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Old December 5th, 2008, 09:01 PM
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Default Anytime dining

Sailing 2/4/2009 14 day to Hawaii. This will be fourth cruise with Princess. On all the others we choose traditional dining ,the early seating. Is anytime dining in a seperate dining area?Do you make reservations or is there a wait. Will we miss out on the extra's on the formal nights? It seemed that the meals and desserts where all timed,especially the baked Alaska parade. Just don't know what to expect or if we should try to get traditional seating.
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Old December 5th, 2008, 09:15 PM
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I tried for traditional dining last cruise, didn't get it, 200th on the waitlist. The dress codes are the same with either dining, so you don't miss out on that. Did notice that there would start a line around 6:30, but if you get there closer to 6:00, you should have no problem. The meals are the same, you just get a different dining staff each evening. For some reason, dinner was taking a long time and we couldn't get seats for the show in time, so we tried the Horizon Ct for dinner and enjoyed that as well. They keep one dining room for traditional early/late and another for the anytime.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Donna
I tried for traditional dining last cruise, didn't get it, 200th on the waitlist. The dress codes are the same with either dining, so you don't miss out on that. Did notice that there would start a line around 6:30, but if you get there closer to 6:00, you should have no problem. The meals are the same, you just get a different dining staff each evening. For some reason, dinner was taking a long time and we couldn't get seats for the show in time, so we tried the Horizon Ct for dinner and enjoyed that as well. They keep one dining room for traditional early/late and another for the anytime.
Wow! 200th on the waiting list!
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Old December 6th, 2008, 05:44 AM
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If you eat early you should have no problem with lines for the "any time" dining. You can also make a reservation there if you like. In fact if you get a table and wait staff that you like, you can reserve that table for the whole cruise. Everything is the same as the traditional dining except there will be no "Baked Alaska Parade". They still serve the Baked Alaska but everyone is having dessert at a different time so the parade is not possible. That is a great itinerary and I am sure you will really enjoy your cruise.
Jim..
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Old December 6th, 2008, 09:25 AM
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I just felt and still do, that more people would do the traditional than they seem to think??
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Old December 6th, 2008, 12:00 PM
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Thanks for the information. So it is a different dining area for the anytime seating ,just like going to any resturant. There are two couples in our party ,can you choose seating for four or a larger table with more?
Kinda rymes doesn't it. I thought the Alaska parade would't be possible.
Is it possible to get traditional seating on any given night during the cruise? It would be nice to have it on formal nights. On our past cruise's there were always empty tables that people didn't show up for one reason or another.Is there a waiting line to get them? I'm sure it will all work out on the ship.To all you experienced cruisers ,it's nice to be have this forum available.I hope that I will be able to provide some help for others as we take more fun cruises.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 02:59 PM
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If you select Anytime or traditional dining, you must do it all on the cruise. You cannot jump back and forth between the two.

For Anytime dining you can ask for any size table and they will try to accommodate you.

We have always chose Anytime with a reservation at 1900 at the same table with the same wait staff. You will not miss anything on the formal nights or any of the shows.
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Old December 15th, 2008, 12:37 AM
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8) There was a time when we would only book Traditional Dining!

Now, we totally love Anytime! Very nice to be able to go whenever we wish ....
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Old December 25th, 2008, 10:38 PM
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As soon as you get on board find your 2 dining options for "anytime" dining. And make reservations!
We tried for traditional dining and didn't get it, so for our 25th wedding aniversary we dressed formal on their caribbean casual night gave the waiter our letter that told them this was a very special night for us. We were sat at a small table, right next to the kitchen, no candel light, bright lights, no soft music, banging and clanging from the kitchen and wait staff running in and out. The waiter took our order, then a couple was seated next to us, the same waiter took their order. There was NO privacy. I heard the guy order the same as I did. Then they were served their diner and had their water refilled while we sat there ignored.
After a little while I said this is bullshit and walked out.
I went to my cabin and called the customer service desk, explained what happened, and he told me it was my fault. I told him how special this night was for us, and could he do something to save our night. No, all he could do is have someone call us the next day. I told him that would be to late, our anniversary is TODAY. He was rude, and no help.
I spent my 25th wedding anniversary in my cabin crying. My husband went to get a hamburger and fries that he ate in our cabin.
The next day someone did call and apoligise and offer us reservations for that night, why would we want their diner now?
The food at the buffet was AWFUL!!
We could not wait to get home to real food that is hot and has flavor.
Good luck.
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Old December 26th, 2008, 07:30 PM
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I'm looking forward to the Anytime Dining. Clearly stated in the brochure, I realize reservations are the best way to go. Although, asking the Maitre De what restaurant might be more available at the time, can also help.
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Old December 26th, 2008, 08:42 PM
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Those that have Traditional dining can go to Anytime dining but not the other way around. I always do Traditional (which books quite early so it's hard to get and then others are automatically assigned Anytime) and have gone to Anytime for a birthday party or other occasion with friends. But you should tell your waiter that you won't be there if you do that or go to any of the extra cost dining areas.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 08:28 PM
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Default Anytime Dining

We have always done the Traditional Dining. After the last cruise in December to Hawaii, we have decided to continue to book Traditional, but may use Anytime and buffet as alternative options.....the reason?? Boorish tablemates!! We would check the menu for the night, then decide if it was worth dealing with these people or not. You can do Anytime if you have Traditional, but not the other way around. That's what we'll do the next time, once we determine if our tablemates are compatible.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 06:17 AM
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Hi

I have just come of the Diamond Princess and was an anytime diner...

I wouldnt have it any other way - it gives you total flexibility and we never had to wait longer than a few mins

There were 3 restaurants we could choose from any time then 2 that we could eat at after 8:15pm. Then of course there was Horizon Court, but I found the food there, although good, not as good as the restaurants.

We were a party of 4 so enjoyed meeting new people every night, and even though we did miss out on the Baked Alska presentation - I wouldnt choose any other way.

We usually either ate early (6-6:30) and after catching the show in a lounge went to the late presentation in the Princess Theatre OR We would
do the early Theatre show, then the lounge and then eat around 9:30-10pm

it depended how much we ate during the day ( and if we went to afternoon tea!!)

The freedom was great and the ship was full for th 25 days we were onboard

enjoy your cruise - I didnt want to get off!!

Jules
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Old January 7th, 2009, 12:19 PM
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We too only book anytime dining. It gives us the option to eat with others or not and I can make both shows each night. It is kind of hard to do that with tradition times.
The menus are the same.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 10:57 AM
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There is a huge thread about this on Cruise Critic. It seems that there are people who really love both anytime and traditional dining.

At least on Princess if you sign up for trad. you are not supposed to jump around between the two. One reason people end up being #200 on a waiting list is that some people book trad. and then rarely if ever use their table. Those who want and would use trad. can't get a table then. On our 15 day Hawaiian cruise on the Diamond P. there were empty tables in the dining room every night. We kept our eye on a couple tables near us, and they were empty every single night. If those passengers had released their table someone who wanted trad. could have been accommodated. Going to the specialty restaurants occasionally is one thing, but booking a table for the duration and not using it is selfish. Also, on the Hawaiian cruise there were 10 sea days so it's not like the tables were not used because people were eating on shore.

The dining room staff should check cruise cards more carefully and make sure that passengers are using the dining facilities correctly. Also the maitre d' should contact passengers who haven't ever shown up for their table after a day or two.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 05:24 PM
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Yep, I was 200 something on a wait list on my Star Princess cruise, no wonder. I agree, its one thing to go to the alternative dining room for a night, but to not use your table for the entire cruise, is just plain thoughtless to others that would use it.

They should start some checking the tables each evening and if no one shows up, they loose it...Makes sense.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 12:36 PM
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hi, donna. in principle i see your point; but this is just another level of responsibility for already burdened dining room personnel and for the hotel director, etc. what's next? bed check? if you don't use it you lose it? the problem has to be with the system. if you sign for traditional, you are not free to use anytime and vice versa. the alternative is the lido. the real answer, of course, is personal responsibility. do we need a dining room gestapo?
it would be easy enough to check the cabin number of those showing up for either trad or anytime and determine which they signed for, just like it is easy to check which passengers opted for autotipping or withdrew it.
why does it have to be this way? just bring back traditional for everyone; or open everything up. but, of course, this puts the onus back on the passengers for making reservations every day, which brings us back to traditional dining. mcdonald's and kfc for everyone!
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Old January 16th, 2009, 05:40 PM
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200th? Hah! we were 300th!

We were a party of four and prefer a table to ourselves. That usually means a wait in the Anytime dining rooms; if you want to share a table you'd get in much faster. We've not seen the tables all full during any evening.

One evening they did say for a table of 4 there'll be a 45 min wait. But they buzzed us a few minutes later and gave us a table that seats 6.

In general we found the service is not as attentive as traditional dining (depends on the waiter you get), and we dine at around the same time every night anyway, so we would have preferred traditional.
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Old January 17th, 2009, 07:21 PM
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Anytime dining has the advantage of not being stuck with the same people that you don't want to associate with in the first place. There are many nights that we just want a quiet dinner without all the talk of what did you do today & how the shows was last night etc.. There is no difference between TD & AD as it had been in past years.
Another great advantage about AD is that it usually begins 1/2 hour earlier than TD which give you the jump on getting seats in the show lounge over those who choose TD, which on the larger ships may mean not being seated at all.
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Old January 21st, 2009, 12:08 AM
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OK, so let me get this straight. With anytime dining, we can pick the dining room (not the ones with the extra charge) and the time? How early do they let you come in, before the regular "early seating?" We are 53rd on the list but another couple decided to join our group making them 81st on the list. What are the chances?
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Old January 21st, 2009, 01:12 AM
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On the Ruby Princess, there are 2 Anytime dining rooms, and 1 Traditional. You can go to either of the Anytime ones starting from 5:30 pm, whether you are on file as Traditional or Anytime.
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Old January 21st, 2009, 11:32 PM
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I like the traditional dining. Always seem to meet nice people and sometimes we even get together for shows and ship activities. Bob
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 01:53 PM
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just as i thought: anytime dining is not really anytime dining if you have to show up early to get in; or, worse, making reservations in advance. that is not 'anytime.' and traditional is much more popular on some lines; i booked really early on a hal cruise in may from ftlaud to montreal and am still waitlisted for earlyuppertraditional. there is only one of me, but if i cannot get earlyuppertraditional, i'll just have to be happy with the lido for the whole 15 days. maybe that will be good, too --- REAL anytime dining. or big meal at lido lunch, or just burgers, or room service. that's what i call 'anytime.'

just a question for your comments: why is EATING always the centerpiece and judgement corner for a cruise?

the issue of one poster being 200th on a waitlist for early traditional should say it all; i'll bet there are hundreds out there who experience the same thing. bring back traditional on some lines and on those lines let the anytimers go to the lido if they choose not to show up for dinner in the main dining room -- i've done that many times, though i try to let my table mates and the staff know i won't be there on a particular evening; just a polite courtesy. on hal,, there still remains a remnant of courtesy.
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 04:58 PM
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Does anyone know if you get quicker 'seating' in anytime if you actually booked it?

I'm just wondering if the people who chose Traditional and later in their cruise decided to dump the Traditional to go to Anytime must wait longer for a seating.

Sweet Sailing!
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 10:17 AM
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We have done anytime dining on Princess, HAL, and Carnival. Carnival did the best job of the three. One night we met some wonderful people who also had anytime dining and we all went together to see if we could get a table. It was later in the evening, and they seemed real busy but the Host had no trouble accomadating all TEN of us. Princess did have some lines and longer wait times.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 10:33 PM
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So you make reservations each night for specific times? I would imagine just showing up would make for a longer wait.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 07:30 PM
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There were six of us on the Diamond to Hawaii and we took Anytime dining. Wouldn't go any other way!! We ate wherever we wanted at lunch, ( sometimes together, but mostly on our own), then made reservations each night at different restaurants for all six to dine together. Freedom to choose where and when to eat was simply great!
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Old February 10th, 2009, 10:02 PM
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Just finalized plans for Alaskan cruisetour on Coral for June through TA. Being a novice, I asked about dinner seatings and was told that there are no early or late seatings any longer, just Anytime dining. Was I mislead? So with Anytime one can make a reservation for only certain dining rooms or go and wait a long time to be seated? Do I have that right?
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Old February 10th, 2009, 10:44 PM
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I'm pretty sure she (TA) isn't quite right. I know with Princess there is still early or later seating. Otherwise they wouldn't ask you when you book it. Maybe something has changed since last year when we went cruising. Hopefully someone will have some insight to help us out.
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Old March 11th, 2009, 07:01 AM
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We had anytime dining on the Caribbean Princess and we never made reservations. We just showed up and normally were seated within 15 minutes. I do like the idea of traditional dining and also using the anytime dining if there is something I want to do at that time, maybe I'll try that.
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