I booked my cruise in Jan. for Sept. 25 and requested traditional seating at 8:30, when I got my paper work it said we have personal Choice. I have been told by my travel agent that I can go on a waiting list for tradional dining. I am not very happy about this, so much for booking in advance. Has anyone had experience with being on a waiting list for dining.
If you want to eat at 8:30 everyday just make a reservation in the PC dining room for the same table everynight at 8:30 and you will have the same wait staff so it will be just like having traditional.
When we book, we request traditional first seating. If it is not available, we don't take that cruise, period.
I've seen long lines on that first day for people wanting to get changed from PC to traditional - a lot more than can be accomodated. Most people, if they haven't cruised often, don't read their documents until it is too late. Others rely on their TA's that give them baloney about being able to easily fix this when they board. Sometimes it isn't an easy fix as when we had about 400 people clamoring for this on the Star Princess. The cruise lines don't seem to care as they already have your money but it is not a nice way to start out what should be a fabulous experience.
Well we would never want to cruise on a line that doesn't offer PC ( and yes we have had trad, we have had late and early seatings).
I have always been told that dining seating cannot be confirmed until the last minute, ( when docs arrive, or on boarding) so how could a person refuse to book a cruise based on their dining seating?
We never waited more than 10 or 15 minutes for a table( and that only happened once!!) ,and we loved the flexiblity.
I have seen posts about waits, but we just didn't run into that on our April cruise.
We too prefer traditional 1st, however will take PC if we must. We've had to change it at embarkation a time or two, usually with no problems. We just feel that the service is better with traditional dining, because the wait staff gets to know what your preferences, and is more accommodating. That's not to say that you don't get excellent service with PC. We just feel it's just a step or two better with traditional.
I am leaving on 8/28 and just received my docs. We asked for 2nd seating but are on a waiting list #206 I beleive but I am not worried because we have been on 23 Princess cruises and when you get on board they will tell you where the Maitre D is and you can go and see what can be done. They have always given us 2nd seating as requested. Good luck. Dont be afraid to speak up. They are definately very accomodating.
I much prefer traditional to personal choice also. Perhaps it is just from years of cruising. I don't like having to call to arrange for a time and don't really want to wait around even if it is 15 minutes or less. I like my vacation where I have to do as little arrangement as possible, one of the reasons I've enjoyed cruising over staying a hotel some place and having to figure out everything. I think it depends on what you have become used to over time. I've read letters in magazines where they say they don't want to be forced into a time to eat. I don't understand this really because you are going to want to eat dinner at some point and does the fact that it is at a specific time really that big of a deal?? Another reason I liked the traditional seating is it means at least half the ship is not using some of the facilities. My friend and I used to pick the late seating so that we could go and enjoy the sauna and spa prior to getting ready for dinner and it always open or uncrowded.
I think there have been numerous posts about traditional vs. PC and there will be differing opinions. Since you asked me why I have to have it, there are a number of reasons. For me, cruising has its traditions - and dining at specific times is what I prefer. I like having the same wait staff, that quickly learns my likes and dislikes and it gives a more pampered feeling. (That is what cruising is about, isn't it?) I also have to have traditional dining when I'm traveling with a group of friends or relatives so that we are all seated together.
I might be able to better describe what I don't like about PC. First, a lot of people like to eat at the same time we do and I've noticed that the times we would have gone on a PC basis, they are crowded and I'm the type that doesn't like to stand around and wait.
The argument also is that one can get the same time every night if they want and even request the same table if they make a reservation in the PC dining room. Well, I've done the same thing with my traditional dining reservation. All one does by making a reservation is to have psuedo traditional dining, possibly at at a slightly different time.
The reason they've introduced the automatic gratuity charge to one's stateroom is because of PC dining. There was no way to fairly tip the wait staff when they could change every evening and some of them got stiffed. One can still remove the charge if they want, unlike sailing with NCL (see: http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/...9407256.htm?1c).
Those that have cruised often and prefer PC will probably think this is a benefit, but the traditional, if corny, Baked Alaska parade is only done in traditional. That's not something that I'd want traditional for but for new cruisers, it adds to the fun.
PC dining has also mucked up the first shows of the evening. They are always oversubscribed with both the first seaters and those that have gone to early PC and those planning to go to a late PC.
People have different ideas of what a cruise or vacation should be and I guess that's why there are choices. But I have yet to be on a cruise where there wasn't a waiting list for tradtional dining to the point where people got very upset. That takes a lot of the fun out of one's cruise. JMNSHO.
we prefer tradtional dining, we make our dinner requests when we book our cruise with our TA and have yet to be waitlisted. Go to the Maitre D first day of the cruise and see what he can do for you. You might get into Tradtional dining you might not.
Regarding traditional dining vs open-seating ,what does list #206 mean? I signed up for open-seating dining on the Diamond, sailing 8/28/04, sailing to Alaska but I'm having second thoughts. If I sign up for traditional dining (it'd be at least minute), would I be free to do some open-seating???
DO NOT TRUST THE WAITLIST!! I agree with Franknca. If I am not confirmed with Traditional Second Seating, I will not book the cruise. We tried PC last year for the first and last time, because we were waitlisted for Traditional Second Seating. There was no chance of it going through, and in my opinion the dining experience in PC does not compare. After cruising more than 25 times, I enjoy Traditional Seating because of the consistancy of the same waitstaff, table, and the theme nights. Princess says they will try to get you the same wait staff and table and time every night in PC if you'd like, but they DO NOT generally honor that. I have spoken to many TAs and they all agree that more of their customers dislike PC than like it. We love Princess, and are sailing on it once again for a holiday sailing, but Princess does not give any priority to switch your dining, or push you through a waitlist, whether you have never sailed, or sailed 100 times. They just do not care.
>I have spoken to many TAs and they all agree that more of their customers dislike PC than like it.<
That's what really boggles my mind and frustrates me to no end - this is what the customer wants but Princess is ignoring it and forcing the PC nonsense. I've written numerous letters about this to no avail. Their entire marketing approach is based on PC whether their long term customers like it or not. I guess they feel they have us hooked and are working on the younger generations. Fine, they will just drive me to other lines. They can get the younger folks that book the cheapest inside cabin and lose my balcony minisuite purchase.
This February I took the Star Princess, where they really treated traditional diners as second class citizens and relegated them to the worst location on the ship. I'll never sail a grand class again as a result. In May I had a wonderful cruise on Celebrity's Constellation where they only had traditional dining and loved it. I'm now looking at Radisson for the same reason. Radisson sounds much more expensive but it's not when one figures that their gratuities are really included as are their costs for beverages including wine with meals. I have one more Princess cruise this year but after that, I'm not sure any more.
While I was in my travel agent's office she called Princess and requested my first seating request. She got confirmation and then specifically asked for confirmation for a certain section of the restaurant that she thinks hubby and I will love. The booked it for us and we're looking forward to seeing where she has us sitting. Hopefully things won't change when we get on board!
Navigator of the Seas Jan 06
Grand Princess Jan 05
Constellation Jan 04