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really concerned about what PC dining on the Diamond is turning into

Discussion in 'Princess Cruises' started by Hucc, Apr 6, 2004.

  1. Hucc

    Hucc Guest

    the whole concept behind Personal Choice is the ability to kind of eat without having to be at a certain place at a certain time; but rather when you feel like eating

    it seems like people are making reservations at the beginning of the week for every night; making it nearly impossible for casual diners to eat "when they feel like it"; forcing it more into a traditional dining experience

    if people didn't book all the slots at the beginning of the week, perhaps there would be more opportunities to just drop in, without have a long wait at dinner time



    I experienced Freestyle on NCL, and there was never more than a 5 minute wait any of the nights for dinner. I attribute that to people not reserving all the times at the beginning of the week.


    I think that Princess needs to serious limit the number of reservations in the PC dining rooms, to keep it truly Personal Choice. They also need to disallow traditional diners from eating in those dining rooms. IMHO, if you choose Traditional, you know that you are eating in the traditional dining room all week -- you should not switch to PC, unless you do it formally (through the Matre ' D) and only space permitting.
  2. Hucc

    Hucc Guest

    is it true that Reservations can only be made in the PC dining rooms before 6 pm or after 8 pm ?

    if so, this is great... really makes it PC
  3. sneekpeek

    sneekpeek Guest

    No that is not true. We made our reservations for 6:00 pm every night. I think that it just filled up during 6-8 and so they stopped taking reservations for those times. We made ours as soon as we go on the ship. It takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours for the complete meal.
  4. Zia

    Zia Guest

    I don't agree. Personal choice means (to me) not being confined to one of two "traditional seatings" for dinner, and being seated with the same people every evening. I think reservations are fine.

    I think Princess did an "excellent" job of meeting the demands of dining options for those that selected Personal Choice. The passenger capacity is 2,670 and that's a lot of folks to serve dinner to! If you're really hungry and don't want to wait, there's always the Horizon Court buffet which had really good food, as well as room service.

    As far as waiting goes, if on land you select a restaurant that doesn't take reservations, (Outback, P.F. Chang's, etc...) you usually wait upwards of an hour or more on a busy evening. In addition, you could probably get into any of the Personal Choice restaurants without a long wait - just not the Sterling Steakhouse.

    Just my two cents worth.....

  5. bostongal

    bostongal Guest

    I agree with you that it seems to be less like "freestyle" and more like traditional dining if you have to choose your dining time. It should be more like it was on NCL where you can choose based on your wants and needs and people who choose Traditional should stick with it (unless they change formally with the Maitre D').

    I am on PC dining on 4/17 and I will let you know how it goes and how we handle it.

  6. Hucc

    Hucc Guest

    Meg, I'm seriously considering switching to traditional.
  7. Beryl

    Beryl Guest

    We had personal choice dining on the Grand Princess last September. We never made a reservation and never ran into these problems. I think we had to wait about 10 minutes for a table on one of the first nights. Every other evening we just walked in. To me it wasn't a problem. I am beginning to wonder if this is going to be an ongoing problem with the Diamond but hoping that it is just because it is such a new ship. I do believe that part of the problem is caused by the taking of reservations, particularly by parties that want the same table and wait staff every evening. Perhaps they could compromise by taking reservations for larger parties only.

    In any case, I am sure I will be able to find someplace to eat and will not go hungry :grin
  8. PeabodyNVL

    PeabodyNVL Guest

    Isn't part of the PC choice to be able to choose to eat at the same time every night, just not the same time as the traditional dining, i.e. 7:30pm? If they allow reservations, people should be able to reserve the way they want to.

    Princess should either allow standing reservations or not allow them. Then, everyone with PC dining is treated the same. To limit the number of standing reservations in PC dining is once again discriminating against the people that either don't know about it or don't get to it in time.
  9. Beryl

    Beryl Guest

    Yup Pea, it is! It's just that everyone thinks they should be able to be served every evening exactly at the time they want to be served. I don't think that will ever happen. :(

    When they only offered traditional dining folks were upset because they didn't always get their choice of early or late sitting, they asked for a change of table to be accommodated because they didn't like their table mates, they couldn't get the table size they requested. Now with PC dining we are hearing lots of negative comments as well. I know the maitre'd does his best to help but It seems you just can't please all of the people all of the time.

    I'm going to take my chance with PC on my next cruise. It worked well for us on the Grand and if I have to wait to eat, oh well! I'll just relax in one of the bars :) until they find a spot for us. It won't hurt me to go a bit hungry for awhile :grin
  10. PEB

    PEB Guest

    Not everyone who wants Traditional dining gets traditional dining. In this case making a reservation in PC may work out better for them. I am diabetic and control my diabetes through diet and one thing that helps me with this is trying to keep to a regular dining time throughout the day. I was not able to get Traditional dining because we booked so close to the cruise so making a reservation for a specific time everyday will work out best for me. We also eat specific foods to control diabetes so we do not want to have to explain it every night to a different wait staff.

    In other words my point would be that some people may be making reservations for a specific time because they truly would prefer traditional dining but were unable to get it. There also may be other reasons that they try to eat at the same time every day.

    Post Edited (04-06-04 14:36)
  11. cnmiranda

    cnmiranda Guest

    Sounds to me like they did not put enough tables in the PC restaurants. I also don't want to be bumping elbows with the person seated at the table next to us as others reported. This will be my first Princess cruise, a make or break voyage for me as a repeat customer. Every person that returns from the cruise gives the advice to make reservations as soon as they board. If all 2700 passengers start doing this it will be impossible to get through on the phone (which has already happened as I understand) and you will be stuck waiting 90 mins to eat dinner. This is not my idea of a stress free vacation. Nor do I want to have to decide what type of food I will be hungry for 5 days from now. I am very disappointed in the way things seem to be going. My ship is just about sold out May 15th.
  12. janz

    janz Guest

    I just booked and picked traditional..6:30 You can dine PC if you pick traditional but not the other way around...Talk about confusing! JANZ
  13. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Guest

    Two years ago, I sailed on Star Princess - full ship. I chose Personal Choice dining and was very favorably impressed. I could dine when I wished, without a problem. I loved it.

    I sailed Star Princess again about two months ago - also full ship. Personal Choice dining was a MESS. Long lines at certain hours, and while efforts were made to please peoples' dining wishes, it was impossible because of the sheer numbers. The dining problems overflowed into problems getting into entertainment venues, and it developed into an entire domino effect.

    Neither our Agency owner nor I are dummies, and we both are veteran, very experienced cruisers. We are at a loss to explain why Personal Choice on Star worked so well two years ago and so poorly two months ago, both sailings being fully booked.
  14. CruisinTex

    CruisinTex Guest

    I agree with PEB. Since I've never sailed Princess, I've been doing lots of research/reading in preparation for our upcoming cruise. It seems like there is a problem with too many people requesting traditional dining, and not enough room in the traditional dining room...so there are people who want traditional but end up with PC. The simple solution if/when this happens to someone seems to be to make a standing reservation in the PC dining room. IMHO, Princess could organize the PC concept a little better. Maybe make one of the PC dining rooms the "reservations accepted" dining room and the other PC dining room a "walk-ins only, no reservations" dining room.
  15. GayleErmer

    GayleErmer Guest

    Here is a description of my experience on the Diamond Princess (3/20/04) with PC dining (you can decide what you would prefer).

    One of the reasons I chose this cruise line was for the “Anytime Dining/Personal Choice†option. For maximum relaxation I did not want to have to be anywhere at a set time each night for dinner (no setting an alarm to make sure we wake up on time from our afternoon nap!). I also liked the flexibility of deciding on a daily basis whether we were in the mood for Mexican or something else. The first night (Saturday) we showed up at the Asian theme dining room (Pacific Moon) at 6:35 pm and were told there were no tables until 7:30 pm (I think this was true for all the dining rooms). We simply went to the atrium and listened to the musicians playing there until we could eat. On the other hand, we witnessed several other groups of passengers who were displeased that they could not just walk up and get a table. For the second night I attempted to make reservations via phone in the early afternoon and was told that the earliest opening for any of the dining rooms was 7:30 pm. Rather than taking such a late time, we decided just to show up. So that night (Sunday) we went to the Mexican theme dining room (Santa Fe) at about 6:15 pm and were seated immediately at a table with another couple. The third night (Monday), we showed up at the Sterling Steak House at 6:20 pm, were told that the earliest available time was 7:30, so walked over to the Italian theme dining room (Vivaldi) and got seated immediately at a table for two. The fourth night (Tuesday) we tried the Sterling again at 6:20 pm. They were again full through 7:30 so we went to the Santa Fe dining room and were immediately seated with another family of four. Fifth night (Wednesday), we tried the Sterling at 7:00 pm. They were booked until 8:30, so we went back to the Pacific Moon and were immediately seated at a table for two. So, I’ve figured out by now that the Sterling is the most popular eating venue and determine to make reservations for the next night so we can try it. When I called the next day my options were 5:30 or 7:30 or later. We took the 5:30 pm reservation and enjoyed our dinner there that night (Thursday). On Friday night we chose to eat at the buffet. In the end I was happy with our dining experiences – it was nice to spend time together but also nice to eat with others occasionally. As a "walkin" I was willing to wait a reasonable amount of time (although an hour is at the extreme edge of what I consider reasonable).

    If you want to eat at a popular time (say 6:30 pm) and be guaranteed no wait, you will need to make reservations for dinner every night of the cruise as soon as you board (this is exactly what I did not want to do, or I would have chosen traditional dining). If you wait until the day of your dinner, you will probably not be able to get a desirable time. If you show up with not reservation, you may have to wait.

  16. Hucc

    Hucc Guest

    sounds like PC dining might not be the best option for someone with children

    if it were just adults, I would be more open to it

    but, I've got a kid who gets hungry around 6:30 :)
  17. Wildcatter

    Wildcatter Guest

    It sounds like they should just shelve the reservation altogether. If you show up at 6:30 p.m. and there are 45 other couples waiting, it should be 1st come, 1st served. Why get PC dining and then regiment yourself with 7 days of reservations?
  18. rogerpl

    rogerpl Guest

    We are trying PC dining and I can't imagine we will eat the same time or want to make reservations for the same time every night. My only problem with traditional is that one time is too early and the other is a little late. I will miss meeting new people at dinner as we have been very fortunate to have great tablemates. I can see a problem developing if everyone tries for a 7:30 reservation.
  19. Beryl

    Beryl Guest

    Hi Roger,

    When we cruised on the Grand Princess we did not make reservations. Our experience with PC on the Grand was that we met more people than ever before. We even ended up eating dinner with the same people more than once....guess we got hungry about the same time :grin. We were always open to sitting at a table with others when we went to the dining room and really enjoyed it. They sat people with other groups pretty much as they arrived at the door, so there was no problem with being seated with people who were eating dessert as we were ordering appetizers.

    What with meeting a group that was formed on another site and making new "friends" at every meal, by the time we had to disembark :( we felt like we knew quite a few folks! I hope your experience with PC is as positive as ours was.
  20. seagarsmoker

    seagarsmoker Guest

    Guess I'll continue to add fuel to the fire with my theory. lol
    This is what I've seen, read and heard since PC started. Almost every single Princess cruise has a waitlist for Main/Late Traditional Dining, thus many people are forced into PC because Princess has forced PC upon the masses, thus they can show numbers that prove PC is working. <sarc> So we have folks who wanted traditional, end up with PC and they reserve the PC dining room for the same time every night as they wanted to begin with. Thus now all the room Princess had wanted for leasure PC dining is now being used by Traditional Diners who now are forced PCers by making reservations. Thus long lines at certain times. If I recall from our last Princess cruise, they had over 300 people on the waiting list for traditional dining for both seatings, if that isn't telling Princess they need more Tradional seating space, then they'll never get it. I'm not saying do away with PC, just change the number of tables for traditional dining.

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