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Advice on booking specialty restaurants...


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Hi all, first time cruisers and getting ready to book our specialty restaurants.  Just curious how it works.  Assume you log in to Oceania account on the date that our reservations are permitted and then what?  Do you have to choose each restaurant individually and look for a table for two at each time slot?  Or is it more like Open Table where you can choose your needs (e.g., table for two) and they will show you all restaurants that have availability and the times they are available?  

 

For my DH, a table for two is most important, and from what I read it’s usually easier to get those later in the evening - we don’t mind eating late, but I would like to see a show or two (DH doesn’t care too much about that, it’s all about food/wine for him).  

 

Any advice from those with experience on how to proceed with booking would be greatly appreciated - we plan on staying up at midnight this week to try and get table for two.  

 

Last question - can you request a quiet table, or a table near window, etc, or do you just take what is given - we will be celebrating our wedding anniversary so would like at least one quiet/romantic evening 😏

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Your reservations will be available to be be booked at midnight Miami time. The options will be to select the restaurant you wish and then dates available with times will be shown for that restaurant. Select what you wish that is available and then press the “confirm” button. Then continue on with your other reservations.

 

If you don’t get the reservations you desire you can check back at a later date because other people may change their reservations opening up times/dates you prefer. Also, after boarding, there is a dedicated restaurant reservation desk on the ship that is open from 8 to 5 daily. Talk with the waiter there and you will probably be able to get your reservation moved to something more to your liking as well as table location. Also, if space is available, you can request additional reservations. We’ve been on cruises where we ate in a specialty more than not even though our cabin category allowed for just two reservations.

 

On the refurbished R class ships (Insignia, Regatta, Sirena - not sure about Nautical) the reservation desk is located on the starboard side of deck 5 in the main lobby area.

Edited by Classiccruiser777
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25 minutes ago, Classiccruiser777 said:

Your reservations will be available to be be booked at midnight Miami time. The options will be to select the restaurant you wish and then dates available with times will be shown for that restaurant. Select what you wish that is available and then press the “confirm” button. Then continue on with your other reservations.

At the outset of the process for each reservation, you can also choose to see availability for sharing/no sharing. Needless to say, there will usually be far more availability times if you select "sharing." 

Note as well that your allowance for pre-reservations is "per each restaurant." So, for example, you cannot book all of yours in one restaurant. Likewise, on longer (particularly multi-segment) cruises, your allowance is per segment and/or must be split over the length of the cruise. So, for example, on a two segment cruise with 2 slots per segment, you must book 2 in each segment. On a long single segment cruise, you may be required to do half your allowance in the second half. The search engine is very intuitive and will impose the limits if you try to circumvent them.

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2 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

At the outset of the process for each reservation, you can also choose to see availability for sharing/no sharing. Needless to say, there will usually be far more availability times if you select "sharing." 

Note as well that your allowance for pre-reservations is "per each restaurant." So, for example, you cannot book all of yours in one restaurant. Likewise, on longer (particularly multi-segment) cruises, your allowance is per segment and/or must be split over the length of the cruise. So, for example, on a two segment cruise with 2 slots per segment, you must book 2 in each segment. On a long single segment cruise, you may be required to do half your allowance in the second half. The search engine is very intuitive and will impose the limits if you try to circumvent them.

Would you say that getting non sharing tables is easier or more likely at any restaurant in particular, or at any specific time (e.g., earlier in the evening or later)?  What is the earliest and latest you can book dinners?

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The cabin category that you are in is a big factor.  You didn't mention what you're in but if it's a PH or higher you should have no trouble getting the time you'd like and non-shared table in any restaurant.  Our last cruise was 10 days in a PH and we made all our specialty restaurant reservations the day after they became available and had no trouble.  6:30 is the earliest you can book and I believe 8:30 is the latest. You didn't say the length of your cruise but the longer it is, the easier it will be to get reservations. We loved all 4 specialties.

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5 hours ago, cruisingxpert said:

Go to this thread.  It is about the same questions  When you get on the ship, go and find the manager of the restaurant where you will have your Anniversary and let them know that.

 

What is that where it say Reputation Points? Never seen that before. 

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2 hours ago, sunlover12 said:

The cabin category that you are in is a big factor.  You didn't mention what you're in but if it's a PH or higher you should have no trouble getting the time you'd like and non-shared table in any restaurant.  Our last cruise was 10 days in a PH and we made all our specialty restaurant reservations the day after they became available and had no trouble.  6:30 is the earliest you can book and I believe 8:30 is the latest. You didn't say the length of your cruise but the longer it is, the easier it will be to get reservations. We loved all 4 specialties.

We are on a 10 day cruise, and staying in a concierge cabin.  So we can book 60 days prior to the cruise.  

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7 minutes ago, Sun Queen II said:

We are on a 10 day cruise, and staying in a concierge cabin.  So we can book 60 days prior to the cruise.  

 

8 minutes ago, Sun Queen II said:

We are on a 10 day cruise, and staying in a concierge cabin.  So we can book 60 days prior to the cruise.  

Which ship? How many sea days? All of this affects initial availability. 

The good news is that "Concierge" books ahead of "Veranda"'and lower. 

 

The bad news is that, on a short cruise like yours, most nights (particularly on sea days), the specialties will have far fewer "prime time" (6:30 through 7:30 pm) slots for non-sharing once they've been picked over by the PH folks and cabins above.

 

FWIW, you should consider at least a few "sharing" tables. Oceania's demographic includes some very well-traveled and accomplished passengers, many of whom are repeat customers and a fund of knowledge about Oceania's idiosyncrasies.

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34 minutes ago, DeeniEncinitas said:

Your correct!! Click on it and it shows my CC friend on HAL Krazy Keuiser KK!

No big deal.

Denise😊

Well, what the deal is is that it's never said Reputation Points before. Also if you go to that thread you can't find a post that says that. Quite odd if you ask me. 

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36 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

 

 

 

FWIW, you should consider at least a few "sharing" tables. Oceania's demographic includes some very well-traveled and accomplished passengers, many of whom are repeat customers and a fund of knowledge about Oceania's idiosyncrasies.

 

My sister and I are taking our first Oceania cruise on the Marina this July. How large are their shared tables? We tend to prefer sharing a table with others. 

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14 minutes ago, schmerl said:

 

My sister and I are taking our first Oceania cruise on the Marina this July. How large are their shared tables? We tend to prefer sharing a table with others. 

 4, 6 & a few 8s

Edited by Paulchili
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10 minutes ago, schmerl said:

 

My sister and I are taking our first Oceania cruise on the Marina this July. How large are their shared tables? We tend to prefer sharing a table with others. 

4, 6, 8, and, in the GDR, there's at least one ten. In Privee on the O ships I think the usual seating is for  10. 

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1 hour ago, ORV said:

Well, what the deal is is that it's never said Reputation Points before. Also if you go to that thread you can't find a post that says that. Quite odd if you ask me. 

ORV,

I have never seen this Reputation Points

before but clicked on it and it showed KK!

Just go to my question and scroll down and there is a like and it is from KK.

IMO I think this is weird. Your right go to my post and it doesn’t say anything but I have a green heart with 1. Really I don’t care! I just love how everyone supports all the questions with great answers.

now I feel I am a pro with knowing how to make my reservations👍
Have a great Sunday!

Denise😊

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You will be able to get a table for 2 without any problem but the time might not suit. So just choose your table for 2 and the time or one of the times that’s showing but keep logging in to check as people cancel/change their booked time. This happened to us on our last Oceania cruise. When it was time for me to book the only times available were 5.30 or 9pm. I chose one but kept checking on a daily basis. Eventually slots became available for the times I wanted but on a different night which was no big deal. We usually book an inside or oceanview cabin so are usually the last in the queue to book our speciality restaurants. 
 

you have to book each restaurant separately. I found all the tables for 2 we had very nice. 
 

 

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This is great info.  Thank you again, everyone.

It sounds a bit time consuming to keep checking and then changing your dining time?  Like, if a good time opens up for a different evening in Red Ginger, then we might have to then schedule a new evening in the original restaurant booked.  But, it sounds like it might be worth the juggling!

 

We would at least hope to try each of the four specialty restaurants on a short 7 night cruise.

I know!  I know!   Too short...  But time and budget dictate!  And we do like the itinerary.

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My guess is that on a 7 day cruise, with 4 reservations available, you are not going to have that much choice!  If in a suite a butler can assist (let's say "make magic") but for regular folks, that option isn't available.  The longer the cruise, the better chance you have (I would think) to make  changes earlier.

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6 hours ago, Issyalex said:

You will be able to get a table for 2 without any problem but the time might not suit. So just choose your table for 2 and the time or one of the times that’s showing but keep logging in to check as people cancel/change their booked time. This happened to us on our last Oceania cruise. When it was time for me to book the only times available were 5.30 or 9pm. I chose one but kept checking on a daily basis. Eventually slots became available for the times I wanted but on a different night which was no big deal. We usually book an inside or oceanview cabin so are usually the last in the queue to book our speciality restaurants. 
 

you have to book each restaurant separately. I found all the tables for 2 we had very nice. 
 

 

I do not believe that any of the specialty restaurants open until 6:30 but I only have sailed on the larger “O” ships since 2011 so perhaps those on the “R” ships open earlier.

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8 hours ago, CintiPam said:

I do not believe that any of the specialty restaurants open until 6:30 but I only have sailed on the larger “O” ships since 2011 so perhaps those on the “R” ships open earlier.

 

Currently on Sirena, the 2 specialties open at 6pm, 30 minutes earlier than the other restaurants. 

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21 hours ago, CintiPam said:

I do not believe that any of the specialty restaurants open until 6:30 but I only have sailed on the larger “O” ships since 2011 so perhaps those on the “R” ships open earlier.

On Riviera last month, all the specialties opened at 6.  But it was explained to us that because it was a 7 day cruise, and a vast majority of the passengers were first timers, the specialties had to find seating for a lot more than they usually do.  Despite the fact that we were in a Vista, not even our butler could secure reservations for us. 

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1 hour ago, jeanine said:

Only 9pm res are available for our cruise on Nautica! We prefer 8pm dinner res. We are on a14 day cruise in March. Hopefully we will be able to change once on board!

 

Aloha

That always depends on demand.  Some passengers are like us and don't value the specialty restaurants that much so we rarely try for extra reservations, and sometimes we don't even use our total allotment.  But obviously there are others who want to be in a specialty restaurant every night, despite the static menus.  So you won't know until you board, but they do hold back spots for those passengers who don't reserve in advance online.

 

Good luck!  If you have a butler, he can usually help.

 

Mura

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1 hour ago, jeanine said:

Only 9pm res are available for our cruise on Nautica! We prefer 8pm dinner res. We are on a14 day cruise in March. Hopefully we will be able to change once on board!

 

Aloha

If you immediately pre-booked when your "window" opened, it is hard to believe that the only availability for every evening was 9 pm!!!

Were you looking only at non-sharing?  

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