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Old August 3rd, 2006, 04:30 PM
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Default Princess anytime dining??

Hi There,
Can someone please explain to me the anytime dining??? can you still make a reservation for this. I heard that you can......thanks!!
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 06:41 PM
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stormer,

Can someone please explain to me the anytime dining??? can you still make a reservation for this. I heard that you can......thanks!!

Yes. Princess's "Anytime Dining" option is available on ships with two or more main dining rooms. The main dining rooms that operate "Anytime Dining" operate just like a restaurant ashore. You can make a reservation if you wish or you can just walk in any time between 5:00 PM and 11:00 PM. If you walk in and the staff cannot seat you immediately, they give you a pager similar to those used at restaurants like Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse, then page you when your table is ready. The pagers work in the lounges in the atrium, so you can relax with a beverage while awaiting a table.

Personally, I prefer "Traditional Dining" for several reasons.

>> 1. The first and second seatings of "Traditional Dining" are timed to coincide with the shows and other evening entertainment. Thus, the majority of the passengers end up eating within a few minuts of these times anyway.

>> 2. In "Traditional Dining," your waitstaff get to know your preferences on the first couple nights of the cruise and anticipate requests thereafter. This is not possible with "Anytime Dining" because you probably will have different waitstaff each evening.

>> 3. In "Traditional dining," you have the same tablemates for the duration of the cruise so you do get to know one another. The friendships formed at dinner often last well beyond the cruise. With "Anytime Dining," you probably will have different tablemates each evening.

But YMMV....

Have a great cruise!

Norm.
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 09:52 PM
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i don't have a answer but a question. you said you have table mates. we've not been a cruise yet, but do you always have someone at your table, even at anytime dining?
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packer backer
i don't have a answer but a question. you said you have table mates. we've not been a cruise yet, but do you always have someone at your table, even at anytime dining?
You can request a table for two or if you like you can be seated with other people. Sometimes you ay have to wait a short time if you just want a table for 2. I usually prefer to meet other people but with "personel choice dining" you can do whatever you want to.
Jim..
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Old August 4th, 2006, 09:08 AM
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If you eat before 7:00 p.m. you probably will not have to wait for a table.
Some nights we like visiting with new friends, others we prefer to enjoy each other's company. Another advantage to anytime dining was really apparent on our recent cruise on the Golden. Many of the excursions did not return to the ship until after 5:30 so if we had had early seating it would have been a real rush and on days when we didn't be back onboard til after 6:00 (3 days) we'd have missed the dining room entirely. Anytime allows us to have the dining room experience each evening without the rush.

True, your waitstaff doesn't get to know you in terms of preferences but our last traditional dining on the Grand in April was so disappointing I regretted that we hadn't stuck with our usual anytime. I think with the larger ships, personal service is not what it once was. Just my experience and opinion.
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Old August 4th, 2006, 01:26 PM
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Magnolia Blossom,

Many of the excursions did not return to the ship until after 5:30 so if we had had early seating it would have been a real rush and on days when we didn't be back onboard til after 6:00 (3 days) we'd have missed the dining room entirely. Anytime allows us to have the dining room experience each evening without the rush.

True, but second seating in "Traditional Dining" solves the problem without incurring the drawbacks of the "Anytime Dining" arrangement.

Norm.
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Old August 4th, 2006, 01:34 PM
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packer backer,

don't have a answer but a question. you said you have table mates. we've not been a cruise yet, but do you always have someone at your table, even at anytime dining?

The smallest tables are for two, so it's normal to have someone at your table. Of course, the "someone" may be your wife....

If you book "Traditional Dining," you can request a table for two, four, six, eight, or ten, depending upon the ship. The Maitre d' will attempt to accommodate your request, but there's no guarantee that he (or she) will be able to do so.

If you have "Anytime Dining," you can request to be seated alone or to be seated with other passengers. If you request to be seated alone, you may have to wait until a small table becomes available.

But meeting other passengers and making new friends is part of the fun of cruising. I would not dream of asking for a small table!

Norm.
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Old August 4th, 2006, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17
stormer,

>> 2. In "Traditional Dining," your waitstaff get to know your preferences on the first couple nights of the cruise and anticipate requests thereafter. This is not possible with "Anytime Dining" because you probably will have different waitstaff each evening.
Absolutely not true. We just returned from the Golden and we had table 149 for EVERY MEAL. Same wait staff. I just asked for that table or made a reservation for diner. For lunch and breakfast we just asked for that table. We ate meals at various times.
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Old August 5th, 2006, 10:41 AM
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Norm, true, late seating will solve the late excursion problem - if you want to eat every evening at 8 or 8:30. Too late for us. We also like meeting new people each evening.
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Old August 5th, 2006, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17
stormer,

Can someone please explain to me the anytime dining??? can you still make a reservation for this. I heard that you can......thanks!!

Yes. Princess's "Anytime Dining" option is available on ships with two or more main dining rooms. The main dining rooms that operate "Anytime Dining" operate just like a restaurant ashore. You can make a reservation if you wish or you can just walk in any time between 5:00 PM and 11:00 PM. If you walk in and the staff cannot seat you immediately, they give you a pager similar to those used at restaurants like Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse, then page you when your table is ready. The pagers work in the lounges in the atrium, so you can relax with a beverage while awaiting a table.

Personally, I prefer "Traditional Dining" for several reasons.

>> 1. The first and second seatings of "Traditional Dining" are timed to coincide with the shows and other evening entertainment. Thus, the majority of the passengers end up eating within a few minuts of these times anyway.

>> 2. In "Traditional Dining," your waitstaff get to know your preferences on the first couple nights of the cruise and anticipate requests thereafter. This is not possible with "Anytime Dining" because you probably will have different waitstaff each evening.

>> 3. In "Traditional dining," you have the same tablemates for the duration of the cruise so you do get to know one another. The friendships formed at dinner often last well beyond the cruise. With "Anytime Dining," you probably will have different tablemates each evening.

But YMMV....

Have a great cruise!

Norm.
Don't know the hours of all the Princess ships but the anytime didning rooms on the Caribbean Princess operate from 5:30pm to 10pm in the Palm dining room and 6pm to 10pm in the Coral dining room.

Dinner
Island Dining Room 6:15pm first seating
Island Dining Room 8:30pm second seating
Palm Dining Room 5:30pm - 10:00pm Anytime Dining
Coral Dining Room 6:00pm - 10:00pm Anytime Dining
Cafe Caribe 5:30pm - 11:00pm Dinner Buffet
Sterling Steakhouse 6:00pm - midnight - Dinner
Sabatini's 6:00pm - midnight - Dinner

Bill
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Old August 5th, 2006, 11:51 PM
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Bill,

Don't know the hours of all the Princess ships but the anytime didning rooms on the Caribbean Princess operate from 5:30pm to 10pm in the Palm dining room and 6pm to 10pm in the Coral dining room.

It has been about four years since my last cruise on a Princess ship that offered the full "Personal Choice Dining" program, so I'm not surprised that the hours may have changed. Thanks for the update!

Norm.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 09:37 AM
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Just got off the Sun Princess last May and tryed open dinning for the first time. We took the 5:30 reservation (which I made on the day we arrived) We liked the table and asked for it the next night (it was a window table) He said he would put me down for the entire cruise if I wanted, and we did. One night we had other plans and all I did was call and cancel .
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Old August 6th, 2006, 10:57 AM
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The times will vary by ship and itinerary. They usually vary by +- 1/2 hour.

The cruise just before our last one had the times 15 minutes earlier than ours.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 09:26 AM
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Just got back from a cruise on the Sapphire Princess from Vancouver, BC to Whitter, Alaska. Anytime dining was terrific. We were a group of six family members. We ate in a different restaurant each night, at times ranging from 6:30 to 9:30. We made reservations in the 2 specialty restaurants but not in the others. We never had a wait. I suspect that it might be because the 24-hour buffet was so good. Service and food quality were excellent across all restaurants.

I strongly prefer anytime dining to traditional dining. I don't have a strict eating schedule at home so I don't want one on vacation. I liked eating in a different setting every night and experiencing a different wait staff. Why would ZI care if the wait staff knows my personal preferences from the prior night? I have a voice and the staff was eager to fulfill whatever request I had.

One night I got off an elevator just as a traditional seating was about to begin. I saw a huge group of people milling around. Then the doors opened and the "cattle" were moved inside. Not for me, but I met many people who swear by traditional dining.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 07:08 PM
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Ralph,

One night I got off an elevator just as a traditional seating was about to begin. I saw a huge group of people milling around. Then the doors opened and the "cattle" were moved inside. Not for me, but I met many people who swear by traditional dining.

Yes, there are several serious layout problems on the ships of the Grand Princess, Diamond Princess, and Caribbean Princess classes and you are describing one of them. Most dining rooms have a lounge near the entrance where passengers can relax with a beverage while awaiting dinner. The aft dinign rooms on these ships, which Princess uses for "Traditional Dining," does not. There's no room for lounge because the galley is in the way. Unfortunately, this creates the very situation that you describe.

When I was aboard MV Grand Princess in 1999 (which was back in the dark ages when all of the dining rooms operated what Princess now calls "Traditional Dining"), I felt bad that there was not enough room in the elevator lobby for a gentleman in a wheelchair who had come for dinner to get off the elevator and noplace to go because the pack of hungry passengers had filled the lobby and backed up the stairs. Unfortuantely, those of us who were close enough to see the gentleman sitting in the wheelchair in the elevator could not move.

My solution to the problem is to cruise on a different class of ships. If I were still crusing with Princess, I probably would stick to the Sun Princess, Island Princess, and (new) {i]Pacific Princess[/i] classes.

Norm.
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Old August 16th, 2006, 04:17 PM
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yup, make a reservation if you like but we found that we had no wait even without a reservation.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 02:08 PM
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Just sailed the Sapphire Princess with casual dining, had a choice of 4 restaurants. We made reservations. But couldn't do 7pm. The latest was 6:20 and than not again until 8pm. Never understood this.
All 4 restaurants carry the same menu for the evening except one specialty item per restaurant. Others we met said they never made reservations but always dined after 8pm

Table for 2. You sit so close to other tables of 2 you will enjoy meeting others and chatting.
The one night we chose to sit at a table for six it was a nightmare and the longest dinner ever!

We only did the buffet on our last night.
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