Not only would it be considered impolite, they don;t do it. Dinner is served in a manner where it comes in courses as that is how the waiter picks it up. If you did not order that course, you just wait until the others have completed it. The entrees are all served at the same time. If you are concerned about the time, (usually an hour to hour and a half spent at dinner), then request an earlier seating.
as Jim has stated, the cruise lines just don't do that in Traditional dining. The dining is leisurely but not spaced out, you are not waiting and waiting for your next course-- you will be amazed at how the time flyes and how much you enjoy your entire meal and how relaxed you are.
good question and I commend you for trying to be thoughtful of your table mates. One of the neat things about dining on a cruise ship is to try "different" things (you never know what you might like), so if you're not really into appetizers and salads, you might ask your waiter if you can share with your spouse each of the courses (they can cut the portion for you prior to serving) and if you don't like it you don't have to eat it, but you would not appear to be disrespectful to your other tablemates (or wasting to much food)
You do not indicate which line/ship you are on, but most cruise lines are leaning towards "personal choice" dining which gives you more options on when, what and with whom you dine with
If this is your first cruise, the dining experience is a key part of your cruise. Enjoy the sharing of experiences with your table mates and most important, enjoy the luxury of leisure time and company without the pressures of every day life.
Just go for some light appetizers or cold soups. If you like shrimp cocktails, they only give you about 4-5 small ones.
I usually skip the bread and drink only water as not to fill up.
The portions are not mega size, so I wouldn't worry about it.
Most ships also have a light-fare for people who don't want to eat that much late at night.
2008 Liberty OTS (Caribbean)
2007 Summit (Alaska)
2006 Century, Infinity (Panama Canal), Summit (Hawaii)
2005 Millenium, Voyager of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas B2B
2004 Explorer of the Seas, Constellation (Canada/New England)
2003 Horizon (Bermuda), Summit
2002 Explorer of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas (Caribbean)
It's not rude to only eat what you want. I don't have a big appetite & often skip courses. It will be considered rude to ask to have your entree served while others are still eating earlier courses.
As other posters have said the waiters won't serve you out of order. However, they will serve you 1 or more appetizers as an entree if that is your perference. I also convinced one to serve me a smaller size of a main pasta course as an appetizer once.
The dining times are scheduled so you won't miss anything. If 8:30 is too late for you to dine, when you board, go to the maitre'd that day, as soon as possible, & ask to be switched to the early seating.
Thank you everyone. We've been on several cruises, but we usually eat by ourselves.
I have been plagued with kidney stones and the less food I eat the better. Of course, after they tell you what you can't eat, there is not much left anyone. We will be on the Zuiderdam this August and looking forward to a table of fun people. I'll just keep drinking everyone else's water, lol.