We are taking our 1st Princess cruise and have opted for Anytime Dining.
If you have experienced this, can you tell us if there is a wait involved with this, as someone I know experienced on another cruise line?
We thought 6pm a bit early, and 8:15 a bit late for set-time dining, so thought we'd try "anytime", but don't want to be left waiting in line forever.
Personally, I despise the "anytime dining" arrangement for several reasons.
>> 1. The fixed seatings of traditional dining are timed to mesh with the shows and other evening entertainment, so you will end up either eating close to those times anyway or missing the shows and other entertainment.
>> 2. Service suffers badly when you don't have the same waitstaff every evening. With fixed seating, your waiter and assistant learn your preferences on the first couple evenings of the cruise and thus anticipate your requests thereafter, so your beverage of choice, or whatever, arrives before you have to ask for it. This can't happen if you don't have the same waitsfaff.
>> 3. In most cases, you'll build a lot stronger friendhsip with the same tablemates over the course of a week than you'll build with tablemates that you'll never see again after tonight's dinner.
>> 4. All Princess ships offer plenty of alternatives if you can't make your assigned seating due to, for example, a shore excursion that returns late. In particular, the lido buffet areas (called "Horizon Court" on most ships) become bistros with full table service and a nice dinner menu after 10:00 PM, with no surcharge.
The frustration with "anytime dining" and difficulty in confirming "traditional dining" on several Princess cruises was one of the major frustrations that caused me to move to Celebrity Cruises nearly three years ago.