Posted March 7th, 2013, 12:19 AM
On our river cruises, dinner has usually been @ 7 pm. The only differences were if there was an included excursion (ie: the ballet in St. Petersburg) that required an earlier meal. WhansaMi is correct that "open seating" just means that your seating is not assigned.
On all of the cruises that we have taken, there has been a high end coffee machine in the lounge - and usually there are some cookies or fruit close by. And, most of our cruises have had some type of of "snack" placed out between 10:30 and 11 pm. But, you can always buy your own snacks along the way.
I have not travelled with Vantage, but the others we have travelled with (Uniworld, AMA and Scenic) always have an "alternate" main choice at dinner, so I have never found that lunch was better than dinner. But, food is quite subjective....
The River Odyssey had no late night snacks at all. Believe me, I looked. ;-) Usually before dinner there was an assortment of Pepperidge Farms cookies, and sometimes a bowl of apples and oranges was available. One of the things I recommended to them was that they consider having a pot of soup and crackers always available, for those people who wanted a snack between meals.
Dinners on Vantage were very early. We tend to eat later, so it was usually too early for us. I couldn't understand why that was.... we were often still docked at the port until after dinner, so those people who did want to eat on the ship had to return early from their time in town.
I guess I felt that breakfast and lunch were better because of the types of food that were served at those times. For breakfast, an assortment of breads, cereals and fruits, along with an omelet station, are all I need. Lunch always had a salad bar, and any cold soups that were served were done during that time.
2013, RCL Enchantment of the Seas, Bahamas
2012, Carnival Pride, the cruise that Hurricane Sandy cancelled :-(
2012, River Odyssey, Danube cruise
2011, Carnival Pride, Bermuda
2010, HAL Prinsendam, Bordeaux and Beyond
2009, Carnival Pride: Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Freeport
2008, HAL Rotterdam: Northern Europe and Scandinavia
2006, Carnival Legend: Belize, Costa Rica, Panama
2005, Carnival Conquest: Western Carribbean, round trip from New Orleans, three weeks ahead of Katrina
2004, Carnival Spirit: Alaska