Princess is currently our favorite cruise line. We have cruised with them 5 times and have another cruise on the Grand booked for next year. However, we have also been on two cruises with other cruise lines (26 cruises in all) that only offer open seating. Both were disasters and we will never take another cruise with only open seating unless there is some GUARANTEE that we can dine when we want to WITHOUT WAITING. Since we normally prefer late seating and therefore arrived for dinner on those cruises between 8:00 & 8:30, we had to wait for an available table for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes every night. I hear from past cruisers on the Norwegian Sky that they now hand out beepers when people come for dinner & there is no table, just like at some land based restaurants. If we want a land based experience, we will book a land based vacation!
Part of the joy of cruising for us is the dining experience and the special camaraderie that always develops between us and the wait staff. If Princess does away with this, then we will CEASE to cruise with Princess. Hopefully, if they DO adopt a "Freestyle Dining" concept they WILL at least retain the ability to ALSO request "Traditional" dining arrangements.