All 11 cruises we have taken have been Late Seating. Our next cruise this fall we are trying Early. Late is great for all the reasons mentioned... hang at the pool late in the day (my favorite time), hang on deck or balcony and watch as you sail out of port, get back from the port and not rush... go have a drink with your wife before dinner...
The downside has always been finishing dinner at 10 or 10:30, going to one of the shows and being sleepy from being full then trying to go dancing or the casino and just not getting it in gear again. There have been many nights we are out til one or two but sometimes took until midnight to get that second wind.
We are going to try early this trip and see how we like it. I think it will be a nice change of pace for us. It might be fun to actually be awake in the casino... ..
Also with the alternative dining options we have started to take advantage of restaurants like Chops and or Portofino's. When booking those dinners we always choose 6 or 7PM.
We always have our kids with us so we prefer the early seating. That way our 8 year old will be awake for dinner and the show. If we go to the show first she will fall asleep in the show and not want to wake up for dinner.
Mariner Of the Seas March 09
Elation March 08