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Bubbs33

Traditional or Anytime dining

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Currently on the Grand with anytime dining. On the first night, I tipped the matre D. At the end of dinner, we have standing reservation with no line or waiting. Bingo

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On 11/8/2018 at 11:25 AM, Bubbs33 said:

New to cruising. First cruise booked to Alaska July 2019. What do you prefer traditional or anytime dining and why? How does it work on long days in port? 

Thanks.

 

We have always had early traditional dining as we like to go to the first show every night. I’m aware that some people don’t like the 5 pm dinning but if you don’t want to feel rushed & enjoy your meal this works for us. 

 

We have the “Ultimate Beverage Package” as a part of a promo so I can enjoy a drink with my dessert. 

 

We have started to ask for a table for 2. We found out on our last cruise there were about 4-5 tables for 2 in a row. That was fine as it was interesting to talk to the tables next to you, “How was your day?” or say nothing. 

 

We also liked the same waitstaff each day as they get to know your likes/dislikes.  

 

On long port days the dinning rooms are anytime dinning. 

 

We make sure to let the dinning staff & if we have table mates know, if we’re not coming for dinner so they don’t wait for us. 

 

Tom😎

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Anytime.  I have always thought that the bit of the waitstaff getting to know you is way overrated.  After all, if you go to a restaurant on land, the waitstaff does not know what you want until you tell them.  You can always tell the waitstaff at anytime what you want when you sit down.  Having to wait a few minutes until you get your seltzer water or whatever you want isn't so awful.

 

I want the flexibility to eat when I want and when I am required to eat.  With regard to having to wait a bit for a table at anytime, how often do you walk into a land based restaurant and are seated immediately unless you make a reservation.

 

Another problem with fixed dining is that you are stuck with the sometimes very boring tablemates for the entire cruise.  With anytime, unless you ask for a table for 2, it is a crapshoot.  Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.  

 

We always do anytime and we ask for a shared table.  

 

One last thing.  If you do decide to take fixed dining, stay out of my anytime dining room.  I hate it when people who have chosen fixed decide that they don't want to eat at their assigned time and decide to crash my anytime dining room.  If you can't make your assigned dining time and I do not care what the reason including the fact that your tour got back late, go to the buffet.

 

DON

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36 minutes ago, anzore said:

Currently on the Grand with anytime dining. On the first night, I tipped the matre D. At the end of dinner, we have standing reservation with no line or waiting. Bingo

This can be accomplished without greasing any palms. Just go the the MDR the day of boarding and request a set dining time. We did that and it worked out just fine. 

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11 minutes ago, donaldsc said:

Anytime.  I have always thought that the bit of the waitstaff getting to know you is way overrated.  After all, if you go to a restaurant on land, the waitstaff does not know what you want until you tell them.  You can always tell the waitstaff at anytime what you want when you sit down.  Having to wait a few minutes until you get your seltzer water or whatever you want isn't so awful.

 

I want the flexibility to eat when I want and when I am required to eat.  With regard to having to wait a bit for a table at anytime, how often do you walk into a land based restaurant and are seated immediately unless you make a reservation.

 

Another problem with fixed dining is that you are stuck with the sometimes very boring tablemates for the entire cruise.  With anytime, unless you ask for a table for 2, it is a crapshoot.  Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.  

 

We always do anytime and we ask for a shared table.  

 

One last thing.  If you do decide to take fixed dining, stay out of my anytime dining room.  I hate it when people who have chosen fixed decide that they don't want to eat at their assigned time and decide to crash my anytime dining room.  If you can't make your assigned dining time and I do not care what the reason including the fact that your tour got back late, go to the buffet.

 

DON

 

Easy solution with stablemates you don’t enjoy dining with ask to be assigned a different table. We did that once & it solved our problems. 

 

Remember we all don’t have to like the same thing but respect other people’s choices/opinions. 

 

Tom😎

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Particularly since Princess went to 5:00 PM, early, we dislike traditional as it is way too early or late for us even if we get a table for two.  One of my favorite aspects of cruising is the sail-away's while enjoying my glass of red on our balcony during such, I would completely miss most of those with the early seating and late seating is too late for us. Another thing about traditional, unless you get a table for two you are stuck with table mates, meaning when you are going to be late you have to let everyone at the table know so they don't wait for you. Then too, some table mates might not be the best fit and since we rarely book for less than three weeks, we are stuck with them for the duration and then they have to put up with me as well.

 

So, anytime is best, if it works. On Regent they don't have traditional, only anytime which works great. On the Royal and Regal Princess they have three MDRs. One is 100% traditional, one is 100% anytime and the third is half and half. Unfortunately, in the third the traditional gets seated until about 7:00 PM then it opens up for anytime. Judging from polls and threads it is my understanding that about 70% of guests prefer anytime. So that means 30% of the guests get first dibs at the prime dining times.

 

We have found that lines are extremely long at the 100% anytime MDR, beginning about 5:00 PM, in fact they form two long lines. Most unpleasant is that guest temperament is commensurate with the length of the lines. They try to work ATD reservations too, but we have found this to be a mess, mostly due contradictions about procedure and policy among the staff, best to forget trying that. If we get there by six or a bit before we are in for quite a wait, however, if we get there around 6:30 the  wait is not significant and if we get there after a quarter to seven, sometimes we don't have a wait. If we want to eat later, after 7:30, there never has been a wait problem.  

 

What is a problem though is the turmoil involved, which often translates into a lack of service and poor quality meals, this in my opinion is exacerbated by understaffing of both service and kitchen personnel. If this be the case on a voyage, in the MDRs, in order to continue enjoying cruising we make do by booking dinner in one of the excellent specialty restaurants on board or simply going up to the Horizon Court buffet.

 

Now, our last three months of voyaging on Princess has been on the Pacific Princess where they have only traditional. We did secure a table for two on two of the voyages and they weren't particular over when we ate. But since then they have moved early up to 5:00, so not certain how that will work now. We were just on the Pacific for another month but this time we got "Club Class"--which was out of this world, like the days of yore. Eating anytime is part of that service. Of course, we had a full suite for the first time as well. We are getting a tad long in the tooth, so based upon our cruise experiences, I don't believe we will sail again with Princess unless we get a Club Class mini-suite as a minimum. We do sail with Regent on occasion, but $$$$.  

 

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Just now, trbarton said:

 

Easy solution with stablemates you don’t enjoy dining with ask to be assigned a different table. We did that once & it solved our problems. 

 

Remember we all don’t have to like the same thing but respect other people’s choices/opinions. 

 

Tom😎

 

I would and have requested a reassignment if the table mate was intolerable, verbally prejudiced or did not speak English.  However, some people are perfectly nice but just uninteresting or someone you do not want to spend a week or more sharing dinner with.  With anytime dining, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes they insist on sending you to a table for 2 in spite of the fact that you have asked to share.  

 

DON

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4 hours ago, Tedferg said:

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

 

Yes, a mistake in the sense that somehow I posted in the Princess board!! I was referring to Celebrity, but I won’t bore you with a screenshot that shows Anytime is unavailable and fully booked since it’s a different line. Anyhoo, I think my reasons for Anytime vs Traditional still stand since OP was asking why people would prefer one over the other.....these reasons hold regardless of company or line. 

 

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4 hours ago, Potstech said:

 

And what if they think the same thing of you?

 

Then they will obviously be miserable!!

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13 hours ago, GlennaRoseGoes said:

 

Yes, a mistake in the sense that somehow I posted in the Princess board!! I was referring to Celebrity, but I won’t bore you with a screenshot that shows Anytime is unavailable and fully booked since it’s a different line. Anyhoo, I think my reasons for Anytime vs Traditional still stand since OP was asking why people would prefer one over the other.....these reasons hold regardless of company or line. 

 

Thanks for the clarification the only other line we have sailed with is Celebrity. We had Anytime there too but were always seated at a table for two even though we asked to share.

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9 hours ago, Coffeeluvr05 said:

This can be accomplished without greasing any palms. Just go the the MDR the day of boarding and request a set dining time. We did that and it worked out just fine. 

Yes I am well aware of this.  We have yet to wait, even if there is a line for reservations. They come get us when they see us. I appreciate their work. A few bucks goes a long way.

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One reason we shy away from traditional dining on Princess is that it is mostly held in dining rooms that can only be reached by the aft elevators. 

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If you want early dining without the possiblity of a wait then traditional assigned early dining is the best option.

 

If you are willing to dine at 7:15 or later then you can do either without a wait.  And if you have anytime and go earlier there may be wait.

 

Late eaters after 7:30 will typically find the dining rooms very quiet.  It's if you want to eat at the popular early times that there can be issues. 

 

Enjoy!

 

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

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

 

They had this on our cruise this past summer, but only on 1 night (there were two late port days on the trip). I don't recall having this done before; I wonder when did this practice start and is it fleetwide now?

Edited by gdisney

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On 11/8/2018 at 3:31 PM, Mike45LC said:

 

I also like having a specific time that we are supposed to be in the dining room.  It puts a limit to the otherwise endless grooming and fussing.

 

 

On all of our previous Princess cruises we did Anytime. We greatly prefer the flexbility of eating on our schedule. We also appreciate the flexibility it allows for scheduling other shipboard entertainment. Previously, we've always preferred to be seated at a two-top, and never had a problem being accommodated in Anytime. Although a couple of times we dined with other folks from our Roll Call in Anytime, and we loved having the option too. It was never an issue not having the same waitstaff each night (though, often we did have the same person several times). It was no hassle to ask for what we wanted, and we always had exceptional service even in Anytime.

 

Our last cruise was on Disney, where the only choice was Traditional Dining. We were really apprehensive about it. This time we had our daughter as well. It ended up working out better than we expected (such that my husband, who used to be completely anti-Traditional, was willing to consider it for our upcoming cruise). The first night was a little awkward with our tablemates, and our serving staff. But the kids broke the ice (Disney does a great job of pairing families with like-aged kids). By the end, we found we really enjoyed dining with our tablemates each evening, and it was fun developing a bit of a relationship with the servers. But I didn't feel like the service was any better than when we had been in Anytime. 

 

So for our upcoming cruise we originally decided to do Anytime again, but open ourselves to being seated with others or alone. If Princess matched up guests (especially guests with kids) we might be more swayed towards Traditional. Although, I still hate the inflexibility of Traditional. As it happened, we ended up with a suite for our next cruise, and we'll be in Club Class. I'm excited to try it, as it combines the freedom and flexibility of Anytime dining, with the ability to enjoy a relationship with the waitstaff. While we likely won't have tablemates to enjoy, that's probably the biggest gamble anyway. I socialize plenty with people elsewhere (e.g. afternoon tea, breakfast in the MDR) so I don't need dinner to make cruise friends. 🙂


 

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I had posted earlier, about the different options...

I will chime in again...  I had mentioned that, for this cruise, since the sun sets early anyhow this time of year, we might choose early traditional.  (on the REGAL)

 

In hindsight, that was a big mistake.

We only did one actual show, the newer Born To Dance, which was really good!

So, eating early to make the early show, and not be up so late, was not a big factor after all.

 

With early traditional, and our own table for 4, it was not quite as important to be there on-time.  As, they are not keeping to as much of a schedule to prepare for a late traditional dining seating in this dining room.  Which was good...  We kept getting a few minutes later every night!!!   Feeling rushed was not so fun or relaxing.

 

On top of that, for this early seating in this dining room, we had a bad waiter, bad food that seemed to have been under heat-lamps since three or four in the afternoon, in preparation for the the nights dining,  and we even had a bad table location. Stuck there in the middle of the dining room, right between the service stations, where I was scooting my chair over, because I didn't want the back of my chair to keep being bumped.

 

On the open-dining night, because of the late Port departure...  we got a nice window table, and the whole experience was seriously like night-and-day.

 

On this cruise, one of the big focus, for me, since it wasn't just the two of us, was to have that nice seating and dining as a family most every evening.  The one thing that should have been a good part of the cruise, and good memory, was well, to put it mildly, was not-so-good.  

 

In hindsight, I / WE should have realized all of this right away and changed our dining arrangements.

That would have made a big, big, difference in our cruise experience.

 

So, I guess the take-away here, what I am trying to convey, is that...  no matter what arrangements you have set up.. be proactive and don't be hesitant to change the arrangements to make them a positive experience for you, at that time.

 

Edited by Wishing on a star

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I'm just back from my first ever cruise on Coral Princess, travelling on my own.  I opted for Anytime dining, as the times for traditional were just way too early for me - I would regard 7.30pm as the earliest I would like to eat on vacation. I also wanted the flexibility.

 

On the first night, I said I was happy to share or dine alone, and ended up dining alone, which I enjoyed and stuck with for the rest of the cruise. You can always chat to the people at adjacent tables.  A couple of times there was a bit of a wait - I was just given a pager, and headed up to Crooners bar for a Gin and Tonic until the pager went off.  Worked really well for me, and just goes to show that cruise ships really do cater for all sorts of preferences.

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On 1/22/2019 at 6:57 PM, donaldsc said:

Anytime.  I have always thought that the bit of the waitstaff getting to know you is way overrated.  After all, if you go to a restaurant on land, the waitstaff does not know what you want until you tell them.  You can always tell the waitstaff at anytime what you want when you sit down.  Having to wait a few minutes until you get your seltzer water or whatever you want isn't so awful.

 

I want the flexibility to eat when I want and when I am required to eat.  With regard to having to wait a bit for a table at anytime, how often do you walk into a land based restaurant and are seated immediately unless you make a reservation.

 

Another problem with fixed dining is that you are stuck with the sometimes very boring tablemates for the entire cruise.  With anytime, unless you ask for a table for 2, it is a crapshoot.  Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.  

 

We always do anytime and we ask for a shared table.  

 

One last thing.  If you do decide to take fixed dining, stay out of my anytime dining room.  I hate it when people who have chosen fixed decide that they don't want to eat at their assigned time and decide to crash my anytime dining room.  If you can't make your assigned dining time and I do not care what the reason including the fact that your tour got back late, go to the buffet.

 

DON

 

Not "your" Anytime Dining Room as it is the ships. Also how do you know the other diners are assigned Traditional or Anytime?  

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On 1/22/2019 at 9:38 PM, GlennaRoseGoes said:

 

Then they will obviously be miserable!!

 

Precisely.

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On 1/22/2019 at 6:57 PM, donaldsc said:

......

One last thing.  If you do decide to take fixed dining, stay out of my anytime dining room.  I hate it when people who have chosen fixed decide that they don't want to eat at their assigned time and decide to crash my anytime dining room.  If you can't make your assigned dining time and I do not care what the reason including the fact that your tour got back late, go to the buffet.

 

DON

I am reminded of the phrase, “hey kids, get the hell off of my lawn!”

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2 hours ago, Potstech said:

 

Not "your" Anytime Dining Room as it is the ships. Also how do you know the other diners are assigned Traditional or Anytime?  

 

There are many posts on CC where Fixed Time diners have said that they had no problem seating at AT dining when they could not or did not want to dine at their fixed dining time.

 

DON

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On 11/8/2018 at 2:17 PM, Potstech said:

As a first time cruiser I would go with Anytime and see how you like it. On subsequent cruises you can then decide how you want tto work it.  This lets you decide when you want to eat after all of the days activities.  We have always prefered Anytime as it lets us schedule meals around activities and not vice versa.

 

There is no need for reservations with Anytime.

Just came off from 2 weeks on the Regal.  We do anytime dining and prefer a regular time.  Called at 8am for reservation and got same time, table and waiter for the days we wanted..not including formal nites as we don’t do formal

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