Jump to content
dbhome

How to make Anytime Dining work

Recommended Posts

Booked my 7/12 southbound cruise 3 weeks out as part of a flash promotion. Got Anytime Dining - didn't seem like I had a choice at that time. The flexibility appeals to me - but having different wait staff every night doesn't. On these boards I get very mixed reviews of Anytime Dining. Since I didn't really have a choice, does anyone have any suggestions on how to make Anytime Dining work well for us? Are there times that are better to show up so that you don't have a wait? Do the Anytime Diners get the worst tables? I haven't cruised in 20 years so I'm basically a first time cruiser in this area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What kind of cabin do you have booked?

 

We found that one of the biggest advantages of being in a suite was being able to use priority reservations to get a table for when we wanted. We liked our waitress so we made a standing reservation for the same table every night.

 

Whilst we had a table for two, we got quite friendly with a couple also sat at the next table every night, so we felt that we got the best of both worlds. We had the flexibility of being able to change the time if we wanted to on a particular night, but we were normally sat in the same place and had some company if we wanted it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I admit after reading these boards I'm really confused too. We don't want to be tied to one particular time for eating but we also don't want to have to wait forever to be seated. There are 4 of us - do you think we will have a hard time finding a table when we go? Last year we were on HAL's Oosterdam and we never had a problem (there were 6 of us then). I'm thinking that the problem is worse when you are trying to find a table for 2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've done Anytime Dining three times - once just the two of us, another with three of us, and another traveling with a group, where we usually walked up with a full table. Only time we ever had a wait was on the first formal night, and even then we were seated immediately when we went to the second Anytime dining room.

 

With all the evening activities on Princess, planning your meal time around what activities you don't want to miss is the way to go!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had anytime dining for 5 weeks on the Star Princess recently. Twice we waited as much as 10 minutes for a table. Most nights we were seated immediately. After about 2 weeks, we found a waitress and assistant that we really liked. We made a reservation for one of their tables and set there the rest of the trip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Curiously, for those who do Anytime dining, why reserve for the same time every night at the same table? How is that any different from doing the traditional dining?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have chosen Anytime Dining for 10 Princess cruises (traditional for our first, but since it wasn't as memorable as we were used to on Celebrity, we decided to "dine around"). We have found that, 9 times out of 10, it works very well.

 

If you dine before 6:30p or so, you will generally not have any wait at all. The only exception to this is formal nights. You can imagine that when the Captain's Welcome Aboard party is finished, many, many people make their way directly to the dining room, and there will be a line at that time. Not that the dining room is full and they are waiting for tables; there is simply a backup while they are being seated. On formal nights, we generally leave the Welcome Aboard party just before the end of it (on our last cruises, the captain only spoke at the later cocktail party, so we really weren't missing anything).

 

75 (maybe 85)% of the time, you won't have a significant wait at any time. You may be asked to take a pager (we usually go out on the Promenade deck and enjoy a stroll, since we aren't big "go for a drink" types while waiting). Certainly, the most likely time for a wait will be around 7pm or so, so if you're really opposed to one all together, just go earlier or later.

 

We love that we can ask for a table for 2 or 10, depending on our mood that evening. We don't miss the "personalized" service we would get in traditional dining, but do still expect "acceptable" service. Most nights, we're not disappointed. Occasionally we are. Still, it's better than being stuck with the same waitstaff for an entire cruise if we're not happy with them.

 

Others can fill you in on the reservations thing. We rarely make them. I think it defeats the whole purpose of Anytime Dining. But some people swear by them (and others are frustrated by them).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just back from Alaska Southbound on the Coral-loved the ship (our new favorite Princess ship) but our only complaint at all which really is very minor, is that the Anytime Dining room really did not operate as smoothly as it should. We always choose Anytime, but it seems of late that they take so many reservations that it is defeating the purpose of "anytime". The Coral had only one Anytime dining room, compared to two on the larger ships which may have contributed to the problem. Those with reservations stood in one line and were seated first-the others like us had a separate line and were seated afterwards at the open tables.

 

In order to get seated without a wait, you needed to arrive by 6PM. We came one night at 7PM and waited 45 minutes. Also, some of the servers were great, others really not so. We only had one waiter during the week that really seemed familiar with the food and made recommendations-others simply took the order and delivered the food. Some really did not have a very good command of English.

 

And since they take so many reservations, we noticed a difference in service between those with standing reservations and those who did not.

 

Food was quite good and we had a fantastic time-but on our next cruise we are traveling with two other couples and plan to do traditional dining.

 

Carole in NC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

dbhome

 

Anytime dining will work to your advantage.

You dine when and where.

Service is available from 5:30 to 10pm

Two dining rooms - Coral and Palm on Fiesta Deck 6

 

Call Dining Reservations on your stateroom phone EXT 6219 and request the time you would like a table. Do this as early a possible.

You can go to the MaitreD and reserve a table.

 

On the first night, you get a feel how well your Waiter will treat you.

If you like him\her you can reserve him\her for your entire cruise.

If you do not like your server, on the second night go to a different waiter and see how this works for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still contend that making reservations defeats the purpose of "anytime" dining! It also causes a problem for those of us who try to use "anytime" the way it is supposed to be used!! Whew....I feel better:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We are booked in an inside cabin. Can we still make reservations?

 

Yes you can.

 

marilyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your patience. One more question. Do Anytime Diners and Traditional Diners eat in the same dining rooms or is there a separate Anytime Dining Room?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Do Anytime Diners and Traditional Diners eat in the same dining rooms or is there a separate Anytime Dining Room?

Separate. On most ships there are 2 Anytime dining rooms and 1 traditional.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I still contend that making reservations defeats the purpose of "anytime" dining! :rolleyes:

It also causes a problem for those of us who try to use "anytime" the way it is supposed to be used!!

In other words, Traditional diners have a hard time getting a seat in Anytime.

They are the usual ones that have to wait and are unhappy with the whole "Anytime" dining experience.

When you reserve a table it doesn't defeat the Anytime dining experience at all.

You don’t have to rush to make an assigned time for dinner.

It makes it more pleasurable and flexibility to dine around shows and shore excursions.

 

 

We are booked in an inside cabin. Can we still make reservations?

It doesn't matter what cabin you're in.

You can make reservations to ensure the exact time you want to eat and not wait on a line.

Your immediately seated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I'm still a little confused. What if we don't want to eat at the same time every night? Do we decide earlier in the day what time we want to eat, and then make reservations for that night? Or, do we just take our chances and go whenever? I guess I'm worried that we will show up at, say, 6:30 but all the tables will have already been reserved. Does this happen? I'm kind of the "go to" person for our group when it comes to these kind of questions. I just don't want us to have any nasty surprises.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I guess I'm still a little confused. What if we don't want to eat at the same time every night? Do we decide earlier in the day what time we want to eat, and then make reservations for that night? Or, do we just take our chances and go whenever? I guess I'm worried that we will show up at, say, 6:30 but all the tables will have already been reserved.

Does this happen? YES!!!

I'm kind of the "go to" person for our group when it comes to these kind of questions. I just don't want us to have any nasty surprises.

If you don't want to dine at the same time every night you can just show up.

You might have to wait, depending on the time. Before a show or after!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Except for one cruise when we had 6 other people with us, we always have anytime dining. We're not picky as to where or with whom we sit so we never have had to wait. Of course we like to eat around 6 so perhaps if you like to eat later it might be different. We love having different servers, sitting in different parts of the dining room, and sitting with different people. I talk to DH 24/7 so it's a nice change ! :p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had a rather large (12) group on the Golden earlier this month. We also had some older people for whom dinner must be early. We tried, but could not get, traditional. So, the first day, we just went in and made reservations for the whole cruise, same time, same table. It was just like traditional. The older people liked it. I can understand why many people would want flexibility, but we just could not do that this time. Any way, it worked great.

Ohiodoglover

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I noticed above someone stated Traditional dinners ate in Anytime dining room. That is a big problem as Traditional Diners should be eating in their own dining room. We noticed the host/hostess checking cruise cards and turning away traditional diners, but sometimes they didn't check.

 

We've used anytime dining now for 7 cruises. The busy times has varied on each cruise, really depends on the make up of the cruisers.

 

You will not have a wait, or very short wait if you ask to be seated with others.

 

We have had all types of experiences with wait staff good and bad but sometimes the bad experiences have been the funniest and we remember them forever.

 

Note we have had bad experiences with wait staff in traditional too and have been stuck with them for the entire cruise.

 

Most important go with a good attitude. If there is a line up for one dining room go to the other anytime dining room. If both have a queue just got get a drink then come back.

 

Note there may appear to be a line up but it is often just a queue to get seated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've noticed that the poeple who post here either love anytime dining or they hate it. There's not much in between (same thing with people and formal nights).

 

You might just have to see whether you like it or not and make your own judgment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did Anytime last time we sailed with Princess. We tend to eat later and usually did dinner around 8:00 or 9:00. You just show up at any of the Anytime dining rooms whenever you feel like eating. When we went, there was usually a short line, because it takes a few minutes for the maitre d' to select a table for each party. If there's a wait for tables, you can either try a different dining room (the maitre d' should be able to tell you which dining rooms, if any, can seat you right away) or they'll give you the restaurant buzzer. When we got the buzzer, we never had to wait more than 10 minutes.

 

One thing we realized after our first night is that you should tell the maitre d' if you have a preferred table size. We like to share a larger table, so we had to remember to request to join a larger table when we went in, so we wouldn't end up at a table for two. They do try to synchronize service at the table, though, so if we started the large table, usually the wait staff would wait a bit for the table to fill more before taking our orders. And if we were the last, sometimes our tablemates had a very long starter course, so that everyone could catch up.

 

Because of this and the changing service, I did notice that the service was generally a bit worse than traditional dining, but we really liked the opportunity to meet new people each night. And if we met someone (at dinner or around the ship) that we wanted to dine with, it was easy enough to do. We've had cases in traditional dining where we met people on board that we would have loved to dine with, but the tables are already assigned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People who have the most "success" with Anytime are usually the early eaters and arrive at the dining room between 5:30PM - 6:00PM. After all, the dining room has just opened so there are tables available. :) Mixed reviews come from those who show up later, usually after 6:30PM, and the later you arrive, the greater the chance of a wait, just like a popular restaurant at home. Also, those willing to share a table experience shorter or no waits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We usually arrived at Anytime Dining (Coral) between 7:30-7:45 and only waited while the people ahead of us were seated, less than 5 minutes. Our choice was to join a large table and really enjoyed meeting different people each night (planned lunch with some of them later in the cruise). Often stayed in the dining room until closing time just visiting. I didn't notice any "bad" service. For the most part, the wait staff were efficient, but somewhat aloof, as they didn't expect to make an on-going relationship. That did not alter our appreciation of the "dining experience". The food was very good!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A with Daniel Skjeldam, CEO Hurtigruten
      • Win a 7-Night Romantic Danube Luxury River Cruise with AmaWaterways
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×