Originally Posted by You
Was just reading the messages and (correct me if I am wrong) there is no such thing as anytime seating. We really enjoyed that option on the Princess.
You are correct. The only "mass market" cruise lines that offer an "open seating" option are Princess ("Anytime Dining") and Norwegian Cruise Line ("Freestyle Dining"). In fact, Norwegian Cruise Line has dropped traditional dining, and the concept of a "main dining room," completely.
That said, my experience is that traditional dining is the better option for several reasons.
>> 1. The seatings of traditional dining are synchronized to the shows and other evening entertainment and events. As a result, many passengers end up dining within a few minutes of the scheduled seatings anyway.
>> 2. With traditional dining, your waitstaff get to know your preferences on the first night or two of the cruise and anticipate your requests thereafter, thus providing more responsive service for the duration of the cruise. With open seating, this simply is not possible because you don't have the same waitstaff every evening.
There's also something very wonderful about dining with the same tablemates every evening, which provides an opportunity to develop real friendships that often persist beyond the end of the cruise. With open seating, you'll have different tablemates each night so the relationship seldom goes beyond superficial conversation.
Of course, YMMV, but I would encourage you to try the traditional arrangement.