Just back from the Golden Dec 1 - 8. After formal dining twice before, we chose PC and will never go back. First night reservations for 2, second night reservations for 4, met new friend at the airport. The rest of the week we just showed up at the dinning room and asked to be seated at a large table. Every time we ate together as all at the table had been seated within 5 minutes. 5 nights x 3 to 4 couples = 30 new friends to talk to about our adventures.
You really need to know what you want. PC gives you all the advantages of traditional dinning with the freedom to make changes if something comes up. With traditional dinning you take your chances in where you are seated. My experience on the three Princes cruises tells me that you probably get great service but in any service industry, it is the person, and sometime they have bad days. With PC if the service is great the first day, reserve a table in that section for the next day, if its not ask for a different section the next time. One day you may want to take in the early show, eat later. The next day the choice of entertainment may be later in the evening (18 different shows throughout the week) reserve early.
When you say "reserve early" I am assuming you are referring to dinner reservations and not to a need to make reservations for the evening shows. Its been three years since we have been on a Princess cruise but we have never needed to make reservations for the evenings entertainment. Please clarify before we leave Dec. 26 for FL to pick up the Golden on Dec. 29th. Thanks.
my wife and i just came back from a cruise on the grand, where we chose the "personal choice" dining option. after 9 cruises in the tradional dining mode, it was time for a change, and let me tell you, personnel choice is the way to go.as K+K said, it allows much more flexibility with your time, and gives you the opportunity to meet and mingle with many fellow cruisers.i also found that developing a good relationship with the maitre'd proved to help matters.on the advice of a friend, on our first night, i intruduced myself and my wife to the maitre'd, and told him i knew that the dining room service was going to be great, in the princess tradition, and this being the case, i would like to tip him in advance, and discreetly gave him a small gratuity.we were called by name from that night on, and service could not have been better, to the point where he was generously tipped again at the end of the cruise. as other posters have said, if you find a table/waiter that you like, reserve the table in advance(for the whole week if you want). we will be on golden in march...let us know how your cruise is,