This is our first cruise and traveling with four children, 13,11,8 and 5. I signed up for the late seating (8:30) as suggested. We were told your too rushed if you do an excursion for the early meal time seating. We were also told dinner can last up to 2hrs so feed our kids first and go to the late seating while the kids are in the kids program. Any suggesions would be helpful.
We actually like the earlier dinner time better, we've always had enough time to get back and dress for dinner. In most cases you are leaving port around 5 and dinner is usuall 6 or 6:30, so not a big deal. It also give us time after dinner to go see the show, visit casino, etc. There are usually more families with kids at the early dinner, you can always have the early dinner with the kids and after, they can return to the kids club and you can do what you want? Just a thought.
Rsdr, what cruiseline are you sailing on.? Where on the ship will you feed the kids early, will it it room service, or a buffet?. If your're dining goes on past 10 many kids programs end at 10 and it is paid group sitting,also check that the program runs through the dinner hours.
On Princess they have Anytime dining, and we had it and loved it, we would have thought that would be the route to go with kids so that you can choose when to eat and not be under a time schedule.
I don't think Carnival or Rci has it.
BtW what about going to shows, would you go before dinner or after, will there be sitting that late, and do you want to wake up a 5 yr old and carry her back to the cabin that late? Remember that if the next day is a port day, then you all have to be up early, unless you don't plan on doing anything.
I guess my view is that the early seating would have been better, you could still feed the kids early, send them to the kids programs, have dinner and time for a show or a drink and still have everyone back in the cabin at a reasonable hour, or course I realize many people don't mind their kids staying up late , and your oldest two kids are well , older, but I know most five year olds can be a bit cranky if kept up past 10 or 11.
We travel with our kids and take the early seating. Everyone enjoys eating in the dining room and we found the late seating is just too late for the kids. I've never felt rushed in getting back to the ship from port and then to dinner on time. We also people that are up early in morning so we're in bed by midnight. With the late seating we felt like we were just through dinner and it was time for bed. The early seating lets us have dinner, see the show, spend some time in the casino or one of the lounges, etc, before bed. JMO
Celebrity Century 1/09
Carnival Destiny 10/07
Carnival Destiny 9/06
Monarch of the Seas 3/06
Carnival Inspiration 8/05
Carnival Miracle 4/05
Carnival Inspiration 4/04
Sovereign of the Seas 4/03
we are fans of the second or late seating. We find it more relaxed. Having late seating gives us more "down time" especially after a hectic day in port. We can relax, go to the hot tub or have a swim before dinner, we have gotten into the habit of taking a little snooze in the afternoon to rev us up for the evening. We order a light snack from room service or go to the buffet to tide us over. We like going to a show , bars or lounge after dinner, just for a bit - it sort of tops off the evening. Our teens enjoyed late dining, don't know if it would work with the little ones. Most of the families with young children choose early seating. Its up to you, only you know your kids.
My 14 year old son and I cruised for the first time back in August. We had late (8:30) seating. We loved it. We had 4 port days on Inspiration.. What we did was after we got back on the ship, we ordered room service (sandwiches and chips or a salad to hold us over until dinner ) and took a nap (we were usually tired). After that, we were able to go to dinner refreshed and rested. I guess it all depends all the person, and your kids are younger than mine, so that schedule may not work for you.