I prefer second. It gives me more time to relax before preparing for dinner after a long hot day in port. It also keeps me from eating off the buffet later since I am still full and satisfied from dinner. I enjoy the quietness of the ship just before and during the first seating...its as if half the ship has left and the rest of us get to enjoy the space.
The pros of early seating are for those who turn in early, who have kids and want to spend time with them before the evening programming, who have to eat earlier due to diet or health or those who just have to gorge themselves again later.
2nd seating has it for us. We were booked for the early seating on our very first cruise in the Med. and fortunately our TA (who was traveling with us) took it upon herself to change our seating to the 2nd - which was WAY LATE in Europe in August because most of the people on that cruise were Europeans on holiday - and I understand that the chefs don't even show up in most Europeans city restaurants until 9:00 or 10:00 P.M.!
We were concerned when TA made the change, since we are early to bed folks (in our daily, ho hum life!). But we thank her to this day.
There is nothing like returning to the ship, as Jeff above says, after a long and hot day of shore excursions, grabbing a chair on deck, ordering up a nice, tall, cool drink and kicking back and unwinding - being in no rush to do anything for an hour or more - and rehashing the sights we saw! As Jeff said - it's as if half of the passengers disappeared and we have the deck to ourselves. It is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable times during a port-intensive cruise. And it didn't take us long to adapt to eating late during those 2 weeks - but when we return home - it's back to dinner at 5:00 P.M.
However, we don't have children and eating late does not bother us as it does some people (we are in our 50's and 60's).
Enjoy your cruise - and which ever seating you select, it work out fine for you!
> What are the pros and cons of the two seatings? tell me
> which you prefer and why. Thanks
Here's a link to an article I wrote on the subject of dining times..
There are good things about both. Just depends on what suits you best.
We first started with the second seating as we were concerned about getting back and getting ready for dinner without being rushed. We really like it and the fact that we were never felt rushed. We were 'stuck' in the first seating once and could not get it changed and discovered we like first much more! There is always plenty of time to get ready for dinner and we are usually quite hungry by then as well. In addition we have time after dinner to see the shows and take our time wandering around in the evening and if the late nite snack/buffet appeals to us we have plenty of room for it. We are now definately first seating diners
My vote is for first. Basically it leaves more time after dinner to enjoy the nite life aboard the ship and quite frankly I'm more used to eating around 6 anyway, can't wait till 8-9, no way. We also find it easy to get ready for dinner, we usually start our day fairly early, so getting dressed for dinner around 5 or so is no big deal.
We have been on 16 cruises so far and have always done the 2nd seating. We always like to settle down after a day at shore. Our little "naps" before dinner are so nice!!! I think the 1st seating rushes you so many times on a cruise. Just my opinion. Happy Sailing. John F.
My wife and I also switched from first seating to second seating as we spent more time cruising. On most ships "getting hungry by six o clock" can easily be prevented by a later lunch or afternoon snack (e.g. split a pizza). If you like spending the maximum amount of time in ports, on shore excursions it allows you to kick back and relax when you return to the ship, especially on formal nights. I also agree that the waiters are much more rushed to clear first sitting than they are in second, so the dinner is much more relaxing. Relaxing? Isn't that why we're on the ship?