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Change in Traditional Dining Times?

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I've been cruising for a long time... When I started there was no such thing as Anytime Dining... You either had Early, Late or you ate at the buffet... I learned quickly that if you wanted the more popular Early Dining you either booked early or were on a "wait list"... Being on the "wait list" pretty well guaranteed you'd be assigned Late Dining.  I've just returned from a 10 day cruise to Mexico on the Grand... I booked early and had confirmed 6PM dining... Heard the "buzz" on C/Critic long before I received the official notification from Princess... I ate in the Early dining room nine out of ten nights... Five of those nights I dined at my table alone... Two nights, one and two, there was a couple  at my table who had not received the notification... They weren't happy and tried to get moved to Late... It was full... After two nights they decided to do the "wait in line" for Anytime... A couple of nights later, a very nice couple joined me... They had opted for Anytime but didn't realize they either would have to wait in line or carry a "Blue Light Beeper" device that gave them 10 minutes to get to the dining room or lose their place... Looking around the dining room those nine nights I saw MANY tables with MANY vacancies. I talked with many people on board about the change... Those that normally eat at 7-8PM or 5-6PM were happy... Those that opted for Anytime were dissatisfied. Those that paid for "Club Class" dining had no complaints... I said it in an earlier post and will repeat it now. I believe Princess is phasing out Traditional dining and replacing it with Anytime Dining and the much more lucrative Club Class Dining.

 

 

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 I said it in an earlier post and will repeat it now. I believe Princess is phasing out Traditional dining and replacing it with Anytime Dining and the much more lucrative Club Class Dining.

 

Hi Mediasport,

I totally agree with you. I just wish Princess would stop playing games with the passengers!!! 😡

Tony

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2 hours ago, Shmoo here said:

Not necessarily.  Just open the ATD earlier than 5:00 for those who want to eat dinner earlier.

 

I'm a early TD person.  I'm not thrilled that my preferred time of 5:30 (or 5:45, 6:00 at the latest) is now 5:00.  

 

It seems to me, if they are filling up 2 dining rooms with enough people to fill the early seating on TD, then that's what people want.  Traditional, but at a bit later time.  Those people who want ATD must be aware that they are not necessarily going to get their preferred time for eating when selecting that option.

I'm not necessarily convinced that those anytime diners that line up before the dining room opens really WANT to eat at 5pm. I think the mismanagement of anytime dining results in a mob mentality and a belief that you HAVE to get in line to get a spot even near to the time you want to eat - having tried anytime dining twice with Princess, we soon found ourselves swept up in the waiting in line frenzy and we are definitely not 5pm diners (5:45pm was perfect for us)!

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I have 2 cruises booked for 2020, Majestic and Sapphire as per signature, still TD on those, at this stage anyway. Second sitting 7.15pm suits us. 5pm way too early.  But wonders if the 5pm diners are coming in late,  thus not being able to clear the MDR by 7pm to make way for table setting for 2nd sitting.  Any reports on this? 

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34 minutes ago, ceilidh1 said:

and we are definitely not 5pm diners (5:45pm was perfect for us)!

If you have a specific time that works best for you, maybe traditional dining would be better than taking a chance that you'll get something close to what you want with AD.

 

But, that probably wouldn't work now.  Now that Princess has messed things up trying to "fix" the problem with the long line at opening.

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2 minutes ago, Shmoo here said:

If you have a specific time that works best for you, maybe traditional dining would be better than taking a chance that you'll get something close to what you want with AD.

 

But, that probably wouldn't work now.  Now that Princess has messed things up trying to "fix" the problem with the long line at opening.

Agreed!

We always choose early traditional dining - only done anytime twice in 27 cruises with Princess. Both times were a disaster! Not too happy that my confirmed 5:30pm dining for our cruise in March has been changed to 4:45pm!

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2 hours ago, Mediaspot said:

I've been cruising for a long time... When I started there was no such thing as Anytime Dining... You either had Early, Late or you ate at the buffet... I learned quickly that if you wanted the more popular Early Dining you either booked early or were on a "wait list"... Being on the "wait list" pretty well guaranteed you'd be assigned Late Dining.

You don't say what you consider to be a "long time". I don't consider myself to be a long time cruise but based on my first cruise in 1990 through one in 2003, let me rewrite that paragraph based on my experiences since it's very different (changes in CAPS).

 

"When I started there was no such thing as Anytime Dining... You either had Early, Late or you ate at the buffet (ON THE OCCASIONAL NIGHT THERE WAS A DINNER BUFFET IF ANY AT ALL)... I learned quickly that if you wanted the more popular LATE Dining you either booked early or were on a "wait list"... Being on the "wait list" pretty well guaranteed you'd be assigned EARLY Dining."

 

Our first cruise in 1990 had a dinner buffet on  just two of the seven nights, neither of which was a formal night. Our 2nd cruise in  1992, a 3-night cruise, had no dinner buffet on any night. Our first Princess cruise in 1993 on the original Sky Princess had no dinner buffets. All food outlets were closed during the dinner hour - you ate at your assigned time or you did not eat until the Pizzeria reopened late in the evening.

 

We didn't cruise again until 2001 by which time 24-hour buffets had become the norm but even then, as we found by booking late, the late booker found Late dining was booked full and it was Early or Anytime. A cruise in 2003 was booked far enough in advance to get the difficult to obtain Late Dining. It was only when we cruised again in 2016 that we were surprised how empty Late Dining had become. So from my experience, it was sometime between 2003 and 2016 that the preference shifted to dining early.

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We have done 5 Princess Cruises, all late dining. Last cruise we were supposed to have 7:15pm dining but the ship ignored that entirely. This past cruise, they did a sort-of compromise of 7:30. The problem is that I believe MANY people have opted into the late dining which used to be empty. So instead of better service and out earlier, the first night was 7:45pm start and 9:00pm+ (with NO desert) finish. This change has had a massive negative effect on my cruise experience thanks to everyone changing to late dining. 

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I have been on 29 Princess Cruises.. When I found out Early Dining was moved to 5PM I didn't like it, but thought I would give it a try... My table had one couple the first two nights and another couple three of the last nights... The other evenings I dined alone... This was NOT the Princess Cruise Experience I had in the past or expected. My hope is that Princess monitors these forums and listens to the musings of their loyal customers. THM

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2 hours ago, Mediaspot said:

I have been on 29 Princess Cruises.. When I found out Early Dining was moved to 5PM I didn't like it, but thought I would give it a try... My table had one couple the first two nights and another couple three of the last nights... The other evenings I dined alone... This was NOT the Princess Cruise Experience I had in the past or expected. My hope is that Princess monitors these forums and listens to the musings of their loyal customers. THM

Once on board our b2b two weeks ago, the TD late sitting was not 7:15 but 7:45.  The only reservations for Anytime dining was before 6:30 or after 7:30.  Long lines most night to eat at 7/7:15.

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45 minutes ago, BRANDEE said:

Once on board our b2b two weeks ago, the TD late sitting was not 7:15 but 7:45.  The only reservations for Anytime dining was before 6:30 or after 7:30.  Long lines most night to eat at 7/7:15.

In late December on the Emerald, late dining was 7:30 PM.

 

Problem was that all the activities and entertainment that used to end by the previous 7:45 PM late dining time were no changed to end by 7:30. Thus had a choice of being late for dinner most evenings or missing a number of activities/entertainment over the 15 days of the cruise.

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On 10/16/2018 at 3:40 PM, abbydancer said:

I think that the traditional dining times are set by the ship and often depend on which itinerary you are on.  I'm usually in late seating, and the times have varied from 7:45 to 8:30.

 

The late dining time seems to be 7:15 on many of the ships.

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47 minutes ago, suzyed said:

The late dining time seems to be 7:15 on many of the ships.

For Florida folks that's a little late. 😉

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, MissP22 said:

For Florida folks that's a little late. 😉

It must be for you Villages folks!  LOL!  
But 5:00 is so early...unless you are going for the "early bird dinner"!

 

Edited by suzyed

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On 12/26/2018 at 8:59 PM, Lucky TGO said:

 I said it in an earlier post and will repeat it now. I believe Princess is phasing out Traditional dining and replacing it with Anytime Dining and the much more lucrative Club Class Dining.

 

Hi Mediasport,

I totally agree with you. I just wish Princess would stop playing games with the passengers!!! 😡

Tony

I hope not.  I have no desire for "anytime dining" and I actually like the late dining time now that it is 7:15.  5:30 was too early.

 

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3 hours ago, suzyed said:

I hope not.  I have no desire for "anytime dining" and I actually like the late dining time now that it is 7:15.  5:30 was too early.

 

Hi Suzyed,

 Princess tell you that the late dining time is 7:15 PM  when you get on the ship they change it to 7:45 PM. 😡 

 That’s what they did to us on the Caribbean Princess in January .

Tony

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7 hours ago, suzyed said:

It must be for you Villages folks!  LOL!  
But 5:00 is so early...unless you are going for the "early bird dinner"!

 

We actually eat at around 3:30 at home but of course we don't eat lunch at home most days. 

Somewhere around 5 PM pm on the ship sounds great for us.

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10 hours ago, suzyed said:

I hope not.  I have no desire for "anytime dining" and I actually like the late dining time now that it is 7:15.  5:30 was too early.

 

This is what I was afraid of. Someone else said it perfectly, they've traded the unpopular 8:30 late dining for an unpopular 5:00 early dining. Last two cruises, many early diners have changed to the "7:15" late dining and its now packed. The early dining has been so full for so many years I wonder if the cruise lines had extra help for that shift and I now wonder if they've shifted that help to late dining. 

Also, things like Afternoon Tea have been moved earlier accordingly which actually did have an impact on how many times I could attend. I feel like they've moved dining times earlier but haven't moved activities after dining. My wife and I still just went back to our room and stayed-in for the night. They did do an ice carving demonstration at night (9:00 which was nearly impossible to get to). 

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4 minutes ago, Rick Ell said:

This is what I was afraid of. Someone else said it perfectly, they've traded the unpopular 8:30 late dining for an unpopular 5:00 early dining. Last two cruises, many early diners have changed to the "7:15" late dining and its now packed. The early dining has been so full for so many years I wonder if the cruise lines had extra help for that shift and I now wonder if they've shifted that help to late dining. 

Also, things like Afternoon Tea have been moved earlier accordingly which actually did have an impact on how many times I could attend. I feel like they've moved dining times earlier but haven't moved activities after dining. My wife and I still just went back to our room and stayed-in for the night. They did do an ice carving demonstration at night (9:00 which was nearly impossible to get to). 

I'd bet they must have done a study & found that it satisfied the majority of the people. 

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I don’t think it matters so much if they change the times. What is important is that (a) they stick to the same times on board as stated when you book and choose dining, and (b) that the onboard activities times are adjusted to suit the new dining times.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, marylizcat said:

I don’t think it matters so much if they change the times. What is important is that (a) they stick to the same times on board as stated when you book and choose dining, and (b) that the onboard activities times are adjusted to suit the new dining times.

 

 

I agree.

However, as to the stated dining times - they haven't used the "stated" times in years.

We always book late and it varied from ship to ship from 8:00 to 8:45.

8:45 is a tad late but it was fine.

When they said late was switching to 7:15 we thought that was really too early but ............

Our last two cruises were actually at 7:45 as many have said. I was told it was up to the Maitre D'.

If 7:45 works, why not just change (and I mean REALLY change as a company wide policy) to that.

It leaves early at 5:30, which I think many people find a lot more doable than 5:00.

 

EDIT: On second thought - From the beginning of this change I thought the switch was to entice more people to book late dining rather than early (since late has been half empty for years). As long as they leave the stated time as 7:15 people who don't do as much research as the people on here will fall for it and book late.  Once they get on the ship and see it's really 7:45 they'll either 1) just go with it , 2) try to switch to early, which is probably full, 3) switch to anytime or 4) eat in the buffet. They hope most people will just go with number one and thus both seatings are full.

Edited by chamima

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IDK, maybe it's a generational thing.   Maybe it's a regional thing.  Maybe it's just a personal thing.   But I think BOTH 5:00 and 7:15 or later are just wrong.     I know lots of people eat late, but do they eat 8:00 or later when not cruising?

 

Our group sailed together and what a mess.    We chose 6:00.  Several weeks before the cruise, we received an email saying our new dining time was 8:30.   We discussed it and decided to have two dinners, lol.  One at the buffet or somewhere else and then the MDR.   We got on the ship and received our seapass cards.  7 of us had our times changed to 5:30 on the card (with no notification at all)  and 3 changed to 7:45.   Thank you Princess!    You separated our group and the only solution was to get on a wait list.     So, we didn't  eat together every night.  We have not booked with Princess since then and really not sure we ever will.

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, skoeper said:

 We got on the ship and received our seapass cards.  7 of us had our times changed to 5:30 on the card (with no notification at all)  and 3 changed to 7:45.   Thank you Princess!    You separated our group and the only solution was to get on a wait list.     So, we didn't  eat together every night.  We have not booked with Princess since then and really not sure we ever will.

Were your bookings linked?  That should have prevented the group being broken up.  We have done this on numerous cruises and never had a problem. 

Edited by capriccio

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1 minute ago, capriccio said:

Were your bookings linked?  That should have prevented the group being broken up.  We have done this on numerous cruises and never had a problem. 

 

Yup!   One was linked late, closer to the sail date.    We were awfully surprised ourselves.   It was our first Princess cruise, too.   Celebrity still wins, lol.

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1 minute ago, skoeper said:

 

Yup!   One was linked late, closer to the sail date.    We were awfully surprised ourselves.   It was our first Princess cruise, too.   Celebrity still wins, lol.

Wow, that is a shame.  We have no experience with adding folks later on; our groups are linked from the very beginning (and we make reservations usually a year in advance) so there has been no conflict with the requested dining time being full.

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