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First time trying Freedom Dining


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We have just come off Arcadia on Friday 15th August after a fantastic cruise to the Fjords, it was our first time on Arcadia having previously sailed on Aurora, Ventura, Azura and Oriana. It was also the first time we have tried Freedom dining. I have to say although we loved the option of dining at different times in reality we still dined roughly at 2nd sitting time (which is what we normally choose) and we also felt the quality of service was not as good? Have others who have experienced club dining and freedom found a drop in service standards or is this perculiar to Arcadia or were we just unlucky.

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We have also just returned on 15th August off the same cruise on Arcadia having previously been freedom dining on Azura and Ventura. We also enjoy the freedom to choose our time to dine which is usually about 7pm and the chance to meet different dining companions. We felt the quality and service was equally as good as the other ships and had not slipped at all. Think you were unlucky! 

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Guest shilly3191

We have dined in both club dining and freedom dining with P&O since its inception on Ventura maiden cruise and have noticed no difference in service or quality of food in either club or freedom.

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Must of been bad luck then, the waiters seemed to be in a real rush to get people in and out, not offering the cheese and biscuits, serving tea/Coffee whilst still eating desert, not clearing away plates before bringing next course, not topping up water, not giving the after dinner sweets etc. It did seem worse when dining after 8pm in freedom rather than when dining earlier.

 

On a plus note loved lots of the features on Arcadia, cabins seemed very spacious, really liked the shower over the bath, loved the theater and the covered pool area stayed really warm great in not so good weather. And Bonus new headliner shows.

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We have tried both club and freedom dining and both have advantages and disadvantages. We do however now, if we have a choice choose freedom dining. We like to try the alternative restaurants and vary the times we eat depending on what we have done that day and what entertainment is on offer that evening. The service has always been the same high standard what ever typy of dining we have chosen.

 

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Iv always dined freedom so a cant compare, great service though, that does sound rather rushed, dont let it put you off freedom dining though MeeMee.

 

Hi Suetoo, I think we will stick to club dining second sitting when we cruise as an extended family I couldn't imagine trying to organise our group of 10 on a freedom dining basis but we will certainly try freedom dining again as a couple just to see if we were just unlucky as i think it worked well for us as a couple as we like to eat on our own on these rare cruises and it is much easier to get a table for two via Freedom dining.

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We've always done freedom dining which I much prefer but last year had to go with 1st sitting on the Aurora. We felt rushed most evenings and were often served dessert, cheese & biscuits and coffee all at the same time. It felt like the waiters were under pressure to get rid of us so that they could set the table for the next sitting. Looking forward to freedom dining this year on the Ventura.

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Hi, first time cruiser here.  Could someone explain exactly what Freedom dining is?  If the set times are 1830 and 2030, then is the 'freedom' part that you can choose either, or could you turn up at say 1930 or 2100?  Does it also mean that you can choose what size table you sit at?

If we chose a table size of say 8, then does that mean that at every meal you would have to site with 6 others? Just thinking it may be nice sometimes to sit with just my hubby, and other times with a group of people.

Lots of questions sorry, but I'd appreciate your advice.

Many thanks.

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Freedom dining means you can turn up at any time the restaurant is open, usually 6pm to 9:30pm. If you are prepared to sit on any sized table, you will normally get straight in. If you want a table for two, you may have to wait and they will give you a pager to call you when there is a table ready.

The freedom dining restaurant is a separate restaurant from the fixed time dining, but the menus and dress code are the same.

Brian

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We much prefer Fixed - Club Dining where we always have a table of 8 second sitting. We've been cruising since 2003 and are still in touch with some people we cruised with on our first cruise. For us getting to know the people on our table is an important part of the cruise. It means that we don't have to do the whole - exchanging names - where we've cruise before etc. - every evening. We've often met table companions for a drink before or after dinner, or gone to the show with them - even done quizzes together. I know that for some people Freedom Dining is their preference so it's good that there's a choice so people can choose what suits them. It's one of the reasons that we usually book early - choosing a specific cabin and getting our dining choice - I know it's not important for everyone but it is for us.

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