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I'm the exact opposite. Second sitting whenever I am Club Dining.   Cruising to me is a holiday and the last thing I want to be doing is racing back from ashore in order to be bathed and changed rea

I prefer second seating, i think its nice to get to know people as sometimes on freedom dining you have the same conversation each evening ie where you from, what do you do, is this your first cruise?

Hi  This response is not specific for P&O but for all cruise lines, flexible dining works well for me (I can opt for a large table sharing with other passengers or table for two if the mood takes

Freedom dining is usually our choice. That gives us the opportunity to adapt our dining time to the activities of the day. We do not have to rush back to the ship if we are ashore, and we can eat earlier if we want to go to a show. Sometimes we ask for a table for two, sometimes join a larger table and sometimes we meet congenial people during the day and arrange to dine together. Some people prefer to meet the same table companions every night, so it is a good thing there are options to suit everyone.

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Our very first cruise we tried 1st sitting dining and really found it difficult to get ready in time especially on port days so we transferred to 2nd sitting and have been doing that ever since. More recently as my grand daughter and nephew have joined in the extended family cruises we have found second sitting ideal for getting the young ones settled into night nursery.

 

Occasionally myself and my husband get to go on a cruise on our own (very rare now days) and we have always found it difficult to get a table for two on club dining so we decided to try Freedom on our very recent cruise on Arcadia. Whilst we loved the flexibility and the fact we got a table for two every night we didn't experience good standards of service and the whole event seemed to be rushed and this was on all but one night. Others have advised me on the forum that they haven't experienced this on Freedom so i will put it down to bad luck and probable try Freedom again on our next couple cruise. But I will stick to 2nd sitting club for cruising with our extended family as I feel this would suit us best overall.

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For us 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice is Second sitting - several reasons.

 

Sailaways without rushing, getting back on board without needing to rush, relaxed pre dinner drinks in Andersons, Classical concerts pre dinner, never rushed at dinner and we eat late at home as well etc 

 

For us it just works but its not for all.

 

As to Freedom we really like to get to know our dinner table (we always ask for an 8) and with the best will in the world that is difficult to do - over the years we have made some really good friends who we are still in touch with 10 years on.

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Guest Solent Richard

We have done freedom dining on Princess and P&O numerous times and never felt hurried in fact felt more hurried in 1st sitting so that they could get you out clear tables and reset them foir 2nd sitting.

 

Hi Shilly, I agree with you on that subject. First sitting must be a recipe for indigestion.

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Guest Solent Richard

For us 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice is Second sitting - several reasons.

 

Sailaways without rushing, getting back on board without needing to rush, relaxed pre dinner drinks in Andersons, Classical concerts pre dinner, never rushed at dinner and we eat late at home as well etc 

 

For us it just works but its not for all.

 

As to Freedom we really like to get to know our dinner table (we always ask for an 8) and with the best will in the world that is difficult to do - over the years we have made some really good friends who we are still in touch with 10 years on.

 

Very similar to us DGH and for all the same reasons.

 

Having said that we are going to try freedom dining on Britannia. Just for once I want a little more flexibility on a special cruise.

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We always go for club dining, second sitting and table for 8.

Never had a bad table and many times we have been the last out the dining room as we were really enjoying ourselves. Lots of laughter etc.

David

 

David,

Same for us!

We often feel guilty that we are nearly the last to leave the dining room - and we rarely get to a show.

I think the later evening meal is all about that - good food, good company and a glass or two.

One of the reasons we like cruising.

M

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As a solo cruiser I would never go for Freedom Dining. I really like to do my own thing during the day, but look forward to meeting the same tablemates and sharing stories of the day's events. preferably second sitting so no rush as I've experienced on first sitting.

 

I'm a fairly late riser, and have meds which ideally should be taken an hour before eating, so breakfast is rarely started before 10.30am, lunch/high tea about 3pm ish, so late sitting is perfect.

 

Even when cruising with my late husband and younger son on NCL the constant negotiation over meal times, show times and bed times etc. put a downer on the cruising experience. It was much easier when there was no options!

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We have only done three previous cruises and each time have had 2nd it ting which suits us, however this time have booked a late deal and obviously don't get. The option to even request consideration for for 2nd sitting just hoping that they give us 2nd as I have heard that quite a lot of people request 1st. Here's hoping

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Only tried Freedom Dining once, NEVER again. I thought you just turned up when you were ready to eat i.e. 7.15pm or 7.30pm.

 

 Told sorry nothing available until 9.00pm.  Asked how we could be sure to eat at the time we wanted, told to ring and book, the morning of the day before.

 

 Where's the freedom there?

 

So each morning before going on a tour we had to ring and book.  If you forgot, tough luck.

 

Second sitting for us. Tour or walk at port, back for a late lunch, forty winks and a read, shower G & T pre dinner, dinner, show, bed. What more could you ask for?

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Guest shilly3191

Having done 5 cruises on Azura and one on Ventura all freedom dining only ever had to wait once and that was the very first night on Ventura maiden when it was P&Os first time doing freedom and it was utter chaos. Other than that we have always gone straight in but we dont ask for a table for 2 we just say happy top share a table and we have never pre booked.

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Guest shilly3191

P&O were behind most other cruise lines in providing freedom/anytime or whatever you want to call it on their cruises and with the new excellent idea on Royal Caribbean of "dynamic" dining on Anthem/Quantum of the seas we will see how long before P&O introduce that on a new ship.

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Interesting opinions about this subject....my "cruise buddy" and I have booked freedom for the first time on Ventura this year.  We've always done 1st sitting as don't like to eat late, but it is often a rush after shore excursions, and we've gone to the cafeteria instead, and sometimes not been able to get a  table.  So we're hoping that the freedom option will work for us, and that we won't have to wait too long for a table!

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What on earth is dynamic dining please !! ;)

It's all about choice Ron. Instead of a MDR there are 18 different restaurants to chose from each having a different theme. No formal nights but dress for the type of restaurant you go to or book just as you would on shore. Have a look on the Royal Caribbean web site where it is all described. Personally I think it is a great concept but that is just my opinion. RCI have for a number of years been the leaders in innovation and I believe this will be a system that others will copy in one form or another although I can understand it's not everyone's choice. I am looking forward to sampling it as I like trying new ideas.

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