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christinand

Anytime versus Early Dining

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I am having second thoughts about the early dining I booked. I am concerned i may miss it on excursion days. Do you usually have to wait for anytime dining, if so approximately how long.

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The longest I have ever waited for Anytime Dining is 10 minutes.  They gave me a buzzer and I was able to wait elsewhere.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, christinand said:

I am having second thoughts about the early dining I booked. I am concerned i may miss it on excursion days. Do you usually have to wait for anytime dining, if so approximately how long.

If you're not particular about the table size you can usually be seated right away.  Of course this will vary with time you go. Also, if you miss your Fixed time because a ship excursion was late returning they will usually allow you in to Anytime seating.

Edited by catl331

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, christinand said:

Thanks, are there any solo diners who have thoughts on which is a better option?

Many solo cruisers will say to do Fixed Dining at a shared table.  I'm going solo in 10 days and I'm doing the opposite.  My fear is being at a table for 6 or 8 and having no one else show up.  At least in Anytime, if I ask for a shared table, I am guaranteed table mates.   I don't mind breakfast and lunch alone, but at dinner I would rather share a table and be able to partake in conversation.  

Edited by dfish

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Posted (edited)

I just returned from the Noordam in Alaska. We (three of us) had anytime dinning and went to the MDR every night between 6:30 and 7:00. We were seated every night immediately, and we asked to be seated at larger shared tables with other guests. The only people waiting for tables were couples wanted tables for 2 which are always in shorter supply. It worked perfectly for us, we had great service every night from different servers too. A couple of the nights we got tables by the rear windows so we had great views with the late summer sunsets in Alaska.

Edited by terrydtx

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39 minutes ago, christinand said:

Thanks, are there any solo diners who have thoughts on which is a better option?

I've been sailing solo for 20 years, and much prefer fixed dining, but would never go to the early sitting. It's just much too early!
I want time to come in from the day and relax a bit, shower and change, and go to a lounge for cocktail time. I need time to switch from day-mode to evening-mode!

But if main sitting was not available, I would take anytime dining. I did have it for a portion of one cruise, and didn't mind sharing a table with different people every night, too much. I prefer to get to know my tablemates more than one night together allows, though.

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We do either Early or Open, depending on the cruise itinerary.  If we have alot of late ports or if we think that we will be doing alot of specialty dining, we do Open.  We have not had any problems with waiting on getting a table with Open dining.

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Posted (edited)

We do open seating on all cruise lines when possible.  Sometimes we are able to make reservations, sometimes not.  We have never waited more than 15 minutes to be seated on any cruise line that offered open seating.

 

On a few cruises where reservations were accepted for anytime dining we have had to move from our preferred to 7 or 7:15 time to 6:30 or 7:30.  Not a biggie for us.  On most formal or gala nights we have bailed in favour of an alternate dining venue.

Edited by iancal

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1 hour ago, catl331 said:

If you're not particular about the table size you can usually be seated right away.  Of course this will vary with time you go. Also, if you miss your Fixed time because a ship excursion was late returning they will usually allow you in to Anytime seating.

 

Will they do this if a ship's excursion is scheduled to run later than early fixed, or only if it's running later than scheduled? 

 

 

1 hour ago, dfish said:

Many solo cruisers will say to do Fixed Dining at a shared table.  I'm going solo in 10 days and I'm doing the opposite.  My fear is being at a table for 6 or 8 and having no one else show up.  At least in Anytime, if I ask for a shared table, I am guaranteed table mates.   I don't mind breakfast and lunch alone, but at dinner I would rather share a table and be able to partake in conversation.  

 

Like you, I don't mind being solo at breakfast or lunch, but dinner is too long a meal to be alone IMO. 

 

I like fixed dining to get to know my table companions, rather than do introductions every night. In all my cruises at a large table, I've only once had nobody show up, and that was several years ago.  It was just DH and me at a 6-top that night. The other people hadn't told us they were planning to eat elsewhere, but it must have pinged in the system, or maybe our waiter noticed. The maitre d' came over and asked if we'd mind if some anytime people joined us, so we did have company that night. If you did find yourself alone, you could ask your waiter to call the maitre d' over and see if you could move for the night or have some anytimers join you.

 

This past winter on the K, I was with a couple and her brother at a 6-top. The other two seats were empty the whole cruise, despite the fact that people were unable to get into early fixed. We asked the waiter, and he said the seats were assigned. But those people NEVER showed up. That's rude. If you don't want the fixed dining, especially early, give it up for someone who does. 

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42 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

This past winter on the K, I was with a couple and her brother at a 6-top. The other two seats were empty the whole cruise, despite the fact that people were unable to get into early fixed. We asked the waiter, and he said the seats were assigned. But those people NEVER showed up. That's rude. If you don't want the fixed dining, especially early, give it up for someone who does. 

I agree 100% !  To me it is very rude to take up a prime location/time if you never attend to use it.  Very inconsiderate.

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, DaveOKC said:

I agree 100% !  To me it is very rude to take up a prime location/time if you never attend to use it.  Very inconsiderate.

 

Or, first time cruisers who were unaware.

 

We made the mistake of choosing the late seating dinner (as early seating was just too early to eat, and late seating wasn't much better but the lesser of 2 bad options) because we'd been steered away from anytime dining. We only made our seating twice. This year, we are doing anytime dining, so we can eat at a more normal (for us) time.

Edited by operakatz
typo

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Does anyone know if reservations are taken for Anytime Dining? I know some cruise lines do.

 

Thanks in advance.

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11 minutes ago, Patsy Flower said:

Does anyone know if reservations are taken for Anytime Dining? I know some cruise lines do.

 

Thanks in advance.

Yes they do.  We have done it quite often on several of our cruises where we have both open sitting.

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16 minutes ago, boards said:

Yes they do.  We have done it quite often on several of our cruises where we have both open sitting.

 

But you can't make a reservation at ANY time. The middle of the dining period is not reservable. So between 5:30 and  7:30 or 8:00, you have to go in and ask to be seated.  I've seen reports that you can reserve as late at 6 PM, but the best early time I've ever been able to reserve is 5:30.

 

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2 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

But you can't make a reservation at ANY time. The middle of the dining period is not reservable. So between 5:30 and  7:30 or 8:00, you have to go in and ask to be seated.  I've seen reports that you can reserve as late at 6 PM, but the best early time I've ever been able to reserve is 5:30.

 

 

2 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

But you can't make a reservation at ANY time. The middle of the dining period is not reservable. So between 5:30 and  7:30 or 8:00, you have to go in and ask to be seated.  I've seen reports that you can reserve as late at 6 PM, but the best early time I've ever been able to reserve is 5:30.

 

We have made reservations for late dining a number of times.  I agree you my not be able to book early dinning, but can late.   We have done it.

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5 hours ago, operakatz said:

Or, first time cruisers who were unaware.

Or a flat mistake! We were half-way through a TransAtlantic cruise before I happened to notice that our SnS cards showed one of the fixed seatings! When I *always* specify open when it's just dr'spin and I -- and we had been going to the ATD dining room.

 

I did notify GS, but did NOT comply with the card as that is not our choice when it's just the two of us.

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7 hours ago, RuthC said:

I've been sailing solo for 20 years, and much prefer fixed dining, but would never go to the early sitting. It's just much too early!
I want time to come in from the day and relax a bit, shower and change, and go to a lounge for cocktail time. I need time to switch from day-mode to evening-mode!

But if main sitting was not available, I would take anytime dining. I did have it for a portion of one cruise, and didn't mind sharing a table with different people every night, too much. I prefer to get to know my tablemates more than one night together allows, though.

 

My dear Ruth, those who were blessed to be seated with you during that cruise were VERY fortunate! 

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I've done both fixed dining and Anytime and have found positives and negatives with both. I prefer fixed main (or "late"), but Anytime can be made to function similarly by just going later.  And, usually, one has NO wait if one waits until 8pm for yumyums.   If I had to chose between Early and Anytime, I'd pick Anytime.

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49 minutes ago, RevNeal said:

 

My dear Ruth, those who were blessed to be seated with you during that cruise were VERY fortunate! 

Aw, you just made my day. Thanks.

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14 minutes ago, RuthC said:

Aw, you just made my day. Thanks.

We are with you, Ruth.  We always select a late, fixed dining, table for our party, (2-top or 4-top).   We are usually off the ship on port days until 4:00 or 4:30.   Also, we are usually hot and sweaty.   Who wants to run to the cabin, throw on some non-smelly clothes and race to early dinner ?   We enjoy getting back on the ship, heading back to the cabin, relaxing with a cold drink, shower, dress, and head to the Ocean Bar for a few pre-dinner cocktails.   Then around 7:55, the Yum-Yum man comes through with the chimes announcing dinner.

We really enjoy having the same table, same friends, same wait staff, our favorite rolls and ice-tea plus glasses of wine are sitting there on our table when we walk in.  Never even a 10 second wait, we walk right in, and sit down.   No waiting lines, no pagers, no bother of making reservations and hoping for a good table.  Fixed-Late seating is the best, IMHO.

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For many years we did late, though at home we tend towards earlier, last few cruises we have gone with anytime, never waited more than a few minutes

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IMHO, The two best changes in the cruise industry in the last decade, Anytime Dinning and relaxed nighttime dress codes. 

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On 8/7/2019 at 7:39 AM, christinand said:

Thanks, are there any solo diners who have thoughts on which is a better option?

I'm single but usually travel with a couple.  Since I have a pretty severe hearing loss, Early Dining is a frustrating experience due to the noise as I sit and nod and try to smile when appropriate while not hearing a thing anyone has said for 20 minutes.  Gets a little embarrassing when someone asks me a question three times and I simply sit there and look at them like an idiot!

 

We always go to Anytime Dining and ask to reserve a specific table for a particular time for the entire cruise.  Works perfect for us.  If we will be late or decide to go to the Pinnacle or eat on shore, we simply let them know as soon as we can.  I would do the same if traveling alone without hesitation.

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I prefer anytime at a large table because if you have a tablemate who is obnoxious, that can ruin a cruise.  Only once about 40 years ago, did we ask to be switched and I still have guilt about that.   Also, if you happen to be at a table and meet people who you click with, you can always opt for dinner with them.  

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