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pennypenny March 24th, 2006 01:25 PM

Anytime Dining
How does 'anytime dining' work on formal nights, (or any night when it comes to that!). Do you have to wait in a queue to be seated? Are the queues generally long?

Also, on a two week caribbean cruise on the golden princess, which nights will they hold the formal night?


DianeT March 24th, 2006 02:20 PM

Having never done Anytime Dining I can not help you with the "queue" question - but as for formal nights on a two week cruise - you can count on the 2nd night being formal "Captains Welcome Aboard Dinner" and the next to last night being formal "Gala Farewell Dinner" and the third is usually right in the middle.

Irish Shark March 24th, 2006 02:24 PM

Anytime dinning is the same on every night. It does not matter if it is formal or not. What you can expect is a large crowd going to eat right after the "party". You can make a reservation on those nights (or for any night) if you wish.

pg. March 24th, 2006 04:07 PM

Loved Anytime dining. Waited only once, and that was about 10 minutes, because it was formal night and we requested a table for two, and came at 7 pm. Sharing a table means less wait, and dining before 7 means less wait.

We would never go back to traditional seating, we have done both late and early seatings and don't like to have a set time, and be stuck with the same people all the time. If you find someone you get on with then arrange to dine with them the next night, no big deal and no getting stuck with blow hards.

anothershiptrip March 25th, 2006 12:59 AM

After many cruises, I have to say that NCL and the big Princess ships that have anytime or Personal Choice are the only way to go. I love going to dinner when I want to--not when they say I must. That is much more important to me than having the same waiter every night. Of course, I can probably have the same one every night by requesting that section if I like, but again, I love having the choice to eat at 6, 7, 8 or whenever I wish. The last Carnival cruise I took, I was so spoiled from the few before it being personal choice. I had a specific time and ended up eating only twice in the dining room because it wasn't when I wanted to eat. I only wish more cruise lines were designed to do this. Wait times are not bad when there are some.

kevncali March 26th, 2006 07:51 PM


I'm not a big fan of anytime(to wait) dining. It's worked better for me to either choose late or early dining then you know for sure every night you have a place to eat at the same time. If you need to variate from the schedule just eat a night or two at the buffet or the steak house(res. req.) or if you're in port try something new. Anytime dining is just a waste of valuable vacation time. I've seen passengers waiting 45 minutes to an hour and a half for a table every night, that's not fun.

If you want to eat at the steakhouse/specialty restaruant stand in line and make reservations on the first day of the cruise no matter which night you choose to eat there.

cruisinforever March 28th, 2006 04:36 PM

Anytime dining
We are not fans of anytime dining, either. We had long waits to get a table and each time the waiter and his assistant were strangers and seemed to be running in six different directions with no connection at all to the passengers. We have had many memorable dining room experiences with great waiters who knew us and our likes and dislikes by the end of the first evening. Don't like to make "reservations" for dinner on a cruise ship (excepting the specialty restaurants, of course.)


Irish Shark March 28th, 2006 04:41 PM

Most likely said a 1000 times in the past. If you find a waiter that you like, just ask to be seated in that section. I have also done the opsite. If I run across a dud, I refused to go to that area.

richstacy March 28th, 2006 04:50 PM

Hate anytime, love traditional. We've made many lifelong friends as tablemates on long cruises. I like my waiters to know what I like, and to keep left over wine for the following night for us.

AndyandJohn March 28th, 2006 10:19 PM

The point about crusing is that everyone finds what works for them and makes the most of it each time they have a chance to sail. That said, I'll weigh in on the anytime vs. assigned seating debate. There are absolutely pros and cons to each option. We did not like our first assigned seating cruise. It just did not work for us. We LOVE anytime dining. This is what we would suggest to make the most of anytime dining. 1) ALWAYS make a reservation. Check out the Princess Patter and decide what time you want to eat. Call and make a reservation. 2) Stick relatively to the same time for the entire cruise and more importantly ask for your same server, you'll find that you have a very easy time of it. We live in DC and waiting for 15-30 minutes is a reasonable time to wait for a table. If you make a reservation however, you won't have to wait long. 3) Have a drink at the bar while you wait. If there is a wait for a table, they give you a pager, go have a drink and enjoy being with your partner or friends while you wait.

We love being able to have a table for 2. We work too hard all year long and to have a week where we can eat together--no matter how long we have to wait--is well worth it to us.

Happy sailing.


LisaK March 29th, 2006 08:29 AM

penny - Anytime Dining follows the same dress code as Traditional Dining. On Princess you have Resort Casual and Formal Nights for dress. On your Princess Patter it will tell you what the dress code for the evening will be..
Its a really good idea to make reservations if you want to dine at peak dinner hours using Anytime Dining and its a good idea to make reservations for formal nights. If you don't make reservations and have to wait you will be given a pager. Go to the bar have a drink and then report to the dining room when your pager goes off. If you find a wait team that you really like you can request to be seated in their section.

rgo6185 March 29th, 2006 06:45 PM

Penny, John is right. We did the same thing with anytime dining. when I got there at the dining room we could have went right in but the second night we were there the two servers waiting on us were great so we asked for them every night after that. we would always have to wait at the most 15 minutes. So we would go get a drink before hand. Always had our saved bottle of wine there when we wanted it. So for us the only thing we feel we missed is the night of the baked alaskan dessert where they shut the lights down and bring them all out at once with the flames going. They only do that with the fixed time dining. Enjoy whatever you decide.

FBlack March 30th, 2006 12:01 PM

I was on PC dining on the Sapphire last December. It was not very well done. I did PC on the Star Princess 3 years ago and it was great. Not now. First, even if you have a reservation, you must wait in the same line as walk-up passengers just looking for a table. This took at least 10 minutes each time we tried. Every table must be input into a computer. If you want to just walk in and go at a prime time like 7:00PM, there was a 45 minute wait every time. In every dining room. So we tried getting reservations. They ONLY took reservations at 6:15PM and 8:00PM. And as I said, you still had to wait with others without reservations. Basically it's just like traditional dining.

They had one PC dining room that opened each night at 8:00PM. So we tried it once thinking that arriving at an empty restaurant would make seating easier. Wrong. Lines were the longest ever. And again every table must be assigned by a computer which is a very slow process.

Next time, I will go traditonal.

skymaster March 31st, 2006 09:11 AM

The others are correct, in that both have advantages, and it's up to you which you prefer. The lovely Mrs. Jones and I prefer traditional dining, however we have taken, and enjoyed the anytime dining as well. They will probably assign you to anytime dining as they are having trouble with enough tables for those who prefer traditional, but as stated before, you can request and receive reservations for a specific time, and table if you prefer,,,even in anytime.
Have a great cruise. :D

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