It's been a couple years since I've sailed on Princess, but I will be going again next month on the Grand!
Princess has two different ways of dining.....there is Traditional dining or Personal Choice dining. If it is like the Star or the Grand, which I have both been on previously....2 of the 3 dining rooms will be personal choice dining and the last dining room will be traditional dining.
To answer your question straight off, the food is the same in the other dining rooms, there should not be a difference.
Traditional dining: Every night you go to eat at a certain time, such as 6:15 or maybe 8:30, theres usually two dining times. You go there and eat with everyone at the same time in that dining room.
Pros about traditional dining:
- Your guaranteed a spot to sit and you don't have to wait in any line.
- You eat with the same people every night, so you get to know them.
- You eat at the same table with the same waiter and assisstent waiter; they'll get to know you (ie. they will probably notice that you like ice tea with your dinner and they will bring it first thing by the 2nd or third night without you having to ask)
- I believe that the waiter's can be faster with traditional because they don't have a bunch of random things to remember like the waiters working at personal choice dining because everyone is eating the same course at the same time. (i.e. They know they need 3 of this main course and 2 of this main course, rather than the guy at the personal choice dining who has to remember 2 of this main course, this desert, this appetiser, and this drink from the bar) But also there is the problem that if you only want a main course and desert you have to sit there and wait for the rest of the table to finish there salad and appetiser. This can also be a problem with personal choice though.
Cons about traditional dining:
- You have to eat at the same time every night....this may mean missing a show or event (But with the CP not having the Vista Lounge like it's older sisiter ships it should be fine)
- You sit and talk with the same people every night, so you don't get to meet many new people at your dinners.
- If you aren't there around the time you need to be, you miss that dinner (however you could probably get into a personal choice dining room with no problem, i don't remember them ever carding anyone to see their dining arrangements.)
- If you get back on board the ship at 6:00 and your dining is at 6:15....you probably won't make it unless your speedy gonzalas. (When I get back on the ship from a port, I usually go back to take a shower, relax for a bit, and change clothes, because the likely chance was that I was either in salt water or it was hot that day.)
Personal Choice dining: There is no certain time you need to be there.
Pros of Personal choice dining:
- You can choose when to go to the dining room.
- You get to eat with new people every night....so you always have something new to talk about.
- You can specifically request if you want a table for two or eat with a group. (tables are usually for 2 to 6 people)
Cons of Personal choice dining:
- You may have a different waiter every night.
- There may be a line to get into the dining room because everyone has to be seated.
- As stated in the cons of traditional dining the wait can be longer.
My personal choice is the "Personal Choice dining" because it's more fun meeting new people every night or if you just want to be alone you can request a table for two. Also I don't go to the dining rooms to much because it usually takes a long time sometimes up to 2 hours.....and then it makes me feel guilty during the traditional dining that the other 4 tablemates are there alone and my spot is empty. So if your used to being on time and having dinner at the same time.... hope that you get into traditional dining.....if your more relaxed and don't know what you want....don't worry about it, your going to enjoy personal choice dining. Princess is one of the first lines to introduce personal choice and I feel it was a great decision because it is so much more convienent.
But lets say you don't go to the dining room....you can go to the buffet or get pizza or even a hamburger. To tired for anything? Room service! Also the last Princess cruise I was on they turned the buffet into a bistro late, I think after 10:30ish at night, what it meant was always casual, but you get served and the menu was the same as the dining room that night and it was never crowded. So if they still have this.....if you like the desert you had for dinner in the dining room, go to the bistro later that night and order it again.
BTW: GREAT CHOICE ON SHIP, I tried to get on it on its second voyage in April of 2004, but no more teens were allowed, but I did see it leave Cozumel when I was aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas in April of 2004. The "Movies Under the Stars" screen is HUGE, and I can't wait till next month when I get to see the one they put on the Grand Princess!