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Anytime vs. Traditional Dining

sdsmom

Active Member
#1
Hi! My husband and I are planning on sailing next spring on the Caribbean Princess Southern Caribbean Explorer 7 day cruise for our 15 year anniversary. We haven't cruised in about 5 years and are wondering about the difference between Anytime and Traditional Dining. Is it difficult to get a table w/ Anytime? Do you have to pay the gratuities up front? Thanks for your input!
 

Corky

Well-Known Member
#2
Well, I personally prefer Anytime. And the times we've used it we've always told the Maitre D' that we'll sit anywhere he cares to seat us, so we've never waited. Some, who prefer to sit at a table for 2 only, or a table of 4, etc sometime wait. So I guess it depends on how you wish to be seated.

Also, I think if you show up at Peak time you may wait. Personally, if I ever showed up and there was a big line, I'd just put my name in and then go sit and people watch for a while. :)

The menu is the same as is in the Traditional Dining room.

The Servers will change nightly in Anytime depending on where you are seated. Or, if you wish, you can ask to be put in a particular servers area nightly, thus at least keeping the same server if that is what you wish.

Happy Anniversary and Happy Cruising!!!
 

Calgon1

Awaiting results of mental evaluation
#4
No, you don't tip 'up front'. Tipping now is done by charging the recommended tip against your on board account. Then the money is pooled and split evenly between the cabin and wait staff. If you want to tip more, or less, contact the Purser's Office and adjust your account accordingly. If you want to tip in cash, at the end of the cruise to an individual who you feel really gave great service ... be descrete. The standard policy is that any staff who recieve additional tips are not supposed to keep them but are to turn them in to the pool.
 

geejay

Well-Known Member
#5
I am probably in the minority, but definitely prefer traditional. We like to sit with others and enjoy getting to know them more as the cruise progresses. We are not outgoing and find it difficult to chat with strangers at each meal. We also like to have the same waitstaff.

I am glad that Princess gives us a choice of traditional and anytime dining.
 

Kathy

Well-Known Member
#6
We also prefer traditional. We have made wonderful friends who we have cruised, visited and kept in contact with for MANY years. We find it much more enjoyable getting to know people over the course of the cruise and share what we've done that day, rather than starting over each night with a new group of people. We've almost always had wonderful tablemates (over 22 cruises) and the couple of times we've had problems, we've just gone to the maitre'd and asked to change tables with no trouble.

I hope they don't do away with traditional dining but it's nice that have options that suit everyone.

Kathy
 

Gayle V

Cruiser's Compass Editor
#7
We tend to agree with Kathy and Geejay. We once had to take the "personal choice" dining because our main seating choice was full when we booked. Luckily the Maitre' D was able to change us to "first" by the second day. We were really glad, because we'd spent well over 45 minutes waiting for a table on that first night. (We asked at both dining rooms on the ship (Golden) and they both had about the same wait time. )

BTW that delay made us late finishing dinner, and therefore late going to the big welcome aboard show that eveing. I can only imagine, that if you don't time your "personal choice" dinners just right, you would be having a problem attending the shows on time each night. When you do "traditional" that timing consideration is coordinated for you.
 

Mbandy

Well-Known Member
#8
We also prefer traditional. We have made wonderful friends who we have cruised, visited and kept in contact with for MANY years. We find it much more enjoyable getting to know people over the course of the cruise and share what we've done that day, rather than starting over each night with a new group of people. We've almost always had wonderful tablemates.

I hope they don't do away with traditional dining but it's nice that have options that suit everyone.
Ditto 100%
 
#9
Based on three cruises, all with traditional dining, I have a hard time picturing the benefits of anytime dining. I've heard all the arguments, but my perceived benefits outweigh the stated "advantages" of anytime. I don't ever want to wait for a table; I like knowing that each night, I'll be in the same spot, with the same waitstaff, who have learned my likes and dislikes and respond accordingly. I'm quite happy to dine with others if needed, but I meet new people every morning in the dining room for breakfast and I don't necessarily want to go through that every night as well. I do acknowledge that demand is there for anytime, and many people see my negatives as positives and vice versa. But isn't that the beauty of cruising? Choices to suit many if not all tastes?
 

nmnita

Active Member
#10
I am probably in the minority, but definitely prefer traditional. We like to sit with others and enjoy getting to know them more as the cruise progresses. We are not outgoing and find it difficult to chat with strangers at each meal. We also like to have the same waitstaff.

I am glad that Princess gives us a choice of traditional and anytime dining.
I am glad as well even though I prefer "anytime dining" Getting to know your table mates can be a very positive experience or a nightmere. We have had both. The best part of flex dining is choosing when to eat. I have always thought early dining is a little too early if you have had a long day on shore and late dining means you do to bed with a tummy filled to the brim.. Having the same wait staff is probably the most positive thing about traditional dining.

Nita
 

Jeanie

Well-Known Member
#11
We preferred late traditional. Love to be seated at a large table so we can get to know our fellow cruisers. It is a very positive experience. something you remember years to come. If we decide to eat in the dinning room for breakfast or lunch, we always asked for a large table.
 

George C

Well-Known Member
#12
We also preferred late traditional, I would not go on a cruise if I was told I could not get 2nd sitting. We almost had to do anytime once on Princess but was changed to second seating just before sailing. Need to book in advance since they seem to have more room for anytime dinning.
 

Beryl

Trivia Specialist
#13
Going to chime in with my vote for Anytime Dining! With one exception we have never had a long wait for a table.

There is no right or wrong answer to which is better! It's all about what might work best for you. If you are traveling with a group then Traditional might be more convenient. If you really don't want to be held to a "schedule" then give Anytime a try.

Whichever you choose I hope you have a wonderful cruise....and loads of great food!!
 

Einstein

Well-Known Member
#14
Have had Gr8 experiences with BOTH and therefore as has been mention above each one offers different perks which side better with different styles. :clap: The one change that they did make or at least I heard they made was in accordance with making a standing reservation for the entire cruise at a specific time and table. :cool: That can still be done but the ONLY times available coincide with the Early & Late Traditional dining times. :no:

I believe they did this so it fit BETTER into the Anytime Dining Theme. :shrug: The rumblings were that it was also causing havoc within the Anytime Dining rooms as folks were booking the PRIME ... 7- 7:45 dining slots for the entire cruise and therefore there were VERY few openings left open on a daily basis for those times.
:bbat: