We have gone on 2 Norwegian Cruises with kids, so we understand a little bit of what Freestyle Dining is all about.
- No set dining time
- No assigned waiters
- No set dining location
- No assigned seating
- Casual dress code (do not have to dress up on “Dress Up or Not” nights)
- 2 main dining rooms on every ship
- As many as nine dining options included in your cruise fare
- Specialty restaurants for an additional charge
- Every ship offers steakhouses, French bistros, and Italian trattorias (for extra charge)
- Check out this Dining Options document for a full list of options by ship
The Freestyle dining can be a great option for families. There is no need to rush to the dining rooms for a set dining time as many other cruise lines require. If your child needs a nap, you can leave once they are sleeping in their stroller or wait until they are done with their nap. If you stay onshore after dinner starts, you will not miss a set dining time.
Disadvantages of Freestyle Dining:
- Might have to wait to be seated (especially after 6pm)
- Might not get a “good” waiter – we definitely saw a difference with the waiters because we had kids. Some took the kids orders immediately and others did not think to consider the kids’ needs very well.
- Must plan ahead yourself to ensure you make it to the shows – allow enough time assuming service is decent to get to the show you want
- Waiters do not know you – such as if you usually order alcohol, if you want a high chair, if you usually need more bread and water, etc.
- Since you do not get to know a waiter throughout the week, the service might feel less personal than you would prefer
- You might feel odd being dressed up and seeing people in jeans right next to you
photo credit: Cruise News Weekly