Wondering what everyone's opinions are on early vs. late seating. Does anyone know what time each of these are offered (we're sailing on the Celebrity Infinity). Someone mentioned being too tired for the shows after a late seating dinner - what time are the late shows?
Any suggestions/times you could give would be great!
We prefer the late sitting. With the exception of a Bermuda cruise where we opt for early sitting. On this cruise you are docked right by the main street and can meander off and on the ship as you see fit. It is lovely to stroll the square after dinner and mingle with the locals and other cruisers.
Come to think of it that is my favorite cruise. I also love the 2 days at sea coming and going!
Shows for late seating passengers are frequently at 10:30 or 10:45. On occasion, however, some cruiselines schedule the late seating show for before dinner (usually around 7:30). That should help those who find it difficult to sit through a post dinner show. There are tradeoffs between first and second seating and sometimes the itinerary will influence our decision between the two seatings. If we are in a port every day and sailing around six, we usually opt for late seating so we don't have to rush back from the island and hurry to get ready for dinner. On less port intensive cruises we may decide we prefer to dine early and take in the evening entertainment at our leisure. With all of the alternative dining situations nowadays, you should have several options even if you stick to traditional dining.
We generally like late seating for a couple of reasons:
- More time to get ready for dinner once back from the shore excursions
- No getting rushed through dinner so the waiters can ready for the next seating (we had an AWFUL experience with this on a cruise we took last month - the head waiter was yelling out instructions to his staff on readying the room while our group (24 of us) was still dining)
- We're not big "midnight buffet" diners
Most of the cruises we've been on have offered an early show for the late seating, so there hasn't been an issue with this. Our experience has been that the early seating is around 6:00, and the late seating is around 8:30, although I'm sure it varies depending on which line you're sailing.
We are "early" diners--returning from a shore excursion has never been a
problem, nor have we every felt "rushed" by the waiters. By eating early we are
able to attend the first show--in our experience a early performance for the late
diners is a fairly rare occurance. Fortunately not all of us want to eat at the same
time. Just ENJOY whichever is best for you.
We are a 50's+ couple and have tried both. We much prefer late, which is usually 8:30 p.m. Most late shows start at 10:30 or 10:45 but a few (2) maybe before diner at 7:30 which we often miss/forget about. On Celebrity, they still have the dining room breakfast & luncheon hours fixed to your seating times too on most days. So breakfast at the main dining room would be 8:30 and lunch about 1 p.m. Depending on the itinerary again, the whole picture may help you decide what works best for you. I really enjoy the dining room meals; don't eat as much and often enjoy meeting new people if they seat you in an open seating style. I like to start the day with a good breakfast and then maybe just something small for lunch.
If you go on tour or get off at the ports, you do not have to rush to meet your group or back to start getting ready for dinner. We love the late day sun, go to the spa for treatments, and often have time for a little nap or just experience sail away on deck or on our balcony. These little things really help make the cruise the great vacation that we enjoy. More families and seniors dine early. Midnight buffets are on the way out and we rarely take part as well as gamble. But, we love to see the shows, listen to music and dance in the different lounges. We are usually in bed by Midnight. Whatever time you choose, enjoy your cruise.
In the Caribb. we much prefer early dining, because most ports in the Caribb the ship leaves by 5 PM, and early dining leaves the entire evening available for us to enjoy the shows and the ship's night life.
In Alaska or Europe, we prefer late as port days are generally more intensive, and a nap after we return exhausted hits the spot.
Here's a link to an article I wrote on the subject...
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No one mentioned what I believe to be very important in deciding which seating,
everything mentioned is true, and it really is a personal choice. We never take early, especially in the caribbean, early means almost never being able to see the sunsets from the deck or verandah, what a way to end the day!
I like everyone else believes it is personal choice. Both early and late seating each offers its own advantages or disadvantages. Our past three cruises have been with our kids so we opted for the early seating. There are usually more kids at the early seating as opposed to the late seating. We did find it to our dis-advantage on our recent Alaskan Cruise on Infinity. You will have alot more port time if you choose late seating in Alaska.
It really doesnt matter which seating - the important thing is whatever you feel would work best with your personal plans on the cruise.
Nancy took the words right out of my mouth. Much of the time, the ship leaves port around 6:00. On the Mercury in January 2000, we had early seating and missed the sunsets as well as the sail-away either because we were busy getting ready for or eating dinner. Didn't fully realize just how much we missed until January 2001 on the Millennium with late seating. We enjoyed every single sunset and the sail-away with the band Onyx out on deck. You just can't miss watching the land pass by as you leave each port.
Here's a suggestion....take everyone's tip from Mary Lou's recent post--book more than one cruise and select early seating on one, late on the other. :-)