We’re on Azura in September, and for the first time we’ll be on Freedom Dining. We intend to eat at a number of locations – probably in the MDR on many/most evenings, probably the Glasshouse, possibly the buffet if all we want is a light snack (our plans include the possibility of a good lunch ashore at Villefranche and maybe Ajaccio), and of course the speciality restaurants, Sindhu and The Epicurean.
These days it’s possible to make bookings (and pay for them) before we embark, so we’re into the “Guess the formal night” game. We think that for the first formal night at least we’ll definitely eat in the MDR – we’ve generally found the special Marco menu for that first formal night to be enjoyable. We’re also pretty sure on which day the first formal will be held – it’s almost always the first full day onboard which is generally a sea day. We’re also pretty sure about the last formal night – the last-but-one full day on board, which on our cruise will be a sea day. But I’m not sure on which days the middle two formal nights will fall. I know they’re generally on sea days, but the itinerary for this cruise is a bit odd – it starts sea day, Vigo, Lisbon, Gibraltar. Given that there won’t have been any sea days since the very first one it’s possible that they may decide to use the day of the Gibraltar call for the second formal night.
All of which is causing us some issues over the days we should book our meals in the speciality restaurants. We’ve decided that we’ll book two in advance, for the first half of the cruise, and possibly book one or two more for the later part of the cruise. We’ll also know the run of themed evenings in the buffet dining restaurant by then. That still leaves us with making reservations on evenings one of which may well turn out to be a formal night, and in all our cruises we’ve never gone to a speciality restaurant on a formal night.
Readers, what’s your experience and/or advice? Have you eaten in a speciality restaurant (on any P&O ship) on a formal night? And how did it feel? What would be your recommendations?