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Old October 6th, 2001, 08:35 AM
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Default Personal Dining vs Traditional?

We are taking the Southern Caribbean Cruz in November, and won't have the kids w/us. We are late night people, so, we have eliminated early dining. Please help us decide on Personal or Traditional. Thanx.. Steve
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Old October 6th, 2001, 05:36 PM
Skooter
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Default Re: Personal Dining vs Traditional?

With personal you can reserve a table, ask for the same waiter every night, join a large table when you want to and eat alone when you want to. How many times do you hit it off with others on a cruise but because you're already assigned a table for the entire cruise you can't dine together. This option allows for that. Go with personal and enjoy your independence (but bring the kids home something nice).
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Old October 6th, 2001, 05:39 PM
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Default Re: Personal Dining vs Traditional?

Steve,

There are three major reasons why I prefer traditional assigned seating over open seating.

>> I have always found that one of the greatest pleasures of cruising is making new friends, so I prefer the traditional arrangement -- with a large table, of course. With a stable table, you get to know people over the course of the cruise. It's fun to compare notes on each day's activities over dinner, especially when we have been off on different excursions in a port of call. Of course, if this is not your pleaure, you can request a table for two even with either traditional seating.

>> With traditional fixed seating, the waiter and assistant waiter get to know your preferences very quickly. This allows them to provide a much higher level of service than is possible with the open seating arrangement and consequent different waiter and assistant waiter each evening.

>> The evening activities (receptions, shows, etc.) are timed to mesh with the times of the traditional seatings. Thus, the schedule of evening activities will force you to eat within a few minutes of the times of the seatings for traditional dining more often than not anyway.

On most Princess ships, breakfast and lunch are "open seating" anyway -- and only one dining room operates -- because most passengers choose to eat these meals elsewere. The Horizon Court (or lido buffet area) is open for all meals, and the new ships also have a poolside grill and a pizzeria that open for lunch.

BTW, be sure to catch "tea" in the main dining room at least one day during your cruise.

Have a great cruise!

Norm.
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Old October 6th, 2001, 06:50 PM
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Default Re: Personal Dining vs Traditional?

We are sailing on the Ocean Princess on the 29th of January. We are confirmed at the second seating for dinner. If we do not want to go to the dining room one evening can we use the personal choice and eat when and where we want? Or do we have to dine in the dining room all the time?
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Old October 6th, 2001, 07:48 PM
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Default Re: Personal Dining vs Traditional?

Barbara,

Nobody aboard any Princess ship is going to hold a gun to your head and force you to go to your assigned seating for dinner, but it is a courtesy to let your waiter and your tablemates know in advance if you are not coming to dinner one evening during your cruise.

Even before the introduction of "Personal Choice Dining," Princess had provided alternatives to the main dining rooms on many ships. MV Ocean Princess and her three sisters currently offers three alternative dining venues.

>> The <a href=http://www.princess.com/onboard/fleet/ocean/oc_tour_hc.html> Horizon Court </a> offers a dinner buffet in the earlier part of the evening and an outstanding bistro menu in the later evening.

>> The features al fresco dining with a typical <a href=http://www.princess.com/onboard/dining/sterling.html> steak house menu for a surcharge of $8.00 per person. It shares facilities with the grill just forward of the pool area ("Riviera Grill" aboard MV Ocean Princess).

>> The <a href=http://www.princess.com/onboard/fleet/ocean/oc_tour_lagos.html> pizzeria </a> ("Fabio's" aboard MV Ocean Princess) serves individual pizzas and calzones, all of which are very, very good. It opens during the afternoon, then again for the later evening.

That said, I guarantee that your waiter will be very disappointed if you decide not to eat dinner in the dining room. The main dining room does serve an excellent -- and well varied -- menu, so you won't be staring at the same few choices every night.

Here's another tip. Princess places great weight on responding favorably to special requests. In fact, rumor has it that no member of any Princess crew may ever refuse a passenger's request without first consulting his supervisor. Chances are, if you ask politely a day or two in advance, that any of the steaks served in the "Stirling Steakhouse" will appear on your plate in the main dining room -- without the surcharge. :-)

Have a great cruise!

Norm.
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Old October 6th, 2001, 09:25 PM
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Default Re: Personal Dining vs Traditional?

Can only speak of our first experience with Princess: the Grand on 9/9, and were happy with PC over traditional dining. Aside from the obvious advantage of flexibility in dining time, there were other plusses.

Unlike many others who prefer to meet new people, my husband and I work in customer relation fields, so vacations are our "alone" times (where we only need to "schmooze" each other for a change! {grin}). Thus, a table for 2 each night at 8:30ish was a real treat: always seated immediately or a few minutes wait. Although the 2nd formal night (also a port day) seemed to understandably be a bit more crowded, we merely wandered off, came back at 9:00 and were seated immediately.

I would guess that dining earlier during prime-time *would* require a wait, so YMMV (your mileage may vary).

I found service to be as timely/efficient as any traditional dining. In fact, when not ordering *every* course, dinner moved along a bit swifter than being seated at a larger table where each course is served in its own time. (Not that we were "in a rush" for dinner to be over, but merely to illustrate that service was timely/acceptable).

My husband's misgivings about PC? (I do love this man!) He felt PC dining was rougher on the staff. Maitre'd's (sp) worked harder in seating people efficiently to their table size and time preferences. Waiters/asst. waiters were busier juggling tables at the different times/courses, rather than the ordinarily (maybe) smoother routine. But service was still cordial and professional. We recognized that with a bigger thank-you to our servers and an additional tip over the $6.50 daily charge. (We usually tip above the recommended amounts on cruises as our humble offerings to the "tip gods" when on vacation {grin}).

Have a *wonderful* time!

Denise < ---- looking forward to #14 on Celebrity Mille 1-02.
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Old October 7th, 2001, 08:25 AM
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Default Thanx!

Thanx for your comments. You all had excellant views! Sooooooooo, my decision is to just let my wife decide!
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Old October 7th, 2001, 10:37 AM
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Default Re: Thanx!

Steve, you are a wise man.
Joan
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Old October 10th, 2001, 12:06 PM
BillG
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Default Re: Thanx!

I thought denise's comments were quite interesting and indicated why she and her husband chose pc. However, from her description of her preferred pc dining schedule, I have to ask how different it was than requesting a table for two at the traditional second seating which would have had them eating at approximately the 8:30 pm time they preferred.
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Old October 13th, 2001, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: Thanx!

Bill,

I had exactly the same question....

Norm.
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