Anytime dining or traditional?

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#1
Billings, MT
46 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
We are taking our first cruise in September on the Carnival Valor and I want opinions on what people think of each dining option. I like the flexibility of anytime dining because we want to go to shows and be active on the ship but will we be missing out on getting to know people on the ship? Is it nice to have the same waiter each night with the traditional dining options? Is the food quality/service any different between the two? My husband and I are in our late 20's. I'd like to hear other's experiences with each option. Thanks!
#2
Fredericksburg, va. USA
79,728 Posts
Joined May 2001
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!
#3
USA
2,278 Posts
Joined May 2004
I love the flexibility of anytime. With traditional dining, early seating is too early and late is too late. Plus, I prefer to eat dinner with just my husband and in my experience, that is harder to do with traditonal.

I won't ever go back to traditional.
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#4
Summerville, SC
6,472 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Traditional all the way!

Been cruising since I was a kid and I guess for me, having dinner at the same time, same table and with the same wait staff just feels right to me.
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#5
Beautiful New Hampster
624 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
I think if you have a Sea day the dining room will be open and it's anytime style, as well as breakfast. So Traditional is only for the evening meal. Also you have specialty dining available (at an additional cost and IMHO well worth it on any Carnival ship) you should try it at least one time. Be prepared to take a long time though.

As far as being able to catch a show goes, there are 2 times for the same show to accomodate the 2 traditional dining times (I think there are 4 times on the valor 2 early and 2 late with a 15 min time difference between the early times and the same difference with the late). The good part of anytime dining is that you're not "stuck" with the same tablemates. But should you be at a table you don't like you can always ask the ma'tre D to change tables with Traditional dining.

For myself I prefer traditional because I like to talk with new people and make new friends. You may just want to be together by yourselves, if so both Traditional and Anytime dining would work out.

In any case please enjoy your cruise I loved the Valor!
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#6
Tallahassee , FL
13,496 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
If it's only 2 of you, go with the flexibility of anytime dining. Groups larger than 4 have a much more difficult time getting seating together with anytime dining. If you hit the peak hours you may have to wait a bit, but never than long for 2 people. Depending upon the seating configuration in the dining room, your 2 person table may actually wind up closer to a 4. And if you happen to enjoy the waitstaff who served you, you can request them each evening. You just may have to wait longer.

But remember, with either anytime or traditional dining, if you miss the time, or dont' feel like dressing up on elegant nights, what ever, you can still get served on the Lido deck buffet and other alternative dining choices.
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#7
Rockland Co., NY
327 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
I prefer traditional over any-time dining. Anytime is fine if I have alot of shore excursions planned and dont' want to rush back to the ship - then again, I always choose late eating time so that I can have a drink at the bar before dinner. If you are having just a hang back, no formal layed back vacation than I would say anytime. Otherwise, it is traditional for me all the way
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#8
Billings, MT
46 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Thanks everybody. This is really helpful. I really want to try traditional dining but we do have excursions planned for each port. And my husband wants anytime because he wants to be able to eat when he is ready. He is worried about starving to death if we have to "wait" for our time. I don't think he understands how much food is available on a cruise ship. I doubt we will ever be hungry. lol. So I've heard. But is sounds like we will stick with anytime dining. It's our first cruise so we'll try it and see how we like it this time. Hopefully this won't be our only cruise!
#9
Loves Park, IL
61 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
You can always grab a snack at the buffet, you will NEVER go hungry. We tried anytime dining, it was just not the cruise experience you get with the traditional. Wait staff that becomes familiar with you, table mates who share experiences. I vote traditional!
#10
Oklahoma, U.S.A.
96 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
When I had 2nd seating dining (8:30pm), I would order a cheese platter or veggie plate from room service to tide me over. I was never ever dying for food. This is your vacation - and you ought to be able to eat when you want.
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#11
80 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
We prefer Anytime because we're not inconveniencing others if we decide on a whim to dine elsewhere than the MDR for the night, and we don't feel compelled to let the waitstaff know we will be no-shows for the night, sometimes at the last minute. The food is just as good, anytime or traditional, and we still manage to befriend other cruisers!
#12
Florida
2,197 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
I prefer ATD specifically so we can meet new people almost every evening... on my 30 day cruise we had repeat dinner companions only a few times. If you sit at the same table you only get to know those people at your table. With ATD just ask for a large table every night and it is amazing how many people you meet. The food is the same that is served in the traditional seating tables.
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#13
North West England
66 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Myself and my husband have done both set dining and anytime dining. We found that anytime dining was good for us. We always sat with a table of six or eight people and had some amazing conversations with all different types of people with different personalities.We have nothing to grumble about set dining, and we have sat with friendly people. It is up to you what you want to do.
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#14
Miami
2 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
My husband and I (also in our late 20s) just came back from a 7 day Eastern Caribbean on the Carnival Liberty. I have done both traditional and anytime. For a couple traveling alone the anytime works out perfectly. You have lots of flexibility and it is very easy for them to find a table for two. On the Liberty we had a chance to sit by ourselves a few nights (for some romance) and with other couples on other occasions, so we got to experience a bit of everything. Only down side I noticed was that the tables assigned to anytime dinning were not in the most desirable locations.. next to food stations or close to the kitchen exits.. but it really wasn't a big issue for us. If you like where they sit you and you want to get to know your waiters a little better, you have the option of requesting the same table every time you come back. We did this on the last few days because we enjoyed the fact that the waiter got to know our preferences and was ready with suggestions and even second servings without us having to ask him . Regardless of what you choose, have a wonderful cruise!
#15
4 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Originally posted by bigsky2010
We are taking our first cruise in September on the Carnival Valor and I want opinions on what people think of each dining option. I like the flexibility of anytime dining because we want to go to shows and be active on the ship but will we be missing out on getting to know people on the ship? Is it nice to have the same waiter each night with the traditional dining options? Is the food quality/service any different between the two? My husband and I are in our late 20's. I'd like to hear other's experiences with each option. Thanks!
I like traditional dining but we are trying the anytime dining this time when we go on the Carnival Magic Sept 25
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#16
Bensalem, Pa
311 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
We preferred anytime dining when we cruised alone..just the 2 of us. But when we travel with friends we do different things during the day but do want to have dinner together & it becomes too difficult to coordinate restaurants & times so we stick to traditional dining. That way we all meet up at the dinner table & can discuss our day & plan events.
#17
Florida
18,879 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
We always do ATD
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We've been on
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#18
104,150 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
We prefer traditonal (fixed) dining.

We like to get our wait staff. That way they know what we like.

And the wine steward will have our cocktails on the table when we arrive for dinner.
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#19
Florida
18,879 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
When you have a group of 6 our more it is easer to do set dining...
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We've been on
Carnival: 27 voyages 184 days
Celebrity: 3 voyages 24 days
Holland: 26 voyages 494 days
Norwegian: 2 voyages 16 days
Princess: 16 voyages 154 days
Royal Carib: 5 voyages 35 days
Vantage:River 2 voyages 39 days
GRAND TOTAL: 81 Cruises 946 days

NOT YET SAILED
Amsterdam World Cruise 1/17-111 days
Rotterdam Voyage Vikings 8/17 - 38 days
Maasdam Boston to San Diego 9/17 18 days
Veendam Atlantic Crossing 10/17 - 49 days
Amsterdam World Cruise 1/18 - 113 days
Rotterdam crossing. 6/18 - 32 days
Prinsendam 8/18 - 96 daysAmsterdam 1/19
#20
palmdale,ca, usa
711 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
Traditional for us. I love it when the waiters remember you. Remember what you drink, how you like different things. We had an experience where our waiter on the Alaska cruise remembered us when we cruised Mexico about 5 mos later. He had transferred over and when he saw us he was so delighted. Imagine our surprise that he remembered us. He said we had such a wonderful family and he enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed him.
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