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Early vs Late Dining: Pros/Cons


jaybeedee619
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I’m cruising with a multigenerational group (6 total). We selected a set dining time over anytime dining. Would early or late seating be better? No small children. 18-74 years old. 
Early: Allows us flexibility in showtimes, ppl to get to dinner at a more usual time/some ppl might not want to stay up so late even on vacation

Late: Less rushed finishing activities onboard/off ship - getting ready for dinner, time to have a pre-dinner drink/stroll, photos

 

thanks for your input

Edited by jaybeedee619
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Question - if you reserve a table for 6, would some of the guests (say 1 or 2) be allowed to dine later if they miss the scheduled dining time?

Flexibility is the reason why we always do anytime dining.  We make dinner reservation for a specific time only if we want to eat in Specialty Dining or dine as a group on a particular day.  Perhaps, it is better for you to place a group reservation for the days that the whole group can eat together.  On the other hand, if you must select either early or late seating, then choose the time that you would prefer to dine.

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I've found the early too early and the late too late (I'm 73) so we do any time. Plus who know if all of you will want to dine together every night. Sometimes there can be too much togetherness 🙂

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1 hour ago, jaybeedee619 said:

I’m cruising with a multigenerational group (6 total). We selected a set dining time over anytime dining. Would early or late seating be better?

 

Traditional Dining... is really a thing of the past... locking oneselves into eating at a set time every day

Which can be very inflexible,, if the cruise has port and sea days as well as if a show you would really like see...

 

Having said that some people always go Traditional Dining

I would go anytime dining... over early or late.....   but this depends on which cruise line you are planning to sail with....

 

Don

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We do anytime dining.  Usually 7 or 7:30.   

 

Six it too early for us, 8 too late (unless we have had a late lunch)

 

It is why we never select traditional dining. 

 

I do not think there is a pro or a con.  Just comes down to what you prefer.

Edited by iancal
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1 hour ago, dreamercruise said:

Question - if you reserve a table for 6, would some of the guests (say 1 or 2) be allowed to dine later if they miss the scheduled dining time?

 


no, I don’t believe you are allowed to switch dining times with traditional dining. Everyone has a set table and they don’t have the flexibility to switch you around one night. I think of you miss you have to eat at the buffet.

 

With the OP’s choice options I would pick early because late dining is too late for me. But I would lean towards anytime dining personally. Would give you the flexibility of eating a bit later on port days or earlier if you need to get up early

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2 hours ago, jaybeedee619 said:

I’m cruising with a multigenerational group (6 total). We selected a set dining time over anytime dining. Would early or late seating be better? No small children. 18-74 years old. 
Early: Allows us flexibility in showtimes, ppl to get to dinner at a more usual time/some ppl might not want to stay up so late even on vacation

Late: Less rushed finishing activities onboard/off ship - getting ready for dinner, time to have a pre-dinner drink/stroll, photos

 

thanks for your input

At home dinner time is 5:00.On cruises I prefer early dining.However,on 2 recent cruises we had late dining and that was fine.

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31 minutes ago, lenquixote66 said:

At home dinner time is 5:00.On cruises I prefer early dining.However,on 2 recent cruises we had late dining and that was fine.

At home we also eat about 5:00...When we cruise we tend to eat when either the evening buffet opens or Anytime dining starts.

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Check with the members in your group.

 

Some people may have "issues" if they eat too early or too close to bedtime. 

 

Too early or late affects my blood sugars later in the night.

Edited by Philob
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1 hour ago, Philob said:

Check with the members in your group.

 

Some people may have "issues" if they eat too early or too close to bedtime. 

 

Too early or late affects my blood sugars later in the night.

Anyone who has ever travelled across more than one time zone has been able to adjust his “belly time” — it just takes a bit of imagination and self discipline.

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25 minutes ago, navybankerteacher said:

Anyone who has ever travelled across more than one time zone has been able to adjust his “belly time” — it just takes a bit of imagination and self discipline.

AFAIK blood sugar can't do that.

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The OP did a good job of outlining the major pros and cons for each option. 

 

Early vs. late is really a personal choice. I would present the options to your group and let them have a voice in deciding, assuming you all want to dine together.

 

I am a fan of the Anytime or Freestyle dining, whatever you want to call it. But then I usually travel solo and I am happy to share a table (pre-COVID obviously). However, if you have a group, this could be a bit of a hassle as someone will need to take on the role of organizer, figuring out what time each day you'd want to meet and (on some cruise lines) it is better to phone in the morning and make a reservation to avoid a wait at your chosen time -- even with Anytime dining.

 

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Our working lives were structured.  The last thing that we wanted on vacation was structure...and that included set dining hours.  Since retiring we simply carried on that way-even more so when it came to travel.  It worked for us. Might not work for others though.  It is one of the reasons why we like multiple dining venues that we can grab a meal at late in the evening if we have skipped dinner.   Even if it is in the buffet where half is cordoned off and there are more on board staff than diners.

Edited by iancal
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8 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

Anyone who has ever travelled across more than one time zone has been able to adjust his “belly time” — it just takes a bit of imagination and self discipline.


i disagree with this. And I’ve traveled across many time zones before. It’s not about just about ‘belly time’, it’s also about sleeping time. Some people are flexible with those and some are not. I am not, I go to bed and get up at the same time every day whether at work, on the weekend, or on vacation. Yes, those times can change with the time zone, but with major time zone changes you have the advantage of the sun changing time with you. I prefer not to have a large dinner at 8 when I’ll be ready to go to bed between 9 and 10.

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We enjoy dancing after the evening show, but our energy starts to fade by midnight or before. So, if we want to get in some nightlife and dancing, we need to eat earlier.  We enjoy traditional because we usually cruise with just the two of us and enjoy meeting new people to dine with.

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Depending what line/ship...you probably would be able to get a table for 6 in the "anytime" dining room and go when you all want to dine. On a Princess cruise not too long ago, we were 8 and that's what we did and we never had to wait more than 10 minutes or so for a table. 

Edited by marco
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Well, in general its not a good idea to eat at night anyway. I would rather have launch or dinner around 304 4 p.m and then have a small snack somewhere at 8-9 p.m
In general the late  options dont sound that good. If its possible, stick to the early ones 

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The equation changes when you have more people in the group.  I've been on a couple cruises with larger family groups and a set dining time was the one time we were guaranteed to be together.  No arguments, no question of where or when to eat, no waiting for stragglers.  Selected early dining due to med issues for one of our group but everyone looked forward to our evening meet-up, regardless of what we did or did not do together earlier.  We were always able to arrange adjoining tables pre-cruise (linked our reservations) and swapped seats most nights to mix the groups.  Was assigned the same waiter for all of our tables and he never missed a beat with different people at different tables.

 

When it's just wife and myself or smaller groups, anytime is our choice.

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It's really a personal preference.

I determined that I enjoy having the same waitstaff each night. On our last cruise, my preferred beverage was sitting at the table waiting for me. You don't get that with anytime. I also enjoy getting to know my tablemates (if they would show up). 

 

However, I know I am now in a minority. Where at one point specialty restaurants were for a single night, now people enjoy them all the time. Plus more people eat at the buffet. To each their own.

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We prefer late dining, less kids and less crowded.  We like to relax a bit after a day's excursion, and find an 8 or 8:30 pm time suits us well.

 

If we get out by 10, we can spend an hour in the casino.  We can then go a late night adult comedy show if one is scheduled.  On most ships we skip the theater entertainment so that isn't an issue.

 

I think it's great that there are dinner times that can accommodate everyone's preferences.

Edited by evandbob
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We do anytime dining and choose a time to eat around shore excursions, particularly for Alaska. We found that we were often late for early dining as we were still exploring the port communities as the sun sets so late.  We don’t normally cruise with others and I know that would be a consideration but I wouldn’t want to short an excursion just to be back on the ship for dinner. We can eat anytime.

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