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hammybee

As You Wish Dining - What and How

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I have compiled the following information for the benefit of readers seeking current factual information relative to HAL's new dining program. The information, obtained from HAL, on 7/1/07, by Brad ( InTheWaSide,) is the foundation. I have made minor editorial changes and updated it, based upon information supplied by those who have participated in Open Seating. Updates are noted in red.

What is As You Wish Dining (AYWD)?

AYWD is HAL'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 who prefer to dine at the same time, at the same table, with the same table mates and wait staff, every night.

Open seating will be in the lower dining room. Those guests will be able to dine at a time most convenient for their daily schedule.

Why has HAL changed its dining concept ?

The change is for the convenience of guests to offer the most dining options possible:

 

· Open seating

· Fixed seating

· Pinnacle Grill ( incremental charge applies)

· Lido with nightly themed dinner options

· In-cabin dining, via Room Service

 

What are the dining times for Open Seating?

The open seating dining room is available between 5:15 and 9:00 pm, daily. Guests may request a specific table size or dine with fellow passengers being seated, at the same time.

What are the dining times for Fixed Seating?

There will be two fixed seatings, early and main seating. Consult your onboard daily program for specific times.

Will the Lido dinner times change?

With the implementation of the AYWD concept, the Lido hours will be expanded to enable the Lido to open earlier and remain open later, until 8:30-9:00 P.M.

Will the meals and onboard dress code be different in the Upper and Lower dining rooms?

Both the Fixed and Open seating dining rooms will be served using the same menus. Dress code, sharp casual and formal night, as specified in the daily onboard program, remain the same for each dining venue, fixed and open seating. Those who prefer a more casual evening, are always welcome in the Lido.

Can I switch between Fixed and Open seating once onboard?

 

Guests may request a one-time change, once onboard. The ship will attempt to accommodate requests for change but cannot guarantee it.

 

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

Once onboard, the ship has a Dining Reservations Line where reservations can be made for same day dining, between 8-4. Reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis for preferred times and table sizes.

 

Please note: No reservations will be accepted for tables between 6:30-8:00 PM to accommodate walk-ins.

Can I still waitlist for my preferred Fixed dining time?

Holland America enables 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.

 

 

Is this concept fleet wide?

The ships and starting dates are listed below.

 

Noordam- Implemented

Ryndam-10/11/07

Volendam-11/13/07

Statendam-12/18/07

Oosterdam-1/5/08

Rotterdam-1/27/08

Zaandam-2/3/08

Westerdam-2/24/08

Zuiderdam-3/15/08

Veendam-4/6/08

Maasdam-4/24/08

Amsterdam-5/16/08

Prinsendam-5/23/08

Eurodam-7/5/08

Once implemented, will AYWD always be available?

Generally speaking, AYWD will be available, upon implementation. However, from time to time, Holland America may need to revert to the former traditional four seating dining to accommodate some voyages that have very large groups.

How will AYWD work on the Prinsendam?

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.

 

 

 

 

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Assuming this achieves "sticky" status, this thread will present the facts and the other remains the place to post opinions.

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I have compiled the following information for the benefit of readers seeking current factual information relative to HAL's new dining program. The information, obtained from HAL, on 7/1/07, by Brad ( InTheWaSide,) is the foundation. I have made minor editorial changes and updated it, based upon information supplied by those who have participated in Open Seating. Updates are noted in red.

What is As You Wish Dining (AYWD)?

AYWD is HAL'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 who prefer to dine at the same time, at the same table, with the same table mates and wait staff, every night.

Open seating will be in the lower dining room. Those guests will be able to dine at a time most convenient for their daily schedule.

Why has HAL changed its dining concept ?

The change is for the convenience of guests to offer the most dining options possible:

 

· Open seating

· Fixed seating

· Pinnacle Grill ( incremental charge applies)

· Lido with nightly themed dinner options

· In-cabin dining, via Room Service

 

What are the dining times for Open Seating?

The open seating dining room is available between 5:15 and 9:00 pm, daily. Guests may request a specific table size or dine with fellow passengers being seated, at the same time.

What are the dining times for Fixed Seating?

There will be two fixed seatings, early and main seating. Consult your onboard daily program for specific times.

Will the Lido dinner times change?

With the implementation of the AYWD concept, the Lido hours will be expanded to enable the Lido to open earlier and remain open later, until 8:30-9:00 P.M.

Will the meals and onboard dress code be different in the Upper and Lower dining rooms?

Both the Fixed and Open seating dining rooms will be served using the same menus. Dress code, sharp casual and formal night, as specified in the daily onboard program, remain the same for each dining venue, fixed and open seating. Those who prefer a more casual evening, are always welcome in the Lido.

Can I switch between Fixed and Open seating once onboard?

 

Guests may request a one-time change, once onboard. The ship will attempt to accommodate requests for change but cannot guarantee it.

 

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

Once onboard, the ship has a Dining Reservations Line where reservations can be made for same day dining, between 8-4. Reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis for preferred times and table sizes.

 

Please note: No reservations will be accepted for tables between 6:30-8:00 PM to accommodate walk-ins.

Can I still waitlist for my preferred Fixed dining time?

Holland America enables 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.

 

 

Is this concept fleet wide?

The ships and starting dates are listed below.

 

Noordam- Implemented

Ryndam-10/11/07

Volendam-11/13/07

Statendam-12/18/07

Oosterdam-1/5/08

Rotterdam-1/27/08

Zaandam-2/3/08

Westerdam-2/24/08

Zuiderdam-3/15/08

Veendam-4/6/08

Maasdam-4/24/08

Amsterdam-5/16/08

Prinsendam-5/23/08

Eurodam-7/5/08

Once implemented, will AYWD always be available?

Generally speaking, AYWD will be available, upon implementation. However, from time to time, Holland America may need to revert to the former traditional four seating dining to accommodate some voyages that have very large groups.

How will AYWD work on the Prinsendam?

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.

 

 

 

 

I was given a waitlist #80 does anyone know if this is good or bad?

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I was given a waitlist #80 does anyone know if this is good or bad?

 

It all depends upon your sailing date. When do you sail?

 

It is my understanding that the waitlisting is increasingly happening, regardless of the AYWD concept, to give HAL maximum flexibility to accommodate potential large group bookings.

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Here is an extract of a report from Lisa (laffinvegas) while onboard the Noordam, yesterday:

 

Some interesting things I will tell about later but this week the demand of Dine As You Wish was so much that half the Upper level had to be used for it as well. The Early Dining has about 15 totally empty tables, very interesting. I guess next week the Fix Dining will be more requested and they will accommodate that, as well.

 

Signing off from the Beautiful MS Noordam:)

 

All reports are showing that HAL is accommodating everyone, Fixed versus Open Dining. We have heard nothing to the contrary. Perhaps it better to worry about the weather, instead of dining arrangements.

progress.gif

 

 

( This is a first hand report from the Noordam and provides additional factual insight into the evolution of the AYWD concept.)

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THANKS for your work with the write-up. I was all excited:) because I love this type of dining

BUT

we sail on Zaandam for 15 days beginning on the 26th

so I guess we're out of luck.:( (For THIS cruise, that is.)

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Thank you for the updated information. We are looking forward to hearing how it is being accepted on the various ships per your list of dates to be that it is to be implemented.

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Hammybee, thanks for this new sticky thread, lets hope that posters will stay on target and use this new forum to report actual experiences (not conjecture and fear) both good and bad with AYWD as HAL makes the transition over the next 8 months fleet wide. I will be on the 2nd sailing of the Volendam with AYWD in November and I will report back to this forum our actual experiences in early December. I hope that others will do the same from the Noordam and after the Ryndam transitions in October. We are a party of 6 that gave up our traditional 5:45 seating for the AYWD and all six of us are very excited about the change. One of the couples with us have only been on one other cruise and they loved the cruise but hated the traditional seating and the AYWD change on the Volendam was deciding factor in them joining us on this cruise.:D

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Hammybee,

 

This is precisely the info I was looking for when I first asked -- how did it work, what was it all about? Thanks for sorting it out for us!

 

Dave

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The real thanks belongs to Brad/InTheWaSide, who first obtained and supplied this information buried on the other thread. I am the humble editor of his good deed. :)

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On our up coming Oosterdam cruise, October 27th, we are being told we have tradition dining, which we want. The doc's arrived yesterday and we are showing late lower, however the preceding page discusses the alternate dining plan. I called the TA this AM and she says HAL told her we have traditional dining. DO WE?

 

Jeff

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On our up coming Oosterdam cruise, October 27th, we are being told we have tradition dining, which we want. The doc's arrived yesterday and we are showing late lower, however the preceding page discusses the alternate dining plan. I called the TA this AM and she says HAL told her we have traditional dining. DO WE?

 

Jeff

 

The Oosterdam is not offering AYWD until January so it looks like you have traditional dining.

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Finally! This is great Hammy... and long overdue. (I think we both mentioned the need for this Sticky, early-on in the other thread.)

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CC member RobertWCook16 has this to say about As You Wish Dining on his September 23-30 Noordam Alaska cruise:

 

"I am just off the Noordam's final cruise of the season yesterday, & had AYW dining all week. It really was quite nice choosing when you wanted to dine rather than a set time. I never waited for a table once. We were a group of 6 & always had our own table. Most nights we ended up at the same table with the same waiters."

 

Here is the link to his post.

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MAM, thanks for replicating the post in the correct thread!

 

You're welcome:) (I need to keep Hammy's Sticky on As You Wish Dining in good order for her while she's off-line..........:) :D)

 

Karin

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I copied this from Lisa's ( laffnvegas) thread regarding her recent Noordam cruise. Even though Lisa did not participate in Open Seating, she was highly observant and got some answers as to why it seems most bookings are being waitlisted for dinner:

"We discovered that our week the demand for Dine As You Wish was extremely high so to accommodate this they had left several empty tables in the Upper level fixed area to place those in Dine As You Wish, which answered why we saw several come in halfway thru dinner."

_____________________________________________

 

"Greg, we did not do the Dine As You Wish and now we really wish we would have. But our particular week was about 70% wanted Requested this Dining so they had to use tables on the Upper Level to seat people. It was not a disruption in any way I was just being observant. I did speak with several that had the Dine As You Wish and loved it. I did not hear of anyone waiting and I understand they did a good job at handling requests for tables.

We were told by one of the Assistant Dining Room Managers that while our week was mostly Dine As You Wish the following week was mostly assigned so they were taking half of the lower level and having that be the Fix Dining. It seems that are granting everyone what they wish.

It is my understanding that the reason for a wait list is to adjust each week and a wait list does not mean you will not get what you want. The only problems they run into are the ones that people change their minds of what type or what time they want to dine once they get on board and I guess this happens frequently.

It was my understanding from both Wawan the Dining Room Manager and Rene Tuinman the Hotel Manager that this is going much better than they had thought and and has made for a lot more happy passengers."

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I'm copying these posts from another thread (this one: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=631163), because I thought this was useful info and is worth including in this sticky:

 

HI all in response to the following:

 

The original question remains unanswered, however: if, as deluxe suite passengers, we wish to eat using "open dining" at 6:30 PM each night, how much of an issue will that be? Will we be allowed to make reservations despite the "no reservations" policy, and if not, will there be much if any wait if we simply show up at that time.

 

We were on the noordam a few weeks ago and NO full suite guests are NOT allowed to make reservations after 5:30 pm or before 8 pm under AYW. That said -- we never ever had to wait for a table when we just went down -- the process worked smoothly - but I missed being able to request a specific table and reserve it to get the servers we wanted -- it was the luck of the draw and the service did suffer. We will go back to traditional dining in the future.

 

Recently sailed on the Noordam (Alaska). Had an SA suite. Asked the concierge to make a standing 8:15/8:30 "window table" request for every night. Said we preferred sitting with one or two other couples. Without exception, we got what we asked for. Usually dined with other couples and thoroughly enjoyed every evening. Just let the concierge know your preferences early on.

 

My husband and I were in a category SB suite on the Noordam 9/23-9/30. We had "as-you-wish" dining. One of the first things we did when we got on the ship was speak with the concierge in the Neptune Lounge. Being new to cruising, I was unaware that there were actual "times" during as-you-wish dining that you could NOT reserve a table in the dining room. We were NOT allowed (as suite guests) to reserve a specific table in the dining room with as-you-wish dining between 5:45 and 7:15 (per the concierge and per her telephone call to the dining room). Our four choices were 5:15, 5:45, 7:15, and 7:45 (for as-you-wish reservations). Thus, each day we requested the same table at 7:45 so we could have the same dining room attendant (who was wonderful). I hope that helps! :) Again, being new to cruising, I was unaware until reading this thread that suite guests are supposed to get special perks for dining. Everything worked out great for us, so I can't complain.

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