I'm clear on how the dining room works for dinner but not for breakfast and lunch. Is there a set menu for both meals, like for dinner, and you order your choice? Or is the dining room set up as a buffet, self-serve the same as on the Lido deck? Where do more people frequent for breakfast and lunch (hoping to avoid some of the longer lines)? Thanks!
The dining room has a set menu for breakfast and lunch, and the post the menus for the day outside the restaurant...for breakfast you can sit wherever in the dining room but for lunch you are supposed to sit at your assigned table (the one for dinner)...I never did eat in the dining room for anything other than dinner....
I eat in the dining room for most meals now since the atmosphere and food is better.
For breakfast you will be escorted to a table with other people until the table is full and then they start filling up the next table. You order off the menu. Dress is casual and shorts and T-shirts are common.
For lunch there will be a buffet set up and a carving station for roast beef sandwiches and such. There will be all kinds of salads and meats available and your drink service is provided by waiters. You are invited to take any seat in the house, but usually they have at least 1/2 of the dining room roped off so they don't have as much cleanup to do to get ready for dinner.
At sea days, same table for breakfast/lunch as for dinner. There are also early and late seating for these meals (at sea days). This is one feature I enjoy. No waiting around for friends to show. If they show, you know you will be seated together.
Grand Princess 2-2001
Grand Princess 12-2001
Carnival Paradise 3-2002
Carnival Destiny 10-2002
Golden Princess 10-2003
Carnival Legend 6-8-2004
Golden Princess 10-22-2005
Crown Princess 10-27-2006
Crown Princess 9-15-2007
Caribbean Princess 5-2-2010
I have found that the way lunch is run depends on the ship. On most cruises, I've found it to be just like breakfast in that you are guided to a table with other passengers, and they fill it until the table is full, and then fill the next table. Then you order off a menu, like dinner.
The one cruise I went on where they had a buffet set up in the dining room for lunch, they still escorted you to a table with other passengers.
I think there was only one cruise where we sat at our assigned table for lunch, and that was Celebrity.
On our last two cruises there was opening seating for breakfast and lunch on the days we were in port. On the days we were at sea it was assigned seating for lunch but not for breakfast. On past cruises it hasn't been that way...so I am inclined to agree with the post above that said it depends on the ship. Hmmm...haven't been on one where there was a buffet in the dining room at lunch. I wouldn't mind that.
I like being able to sit at our assigned table for lunch as it gives us a better chance to chat with our waiter. I've missed not being able to do that as much on these last cruises.
On all of my most recent cruises ( 4x since 2001, on NCL, Carnival, & Celebrity),dine room breakfast and lunch have been open seating. Breakfast on Carnival & Celebrity was the same menu every day. NCL had a 3 day rotation and IMHO the best menu offerings. Lunch was also open seating on all 3 lines with menu choices on sea days and often a buffet on port days. On a 2 dine room ship, usually only 1 is open for these meals, and if a 2 level room only the lower is open.
Generally a significant portion of the pax do deck for breakfast & lunch. this is expecially true of Carnival's newer ships (Destiney, Spirit & Conquest class) with the multitude of choices from regular hot buffet (with some specialty stations), salad/fruit bar, chinese, pizzia, grill (chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers), and deli. Evan an older ship did a real nice deck BBQ with rel webber grills on sea days.