Call free 0800 197 8050 We are open today between 9am and 6pm

Home / FAQ / Am I Restricted To Where I Sit At Meal Times

Find Your Perfect Cruise

Am I restricted to where I sit at meal times?

In recent years Cruise lines have sought to give passengers more flexibility in when and where they dine so it is likely that you will have the option to choose between both fixed and open dining seating options.

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 0759 to find out more about the different dining options available.

Platinum Trusted Service Award 2021

Average Customer Rating: 4.9/5Independent Service Rating based on verified reviews.Read all reviews
Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award


I was on the waiting list for a cruise in October 2022 they did everything possible to contact me on 18th Sept 2021 to inform me that what I had requested was now available which I consequently booked.

Mr Horrocks / September 2021

Excellent service

Michelle was great from start to finish, very knowledgeable and friendly with it. She understood my requirements and came up with the right deal first time.

Mr Goodwin / September 2021

I was very happy with the response to all my queries, all the staff were very helpful. I will definitely use the for any future bookings.

Mrs Hind / September 2021

Read All Reviews

Speak to a Cruise Expert

Book With Confidence