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Traditional or Anytime dining

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I would like to hear of anyone's recent experience with Anytime Dining. We are a party of 2 on a Crown Princess cruise in a year, and a party of 4 on the Grand Princess in Feb 2020. We all like to eat at 6PM. I have confirmed early seating on the Crown cruise, but have not selected a dining time for the Grand. None of us old foggies wants to wait for a table....I'd rather have a fixed time if not after 630PM or so.  For us late seating will not work. Late being anything after 7PM.

If we have a late shore visit that day or other plans, we can always head up to the Lido deck........

 

Anyone with recent experience in similar circumstances?

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16 minutes ago, PaperSniper4 said:

I would like to hear of anyone's recent experience with Anytime Dining. We are a party of 2 on a Crown Princess cruise in a year, and a party of 4 on the Grand Princess in Feb 2020. We all like to eat at 6PM. I have confirmed early seating on the Crown cruise, but have not selected a dining time for the Grand. None of us old foggies wants to wait for a table....I'd rather have a fixed time if not after 630PM or so.  For us late seating will not work. Late being anything after 7PM.

If we have a late shore visit that day or other plans, we can always head up to the Lido deck........

 

Anyone with recent experience in similar circumstances?

looks like you need to book club class mini's or full suites

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3 minutes ago, voljeep said:

looks like you need to book club class mini's or full suites

Hey, we're all poor retired folk! :classic_ohmy:

 

I think we'll end up with Early seating, and on shore days just catch a meal at the Lido is we're back on board late. We have 4 sea days on a 10 day cruise, so that ought to work out okay. I can eat at 1700 a lot easier than at 1900!

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This is an interesting discussion.

 

We have always booked anytime dining on Princess. Earlier this year we went on a Disney cruise that only has traditional dining, and we did enjoy that.

 

Waits for anytime are always longest around 6-7, but the longer the cruise, the less wait (people get tired of the dining room). We too enjoy the option of not having to dress up for dinner, and will go to the buffet a few times instead. (I think that is why I enjoyed the traditional dining on Disney - other than the special nights the dress code is more casual)

 

We are cruising again in a few weeks, and booked anytime again. I like the option of changing plans to suit the day and our mood/energy.  We also like to meet different people at anytime. I wouldn’t want to be stuck with the same companions every night.

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If available and affordable, the perfect solution is CC dining.  Go that route.  If only about $10-20 more pp over regular mini-suite, then DEFINITELY go with CC stateroom!

 

Pooh

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I'm wondering whether the food differs between ATD and TD? When I saw this description on my dining preferences it made me wonder. Similar to restaurants, dine with whomever you like anytime from 5:00pm – 10:00pm in our Anytime Dining Rooms. 

Edited by happyhousesitter

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12 minutes ago, Mike45LC said:

Happy, the menus are always the same.  The food should be identical between Anytime and Traditional.

 

Per above ... the food/menu is exactly the same in Anytime and Traditional.  

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We went to ATD twice and went back to Traditional. The service was better because you have the same waiter every night.

Tony

Edited by Lucky TGO

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On 11/20/2018 at 10:54 PM, Lucky TGO said:

We went to ATD twice and went back to Traditional. The service was better because you have the same waiter every night.

Tony

We managed to always get the same waiter every night in the AT DR and it wasn't requested ahead of time either. 

Sometimes if you get there early every night, they remember which waiter you prefer.

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We have done it all the different ways.

It really would be best to go with what works for you on this particular cruise.

 

In Alaska, we did Late Traditional, because of the long days.   ( I think it was at 8:00 then)

Yes, it seemed late to get done with dinner/supper that late in the evening. But, it was what worked.

We were on the Coral,  and our experience with the food and service in the dining room were exemplary.  Better than I think I could expect today on other ships.   (The buffet was not that good....)

 

On our next cruise, I think we will go with Early Traditional.

We do really like the idea of having our table and familiar servers waiting there for us.

 

Also note, the times listed, which seem to be 5:00 for early seating, are not always what the ship goes by.

On our next cruise,  Earliest seating is at 5:15, Early Traditional in the one dining room is at 5:30.  I think the late Traditional Seatings are 7:30 - 7:45.

Edited by Wishing on a star

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We hate anytime with just 2 of us. We prefer to have the same wait staff & it is nice to have a large table & meet some new people (tho this can be hit or miss!)

We have booked the same waiter & table even doing anytime when we met one we liked, tho.

Depends on the cruise tho--our UK one next summer is port intensive with long days at port. We did manage to get the 7:15 late dining time. If they push that to 8 we will have to change to anytime.

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There are definitely positives and negatives to both Traditional and Anytime.  When we've traveled with another couple we prefer Traditional as we know we will always have a table for four and it's nice to get the same waitstaff every evening.  When we travel alone, we prefer Anytime as it's difficult to get a table for two in Traditional and we've had some bad experiences with large tables as noted by some others.  Anytime tends to be a better fit if you are on a cruise that is port-intensive such as Alaska and Europe due to some later tours.  Whatever you choose, have a great time.  We love the food, and for the most part, the service in the Princess dining rooms. 

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We use to always book Anytime but now that Traditional 2nd Seating has been moved up to 7:30 it fits us better if we can reserve it . Otherwise , back to Anytime .

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With over 60 cruises on 9 different lines, we remember when there were no choices, it was breakfast, lunch and dinner in the MDR.   How days lots of options.    If we do the MDR we prefer late traditional.  

 

Now days, depending what line/ship we are on we usually request late Traditional table for 2.  If we don't go to the MRD, we sometimes do the buffet, some times room service, sometimes the specialty restaurant.   We love the Crown Grill on Princess, hard not to have a good meal there, also like the fish and chips lunch done at the Crown Grill. If we are in a nice poor and can find some local foods we bring them back to enjoy on our balcony and skip the meal on the ship.   .  

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Early traditional works best for us. Hubby likes to eat early. and I sleep better on an empty stomach. We both like having the same wait staff, who will know what we want after a day or two.

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On 11/8/2018 at 11:32 AM, famski740 said:

Used to go with Anytime Dinning but the lines started to get to long so switched to Early Traditional.  Now they are changing Traditional Dining times to earlier 5:00 and 7:15.  On next cruise have chosen Late Traditional but will see what happens on ships that are sailing now and seeing if the ships actually change their times.

 

As far as late port days.  In the past the ship has gone to all anytime dining on those days.  No Early or Late Traditional, just show up when you want and hope to get in

As to late port days and  fixed dining (we always do late fixed), we found that going later to our designated table, we were always able to walk right in and sit down. Getting to use you assigned waiter helped with those little things you like such as how you want your salad done. Also, they were able to get to your wine from the previous night faster.

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For Us, its anytime due to the flexibility. The only crowded night was the night we had Lobster. The most we waited was 10 minutes. Needless to say, it has never been an issue... If im in port all day, I dont want to have to rush back to eat. If i tired, ill eat later.. If if you miss, there are so many things to eat, it wont matter. On RCCL, they always put us in the same section, if not the same table, and we always had the same wait staff.. Princess we had different tables, but its not an issue with us..

Edited by anzore

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Since the OP is specifically asking about an Alaskan cruise this summer, I'll put my oar in.  I took my mom to Alaska last year on our first Princess cruise.  It was wonderful!  We had requested an early traditional dining time, and we were assigned to the Portofino dining room.  We were on the one way southbound route, so that may make a difference on comparisons--especially if OP is doing a round trip.

 

Side note:  My mom was using a wheelchair on the cruise, and we received excellent service.  This did affect some of the things I will tell you though since we usually did not sit anywhere where there were a couple of steps up.

 

The first night, we went to our assigned dining room, and they just seated us with random people at a large table.  I think it was pretty much all anytime dining that night.  We got aboard not long before dinner started, so we put our bags in our room and managed to figure out how to get to the dining room.  What we did not realize was that elevator service (which was mandatory with a wheelchair) would be such a big problem the first night since they were still loading passengers.

 

We loved the dining room, and used it often including breakfasts and lunches on sea days.  For the same reason we tend to go to the same restaurant at home pretty often, we like the traditional set up of having a waiter that gets to know you.  However, Alaska port times (and a couple of unplanned nap times) often meant that we were not really ready to go to dinner early.  So, I think we only made it to our assigned table a total of one time.  I'm sure our table mates were peeved, and I apologize, but it could not be helped (I was not pushing my mom to be somewhere at a specific time if she didn't want to or needed a rest while we were on vacation).  We did not feel like dressing up on formal nights and ended up on the buffet those nights which was perfectly fine.  I liked the wash stations that the Star had coming into the room.  We also utilized the anytime dining.  As I said, our assigned dining room was Portofino which was traditional early followed by anytime later in the evening.  The greeter knew us and would always take care of us, and we often ended up with the same couple of waiters.  I know that some people frown on people utilizing both traditional and anytime, and I'm not trying to start any arguments here.  I truly believed that we would be utilizing the traditional times more fully, and I figured since the time zone was two hours earlier than our own, we'd probably not want to eat at the later traditional seating. 

 

If I were booking another cruise to Alaska, knowing what I know now, I'd probably either book anytime OR I'd book traditional late since we tend to be late eaters at home and the port times sometimes made those early dinners really hard.  Plus those beds are REALLY comfy and often require me to take a nap on them after I've been out all day. 

 

Here's the breakdown of what I would pick based on different circumstances.

 

IF you like a schedule, need to eat at a certain time for health reasons, have people with you (like kids) that need to eat at a certain time or are traveling in a group that really wants to sit together, then TRADITIONAL will probably work better for you.

 

IF you like to eat when you are hungry and not by the clock, don't mind changing things up, aren't picky about which waiter you have or what section of the dining room you sit in, and know you probably won't want to eat in the dining room every night, then ANYTIME will probably work better for you.

 

One thing is for certain, there is food available all of the time.  You will not go hungry.  The dining room is really for people who like the sit down restaurant experience and being waited on.  If you, like I, really enjoy that, I say utilize it as much as you can whether you eat on an anytime schedule or traditional one. 

 

 

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On 11/8/2018 at 9:04 PM, OCruisers said:

 

Have to agree ... Club Class Dining makes it so easy to have dinner whenever you wish.  :classic_wink:

 

So does eating in the buffet.  That's what we call "anytime" dining. :classic_rolleyes:  Having dinner in the dining room is not a high priority for us as we prefer to partake of all the entertainment options in the evening that we can as well as hit the casino.  We will go to the anytime DR if there's an entree we want that they don't have in the buffet.

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I’ve only done anytime, but on my upcoming cruise in June, it is full....so we chose 6:15, which I am very apprehensive about. I will definitely be missing this time slot on longer port days....to me, cruising is about the ports and destinations and local cuisine, not the ship itself and its dining. Anyway, I will not want to come back to the ship early just for a meal....and on earlier port days, I don’t want to be rushed. I like to shower, do my makeup, maybe sort some photos from the day before dinner. 

 

Also, the thought of having to sit at the same table with the same people each night sounds awful. What if they are boring and can’t carry a conversation? What if they are snooty? What if they are just idiots? Of course, you can encounter this at your Anytime table as well, but then you just suffer through the night and hope for better the next day. There will always be enough small talk for a new group to survive one meal.....but past that, what do I have to say to these people? 

 

I’ve never had to wait for a table for Anytime, even for a table for two, so I don’t see that as a deterrent. 

 

Lastly, I’m not high maintenance with a million (or any) special requests, so I don’t need or want the same waiter each evening. 

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13 minutes ago, GlennaRoseGoes said:

I’ve only done anytime, but on my upcoming cruise in June, it is full...

This must be a mistake - I have never heard of Anytime being full ???

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40 minutes ago, GlennaRoseGoes said:

I’ve only done anytime, but on my upcoming cruise in June, it is full....so we chose 6:15, which I am very apprehensive about. I will definitely be missing this time slot on longer port days....to me, cruising is about the ports and destinations and local cuisine, not the ship itself and its dining. Anyway, I will not want to come back to the ship early just for a meal....and on earlier port days, I don’t want to be rushed. I like to shower, do my makeup, maybe sort some photos from the day before dinner. 

 

Also, the thought of having to sit at the same table with the same people each night sounds awful. What if they are boring and can’t carry a conversation? What if they are snooty? What if they are just idiots? Of course, you can encounter this at your Anytime table as well, but then you just suffer through the night and hope for better the next day. There will always be enough small talk for a new group to survive one meal.....but past that, what do I have to say to these people? 

 

I’ve never had to wait for a table for Anytime, even for a table for two, so I don’t see that as a deterrent. 

 

Lastly, I’m not high maintenance with a million (or any) special requests, so I don’t need or want the same waiter each evening. 

 

And what if they think the same thing of you?

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