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PrincessPete

Freedom Dining query

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Hi, can you request specific times for dinner each day of the cruise on Freedom Dining before sailing, or do you just go to the restaurant and get a table when you turn up. (I appreciate if that is the case it may mean taking a pager and waiting.) I know you can book in advance on some lines, not sure if so on P&O.

The ship is Arcadia if that makes a difference.

Many thanks for your help.

Peter

Edited by PrincessPete
Grammar

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You just go when you want to eat.  Be warned if you want a table for 2 early, I have seen them queuing from 5.15!!  I think after 7 pm, there is no problem, particularly if you are happy to sit with other people.

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3 hours ago, PrincessPete said:

Hi, can you request specific times for dinner each day of the cruise on Freedom Dining before sailing, or do you just go to the restaurant and get a table when you turn up. (I appreciate if that is the case it may mean taking a pager and waiting.) I know you can book in advance on some lines, not sure if so on P&O.

The ship is Arcadia if that makes a difference.

Many thanks for your help.

Peter

On Ventura which has 2 Freedom restaurants we went every night between 6.45pm-7.30pm and because we wanted a table for 2 we were given a buzzer and waited between 45-60 minutes every night.

I emailed a contact at Carnival House to say the cruise was fantastic but the waiting time for Freedom dining was very disappointing and they need a lot more tables for 2 as lots of people were carrying buzzers like us in the Atrium area on deck 5 and 6.

Edited by grapau27

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We were on the Ventura 16 Aug cruise and went to the restaurant at various times between 1815 and 1930. Each time we went straight in without waiting although we were happy to share a table. The only problem we had was that there was a considerable delay between courses as though the waiters had too many tables to serve. On one night took 2.5 hours before we could leave.

Brian

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If you insist on a table for two you may well have to wait some while at peak times. If you're happy to share, your wait will be short.

 

The rows of tables for two always look uninviting and unfriendly to me, wedged closely together with very little space between them. It's a very inefficient use of space and you can see why there are so few of them. I'd certainly not welcome any increase, though, because that would just mean fewer of the much more efficient larger tables that most people are happy to use.

 

Never really been able to understand why people would prefer these cramped little tables but I'm obviously missing something. 🤔

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5 hours ago, PrincessPete said:

Hi, can you request specific times for dinner each day of the cruise on Freedom Dining before sailing, or do you just go to the restaurant and get a table when you turn up. (I appreciate if that is the case it may mean taking a pager and waiting.) I know you can book in advance on some lines, not sure if so on P&O.

The ship is Arcadia if that makes a difference.

Many thanks for your help.

Peter

 

1 hour ago, grapau27 said:

On Ventura which has 2 Freedom restaurants we went every night between 6.45pm-7.30pm and because we wanted a table for 2 we were given a buzzer and waited between 45-60 minutes every night.

I emailed a contact at Carnival House to say the cruise was fantastic but the waiting time for Freedom dining was very disappointing and they need a lot more tables for 2 as lots of people were carrying buzzers like us in the Atrium area on deck 5 and 6.

Taking the first point, we were on Independence recently and RCI encourage the booking of tables.  However there were always lots of empty tables waiting for booked guests, meanwhile outside even those with bookings had to queue and sometimes take pagers along with nearly all those without a booking, on P&O only diners wanting tables for 2 seem to need a pager, those willing to share get straight in and there is very little queuing.

As regards the second, another vote here for no extra tables for 2, it would only reduce the more sensible 8s and 6s.

 

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I am always bemused by people who want a table for two at peak times and then moan when they find that they have to wait!

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As a solo traveller I'm usually happy to share and have never had to wait for freedom dining, whatever time I go in. If i feel like dining alone I go in later when there's no problem.

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If you allow pre booking of tables on freedom dining what about the people who book a time for every evening and just don't turn up on some evenings. Freedom dining should be freedom dining for everyone. Maybe you should pay £50 deposit per person which is refunded if you actually turn up

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9 hours ago, wowzz said:

I am always bemused by people who want a table for two at peak times and then moan when they find that they have to wait!

 

Perhaps it is in the name Freedom. It creates a false expectation. It could be renamed Wait For dining.

 

Best wishes, Stephen. 

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I take the point about people not turning up if they had a table booked (perhaps the £50 deposit suggestion was tongue in cheek!).

However, we were on the Celebrity Silhouette last week for a 7 night cruise, and the Freedom Dining worked perfectly with virtually no waiting time, even for tables for two in the busy period. The Maitre D told me that most people had booked in advance (a service Celebrity offer) but if they do not show within 10 minutes of the scheduled time the booking is cancelled automatically and the table becomes available for people waiting without a booking.

I can only say that it worked exceptionally well last week.

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11 hours ago, Harry Peterson said:

If you insist on a table for two you may well have to wait some while at peak times. If you're happy to share, your wait will be short.

 

The rows of tables for two always look uninviting and unfriendly to me, wedged closely together with very little space between them. It's a very inefficient use of space and you can see why there are so few of them. I'd certainly not welcome any increase, though, because that would just mean fewer of the much more efficient larger tables that most people are happy to use.

 

Never really been able to understand why people would prefer these cramped little tables but I'm obviously missing something. 🤔

 

We love these tables for 2 and they are the friendliest on the ship.  The same people tend to be in or around the same tables every night and it is very sociable. We don't especially enjoy the large tables now in Freedom as we can't be bothered with the rigmarole of introductions every night and we've also met too many rude people. Most people on tables for 2 we've met do it for the same reasons.  It was the same on Celebrity last week. Our 4 x tables for 2 might just as well have been a table for 8 as we sat together most nights

35 minutes ago, PrincessPete said:

I take the point about people not turning up if they had a table booked (perhaps the £50 deposit suggestion was tongue in cheek!).

However, we were on the Celebrity Silhouette last week for a 7 night cruise, and the Freedom Dining worked perfectly with virtually no waiting time, even for tables for two in the busy period. The Maitre D told me that most people had booked in advance (a service Celebrity offer) but if they do not show within 10 minutes of the scheduled time the booking is cancelled automatically and the table becomes available for people waiting without a booking.

I can only say that it worked exceptionally well last week.

Can't say most people had booked in advance on Celebrity Infinity over the last 2 weeks and we certainly had a buzzer several nights. We didn't find we waited any shorter or longer than we do on P&O but to be honest we've never had longer than a 20 minute wait on either. We're happy to wait in a bar with a glass of wine then take it into dinner 

Edited by tartanexile81

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32 minutes ago, PrincessPete said:

I take the point about people not turning up if they had a table booked (perhaps the £50 deposit suggestion was tongue in cheek!).

However, we were on the Celebrity Silhouette last week for a 7 night cruise, and the Freedom Dining worked perfectly with virtually no waiting time, even for tables for two in the busy period. The Maitre D told me that most people had booked in advance (a service Celebrity offer) but if they do not show within 10 minutes of the scheduled time the booking is cancelled automatically and the table becomes available for people waiting without a booking.

I can only say that it worked exceptionally well last week.

We sailed regularly on Celebrity, until their prices sky rocketed, and never once booked a table, we did always share though on tables foe 6 or 8.  I imagine most bookings would be either tables for 2, or groups wanting to dine together, which would still leave the vast majority willing to share and not needing to book.

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55 minutes ago, stephen@stoneyard.co.uk said:

 

Perhaps it is in the name Freedom. It creates a false expectation. It could be renamed Wait For dining.

 

Best wishes, Stephen. 

No false expectations at all in my book. 

 

It frees you from the tyranny of having to eat, 1950s holiday camp style (even they don't do it now though), at one of two totally fixed, inflexible, dining times.  And if you don't bizarrely insist on one of those horrible little wedged in tables for two you won't have to wait long at all.  In fact we've never had to wait more than a minute or two, whatever time we dine.

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Agree entirely with the last post. I did not phrase my earlier comment very well and I did indeed mean that most people who booked in advance were those wanting a table for two. If you are happy to share there is clearly little point in booking in advance as there are (nearly) always tables ready at any time.

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Having sailed both Royal and P&O, we didn't like the bookings system on Royal. If I'm on Freedom dining I want to be able to go and whatever time we are ready, not a booked time. It annoyed me that they badgered you to book for the next night, and implied that if you didn't book you wouldn't get a table. NCL has freedom dining nailed- never waited more than 5 minutes for a table for 2 at any time and no need to book.

 

We are just off Britannia with freedom dining. We don't like to share tables, I don't care if they are 'more efficient', I haven't and never will want to sit with a bunch of randoms at dinner and have to wait for them to order/eat/tell me some long dull story about their golf club. I don't go into a restaurant at home and offer to share with strangers so why would I on holiday. However I recognise that this means waiting sometimes and we just suck it up. I agree they need more tables for 2 as the only people with buzzers were couples. If the demand is there then I don't know why they don't go with it, rather than insisting you should share a table just because that's what some people deem is better.

 

Anyway.... when we went between 6-6.30pm we didn't wait for a table for 2 and the dining room seemed very quiet. When we went at 7pm or later there was normally a 45 minute wait for a table. Hope that helps.

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12 minutes ago, SquishTheWhale said:

 

 

We are just off Britannia with freedom dining. We don't like to share tables, I don't care if they are 'more efficient', I haven't and never will want to sit with a bunch of randoms at dinner and have to wait for them to order/eat/tell me some long dull story about their golf club. I don't go into a restaurant at home and offer to share with strangers so why would I on holiday. However I recognise that this means waiting sometimes and we just suck it up. I agree they need more tables for 2 as the only people with buzzers were couples. If the demand is there then I don't know why they don't go with it, rather than insisting you should share a table just because that's what some people deem is better.

Like you, I'd never dream of sharing a table in a restaurant - it just wouldn't happen.

 

Oddly, though, I'm more than happy to do so on a cruise. Not sure why that is, but it's just more sociable, and interesting to meet different people.

 

I have no desire to sit at those overcrowded cramped little tables for two, and I'd be absolutely against creating any more at the expense of the sociable tables.

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46 minutes ago, SquishTheWhale said:

Having sailed both Royal and P&O, we didn't like the bookings system on Royal. If I'm on Freedom dining I want to be able to go and whatever time we are ready, not a booked time. It annoyed me that they badgered you to book for the next night, and implied that if you didn't book you wouldn't get a table. NCL has freedom dining nailed- never waited more than 5 minutes for a table for 2 at any time and no need to book.

 

We are just off Britannia with freedom dining. We don't like to share tables, I don't care if they are 'more efficient', I haven't and never will want to sit with a bunch of randoms at dinner and have to wait for them to order/eat/tell me some long dull story about their golf club. I don't go into a restaurant at home and offer to share with strangers so why would I on holiday. However I recognise that this means waiting sometimes and we just suck it up. I agree they need more tables for 2 as the only people with buzzers were couples. If the demand is there then I don't know why they don't go with it, rather than insisting you should share a table just because that's what some people deem is better.

 

Anyway.... when we went between 6-6.30pm we didn't wait for a table for 2 and the dining room seemed very quiet. When we went at 7pm or later there was normally a 45 minute wait for a table. Hope that helps.

You are not alone, thanks for speaking up for all of us that prefer dining at a table for two.

 

We normally cruise with a couple of friends so always ask for a table for four but when it’s just the two of us we always ask for a table for two for the reasons you have pointed out.

 

There is obviously a demand so they should provide tables for couples that prefer to dine together.

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5 minutes ago, P-L-B said:

You are not alone, thanks for speaking up for all of us that prefer dining at a table for two.

 

We normally cruise with a couple of friends so always ask for a table for four but when it’s just the two of us we always ask for a table for two for the reasons you have pointed out.

 

There is obviously a demand so they should provide tables for couples that prefer to dine together.

There may well be a demand, but there's a far greater demand from the vast majority who are happy to share.

 

There's a finite, limited, space available. More tables for two would have to be at the expense of the much more space-efficient larger tables, resulting in longer queues for the majority and shorter queues for an arguably fussy minority.

 

Cruising involves compromises. This is one of them. Is it such a big deal to have to wait a while if you're wanting something out of the ordinary?

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13 minutes ago, Harry Peterson said:

There may well be a demand, but there's a far greater demand from the vast majority who are happy to share.

 

There's a finite, limited, space available. More tables for two would have to be at the expense of the much more space-efficient larger tables, resulting in longer queues for the majority and shorter queues for an arguably fussy minority.

 

Cruising involves compromises. This is one of them. Is it such a big deal to have to wait a while if you're wanting something out of the ordinary?

Every night on Ventura the Atrium deck 5 and 6 was full of people carrying buzzers.

When we finally got in to Saffron restaurant after waiting an hour this is what we found, Empty Tables for 2.

This tells me there is a demand.

Several of the larger tables were regularly empty 

IMG_20190823_194623.jpg

Edited by grapau27

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11 minutes ago, Harry Peterson said:

There may well be a demand, but there's a far greater demand from the vast majority who are happy to share.

 

There's a finite, limited, space available. More tables for two would have to be at the expense of the much more space-efficient larger tables, resulting in longer queues for the majority and shorter queues for an arguably fussy minority.

 

Cruising involves compromises. This is one of them. Is it such a big deal to have to wait a while if you're wanting something out of the ordinary?

No problem waiting, I will just have to order a couple more Old Speckled Hen’s.👍:classic_biggrin:

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1 minute ago, grapau27 said:

Every night on Ventura the Atrium deck 5 and 6 was full of people carrying buzzers.

When we finally got in to Saffron restaurant after waiting an hour this is what we found, Empty Tables.

This tells me there is a demand.

Several of the larger tables were regularly empty 

IMG_20190823_194623.jpg

Agreed, Graham. 🍻

BTW, I noticed your well positioned Old Speckled Hen.:classic_biggrin:

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1 minute ago, P-L-B said:

No problem waiting, I will just have to order a couple more Old Speckled Hen’s.👍:classic_biggrin:

My Old Speckled Hen you can see in my previous post.

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Fortunately, for those of us who prefer sharing tables, if P&O stay true to form they are unlikely to listen to the demands of those seeking more tables for 2.:classic_rolleyes:

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10 minutes ago, P-L-B said:

Agreed, Graham. 🍻

BTW, I noticed your well positioned Old Speckled Hen.:classic_biggrin:

That's actually a rather good photo in that it shows clearly the reality of the 'table for two' - they're so close together that in reality it's a table for 4 or 6 with a tiny space between.

 

You'd have to be very rude indeed not to talk to your fellow diners, so I still struggle to see what you're actually gaining?

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