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We will be sailing on the Symphony this October and when we booked last year the Dining By Reservation option was not offered to us and our understanding is that it was not yet being offered on the Symphony. Now we find out that it is being offered and are thinking of switching. We have always booked Second Seating dining. Any pros or cons, or tips to Dining By Reservations would greatly be appreciated !

Thanks,

Chris & Mary B.

 

***after posting this I found a great posting by Keith1010, I think we understand now !***

Edited by chaunceyb
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The main reason I have never considered it is that dining other than at standard dining times means you're out of synch for other activities on board, such as music and shows.

 

Also, we enjoy being in tune with the rhythm of life on the ship, enjoying cocktails before dinner with others who are going to dine at the same time, etc.

 

I suppose you could select 8:30 for some nights, and a different time for when you have a good reason to deviate.

 

I'm not aware that the service differs in quality, but it's possible that you will have different servers, as opposed to the same waiters who will get to know your preferences.

 

Also, if you prefer a different area of the MDR to dine, then that would be a disadvantage of DBR.

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I did dining by reservation on the Symphony in June. I thought I might choose 7pm, as that is my preferred time. We never did get that time. It is either within a half hour of either seating. While you do not have the same waiters, we did have a marvelous maitred' who always made sure that our evening dining went without a hitch. All dining staff was wonderful too. You are seated in a cozy corner out of the tumult. Try it!

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We will be sailing on the Symphony this October and when we booked last year the Dining By Reservation option was not offered to us and our understanding is that it was not yet being offered on the Symphony. Now we find out that it is being offered and are thinking of switching. We have always booked Second Seating dining. Any pros or cons, or tips to Dining By Reservations would greatly be appreciated !

Thanks,

Chris & Mary B.

 

***after posting this I found a great posting by Keith1010, I think we understand now !***

 

I am glad you found my posting.

 

I wanted to mention that when you booked the cruise dining by reservation was available.

 

At the time you make your reservation if you select traditional dining then dining by reservation will no longer show up as an option.

 

To book dining by reservation you have to not choose traditional dining.

 

If we can help with any additional questions, please be sure to let us know.

 

Keith

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Thank you everyone for the great information. We are thinking we will stick with our 8:30pm 2nd seating time for the reasons that "All too soon" gave. We have always booked 2nd seating because we do not like rushing back to the ship to make the first seating.

We have put our request in for the Vintage Room and are hoping to attend a dinner. We have done 2 Chef's Table dinners on Princess and really enjoyed them.

Aloha,

Chris & Mary

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Chris and Mary, the Vintage Room is an absolutely wonderful experience. The wines that are served are top notch and they pair well with the food. The Head Sommelier's do a wonderful job explaining each wine as well. It's a wonderful evening.

 

Keith

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You will love the vintage room experience.

 

Glad you were able to make your dining decision. I also prefer late seating as I don't want to rush to dinner. I also mix the time up slightly if I make specialty restaurant or 7:30 or 8:00.

 

Nancy

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Also, for others who might have similar questions - you can request Dine by Reservation only after you've paid in full, so availability might be limited if you wait until the last minute to pay and others already booked the times you want. If you can complete your payment on the early side, more time slots will be available to you.

Edited by Seafairer
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Also, for others who might have similar questions - you can request Dine by Reservation only after you've paid in full, so availability might be limited if you wait until the last minute to pay and others already booked the times you want. If you can complete your payment on the early side, more time slots will be available to you.

 

Excellent advice.

 

Keith

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We paid early with the thought of getting a table for two at 7PM. This is our first time on Crystal and find this process a little strange. We have sailed many times on Regent and Silversea and liked their version of open seating much better but will withhold judgement till after the cruise.

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We paid early with the thought of getting a table for two at 7PM. This is our first time on Crystal and find this process a little strange. We have sailed many times on Regent and Silversea and liked their version of open seating much better but will withhold judgement till after the cruise.

 

Unfortunately, unlike Regent, Silversea and Sea Dream the Crytal Cuises Dining Room cannot accommodate everyone at once. It used to be there was only traditional (fixed) dining on board the Crystal ships. Dining by reservation was implemented a few years ago in order to provide some flexibility for dining.

 

One positive though is my experience on some of the luxury lines is that it can queue up at the dining entrance at the most popular times of 7:00 to 8:00 PM. that wil not be the case when you arrive at 7:00 with dining by reservation.

 

Keith

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Unfortunately Crystal is stuck with their current ships that limit their ability to offer true open seating dining. At some point they will need to address this as the target market they are trying to gain will demand it or simply sail on one of the many, many other lines that offer it. Hopefully a new ship is on the horizon, though they do a great job of keeping their existing fleet up

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This will be our second Crystal Cruise. We have sailed numerous times with Princess and other lines. I must say that Crystal's pre-cruise service is very lacking. I know that they want to keep the strong travel agent relationship and want you to communicate through your agent, but if one wants just a quick question answered or your agent is unavailable, it is very difficult to get answers. Crystal's website is not that informative. We are just trying to find out what time the nightly shows are scheduled on our October cruise - are there two shows, one before the 2nd seating and one after the 1st seating ? I must say Princess was much more accommodating in answering questions to it's booked guests! Is the travel agent a more important client to Crystal than the actual paying passenger ? I wonder !

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Typically all evening shows for Early Seating are after dinner. Shows for late seating have tended in recent years to vary. The production shows are still scheduled after dinner but the others are typically scheduled before dinner. Hope this helps and I don't think there is a set policy, may also vary by itinerary.

Caryll

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The times for the shows are set right before the start of the cruise and they vary based on many factors including the length of the cruise and the mix of port and sea da.ys. On the black tie optional nights expect two shows. One at 8:30 for early seating and one at 10:30 for late seating. On the first and last nights there are sometimes one or two shows. On days with ports likely two shows with one at 7:00 for late seating and one at 8:30 for early seating. On the first day of the cruise in your daily reflections program it will list the shows for each evening.

 

Unlike many Princess Cruises crystals itinerary changes from cruise to cruise so they do not cookie cutter their programs including the evening shows.

 

Personally I find that the crystal website has a lot of good information compared to the other luxury lines. Yes, Princess does have an advantage when it comes to automation being part of a company that has hundreds of ships.

 

You can always call crystal cruises with general questions or write to on board guest services.

 

Once on the ship you should find an on board experience that is far superior to Princess as you should expect given that Crystal is a luxury cruise line.

 

If we can help with any other questions please ask.

 

I also hope you have read the sticky thread for first time crystal cruisers.

 

Sorry for any typos as I am writing this on an iPad.

 

Keith

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Thanks much again Keith1010! Our wonderful travel agent came to the rescue and we have everything sorted out now. We went with the Dining By Reservations for our October 23rd cruise on the Symphony. Now all we need is good weather for our Canada-New England cruise !

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chaunceyb, I am so glad you heard back and I hope you have wonderful weather for your cruise. It can make a big difference. This is one itinerary and time of year that you just never know what the weather/seas will be like.

 

In terms of expectations, the one down-side of dining by reservations are that the showtimes are mainly structured around the fixed seating so there can be times that your dinner will conflict with a showtime. If it is a show that you really don't want to miss, consider seeing the maitre d' earlier in the day to see if you can dine at another time. If the dining area is not full, the maitre d' will do his very best to assist you.

 

Keith

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This will be our second Crystal Cruise. We have sailed numerous times with Princess and other lines. I must say that Crystal's pre-cruise service is very lacking. I know that they want to keep the strong travel agent relationship and want you to communicate through your agent, but if one wants just a quick question answered or your agent is unavailable, it is very difficult to get answers. Crystal's website is not that informative. We are just trying to find out what time the nightly shows are scheduled on our October cruise - are there two shows, one before the 2nd seating and one after the 1st seating ? I must say Princess was much more accommodating in answering questions to it's booked guests! Is the travel agent a more important client to Crystal than the actual paying passenger ? I wonder !

 

Just an FYI chaunceyb - I know you did get the info you needed from your travel agent, but if you go into the PCPC and click on Events Calendar, it will give you your show times. At least mine does, and we are not sailing until Nov.

Have a great cruise!

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Just an FYI chaunceyb - I know you did get the info you needed from your travel agent, but if you go into the PCPC and click on Events Calendar, it will give you your show times. At least mine does, and we are not sailing until Nov.

Have a great cruise!

 

Thanks sp2, I thought that I was well versed as to what is on the Crystal website, but I'd never noticed the Events Calendar on the PCPC! Learn something new every day. :)

 

Patty

 

P.S. My next cruise has all the evenings listed except the first night, last night and one black tie optional night.

Edited by Texas Tillie
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Just an FYI chaunceyb - I know you did get the info you needed from your travel agent, but if you go into the PCPC and click on Events Calendar, it will give you your show times. At least mine does, and we are not sailing until Nov.

Have a great cruise!

 

I also noticed this a few days ago for my upcoming November cruise. However, out of the 14 days, the first, last and one additional didn't have the information yet. Also, on all the other days the shows are either 7PM and 8:30 or 8:45. On one of the days there is also a third show at 5PM. I'm sure this information can change but it was interesting to see it posted. I have seen a trend with the 10:30 shows basically being eliminated except for a few select evenings. although I typically eat dinner at late seating, I haven't been going to as many 10:30 shows as I use to but still enjoy other venues after dinner. While I'm not opposed to going to a 7PM show, this doesn't always work well for me as when we are in port late or I use that time to get ready for the evening.

 

Nancy

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Thanks sp2, I thought that I was well versed as to what is on the Crystal website, but I'd never noticed the Events Calendar on the PCPC! Learn something new every day. :)

 

Patty

 

P.S. My next cruise has all the evenings listed except the first night, last night and one black tie optional night.

 

Patty,

 

I just posted about this and I noticed the same things. I believe the Events Calendar was added a few days ago!!!

 

Nancy

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Mine shows every night except the first night and last night.

 

We don't sail until 9 p.m. on the first night. Is it possible there will be no show that night?

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Mine shows every night except the first night and last night.

 

We don't sail until 9 p.m. on the first night. Is it possible there will be no show that night?

 

There should be a welcome aboard show and it might be at 10:15ish

 

Nancy

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Just an FYI chaunceyb - I know you did get the info you needed from your travel agent, but if you go into the PCPC and click on Events Calendar, it will give you your show times. At least mine does, and we are not sailing until Nov.

Have a great cruise!

 

Thanks !

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