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trvlwrld

Anytime dining question

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We have taken many Princess cruises but have always had set dining times.  We are sailing on the Crown next month and find that the numerous late port departures and 5 pm dining time not to our liking.   How does anytime dining actually work?   How long is the wait if we don’t have a reservation?  We like meeting others-can we request to be seated with several others?  Can we choose different times each night by just showing up?

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I never tried to reserve it, and I do not see option in my booking profile.

We usually just showed up and if it was not a peak time were seated.

In busier time we were given a pager.

We always use tables for 2, but we were usually ask if we want to share and once we did not want to wait and shared.

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28 minutes ago, trvlwrld said:

We have taken many Princess cruises but have always had set dining times.  We are sailing on the Crown next month and find that the numerous late port departures and 5 pm dining time not to our liking.   How does anytime dining actually work?   How long is the wait if we don’t have a reservation?  We like meeting others-can we request to be seated with several others?  Can we choose different times each night by just showing up?

Show up when you want.

Most popular times are at the start of the dimmer time. Less crowded the later it gets.

Wait time can be non-existent to 30 or 45 minutes.

You can request table for 2 (can have a longer wait) or specify the size of table...4, 6, 8.

Yes, you can go at different times each night.

Reservations are available at the Maitre D' or head waiters preferences. Every ship is different. Speak to the above or call the Dine Line.

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We do anytime dining whenever we are traveling alone or with, say, just another couple. One dining room will be set up for early fixed dining and at around 7:30 will change over to anytime.  Another dining room will be set up for anytime all the time. Both work the same way, show up and let the person greeting you know whether you wish to share or dine alone.  Sitting at a shared table will typically keep your wait reasonable.

 

I would suggest that, if you would like to have a meaningful conversation at the table, ask for a six top.  We have found that larger tables are difficult to handle conversations. But then, I am stone deaf on one side. We have met many interesting people and no one uninteresting over the cruises.

 

While every cruise differs in the dining preferences of the passengers, we have found that the later the seating time, the quicker the seating. There will be times when you may experience a wait with a beeper.  We have never waited a long time in the 7:00 to 7:30 time frame.

 

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We love the freedom that Anytime dinning gives us.  We see what shows are playing and plan our dinner around them.  Or if we're really tired from a shore excursion we can rest and eat late.  Usually if you share you'll get seated faster.  Some days it is nice to be at a table of 2 and not be social.

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6 minutes ago, janina said:

We love the freedom that Anytime dinning gives us.  We see what shows are playing and plan our dinner around them.  Or if we're really tired from a shore excursion we can rest and eat late.  Usually if you share you'll get seated faster.  Some days it is nice to be at a table of 2 and not be social.

I suspect that you are always social.

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8 minutes ago, janina said:

We love the freedom that Anytime dinning gives us.  We see what shows are playing and plan our dinner around them.  Or if we're really tired from a shore excursion we can rest and eat late.  Usually if you share you'll get seated faster.  Some days it is nice to be at a table of 2 and not be social.

seated quicker .. but the meal can take longer depending on the speed of the other tablemates

 

a table for 2 makes it easier to control the pace of the meal if you let your servers know when you sit down ... within reason, of course

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For Anytime Dining just show up for dinner when you are ready.

Making a reservation for Anytime Dining defeats the purpose.

 

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23 minutes ago, Colo Cruiser said:

For Anytime Dining just show up for dinner when you are ready.

Making a reservation for Anytime Dining defeats the purpose.

 

Wouldn't making a reservation - if able to do so - allow one to dine when one wishes without waiting?  A.K.A. "Anytime".  :classic_wink:

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Perfect time to grab a drink and people watch if there is a wait! I have found that most evening there is no wait except on formal nights!

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35 minutes ago, steelers36 said:

Wouldn't making a reservation - if able to do so - allow one to dine when one wishes without waiting?  A.K.A. "Anytime".  :classic_wink:

Not the way the system was intended.

Is it ok to make a reservation and not show up taking a table out of circulation for the next diner that wants to dine when they wish?  Nah.

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14 minutes ago, Colo Cruiser said:

Not the way the system was intended.

Is it ok to make a reservation and not show up taking a table out of circulation for the next diner that wants to dine when they wish?  Nah.

Agree for sure.  IDK the policies, but if the booked party is not there after 10 minutes grace, the table should be gone to next in line.  We have done Early TD for a long time now as I prefer the regularity.  A number of years back, a MD gave us a set time/table in the the otherwise AT DR and that was nice.  It was like TD at our own time (more like 6pm or so, rather than 5 - 5:30).  

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Just now, steelers36 said:

Agree for sure.  IDK the policies, but if the booked party is not there after 10 minutes grace, the table should be gone to next in line.  We have done Early TD for a long time now as I prefer the regularity.  A number of years back, a MD gave us a set time/table in the the otherwise AT DR and that was nice.  It was like TD at our own time (more like 6pm or so, rather than 5 - 5:30).  

The AT system is so butchered now with every ship putting their spin on it and that depends on who the MD and HW's are at any given time. 

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We always choose Anytime and have never had to wait very long, if at all.  We usually ask for a 2 top because we don't like meals that take hours.  On our last Regal cruise we were sent to the Club Class section one evening where there was no wait, instead of giving us a pager for the Anytime dining room.  

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Posted (edited)

We did ATD for the first time on our March 2019 Grand Cruise.  We chose ATD because the "late" seating is too late for my parents, and the "early" seating now at 5 p.m. is too early for all of us.  My husband and I, if alone, would have done the late seating.  But we tried ATD and really liked it.  We ended up having a great waitress and assistant waiter and we spoke with one of the Head Waiters and asked about being seated in their section every night.  He said that if we showed up before 6 every night, he'd make sure we were seated in their section.  We made sure to communicate the night we went to Sabatini's and the night we had a late excursion and ate burgers at the grill, or the night we just had pizza in Alfredo's.  Overall we had a great experience.

Edited by dara90210

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On one of our sailings that we booked about a month from sailing, we were not able to get traditional dining.  We did get a 5:30 seating by going to the dining room the day of embarkation.  I believe it was in the anytime dining, which apparently started after our seating because there were A LOT of very hungry people outside the dining room waiting to be seated.  The waiting just doesn't appeal to me.  We have also had club class dining, which is basically like anytime, but you are seated right away.  

 

This brings me to another thought.  There are some that just go to the buffet and I don't understand that.  There are so many reasons that a buffet is just not appealing to me personally, but there is just no comparison between the buffet and the MDR.  But hey, those that prefer the buffet...you do you!  😉

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1 minute ago, Coffeeluvr05 said:

This brings me to another thought.  There are some that just go to the buffet and I don't understand that.  There are so many reasons that a buffet is just not appealing to me personally, but there is just no comparison between the buffet and the MDR.  But hey, those that prefer the buffet...you do you!  😉

Many times the same MDR items are available in the buffet and we don't feel like getting dressed up and spending 2 hours in the MDR.  

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for all the info...I just changed our dining to Anytime...fingers crossed, but sounds like the solution to the late port extensive itinerary!

Edited by trvlwrld

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12 hours ago, trvlwrld said:

 How does anytime dining actually work? 

 

It works so well that Princess created a new Cabin Class for higher priced cabins that promises those passengers can actually show up when they want and be seated immediately.

 

Many are willing to pay $$$ extra for this benefit those cabins have.

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Never waited more than a few minutes.

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20 hours ago, steelers36 said:

Agree for sure.  IDK the policies, but if the booked party is not there after 10 minutes grace, the table should be gone to next in line.  We have done Early TD for a long time now as I prefer the regularity.  A number of years back, a MD gave us a set time/table in the the otherwise AT DR and that was nice.  It was like TD at our own time (more like 6pm or so, rather than 5 - 5:30).  

So now your table is taken out of service for even longer waiting for you to arrive which means a slowdown in service in general for everyone.

There's nothing they can do with your table for that 1 hour before 6 PM.

That's the problem with reservations in the AT DR. 

It should be run just like the line for tenders. When your whole party is ready to eat then make your way to the door & be seated.

 

17 hours ago, Paula_MacFan said:

Many times the same MDR items are available in the buffet and we don't feel like getting dressed up and spending 2 hours in the MDR.  

Except for formal night with some better selections in the DR there are usually many more choices available at the buffet. This is especially noticeable on the Royal class ships.

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3 minutes ago, MissP22 said:

So now your table is taken out of service for even longer waiting for you to arrive which means a slowdown in service in general for everyone.

There's nothing they can do with your table for that 1 hour before 6 PM.

That's the problem with reservations in the AT DR. 

It should be run just like the line for tenders. When your whole party is ready to eat then make your way to the door & be seated.

 

Except for formal night with some better selections in the DR there are usually many more choices available at the buffet. This is especially noticeable on the Royal class ships.

It was MD's idea/suggestion.  As I recall, the four of us were looking for a different TD location.  But I see your point and cannot disagree.  We have booked early TD all along for ages now.  That was likely a one-off situation.   I don't see any reason, Couple #1 cannot be seated when it is known Couple #2 is coming right behind or someone is in the washroom.  With our TD booking, we and our friends do not walk in lock-step to the DR, but we always arrive at the table within a couple of minutes or so of each other.  Don't see why AT couldn't work the same.

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Since this seems to vary from ship to ship,  can anybody report if they were able to make some pre-arrangements for a particular server's section or approximate seating time on the Regal?

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Posted (edited)

Anytime dining suits us very well,  at lunch and dinner we request a table just for our family as the children would get restless if meal times took too long, with just us we can set the pace to suit us.  

Last week (on Sapphire) we only had to wait once, and that was for less than 3 minutes whilst they manoeuvred to mobility scooters. All the other times we were seated immediately,  we did request a certain waiter in one of the dining rooms and if he had a free table they did accommodate our request.

We did share a table at breakfast as the service is more set up to serving you in small family groups so the meal wasn't prolonged. We met some very interesting people when sharing a table,  and unlike traditional dinning if you don't like them you don't have an entire cruise with them ( or they don't like you 😁).

In previous cruises (when with extended family) we have had small waits and on a rare occasion needed a pager, but the wait was never long enough to order and finish a drink.

Edited by cabin4three
spelling

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On 8/17/2019 at 12:16 PM, Wishing on a star said:

Since this seems to vary from ship to ship,  can anybody report if they were able to make some pre-arrangements for a particular server's section or approximate seating time on the Regal?

 

It is not, exactly, accurate to describe the variance as being "from ship to ship."  It seems to depend on the dining room management--i.e., the ship's Maitre d' and the headwaiters in the various rooms.  Since the management changes regularly--contracts end, headwaiters' room assignments change on the ship between cruises--the truth also changes.  Somebody's experience on the Regal Princess a year ago, or a month ago, or a week ago, may or may not predict what somebody else's experience will be for the very next cruise.

 

All that notwithstanding, here's hoping that you have a great cruise on the Regal Princess.

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