise that we have booked for next year. The original part is on a select fare but I was happy to take a chance with the new bit. The sales Assistant went through the differences in the fares really thoroughly to make sure I understood what I was getting and before taking a deposit payment she again read through the terms, particularly  the bits about shuttle buses and the part about choosing a dining option,  and asked for my agreement. I'm sure if a TA was calling  P&O then the same terms and conditions would be carefully read through. Of course whether the TA made it clear to the poster's M in Law or whether she just failed to take on board what they were saying is impossible to know. P&O will certainly do their best to accommodate dining choices and won't be difficult for the sake of it but they do have to work within the constraints they have and they can't make a space where there isn't one.

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6 hours ago, Harry Peterson said:

Lots of things in life aren't fair. We always book Select - though mainly for the certainty of the accommodation - but if someone who hasn't done manages to get the meal requirements they're looking for, good luck to them! It doesn't hurt me in any way, and I'd rather see someone such as the OP happy than not.

 

Yes Harry, but you wouldn't like it if you didn't get your dining choice then found out (I don't know how), that people on saver fares had.

 

I didn't say the OP shouldn't get the dining they wanted hope they do,  just that they won't have priority,  people on select fares are and should be first in the queue. Only if the more popular first sitting isn't taken by select fares will they get in.

 

Good luck,  but a saver fare is a gamble  on cabin  and the dining sitting, only  guarantee is cabin grade, that's why you get a lower fare.

 

 

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Not only did I get my booking confirmation through this afternoon but also a separate notification listing the restrictions on  Saver fare. I don't know how long they have issued those but presumably it would have been received by TA who should have passed on the information.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/10/2019 at 3:39 PM, MrandMrsCoz said:

My mother-in-law booked our cruise through a local travel agent

 

The question nobody has asked here (whilst they went off and had a moan about travel agents and whether it was 'fair' to meet a request) was which ship are you travelling on.

 

The smaller ships have two dining rooms - one club for early / late sittings and one freedom. The bigger ships have three dining rooms - one club for early / late sittings and two for freedom.

 

If you are travelling on a small ship you have almost zero chance of getting freedom since usually more than half of the passengers want it. If you are travelling on a big ship you are far more likely to be allocated freedom because of the 1/3 2/3 split.

 

Another factor where the ship comes in is the age group on board. If it is a gods waiting room cruise then they will all want early sitting and will be queued up at the desk to try and get a table for two (and "by the window please"), and if they don't get that they will be queued up for freedom at 5.30 in the afternoon.

 

If you don't get allocated freedom or an early dining time then you can ask the restaurant manager and they open the restaurant desk to do that early afternoon. There is always an enormous queue of people asking and often lots of people disappointed.

 

My understanding for P&O is requests for change take a priority order, not how early you are in the queue for the desk. People who paid Select get first choice and within Select those who booked earliest, then the Saver fares and who booked earliest.

 

Personally my experience with P&O restaurant managers is they are a bit 'jobsworth' with 'the rules' being more important than the customer's happiness, whereas on Cunard they seem to put customer experience far higher.

 

Hope you get what you want, but if it was me and you did end up with 8.30 then I would plan around taking the 9 year old along anyway. Younger children in other countries eat out far later with no harm, and the new experience might be interesting for them.

Edited by picsa

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I still think you should look to change to select fare. Often when you take in to account OBC/car park/bus, there isn't a lot of difference in the price. This probably wasn't explained clearly either.

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12 hours ago, happy v said:

I still think you should look to change to select fare. Often when you take in to account OBC/car park/bus, there isn't a lot of difference in the price. This probably wasn't explained clearly either.

My understanding is that unfortunately you cannot amend a booking from Saver to Select under P&O's booking conditions. 

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On 8/10/2019 at 3:39 PM, MrandMrsCoz said:

Hi,

My mother-in-law booked our cruise through a local travel agent who were rubbish so she wasn't told of the different options for dining during the booking. Had she been told, she would've picked the option where we could all select our dining time - This has left us with the type of option where it says in our cruise personaliser that we will be informed once boarded what time we will dine. We have put our preference in the cruise personaliser but due to being on the saver option, have been told it depends on what is available. As our son is only 9, we are now worrying about the fact we may get a later dining time of 8.30 if that's all that's left. (our favoured option would be freedom or 6.30 as this would mean it not being too late to eat as a family with our son) I know there is an option for children to have an early tea but this isn't how we envisaged our holiday as we like to eat together as much as possible. Are P&O sensible enough to realise when a booking has been made with a child to know it's best to give an earlier dining time? If we are allocated a later 8.30 time, will they be open to a possible change due to us having a child with us or will they refuse to budge? thanks in advance 🙂

Please let us know how you get on. I think your experience has been a lesson for all those first time cruisers as this sort of holiday is not cheap and you want to enjoy the looking forward to it, not stressing over the dining and what the TA may or may not have told your MIL. It will all sort itself out one way or another so have a fab holiday and enjoy the wonderful cruise ahead of you.

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Apologies if this has been suggested already but have you tried emailing P&O direct to ask if it's possible to change? I have emailed them about a different matter and they were very helpful.

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2 hours ago, SarahHben said:

Apologies if this has been suggested already but have you tried emailing P&O direct to ask if it's possible to change? I have emailed them about a different matter and they were very helpful.

In what way could they help?? When you embark a cruise there is always a queue of people looking to change their dining preference.

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1 minute ago, dgs1956 said:

In what way could they help?? When you embark a cruise there is always a queue of people looking to change their dining preference.

Sorry, it was only a suggestion, clearly not a good one. I have never been on a cruise before, but have my first one booked and P&O have been very helpful when I have had queries.

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2 hours ago, SarahHben said:

Apologies if this has been suggested already but have you tried emailing P&O direct to ask if it's possible to change? I have emailed them about a different matter and they were very helpful.

Please dont let the posters to your suggestion put you off. Yes pando are helpful ,if they can be. I have spoken to them in the past and found them very helpful.

The main problems here are the poster booked through a TA (so Pando could refuse to talk to them and refer them back to the TA, who all their dealings should be with). Changing dining is getting more difficult to change due to more people booking select fares.

I do hope they come back and post how they got on. It helps with people with similar queries in the future.

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, SarahHben said:

Sorry, it was only a suggestion, clearly not a good one. I have never been on a cruise before, but have my first one booked and P&O have been very helpful when I have had queries.

Hi Sarah, your suggestion for the OP to contact their TA or P&O direct is good but only regarding changing their booking from Saver to Select but it's probably worth a try.

Edited by P-L-B

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23 minutes ago, SarahHben said:

Sorry, it was only a suggestion, clearly not a good one. I have never been on a cruise before, but have my first one booked and P&O have been very helpful when I have had queries.

Apologies. P&O will not help if you have booked through a Travel Agent. They simply refer you back to them. The OP has not said which ship they are on and as I said previously if they are on one of the bigger ships then the Dining Rooms are 2:1  in favour of Freedom and the third one obviously has an early and a late sitting so the chances are they should be OK anyway.

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I'm hoping due to us being on a bigger ship (Ventura) that we may be ok and get either the early sitting or freedom. I totally realise that the more expensive select price would've allowed us the flexibility and had myself or my husband being the one who booked, this is the option we would've gone with as we research our holidays before we book. My mum-in-law did what she thought was good and jumped in and booked without researching first in the trust that the travel agent in our high street would look after her. She did this after having booked a cruise with a travel agent for her an a friend 3 years ago and getting looked after very well. The travel agent have been absolutely dire and have left us so frustrated that I wrote a complaint on due to the lack of service my mum-in-law was given. The only information they have given is the booking reference number and print off of our E ticket and luggage label - this was only given to us 2 weeks ago, not for want of trying to get other information. They definitely didn't explain any dining options with my mum-in-law which I know as she seemed shocked when I explained the different options which I had found out after reading this forum and the P&O site. She asked them to make sure that we were situated close by as she is a single traveller with mobility issues/meds to take etc and instead of explaining at the time that to guarantee this, she needed tobook a select price, they just said that we had to wait until the cabins were allocated to find out but that 'we should be fairly close'. As it turns out, we are on a balcony on port, her on starboard but not to far away but I guess this is only pure chance.

We totally understand that those people who've paid extra should get the first choice - had we known at time of booking, we too would've paid the extra. I also know that we are able to dine in the buffet but that is not how we would choose to eat our main meal if we had the choice. With regards to the suggestion from someone that we are able to eat late like families in some other countries do regularly - again, it's not how we would choose if we had the choice but obviously if its the only choice then, we will cope with it.

We will go onboard with an open mind and good manners and hope that all works out well for us.

This is why I always book holidays after extensive research normally and not through travel agents but, it's a one off to appease my mum-in-law 🙂

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47 minutes ago, MrandMrsCoz said:

I'm hoping due to us being on a bigger ship (Ventura) that we may be ok and get either the early sitting or freedom.

On Ventura there are two Freedom Dining Restaurants and one Club Dining. I think the first sitting is 6pm. There is also the Buffet Restaurant that you can use any evening and there are Speciality Restaurants that are extra cost. During the day there are burgers and pizza etc served on deck. If you do land on late Second Sitting then I would suggest its best to go to the Dining Room and ask the Maitre D if you can change. There will probably be a few people asking so check if someone just wants a late dining if you want an early one.

Can I ask which deck you are on?

Good luck and enjoy your cruise.

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52 minutes ago, dgs1956 said:

On Ventura there are two Freedom Dining Restaurants and one Club Dining. I think the first sitting is 6pm. There is also the Buffet Restaurant that you can use any evening and there are Speciality Restaurants that are extra cost. During the day there are burgers and pizza etc served on deck. If you do land on late Second Sitting then I would suggest its best to go to the Dining Room and ask the Maitre D if you can change. There will probably be a few people asking so check if someone just wants a late dining if you want an early one.

Can I ask which deck you are on?

Good luck and enjoy your cruise.

thank you 🙂

We are in a cabin on B deck at mid-aft, and with only 2 days left in work.....the dining times seem less important haha. 

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6 minutes ago, MrandMrsCoz said:

thank you 🙂

We are in a cabin on B deck at mid-aft, and with only 2 days left in work.....the dining times seem less important haha. 

Good. I really do hope you all have a great time.

It is surprising how much there is to find out about cruising.

Remember that as well as the Buffet you can use one of the main Dining Rooms for Breakfast and Lunch and they also do Afternoon Tea. 

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