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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 01-20-2008, 11:33 AM
Lisa D's Avatar
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Atlanta GA
Posts: 1
I just returned from a Sunfarer Holiday cruise to panama Canal on The Volendam HAL. The As You Wish Dining was a night mare!!! Because this cruise was during the holidays there were many large families all wanting to eat and sit together at the same time. This was impossible in the as you wish dining format, they went back to regular seating methods but just for this cruise. It looked like it might work during regular cruising weeks. However the staff seemed very confused about it all.
  #32 (permalink)  
Old 01-21-2008, 09:35 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 111
Hope the problem is fixed before Feb. 1st.
I have a feeling that for HA and their demigraph of cruisers maybe the set times may work best.
  #33 (permalink)  
Old 01-22-2008, 04:06 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 111
Have been told, that as soon as we board to try to see about getting a fixed dinner time. I realize that early is out of the question, but would take the late. Heard of two different plans to do this. One was to go to a lounge and some one would be there from the dining room. The other was to go to the dining room and speak to the Matre'D. I was not aware that the main dining room was open at lunch time on the day of sailing. Has any one done this type of request? Appreciate any replies.
  #34 (permalink)  
Old 01-22-2008, 06:12 PM
LisaP's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 5,589
Oreo, I've had to do this on another cruise line. The maitre d's location is noted in the daily newsletter you get upon boarding, along with the times he'll be there to take dining change requests.
Happy cruising!
  #35 (permalink)  
Old 01-23-2008, 07:38 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 111
Thank you very much LisaP Wish me luck!
  #36 (permalink)  
Old 02-06-2008, 04:37 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 84
We're just off a 30 day cruise on the Ryndam with flexible dining.

Our experience was mixed. As an introvert I found it exhausting meeting new fellow diners 3 times a day. So many conversations never got much beyond, 'How many cruises have you been on? How many children/grandchildren do you have? What was your work? etc. We met some delightful people with whom we planned a repeat dinner. With them we enjoyed real conversations. We met a few who left us exhausted trying to dream up open ended questions to keep up some form of social interaction.

But a real complaint was being seated with a couple of other couples who were half way through their meals. One time they were being shown desserts while we were eating our first course.

After several times either racing to catch up with the earlier diners or skippin a course, we learned to state that we'd only sit with others IF they were just seated. There are still kinks for HAL to work out.
  #37 (permalink)  
Old 02-18-2008, 11:14 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 111
Lisa P
Just returned for the Volendam/Panama canal cruise and want to let you know that I went to see the dining roon person at the asssigned place as soon as we boarded and had absoutely no problem getting a table for two at early seating. On most nights following the first one, there were noticable absentees from this early seating. It seemed a shame that people who wanted this diniing time could not get it and the ones who did ate somewhere else. Think there needs to be a better way of handeling this new venture. Thanks for your past advice lisa P
  #38 (permalink)  
Old 02-18-2008, 11:24 AM
TrvlPro's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Houston TX
Posts: 2,172
oreo, you've hit on one of the biggest areas of complaint with HAL. There is a fight over early dining with HAL passengers for every sailing. Some book a year in advance to be assured of early seating and it fills early consistantly. Then those who book later and want it desperatley cannot be confirmed for early seating or in some cases even waitlisted for it. Then when those who were denied early seating at the time of booking gte back they write letters and call frequently and say the early dining room was not even close to full on any night they went by. I have no idea why someone who will go to any lengths to get early seating would not even bother to show up in the dining room but it happens a lot.

Cheers, Neil
  #39 (permalink)  
Old 02-18-2008, 11:59 AM
f-mattox's Avatar  
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Costa Mesa, California
Posts: 4,740
Some just want it both ways; they want the assigned first seating, but then only go when the mood strikes them. This happens on Princess too, although it's not as big a problem because they have so many dining rooms. The problem is, the waiter and the tablemates will politely wait so we can all start at the same time--and then a no-show. Then they come in the next night and tell you about the dinner they had someplace else.

People, one or the other; please! And if you are going to eat at an alternative restaurant some night, have the courtesy to let your waiter know so we're not all waiting for you.

Thank you. Glad to get that off my chest.
  #40 (permalink)  
Old 02-18-2008, 01:05 PM
Dave's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Alabama
Posts: 18,001
if you are going to eat at an alternative restaurant some night, have the courtesy to let your waiter know so we're not all waiting for you.
Amen! I hate it when that happens. We typically plan ahead so we can tell our tablemates and waiter the night before, but when a spur of the moment change happens I'll get word to the waiter before our seating time starts. It is extremely poor manners to leave everyone sitting there waiting.
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