Anytime Dining

Happy Monday all! I have a question about anytime dining. First, let me state I have personally only ever cruised Carnival so that is where my experience lies. Also, my family prefers set dining time. We have done both the early and the late but like the later time the best.

So, with all that being said, how does formal night work with anytime dining? Is it basically the same? What about Carnival's famous "Show Time" does it take place at anytime dining?

What are your pros and cons for anytime dining?

Just doing a little research to answer questions for family for one of my upcoming sailings.

15 Answers

We prefer anytime dining! The show times are the same, but you can choose which show you attend since you choose when to eat. We try to go to dinner as soon as the dining room opens to give ourselves the most flexibility. Hope that helps.

We do early dining and as a result we catch the later shows. Show times, and I stand to be corrected, happens to accommodate both early and late diners.

Thats exactly what we do, and it applies to virtually any cruise line we've ever sailed on. You have to keep in mind the ubiquitous excuse "problems in the galley", or a completely inept wait staff...we've all seen it...people leaving dinner to catch a show...you gotta plan ahead...or at least try to. Course some folks like to eat dinner "later"...mebbe thats what they do at home...

If you like the same staff every night then choose a dining time, being a family you should be able to get your own table. I find the advantage of Anytime dining is on days when you have port stops that go to 6 or 7 you can stay in port as long as possible, get back to the ship, shower and go to dinner when you like. Another advantage is if you have bad table mates you do not get stuck with them for the full cruise. If you get table mates that you like you can arrange to meet them another night for dinner. (One cruise we got stuck with a couple ( old red necks is the only way I can describe them). After 2 nights we had to ask for a different table, 2 nights of them was more then enough to last a lifetime.

When I travel solo I do Anytime dining, I like meeting different people each night, I have made friends with people at dinner that we made plans to go into ports together, have other dinners together, go to the art auctions, have drinks and keep in touch after cruises. If you get great staff, you can request to be seated in their section other nights. I'm not big on the shows so most nights I'll got for a drink, listen to some live music, comedy club and then hit the gym. The gym is nice and quiet at about 9 or 10 PM.

I prefer set time dining because your serving team gets to know you and you know what table you'll be at every night, so there's no waiting around for them to bring you to a table. Also, there's no waiting, period. At the most popular time to eat, there can be quite a wait which isn't fun. I've done two full cruises with anytime dining on two different cruise lines because those lines don't do set dining at all. One, we ended up making reservations for every night we ate in the dining room because we didn't want to ever have to wait. The other time, sometimes we got to go right in and sometimes we had a wait. But when I have a choice, I do set time and prefer it.

Thank you! My immediate family always prefers the set dinning for some of the reasons mentioned above. We also have a lot of food allergies and it's easier to give them to the wait staff the first night and then they keep it. We do not have to repeat them each night. We also like goofing off with the same staff. We don't have to wait when we have set times and so forth. On our June cruise coming up we have extended family and friends who may not wish for the set dining time and any time would be more their style, so I am just gathering other peoples opinions.

When we cruise with a group we tend to select assigned dining because it is easier for a large group rather than trying to get one of the large tables during your time dining.

I see no disadvantages to Any Time Dining. You can have the same wait staff every night if you want. You can dine at the same time. You may not get you same table. The advantage is, you do not have to do these things. You are free to change it up. Formal nights are the same either way. We have only done 1 Carnival cruise and the best thing I can say about it is that they had great calzones. The show started at 10:00 or later. The comedian thought that using really fowl language was funny. The cruise staff seem to be clueless to answer simple questions. And we had, possibly, the worst cabin steward ever.

What ship are you sailing?

We have done anytime dining several times and really like it. The way I am understanding the showtime you mention is the one the wait staff and maître d' put on during dinner. It seems like I remember the show almost every night we had dinner on the Vista last November. We also had a group of 18 that trip. They put us at a 10 top and an 8 top net to each other. They gave us the same tables every night must not have been a big need for large tables. If it is just my wife and I having dinner we prefer set dining, with a group it gives us a little wiggle room to get everybody there.

I've been on just about every style of cruise ship from Windstar's "Windstar" to Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas and I'm a "four star" eligible sailor on both Princess and Holland America. And I've tried set seating and anytime dining. I've been cruising since 1989 when there was no such thing as "anytime" dining. All I can say about anytime dining is if you enjoy your dining partners, go for it. I've sat with all kinds of people from down and out bigoted red necks to delightful companions. Whether set seating or anytime dining you get people you don't care to dine with and people you would like to dine with every night. The difference is with set seating you're stuck with them every night. I am now widowed from the love of my life spouse who I first sailed with in 1989 (that voyage is a tale in itself) who passed away in 2013. But I keep on sailing the seven seas because I've always loved the ocean and the places I can visit on a cruise ship. I book cruises on the basis of where they are going. Having already visited in excess of 60 countries there are few cruise itineraries that don't stop at one or more countries that I've already visited. Fortunately I've found two cruise lines that tend to seek out of the way destinations and in the past and future couple of years since my spouse's passing I've booked cruises with them. And both offer "anytime dining." I may be more adventurous than other cruisers but I still love anytime dining because I get to meet different people every night even though because of the smaller size of the vessels on the two companies I like to sail with recently I often sit with people I've already had meals with on previous nights. Fortunately, those people are usually people I enjoy; and if they aren't people I wish to sit with I can alert the person escorting me to a table in advance. I view cruising as a way to experience new things and that includes new people. On my most recent cruise, almost every other cruiser knew my name even though I couldn't remember theirs (I'm sorry but I am notorious for not remembering names -- and I regret that). But I did remember their faces and that was enough because we met up in various venues on the ship and had serious FUN. That's my take on set versus anytime dining and I'm sticking with it (Big Grin).

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