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Question about anytime dining "peak times" and waits


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Anyone who has done a 7 nt Eastern Caribbean on a Royal Class vessel and had Anytime dining - what were the "peak times" you noticed and what was your average wait?

 

I'm looking at doing 3 nights specialty dining on a 7nt cruise on Enchanted in January and hate to keep a "traditional" (7:15 assigned time) dining table tied up when I'm only there 4 of 7 nights, but don't want long waits for dinner either, so trying to determine if Anytime will work for us.  Dining at 7-7:30 is ideal for us, and I usually do Traditional Late seating, table for 2 (which is why I was happy when Princess made "late" dining earlier than in past).

 

Any advice or suggestions??????

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7:30-8:00 P.M. are my preferred times for Anytime Dining and I was usually able to be seated, without advance reservation, within that time frame on Royal Princess.  The one major exception to this was New Year's Eve.  I had a 7:30 P. M. reservation.  Arriving at the dining room, I was given a pager and told "it would be a short wait".  My "short wait" turned into 2 hours!  (And, I was not asking for a table for 1.)  

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I plan on doing Crown Grill & Sabatini's on the "formal" nights to avoid the MDR hoop-de-doo on those days, which I know are always the busiest for Anytime, and probaly do Sel deMer in the middle of the week (maybe St. Thomas Day).  I may just stick with late Traditional and let the Maitre'd know he can use our table for Anytime overflow if needed on the nights we are not there.

Edited by AtlantaCruiser72
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Rarely have seen a wait at 7:30 on Royal class ships but who know how dining will be handled and possible wait times when cruising starts again.

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This is how it was pre-pandemic.

The deck 5 mid ship DR opened at 5pm and remained open for new ATD entrances until 9pm. The Deck 6 mid ship DR opened for ATD at 7:30pm. Prior to 7:30 it was used for early fixed seating. Generally peak time was around 5:30/6:00. If you dined around 7:30 you did not have any difficulty getting a table as two DR's were open at that time. Most cruises the matrie'd  allowed you call the dining line in the morning for a reservation. Call around 8:00am as soon as the dining line opens. Reservation times were fixed for example 5:15, 5:30, 7:15, 7:30. Reservation times for times like 6pm were not taken. Also note that theater shows are basically timed to allow those in traditional seating time to see the shows either before or after they dine.

I have not seen an announcement regarding how dining and seating will be handled once cruises resume. If it were me I would select traditional dining now. If ships are only partially filled you should be able to change once on board. If you can't change then just mention to the waiter that you will be in specialty dining the next day. There isn't really a problem. The auto tip takes care of wait staffs no matter if you are there or not there. 

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The Royal and Regal are our favorites, and we've done the Caribbean many times. We always request a table for two for ATD, and if none are available when we show, we simply take a pager and head back to Crooners for another Martini and wait for the pager to go off. 

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I hope to be cruising in March 2021 and also plan on going to Sabatini's and Crown on formal nights. One of my customers has been on the Royal 4 times. She said just tell them the first night you get there what time you want to eat every night and they'll try to accommodate you. That was going to be my plan until I read that it's best to call every morning which is what I will probably do since I have 3 of the 7 nights booked at specialty restaurants. We eat pretty late on cruises anyway so it sounds like 7-7:30 shouldn't be a problem.

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3 hours ago, skynight said:

I have not seen an announcement regarding how dining and seating will be handled once cruises resume. If it were me I would select traditional dining now. If ships are only partially filled you should be able to change once on board. If you can't change then just mention to the waiter that you will be in specialty dining the next day. 

 

That's sort of my plan, I just hate taking a traditional dining spot and leaving the seats empty 50% of the time, but not a real fan of anytime dining either as it often is more chaotic and can be long waits for a table.  Usually I do 14+ day cruises so doing 2-3 nights specialty I don't feel so guilty about the table being empty if I'm there 12+ nights.

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None of us know exactly how things will be with Post COVID-19 cruises.  But the Royal Class is similar to the Grand Class when it comes to dining.  When the ship is relatively full, trying to get a 2-top during the prime dining times from about 6:30-7:30 can involve some waiting.  The amount of your wait will vary from cruise to cruise depending on the ships occupancy rate and the number of Europeans and folks from South America (these folks tend to dine later then many Americans).

 

I will tell you that DW and I always do open dining, but seldom go to eat before 7:45.  We seldom have to wait more then a few short minutes but we are not looking for a 2 top.   I am going to take an educated guess that because of COVID-19 there will be an ever greater demand for 2-tops as many folks see it as a way to social distance.  

 

Hank

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If we chose Anytime Dining, we build the delay in.  We know we are going to have to wait, we go down, get a beeper and head for the nearest bar.  Sometimes we have actually been beeped before we got our drinks, sometimes we wait a bit longer.  I don't recall ever having to wait a long time.  There have been times when we have walked right it.  Every night is an adventure!!  🙂 

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6 hours ago, Anubi said:

We know we are going to have to wait, we go down, get a beeper and head for the nearest bar.  

 

Having to be given a beeper diminishes my dining experience on a cruise.  Patronizing a favorite and popular local restaurant on a Saturday evening and being given a beeper:  OK.  I ought to expect such.  I am not going to be paying for my dining experience at that establishment as much as I have had for my cruise dining room experience.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/3/2020 at 1:29 PM, AtlantaCruiser72 said:

Anyone who has done a 7 nt Eastern Caribbean on a Royal Class vessel and had Anytime dining - what were the "peak times" you noticed and what was your average wait?

 

I'm looking at doing 3 nights specialty dining on a 7nt cruise on Enchanted in January and hate to keep a "traditional" (7:15 assigned time) dining table tied up when I'm only there 4 of 7 nights, but don't want long waits for dinner either, so trying to determine if Anytime will work for us.  Dining at 7-7:30 is ideal for us, and I usually do Traditional Late seating, table for 2 (which is why I was happy when Princess made "late" dining earlier than in past).

 

Any advice or suggestions??????

Don’t worry about not being in the MRD all 7 nights. I’ve done the same thing but I let the dinning room staff & my table mates know when I’m not going to be there. I like sitting with the same people each night when I’m there. On my last cruise I suggested to my table mates that we all go to a speciality restaurant one night & everyone agreed. 

Another reason I like assigned dinning is because I like the shows, especially the 1st show so I know what time I’ll be eating. 
 

Tom😀

Edited by trbarton
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33 minutes ago, trbarton said:

Don’t worry about not being in the MRD all 7 nights. I’ve done the same thing but I let the dinning room staff & my table mates know when I’m not going to be there. I like sitting with the same people each night when I’m there. On my last cruise I suggested to my table mates that we all go to a speciality restaurant one night & everyone agreed. 

Another reason I like assigned dinning is because I like the shows, especially the 1st show so I know what time I’ll be eating. 
 

Tom😀

 

There will be no table mates to be concerned about, as due to moms hearing we always request a table for 2. The large amount of background noise can make conversation at a large table difficult for her. 

 

We are sticking with traditional dining and I think we may only do 2 nights specialty as mom isn't real excited about Sur LaMer menu (I think it sounds fantastic). 

 

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On 6/3/2020 at 4:36 PM, skynight said:

This is how it was pre-pandemic.

The deck 5 mid ship DR opened at 5pm and remained open for new ATD entrances until 9pm. The Deck 6 mid ship DR opened for ATD at 7:30pm. Prior to 7:30 it was used for early fixed seating. Generally peak time was around 5:30/6:00. If you dined around 7:30 you did not have any difficulty getting a table as two DR's were open at that time. .... Also note that theater shows are basically timed to allow those in traditional seating time to see the shows either before or after they dine.

 

I have not seen an announcement regarding how dining and seating will be handled once cruises resume. If it were me I would select traditional dining now. If ships are only partially filled you should be able to change once on board. If you can't change then just mention to the waiter that you will be in specialty dining the next day. There isn't really a problem. The auto tip takes care of wait staffs no matter if you are there or not there. 

The pre-pandemic timing shown above defined the problem.  All the dining rooms pretty much filled @5 -5:30, and tables or sections didn't open up until 7:30.   Our preferred dining time was about 7:00-7:15 and we were always given a pager and told to wait until 7:30, at which time we were directed to the dining room on deck 6, which was just finishing the Traditional early seating.   When we turned in our pager there was always a large line waiting for ATD.

 

On Royal Princess we found the Horizon Court dining to be very good.  The food was almost always hot and tasty.  Alfredo's was a good dining alternate and never had a wait.

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Did anyone see the report on the first River Cruise ship to sail this week in Germany? Very interesting how they handled this sailing. Not one we would take, will see how the regular cruise lines are able to pull this off. We have sailed over 80 cruises, have normally used the Any Time Dining with asking for a table for 2 or 4 but alas the tables for 2 are so close together you are no more than inches apart. If they need to move the table to 6 feet apart, not sure how this will ever work. Guess we will all wait and see. 

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The ONLY way to keep a 6' social distance between dining tables would be to cut passenger capacity significantly (50% or more).  While this may work short term, it is not a long term solution.  The long term solution is a widely available and safe vaccine and good options for treatment with a high recovery rate and low instances of hospitalization.

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17 hours ago, AtlantaCruiser72 said:

The large amount of background noise can make conversation at a large table difficult for her. 

 

Depending upon the ship's dining room's ceiling, the noise level can make it extremely difficult for me to hear.  Seated at a rectangular table for 6/8 and being at one end or the other of the table:  for me, forget about much relevant conversation by me to others at the other end of the table.  A round or oval table for 6/8 makes it easier to converse and to hear what others are saying even if there is much background noise.

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3 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

Depending upon the ship's dining room's ceiling, the noise level can make it extremely difficult for me to hear.  Seated at a rectangular table for 6/8 and being at one end or the other of the table:  for me, forget about much relevant conversation by me to others at the other end of the table.  A round or oval table for 6/8 makes it easier to converse and to hear what others are saying even if there is much background noise.

 

Even a table for 4 can be difficult for her on a good day, so we stick to two tops.  I have issues with background noise as well, though not as bad, so this works better for everyone .... especially since no one has to listen to us constant ask them to repeat themselves - LOL

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