What are the pros/cons to eating early or late? I'd prefer to eat dinner early (6 pm) but hubby wants to eat late (8:15 pm) - Can you change your dining room seating after you have booked your cruise and made your request? thanks
One advantage of the early sitting is that after dinner you can go to the show, then on to the late movie. After the late sitting, you have to make a choice between the two. An advantage of the late sitting is that you have more afternoon "pool" time before having to get ready for dinner.
Because the early sitting seems to be the more popular of the two and fills up sooner, your chances of changing your seating, once on board, is greater from early to late, rather than the other way around.
We used to go to early sitting, but switched to late. We were rarely hungry early and if we were there was always alternative dining. Most importantly we were able to return from shore excursions leisurely, clean up, have a cocktail, and unwind before dinner. We were tired of rushing to get ready for early sitting. After all, this is a vacation isn't it?
Choosing early or late seating should depend on two things, in my opinion:
1) Did you bring young children and are you willing to sit in a dining room filled with children?
2) What is the ship itinerary?
After 20+ cruises all over the world, here are my suggestions.
1. If you are bringing children on the cruise, or don't mind having dinner in a dining room filled with children, then choose EARLY SEATING.
2. If you are on an itinerary where touring at a stop is VERY IMPORTANT (example Rome Italy), then you should consider the LATE SEATING. It gives you more time to return from the tour, shower and change clothes and relax a bit before dinner. Otherwise, after every tour you will feel rushed to get to dinner on time.
If we eat late - is there much of a chance that the kitchen will run out of certain items on the menu? If a particular entree is popular that night - is there a chance there won't be any left for the late-seating?
1. We can relax after a day ashore, take a shower (and a nap if needed) and have some drinks and appetizers in the Crow's Nest while watching the sunset before dinner or go dancing in one of the lounges to build up an appetite!
2. Sometimes you are a little rushed by staff at first seating, trying to get you out in time so they can set up for the second seating. Second seating is usually more leisurely.
3. We often eat a late lunch, esp. if we eat ashore, and may not be very hungry at 6:30 PM.
4. We do our laundry at 6:30 PM when we need to...the laundry room is always empty!
5. If we don't like what is offered in the showroom, it is easy to end dinner (after a big meal with lots of wine), take a stroll on deck or have a drink in a bar, and just call it a night without going to bed with the chickens.
We prefer early seating because we like to get up early to see arrival in port, have breakfast, and get off the ship early to see the sights. We stay out all day, have a quick shower and change of clothes, dinner, show, time in the bar and to bed! I find I enjoy dinner more if I have time to digest my food before going to bed. I feel like a slug if I eat later! Look at what time your ship departs from ports; you will need to be on board about an hour prior to departure, so you can get an idea if you would feel rushed for early dinner. All cruises I have been on will delay dinner in ports where you don't leave until 7-8:00, which means the late seating is really late! The only downside of the early seating for us is that we don't do the afternoon tea as much as I would like to!