I can't express to people enough on the importance of being on time in the dining room. Not only is it important to be on time for the actual seating, but once you are sat, don't spend the first 15 or 20 minuets gabbing or table hopping. Save that for for all the social time after dinner in the casino, the disco or one of the many lounges. The waiters, bus-boys and cocktail servers are on a very tight schedule, and have a great many tables to attend to. It is very annoying when the waiter has to hear."oh i haven't decided, come back to me later", or can you come back ..i just got here"..There is a system to how the food is ordered, and how the plates of food are put together. It is a fine tuned machine, and when people are contunually late, or physically in the way of the service, that machine is thrown off considerably. (take the galley tour). Of course when the food comes out late, cold or slightly out of order, it is the people who caused the disruption who usually do the loudest complaining.
let me jump in before David does. I do not sit by the dining room doors from 10am waiting for the doors to open. Since it is impossible for me to time my arrival to coincide exactly when the doors open, I am usually late. I do not think that my arrival in any way interferes with with smooth operation of the dining room. I would consider your point, if everyone was like a robot, and came on time, sat down, took every item that was offered, did not order seconds, immediately stopped conversations when the food arrived, put themselves into standby mode waiting for everyone's dish to arrive, then start eating chewing each bite approximately 22 times to consume the meal in the allotted time.
We always have a large table, wait for everyone to arrive, chit chat about the day etc, order our drinks, wait politely while things arrive, and have a pleasant dinner experience. Table hopping???? heaven forbid, you meet some new interesting people and wish to say hi or even make conversation with the table next to you. I forgot, no conversation is allowed.
Waiters are on a "tight schedule", and if you say "come back later" then that is the same level of obturation as ordering an extra drink, because that extra drink will break the "tight schedule".
How does the pepper thing work, when your waiter comes around asking if you like fresh pepper, do they base their military timing on the average number of people wanting pepper, how does one person who is in the mood for pepper that day affect the precision of that "well timed machine"??
It's a cruise dude, part of the dining room's "precision" and professionalism is that they know that it is a cruise, leisure, fun, a vacation!!
I have a sneaking suspicion that the person who gets bent over punctuality, is also the person who gets upset over their food not being absolutely perfect.
I do agree partially with Gary. It really isn't a problem when people come in five minutes after the dining room opens, but anything more than 15 minutes late is rude to the other diners at the table and inconsiderate to the waiter.
Since I have never cruised and sat with other people I do not know about being late and how annoying that could be. HOWEVER, It's my vacation and they will work for me no matter how late I am or if I am not ready or I want a drink before I eat. I am not saying that I will order dinner when everyone else is already eating their meals but mearly I am positive that the wait staff wants you to enjoy your meal.
Gary has a point about late diners and I don't think he was talking about someone being a few minutes late. Obviously everyone can't be in the dining room at the same time sitting down. But if you dining time is 8 pm, then you should not, out of self respect, respect for your tablemates and the waitstaff, come in 30-45 minutes late. It does interfere with the other diners as it interferes with the waitstaff.
On a recent cruise there was a large group of people ( and I'm talking large-- 40-50 people ) who every single night would start wandering in at least an hour late. Our waitstaff had a couple of tables of these people and it was very upsetting to them. It did interfere with our service.
If people want to wander in at their leisure, then chose a personal style dining and forget assigned dining times. I am not advocating everyone line up, march in, set down ,eat like robots, get up and march out, etc.Only that a little common sense be used. If your dining time is 8pm, then don't be showing up at 8: 45 or 9.
ron, you missed the part about the 20 second chewing, or was it 20 chews per bite,
seriously, I agree that 30 to 45 minutes late is not polite. I just felt a sense of rigidity in Gary's post that I don't agree with.
He says "Not only is it important to be on time for the actual seating, but once you are sat, don't spend the first 15 or 20 minuets gabbing or table hopping."....and things like "It is a fine tuned machine" and "that machine is thrown off considerably".
"on time" and "very tight schedule" are things that I understand within reason but not to the extent taht Gary implied. It is a vacation after all.
Like I said, I am usually a few minutes late, while most people are still arriving. I have never been the last one in or 30 minutes late. I do however, get up between courses, and like the chit chat, (that's why we like a large table) with new people. I have sometimes asked the waiter to continue past me while I decide, and have asked for seconds (usually dessert - mmmm!)
Matt, I believe that you would like personal choice dining where you wander into the dining room when you are ready to eat. This is not available on all ships, and sometimes requires a reservation at crowded times.
If you cruise on RCI or Celebrity, you will have assigned seating for either early or late dining with up to ten people at your table. When you book your cruise, you will need to specify table size and time of dining.
HAL closes the doors to the dining room 15 minutes after the scheduled dinner time, at least on the ships I was on, and supposedly refuses admittance after that time. I don't know if it is enforced, since I'm always eager to eat!
The thing that I can't understand is that some cruisers with traditional dining and assigned tables will line up and stand outside the dining room for 15 minutes before the thing is do to open. Do they really believe they will get the food a little faster?
I think they do Paul. It's hilarious isn't it......................200 people lined up outside the door waiting for the dinner bell to ring!
I'd like to add a gripe to this thread. If you know you will not be dining in the dining room the next night please inform the others at your table. I know that a lot of people who don't show for dinner are not planning to skip dinner by the previous night, and sometimes things happen during the day which will change their plans, but if you know it would be courteous to let the table mates know. By doing so the diners can spread out a little bit and won't wait for you to show before ordering drinks or dinner.
Banker, no need to lash out in such a nasty and condisending way. The point i am making is to be aware of what is going on around you, and don't get so cought up in your own good time, that it infringes on others. If you paid a litte more attention to the staff, you might notice the often hectic pace they are moving in. Many times people are cought up in conversation, while the cocktail server is taking second drink orders, or the waiter is "grinding pepper" ect... but you are no where to be found, or obliviose to the staffs presence at that moment.. and they don't want to interupt your conversation, hoping that your not noticing them is a sign you are fine, and dont' need anything.. then a few minuets later you say to the table,, hey I wanted another drink, where's that waiter,,and the table mates say,,, he was just here...but you didnt' say anything...so then you have to waist his or her time calling them over to re-peat a task they just performed. YOu know what i am talking about..the problem is you feel becasue you are on vacation, especially on a crusie, where we expect the extra pampering, that its ok to be thoughtless where the staff is concerned..
Excuse Me! I am one that is waiting for the doors to open. But I believe they are on a schedule and the time for dinner is set..... You have to have the manners and the maturity to be on time. i have no reason to believe that I will get to my table first or I will get my food first. I am there early to show i understand how to tell time and I follow rules. If you dont want to be told what time to be there or what to do. Go camping.... If it didnt matter what time you sit down or order your food, then they would just say come anytime you want to. People now days have such a problem following rules and being on time for anything. I was taught as a child to be on time and follow directions, obey rules..... It was called manners when I was a child. Happy cruising....
I agree with you about being on time, but what I find interesting is people lining up outside the door at 7:00 for a 7:30 seating time. I'll show up at 7:25 and walk right through the door with no wait.
Gary, I did not intend to lash out at you, just your points! My priority is to have a good time, but never at the expense of others. I pointed out that I did not feel my behaviour infringed on other guests, or the staff.
Please don't mistake the sarcasm in my post as condescension. But I was trying to make a point that it is unreasonable to be right on time as you said (I mean military style synchronize your watch with the dining room clock type precision), and that there is room for both "a good time" and socialization during dining.
I think it is wrong to get in the way of staff doing their work, but the key thing to remember is that it is a vacation for the guests. We should be able to move around, talk to people, etc. during dining.
As someone pointed out that they like to sit in a different seat to talk to new people, we do that as well. Is that going to throw the wait person off of their routine because maybe they remember who sat where and ordered what drink, if I get up to take pictures does that impede the timing of the dinner show? When the photographer comes around, if I have no picture taken, or ask for a second group shot, does this matter.
"I do agree that you should not keep your table mates and the wait staff waiting and wander in 20 minutes late but dining is as much a social occasion as it is a gastronomical one. ".......................Mike
OH NO, Mike ! ! ! You didn't say gastronomical did you (voice trailing off)????
If one is in a traditional dining ( with set times) table, then I say you should arrive within 5 to 10 minutes at the MOST late. I am sick of cruisers who think the staff has nothing better to do then serve one table of say 6 to 8 diners in two or three shifts, or that the other diners should have to WAIT for them to start. How rude, I do realize sometimes " somthing comes up and one is late( later then 10 minutes) but if that something is just feeling entitled to wander in when they feel like it, then they are RUDE.
On Princess there is " Anytime dining" and that is an option for those who do not respect a set dining time( we love Anytime dining).
Some posters have made comment s about the " good old days of cruising". In the " good old days" one did not arrive late for dinner without a good reason and profuse apoligies to tablemates and staff.
I really wonder how the staff put up with such boors and still smile, they are saints.
Okay guys with alternatives available. How do dining room staff know if you are going to be there or not?
And are they going to hold up the whole table waiting to place orders,,waiting for you?
Indeed good servers will wait until everyone arrives to take orders. If after some time it becomes obvious that there's going to be a no show, they'll ask those present if they'd like to go ahead an order.
If you are planning on missing dinner for any reason, it's only considerate and polite to inform someone at your table so they aren't left waiting.
Sorry David, I have to disagree. We always have traditional seating at a large table , and are never more than five minutes late. If we are, we generally eat at the buffet on deck.
I just feel that it is inconsiderate to the other diners and the waiter to wander in 15 or 20 minutes late without telling someone in advance. Many waiters don't feel that it is appropriate to take orders becore all the diners arrive unless they are not expected.