for llb: humor is always welcome anywhere, any time. I was only commenting on the fact that until you have actually taken a cruise and been through all the gyrations of different dinner times you really can't make a decision. Sorry if that offended anyone
We are currently waitlisted for Early Dining on our next cruise (in 3days!!). Initially, I requested Late (also waitlist) but changed back to Early.
First cruise, didn't get assigned the Late as I requested because it was a last minute booking. Didn't realize until I went to check with the Maitre'd around 630pm that we didn't even have a table assigned! Luckily, he found us seats for early dining. Felt rushed sometimes, sometimes wasn't as hungry if I had the later seating. BUT, was hungry by midnight for pizza or ice cream!
Second cruise, requested Late and was successful. Quite nice as we were a family of 6 and most of us are late eaters. I found that I didn't do as many activities afterwards like shows. Our waiters were extra wonderful on this cruise and since we didn't need to rush out for next seating, spent more time chatting and they entertained us a little more with jokes and magic tricks (even if we didn't have any kids). Didn't have to share the table with others.
For upcoming cruise, I did not want "Your Time" as I love having the same waiters every night, and if lucky.. same great dinner tablemates.
So... it's a matter of personal preference. I think for the first time cruiser, an early seating works because you can spend the rest of the night going to the different shows, bars, lounges and you can try the late night buffet or pizza. I also think you should try at least once, to sit with strangers who may live close to you or as far as halfway around the world. It's a great experience!
On my second cruise, I was more relaxed and didn't feel the need to catch every show or activity. Plus, my husband wasn't with me.. and I would go to bed earlier while my mom would go to the casino.
I think the "Your Time" would work nicely too if you don't mind not having the same waiters. Maybe these would be a preference for those who have cruised numerous times before or don't feel like "mingling" with tablemates.