Norwegian Cruise Line fired the first shot. A decade later, the dining room revolution at sea continues, as a new ship, the Norwegian Epic, pulls into New York this weekend, then heads to Miami for seven-night weekly cruises into the Caribbean -- all without a main dining room.
Before Norwegian changed the rules, inflexible daily dining schedules had been followed since the beginning of modern ships' crossing oceans. You dressed for dinner. You ate when and where you were told. And you sat at a big table, sometimes with delightful new friends, sometimes with folks you would rather not take back home to meet grandma.
When Norwegian (NCL) invented Freestyle Cruising, giving passengers daily choices for dinner was viewed by many experts as more gimmick than trend-setter.
They were wrong. Very wrong. Eating aboard ship has not been the same since.
The Manhattan Room, above, is one of more than a dozen restaurants on the new Norwegian Epic.
Read more about dining choices in this article on cruise ships at TheTravelMavens.com