Posted October 12th, 2012, 01:09 PM
The food should be exactly the same. Both take place in the MDR.
We love traditional BECAUSE of the tablemates....we just enjoy having others to talk to! We can (and do) eat by ourselves most of the time at home (empty nesters!) and enjoy the company of others!
None of the shows conflict with either of the traditional dining times, and there's still plenty of time to be "active"....
Give traditional a try. It's certainly the more "fun" option!
The food should be the same in both systems - but it rarely is.
And for very good reasons.
When we invented "Traditional Dining" back in the 1980's, we did it because ships had gotten too large to accommodate everyone for dinner at the same time - which is what REAL Traditional Dining is. So we decided to feed you in shifts - like in a factory or high school. That is what traditional dining has become today. There are many really good reasons (mostly financial) to do it this way. If most everyone eats at the same time, we can cook everything at the same time - in very large quantities. This requires far fewer cooks to accomplish the same job. Instead of one cook preparing 3 or 4 steaks at the same time (like in your local restaurant or in open dining on a ship), he can prepare 100 steaks at the same time, giving far less attention to the one you are about to eat.
And since everyone eats at nearly the same pace in traditional dining, we can accomplish serving the food with far fewer waiters. They feed you on a production line.
With Open Dining, people arrive at all times and eat at different paces. Our cooks are forced to prepare the food in small batches, giving them more time to pay more individual attention to what they are doing. Open Dining requires 20% more waiters to do the same job, since guest arrivals are unpredictable and we cannot serve everyone the same thing at the same time.
On ships that offer both Traditional and Open Dining, ratings for service are typically higher in the Traditional Dining rooms - not because the service is better, but because it is more predictable. And that pleases the average diner.
But the food quality ratings are always higher in the Open Dining rooms, where more care and attention has been taken in preparing your food.
If you are more interested in having the waiter know in advance that you want your salad dressing on the side, and your iced tea waiting for you, you should choose Traditional Dining.
If you are more interested in eating better prepared food, go for Open Dining.