The traditional approach to Cruise Ship dining, embraced by lines such as P&O and Royal Caribbean is to assign a specific dinner time and table so that each night of your cruise you dine with the same cruise guests and are served by the same waiters. These types of dining sittings are becoming rarer but like most things this is a personal choice and is still favoured by some. There are generally two dining times Early (6 to 6:30 p.m.) or Late (8 to 8:30 p.m.) Many passengers prefer this more traditional dining as it gives them an opportunity to get to know their tablemates and waiting staff, allowing them to learn preferences and anticipate requests after the first few nights.
It is worth noting that these dining times and table sizes are selected based on the requests that are made at the time of booking, but generally these are not guaranteed and are on request.
In addition to these fixed dining options there will also be a number of additional cafes and restaurants on board from self-service buffets to formal premium restaurants serving specialist cuisine. Dining in the premium restaurants always requires an advance reservation but seating in here usually allows passengers to sit where, when and with whomever they choose.
In the middle of this dining scale sits Cruise Lines such as Holland America and Princess who offer both options of dining plans. Guests can sign up in advance for traditional, assigned seat dining in one dining room, or flexible dining where you can eat when you wish in the other.
Certain stateroom accommodations on Cunard ships do allow passengers to dine whenever they wish, however, they are still assigned to a particular table throughout the course of the cruise.
At the other end of the scale Norwegian Cruise Line and some of the more luxury cruise lines offer a flexible dining option. On these ships the main restaurant is open during certain hours in the evening and guests can arrive for dinner at a time that suits them.
Call our Cruise Experts today on 0800 197 8050 to find out more about the different dining options available.