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I seem to remember news about HA offering a change in dining preferences, like Princess "Personal Choice" or NCL "Anytime Dining." Is this going to be an option, if so when and on which ships?

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My understanding is that the "Anytime Dining" option, currently in its experimental phase on the Oosterdam and Noordam during their Alaska runs, will spread to the entire fleet by the end of the year. The main dining room will offer traditonal fixed seating on deck 3, and the new "As You Wish" or "Anytime Dining" on deck 2.

 

Anyone have more definite info?

 

Karin

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Thanks. We'll be on the Veendam next Feb. so maybe it'll be available there by then. We've gotten used to it on Princess and like it, as we often just want a table for two.

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Thanks. We'll be on the Veendam next Feb. so maybe it'll be available there by then. We've gotten used to it on Princess and like it, as we often just want a table for two.

 

I was on the Noordam last week, and I understand that the "As You Wish" dining option was a popular one, so chances are you will see it on the Veendam. A lot of people like having more flexibility in their dining arrangements.

 

Karin

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HAL has been testing this since January. It does appear it will go fleet wide as many prefer it to traditional dining and offering both is a great idea. For me, it is the only way to cruise, that is one reason we stick with NCL when we can, but they don't offer the choice like Princess and now HAL. This should satisfy almost everyone except those die in the wool tradtionalist that don't want any change. I predicted about 3 or 4 years ago this would be the wave of the future. I expect all lines will adopt some form of choice in the next couple of years. NMnita

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HAL has been testing this since January. It does appear it will go fleet wide as many prefer it to traditional dining and offering both is a great idea.

I agree, and I have no doubt that by next year, As You Wish Dining will be offered as an option on just about all HAL ships, with the possible exception of the Prisendam because of their smaller dining room. Prisendam will probably have to either stay totally traditional, or go 100% As You Wish. I can't see how they could offer both.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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NMNita, I too choose NCL for the anytime dining. However, unless HA comes up with some more dining rooms, it can never approach what NCL has going for it. The typical HA cruiser would probably appreciate some flexibility with dining times on port intensive cruises, but I seriously doubt they are ready to go completely "Freestyle". There is something to be said for the predictibility of the same table, same time, same Indonesian wait staff....which HA has made a success of providing. I, personally, am not anxious to see Holland America headed in this direction.

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I was on the Noordam last week, and I understand that the "As You Wish" dining option was a popular one, so chances are you will see it on the Veendam. A lot of people like having more flexibility in their dining arrangements.

 

Karin

 

 

Karin,

 

We're booked on Noordam for the Panama Canal this fall, and I was hoping you or Lisa or somebody would post about this. We're confirmed for early assigned seating, but are curious how the free-style works. Were you in confirmed seating or did you do AYW? -- I can't remember if Lisa mentioned which one you had. Were there lines for tables for the latter, either from first-hand experience or from noticing? That's the main worry we would have. If you did AYW, did you have any issues with different servers, wine stewards, etc. each night or were you able to request the same area?

 

Thanks,

Dave

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Karin,

 

We're booked on Noordam for the Panama Canal this fall, and I was hoping you or Lisa or somebody would post about this. We're confirmed for early assigned seating, but are curious how the free-style works. Were you in confirmed seating or did you do AYW? -- I can't remember if Lisa mentioned which one you had. Were there lines for tables for the latter, either from first-hand experience or from noticing? That's the main worry we would have. If you did AYW, did you have any issues with different servers, wine stewards, etc. each night or were you able to request the same area?

 

Thanks,

Dave

 

Dave:

 

Lisa, Tom, and I had early fixed seating, which was at 5:30 pm (the Alaska cruises have slightly earlier seating times). We did not do the As You Wish dining. However, Hammybee, who cruised on Noordam just a few weeks before us, did enjoy the As You Wish option. I'm sorry, but I don't have the specifics for you, but perhaps Hammy will see this thread and come help you out.

 

Karin

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NMNita, I too choose NCL for the anytime dining. However, unless HA comes up with some more dining rooms, it can never approach what NCL has going for it. The typical HA cruiser would probably appreciate some flexibility with dining times on port intensive cruises, but I seriously doubt they are ready to go completely "Freestyle". There is something to be said for the predictibility of the same table, same time, same Indonesian wait staff....which HA has made a success of providing. I, personally, am not anxious to see Holland America headed in this direction.

Agree and part of what we love about "freestyle" is the relaxed dress and the choices of dining, not only the freedom of times. I will say, as other lines offer some version of "freestyle" we are more inclined to check them out. Let's put it this way: I am more inclined: DH I don't think will ever like anything the way he does NCL.

 

Nita

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Dave,

We tried Anytime Dining, the Lido and PG on the Noordam, in May. On this sailing a part of the Anytime Dining Room was used to accommodate an overflow from Traditional Seating. I think it was the second or possible third week this venue was available on the Noordam. It was perfect on the first evening. We strolled in and were seated immediately. Service was wonderful.

 

As the cruise progressed, we waited a long, long time for our entrees. The Waitstaff had nothing better to do than talk with us because the problems were in the kitchen. My sense was that even though this was Anytime Dining, the Wait Staff was indeed clumping order as they do with Traditional Dining. This may or may not have contributed to the delay.

 

Sake Dad and his mother were also on this cruise and were a part of Anytime Dining too. I beleive he reported issues with the Wait Staff. We did not have the same experience. Perhaps we dined at different times or in a different area of the dining room. It goes to show you that all dining venues lack consistency.

 

As the cruise progressed, it also became a game of musical chairs. Traditional diners were bolting from fixed seating to Anytime Dining and the Lido. There were many empty tables within Traditional Seating.

 

It was obvious that HAL had yet to get their arms around exactly where and when diners were going to show up. I think intinerary is a factor and the staff was tracking everyone by cabin number to get their arms around a pattern.

 

We did not encounter a wait for a table and once we shared a table with another family who chose HAL over all others because of Anytime Dining.

 

I like the concept. It is not however, the same as offered by NCL on their newer ships, designed for Freestyle Dining with a multitude of dining venues.

 

I do see the potential for a problem if too many decide to dine at the same time and suspect this could vary from day to day, sailing to sailing This is no different than too many passengers wanting early seating. Some are apt to be dissappointed where there are more passengers than seats available.

 

Perhaps you might consider Traditional Dining and occasionally opt out of it ( and become a part of the problem :) ) and into Anytime Dining on your upcoming Panama Canal cruise.

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I emailed HAL Ship Services for more information and got the following FAQ file sent to me. Looks like it was designed for travel agents (ref. to clients, etc) but I can make it out.

 

Sounds good.

 

AS YOU WISH DINING

 

  • What is As You Wish Dining (AYWD)?

  • AYWD is Holland America Line’s new dining concept. It consists of both fixed and open seating. The fixed seating will be available in the upper dining room for those guests that prefer to dine at the same time every night. The Open seating will be in the lower dining room. Those guests will be able to dine at a time most convenient for their schedule.

  • What are the dining times for Open Seating?

  • For the guest’s convenience, the open seating dining room is available between 5:15 and 9:00 pm daily.

  • What are the dining times for Fixed Seating?

  • Dining times remain unchanged for our fixed seating.

Alaska

Non-Alaska

U1

5:30 PM

5:45PM

U2

7:45 PM

8:00 PM

 

  • Will the meals be different in the Upper and Lower dining rooms?

  • Both dining rooms will be served using the same menus. We will provide the same gracious service and award winning food in both the Upper and Lower level of the dining room.

  • Is this concept fleet wide?

The ships and starting dates are listed below.

Ships & Dates

AYWD Implementation Dates

RY

10/11/2007

VO

11/13/2007

SA

12/18/2007

OS

1/5/2008

RT

1/27/2008

ZA

2/3/2008

WE

2/24/2008

ZU

3/15/2008

VE

4/6/2008

MA

4/24/2008

AM

5/16/2008

PR

5/23/2008

EU

7/5/2008

NO

Implemented

 

  • Will these ships always have AYWD from the starting dates listed above?

  • Generally speaking, we will have AYWD. However, from time to time, we may need to revert to our traditional four seating dining to accommodate some voyages that have very large groups.

 

Q. Why have we changed our dining concept on the above ships?

A. The change is for the convenience of our guests because we want to offer them the most options possible.

· Open seating

· Fixed seating

· Pinnacle Grill

· Lido with nightly themed dinner options

· In-room dining

 

Q. Can I switch between Fixed and Open seating once onboard?

A. Guests may request a one-time change onboard. The ship will attempt to accommodate, but the change cannot be guaranteed. .

 

Q. Can I make reservations for specific dining time in the open seating?

A. Once onboard, the ship has a Dining Reservations Line where reservations can be made for same day dining. Reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis for preferred times and table sizes. The reservations line will generally be manned between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. Although reservations are taken, a reasonable inventory is reserved to accommodate our walk-up guests.

 

Q. Can I still waitlist for my preferred Fixed dining time?

A. We do allow our guests to waitlist. However, if they do not clear the waitlist, the guest will be assigned to open seating. The guest can still make a reservation onboard or just walkup at their favorite dining time where they will be seated at the first available table.

 

 

Q. How will AYWD work on the Prinsendam?

A. Because the Prinsendam does not have two levels, she will have a section set aside for the AYW dining. The rest of the dining room will be for confirmed dining.

 

 

:cool:

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Thanks very much for the very helpful information, WaSide:) I'm definitely bookmarking your post for future reference! Now I just have to try to decipher all those ship codes to determine their dates of implementation;)

 

Karin

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I always pre-order from the vegetarian menu, I am assuming any special ordering such as this will not be available during the AYWD.

Does anyone have an insight on this?

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Q. Can I still waitlist for my preferred Fixed dining time?

A. We do allow our guests to waitlist. However, if they do not clear the waitlist, the guest will be assigned to open seating. The guest can still make a reservation onboard or just walkup at their favorite dining time where they will be seated at the first available table.

(above in bold added by this poster)

Doesn't sound like it's as I wish. How does HAL dare call it As You Wish if I am assigned something I don't wish? :mad:

If I can't be confirmed to late, fixed seating then it's a deal-breaker for that sailing. HAL has the responsibility to make that arrangement up front so I can make the best booking for me. :rolleyes:

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Ruth-

 

???

 

If you request 5:45 or 8:00 then you clearly wish that time.

 

If HAL can't give it to you (say you book last minute or the time is JUST THAT POPULAR) you have the option of going...

 

...at 5:45...

 

...or 8:00.

 

Just when you wished!

 

I don't follow why you're upset about that...?:confused:

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Ruth-

I don't follow why you're upset about that...?:confused:

You don't? Then I'll try to explain.

I want to eat with other people. I want to eat with the same people every night because I like that feeling of familiarity that grows as the cruise progresses. And I don't want to feel like I have to arrange a dinner party every single night of a cruise to accomplish that.

If I want to eat alone I can stay home and save several thousand dollars.

Eating with others, at a time of my choice, without making all the arrangements myself every day is what I wish. If HAL wants to call what it does "As You Wish" then it needs to deliver what I wish.

Or they should call it "What You Get is What You Get". :mad:

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Again, I have to say while I love the concept of Anytime Dining, when it doesn't work it is murder. Sapphire Princess had FOUR large alternate DR's in addition to a large traditional DR, & they still couldn't accommodate us unless we ate before 5:30 or after 8:30 every single nite. And they've been doing Anytime Dining for a long time. Off hand, I would say, at the very least, the "AD" will be a zoo for a couple months at a minimum.

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Q. Can I still waitlist for my preferred Fixed dining time?

A. We do allow our guests to waitlist. However, if they do not clear the waitlist, the guest will be assigned to open seating. The guest can still make a reservation onboard or just walkup at their favorite dining time where they will be seated at the first available table.

 

I have to admit I'm more than a bit worried about this change too. Now that I will have to travel solo for most of my cruises having a fixed table with the same group is very important to me. I tend to be on the shy side and would not be comfortable trying to "find" people to eat with every day. Even with a fixed table it takes me a day or two to get comfortable with new people. The option of eating alone in the Lido or in my room certainly isn't appealing since I eat alone most of the time when I'm home. Assuming that RT is the Rotterdam this looks like it's the worst case for me since it's listed as starting on 1/27/08 which is of course the cruise I just booked and I'm on the Waiting List for Main Upper (everything was waitlisted when I booked a couple of weeks ago). I'd move it back to the previous cruise to avoid this but can't due to a major deadline at work. I may have to rethink this trip if this is really going happen.

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I'm glad to read you "get it", Sharon. I suspect anyone who travels solo will.

It's possible that people who live and sail with at least one other person (spouse, maybe) and has never sailed solo can't imagine what it's like to be all alone on a ship not knowing another soul there.

Having pre-set dinner arrangements matters.

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Ruth, right on! I've several times traveled 'solo'- having to introduce oneself each night is just 'not on'!

 

Most often we travel as a couple - we eat as a couple most nights and that's fine, we have news of the day to exchange - on board that's not the case. Of course we also eat out or entertain friends. That too is fun!

 

Fixed time Our Choice' with the same dining companions, at the same table on a cruise is what we enjoy.

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We've requested, and usually have gotten, a table for two at a fixed dining time. Even though we travel as a couple, I would find it difficult to be seated with a new group of people every night. It makes for very superficial conversation and I would feel the same way solo cruisers feel about finding new people to eat with every night. The only benefit to this type of dining is that you can come in when you want. That probably appeals to some. Let's hope this is an experiment that goes away, or that at least fixed dining remains as an option. it would also seem that if what you want is fixed dining, you have to make your cruise reservations very early before it is filled.

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HAL has been testing this since January. It does appear it will go fleet wide as many prefer it to traditional dining and offering both is a great idea. For me, it is the only way to cruise, that is one reason we stick with NCL when we can, but they don't offer the choice like Princess and now HAL. This should satisfy almost everyone except those die in the wool tradtionalist that don't want any change. I predicted about 3 or 4 years ago this would be the wave of the future. I expect all lines will adopt some form of choice in the next couple of years. NMnita

 

NMnita,

Your post made me chuckle....The expression, I think, is "dyed in the wool"

meaning the color is deep into the fibers and can't be removed....i.e. the feeling goes so deep,it can never be changed.

 

What made me chuckle is that some would rather "die" than except Anytime, so your expression might actually work better.:)

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Dave,

 

Sake Dad and his mother were also on this cruise and were a part of Anytime Dining too. I beleive he reported issues with the Wait Staff.

...

Perhaps you might consider Traditional Dining and occasionally opt out of it ( and become a part of the problem :) ) and into Anytime Dining on your upcoming Panama Canal cruise.

 

hammybee,

 

Thank you very much for the response, and thanks also to Karin for asking you to do so. Yes, I remember now that Nathan (Sake Dad) did mention the issues, but I was so eager to see and then being so taken by his excellent photos that I forgot that part!

 

So far as your latter suggestion, yes that really is the problem isn't it? How do we know if we will like or hate it or in between if we don't try it? But, we hate to take a table away from somebody when we have a reserved one, and thus become part of the problem. But, if we go with AYW and hate it, 20 days is a long time! We had originally been confirmed for lower early, but were switched to confirmed upper -- we booked way early, and HAL obviously decided to change after we booked but because we were so early gave us confirmed seats.

 

Maybe we'll watch it for a while, and if it seems like we won't be contributing to a problem, we may try AYW a day or two on the Panama Canal cruise. It looks like AYW will be with us, based on the excellent info InTheWASide posted, but it also looks like we may still have confirmed seating -- if we book our cruises early enough :rolleyes: . Like Ruth, I wouldn't like not having a choice because what I wanted was already fully booked.

 

Dave

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I'm glad to read you "get it", Sharon. I suspect anyone who travels solo will.

It's possible that people who live and sail with at least one other person (spouse, maybe) and has never sailed solo can't imagine what it's like to be all alone on a ship not knowing another soul there.

Having pre-set dinner arrangements matters.

 

Unfortunately "it" all became too clear to me over the past year. Eventually most of those that don't "get it" now will.

 

I've only done 1 solo cruise (last fall) and while it was very difficult I'm still glad I tried it. By the 3rd night the people at my original table had all managed to move to an earlier seating or decided to eat in the Lido since no one wanted to wait until 8:30 for dinner. So I sat there one night all by myself at an empty table for 8. Talk about feeling alone. However, the table behind me adopted me before dinner was served and it turned into a week more of great meals, shows, etc with them.

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