I am sure this question has been answered before, but I appreciate anyone explaining it to me. We are considering a Princess cruise & prefer traditional dining. However, if we request traditional dining, can we also decide some nights to eat at the other non-traditional restrurants? Also, any differences between the Grand & Golden. Which ship should I choose?
I believe if you choose traditional you are stuck with it. You need to have Personal Choice for the alternative dining. (I could be wrong on the Steakhouse someone else may know for sure).
If I was you I'd go with Personal choice. We have good luck with it and end up finding waiters we really like and make reservations at their table every night at the in between time of 7 - instead of 6 or 8:15.. You'd then have the flexibility to go to the steak house too when you'd like.
I believe if you choose traditional you are stuck with it.
No, that's absolutely wrong. If you have "Traditional Dining," you can go to any alternative restaurant -- or even to the "Anytime Dining" dining room if some circumstance forces you to eat other than at your traditional hour. As a courtesy, though, you should let your waiter know if you expect not to eat at your scheduled seating so that he does not hold up the table anticipating your (presumed tardy) arrival.
I am sure this question has been answered before, but I appreciate anyone explaining it to me. We are considering a Princess cruise & prefer traditional dining. However, if we request traditional dining, can we also decide some nights to eat at the other non-traditional restrurants?
If you have traditional dining, you may opt to go to any of the alternative restaurants, and you also can eat at the "Anytime Dining" dining room if circumstances prevent you from eating at your scheduled seating (but note that both dining rooms serve the same menu each night). As a courtesy, advise your waiter or waitress of your plans in advance so that he or she does not hold the table in anticipation of your late arrival.
Also, any differences between the Grand & Golden. Which ship should I choose?
Fundamentally, there's little difference between MV Grand Princess and MV Golden Princess -- and I would shun both of them in favor of just about any other ship in the Princess fleet. These ships have some major layout flaws that are extremely annoying at best. You'll find plenty of variety aboard MV Sun Princess, MV Dawn Princess, MV Sea Princess, and MV Ocean Princess, and undoubtedly just as much aboard the new MV Coral Princess.
When we got our cruise documents for our cruise on the Golden, it said on our ticket that we had first seating traditional dining, despite the fact that we had requested Personal Choice. Our travel agent emailed Princess about it, but when we boarded, we found that we were still down for first seating. We went to the dining desk and explained the situation, and we were basically told that the table was ours to go to when we wished, or we could just do PC dining. I was surprised as I had heard that there is usually a waiting list for traditional dining, so I thought they might have wanted to contact someone and offer them our table. (We met several people during the cruise who had been waitlisted for last seating, but not for first, so it may not have had a waitist)
We went to early seating the first night, partly to explain that we would probably not be there the rest of the nights, but also on the off chance that another family with teenagers would be seated at our table for 8. That night, we were the only ones at the table. The next night we wanted to watch the sail away from Venice, which was at 7, so wewent to one of the PC dining rooms at 7:30. We really enjoyed the waiter and his assistant in both places. The next day, since we were at sea, we decided to give the traditional seating another try, thinking that perhaps the first night our table mates had still been in port, since our cruise was overnighting in Venice the first night. There was still no one but us, and the waiter said the table had been empty the night before as well. A couple of nights later, we went again - this time there was an elderly Chinese couple, who seemed quite lovely but did not speak very much English. As we had met up with several other families on board that had asked us to eat with them in the PC dining rooms, and since we also were looking forward to a another meal or two on our own, we ate in the PC dining rooms the rest of the cruise, until the last night (it was a 12 night cruise) The reason we went back to the early seating that night was because our waiter had told us that the only difference in the trad. vs. pc was that on the final night there is the parade of waiters with flaming baked alaska in the trad. dining room, and 13 year old loves that! Once again, we had no one at our table - the waiter said there was another couple booked, but they never showed up once. Unless they were booked in error like us, that is wrong, I think, for people to book traditional and then choose other places to eat every night.
Both the Grand and Golden are sister ships and virtually the same. HUGE With in access of 2500 people at just double occupancy, plus staff, they are big ships. There are many dead ends too which get frustrating when you are hurrying to get to dinner or a show. No matter whether you choose Traditional or PC/Anytime dining, you can go to the alternative dining rooms; buffet, Southwestern (fee) or Italian (fee). What no one has mentioned relative to Personal Choice dining is how it affects entertainment and the overall atmosphere of the traditional cruise critieria. IMO, we were shut out of two very popular shows that were not going to be repeated. With PC, there really is no such thing as First and second seating shows. Late shows were packed and as we did get into a 3rd. cabaret, it was dangerously over crowded. I love the entertainment on ships and it was very good on Princess, but not having the opportunity to see 3 well rated performances was very disappointing. Also, more people dressed very casually with the attitude, it was their choice. Even with only 2 formal nights and the rest Smart Casual it was not unusual to see lots of folks in tanks and beach shorts in the evening.
You can always go to an alternative (extra charge) restaurant. On our cruise last week, the personal choice was overbooked by 200 people. Their was lots of room in the traditional restaurant, but the PC people had long waits for seating.
That is the first time I have heard of personal choice dining being overbooked, although I have heard of lots of people who tried to get traditional dining and couldn't. It seems clear that more and more people are becoming converted to PC. Princess may have to make a section of the traditional dining room available for people who want PC dining. We found on our cruise that there were a number of people who had booked early or late seating, but then decided they wanted the flexibility of being able to eat anytime and never went to their seating. I think that is really not right, especially as I heard on our cruise that they could not accomodate all the people who wanted traditional seating times. There were apparently empty tables in the trad. dining room night after night.
We never did get to the alternative restaurants, but they seem to be a good option. It cost $8 pp for the Mexcian one, but you get a large Margarita with your meal, so that is a good deal. Sabatinis is $15 pp, and you don't get a drink with dinner, but brunch is really a bargain - you get unlimited drinks, either Mimosas (Champagne and Orange juice), or bloody mary's or a couple of other drinks.
> That is the first time I have heard of personal choice dining
> being overbooked, although I have heard of lots of people who
> tried to get traditional dining and couldn't. It seems clear
> that more and more people are becoming converted to PC.
I don't think what he was referring to was overbooking. It is more like everyone wanting dinner at the same time which I've seen happen with PC dining.
Traditional Dining Frank-in-CA