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My Time dining in MDR

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The big moment came to book our cruise (big deal to us.....Holiday Cruise for wife's birthday and Christmas) and were told the early dining in MDR was filled up so the choices were the late time or My Time. We chose My Time but felt a little disappointed. Should we be or is My Time a better deal? Experiences and opinions welcome.

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Hi there @rtread. Congrats on booking your cruise!

This article from the main blog site covers the main differences between MyTime Dining and Traditional Dining. I've only done traditional so far, and that was late seating. My wife and I really liked it, as we got to know our table-mates well and the wait staff were fantastic. It also left us free to see the earlier showtime for things like the headliner acts and other nightly shows in the main theater.

If you just want to have a table for two (or four / six depending on family size), either kind of dining will be fine, and MyTime Dining might be better as they put some more focus on smaller tables. On the other hand, if you prefer to be seated at a larger table like a 10-top or 12-top and have a big group of people to dine with each night, traditional dining is probably going to be your better bet. You can request a larger table with MyTime Dining, but there's no guarantee you'll get the same people sitting there each time unless you happen to meet some people on board and decide to start dining together each night. That does happen, by the way -- a few here have talked about doing exactly that after the first day or two on board.

I will say that I think the experience of MyTime Dining is going to vary depending on which ship you're on. Purely based on comments I've seen here in other threads, it seems that with Oasis and Quantum class ships, the sheer number of passengers on board can make it a bit of a madhouse at popular times (think 6 or 6:30 PM). Once you're down to a Freedom-class ship or smaller, it seems to be a better experience.

On a side note -- don't feel you have to eat in the Windjammer every morning for breakfast, or every sea day for lunch. The main dining room is open then, and it's another great opportunity to meet your fellow passengers. I loved going to the MDR each morning and asking for a shared table, and seeing who I'd be randomly seated with. Met lots of friendly and interesting people from all over and got to have new and different conversations each day.

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We just had a similar situation - Booked  Harmony for Feb 2020 and nothing available but MTD.  Not to worry, Its not the end of the discussion.  I called Royal Caribbean's 800 number a couple of times a few days apart, and the 3rd time I got an agent that said, wait a minute, let me see if I can get that opened up for you.  Came back on the line a couple of minutes later and said I got it for you! 

I suspect you should call a few times, making your case.  Be specific about what you want, and maybe an agent will go the extra mile and help you.  It worked for me.  By the way, I always ask RC's agent to send me an updated copy of the "Cruise Vacation Receipt" because it will show the updates. 

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We have always booked My Time dining (mostly due to the earlier Traditional dining time being closed out) and have never been disappointed. I like the flexibility...

We usually book the same times, when possible, to ensure the same table and server team (same benefit of Traditional dining option, but you can alter the time... not just stuck with the 2 seating times). We have usually cruised with a group of 4 or 5 so we always get our own table (same table - we always link our dining reservations to make it even easier).

Not that we're anti-social in any way 😁, but we don't care to sit with strangers at dinner when we have 4 or more in our party. We don't mind being seated with strangers for breakfast or lunch in the MDR... or at other activities/entertainment, etc.

We chose a 6:00 PM dining time for our May Allure sailing on all but one evening. The day we're in Cozumel, the ship does not leave port until 7:00 PM so we went with 7:45 PM dining time that evening so we can get back and relax a bit before dinner. Partially because we all elected to purchase the deluxe drink packages, our group decided to skip the specialty dining for dinner this time 😱... we have the two "free" specialty dining lunches because of the cabin class we booked and for purchasing the Key, so we decided to skip it this time. We should get a nice Chops Grille and Giovanni's Table lunch in!

Each night they will ask what your plans are for the next day... If you picked a later/different time than usual, they will do their absolute best to accommodate you and seat you in the same section, but of course they cannot guarantee that you will get the same exact table since someone else may already be seated at that table at that time "slot". You may have to wait a few minutes on that odd evening if you want the same section and server team.

Have an amazing time!

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Another one who loves MTD.  Only once out of 5 cruises with MTD were we disappointed and that was mostly with the wait staff.  Our best experience was on Harmony and worst on Independence.   

We choose reservations at 6:15-6:30 as that isn't too early or late to eat.  We have the same wait staff and table on each cruise.  Plus we have the opportunity to do specialty or Windjammer without feeling guilty about leaving empty places and abandoning our table mates with traditional dining. 

I do find that the first night is very hectic.  However, if you make reservations and bring a glass on wine with you, it will all work out just fine.  You may need to wait an extra 10 minutes that first night so I suggest you arrive 10 minutes before your reservation but that is only necessary on night 1.

 

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MTD can work for you.  Use your cruise planner to book the main dining room at the time you want each evening.  Do it as soon as reservations are available as some times do fill up.  We didn't get our favorite time for one cruise but it is a really popular time on that ship.  In December as soon as we booked our cruise I went on and booked the same time for each night for our group.  We had the same table each night.  For one upcoming cruise we booked the same time each evening except the one we are in port late.  It is easier to just walk up if you have only 2 in your party.  With bought specialty dining for our anniversary cruise so we chose MTD and made no reservations because we plan to eat in specialty every night or all but one. 

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I would never go anytime apart from MTD. I dislike traditional dining seating especially when traveling with a small group when you are forced to share a table with strangers, which makes us very uncomfortable. MTD is great because you can select what time for each day and be flexible. And you can get a table for whatever size you need and you aren’t forced to eat with strangers. 

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I only do MTD. It works exactly as a normal restaurant. You can either book a table for a specific time (usually we will do this the day before or on the day at lunch time at the latest). If we haven't booked we just bring a glass of wine and the wait will not feel that long. 

I would never go traditional as I hate those small talk conversations with strangers. 

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For our first cruise our family of 4 is going. I chose my time dining. Do I need to do anything special to make sure we don't end up sitting with strangers? We'd much rather be at a table with just the 4 of us.

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15 minutes ago, Brodie said:

For our first cruise our family of 4 is going. I chose my time dining. Do I need to do anything special to make sure we don't end up sitting with strangers? We'd much rather be at a table with just the 4 of us.

Welcome to the blog, Brodie.  When you get on board, just head to the dining room and let them know what you want a 4-top and they will make sure you get a good table.  Normally, with My Time Dining, unless you specifically request a table with others, you will be given a “private” table.  I’m  sure you will get a great table for you family. 

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I personally prefer My Time, but I was on a cruise once with some friends who wanted to sit together at traditional dining. I went to the MDR to inquire about getting a traditional dining time. They said they would check on it and, later that night, I had a note in my room with my new assigned dining time. So you may have luck going that route if you still want to try for a traditional dining time. 

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Thank you to everyone for this information. I will be traveling with my children, one of which has ADHD behaviors and has a wonderful ability to irritate people due to his lack of understanding personal space. It looks like MTD will be perfect for us.

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We found the 8:00PM TD not to be too late. We asked for a four top for our family and were given one no problem. We also witnessed plenty of 2 tops as well as blended tables. @Mrs. Thomas if you worried about your son ask for an outside table. Some of the tables even have these really high backed chairs that envelop you, sorry no picture.  We never did MTD but I feel like the tables are a little bit more spread out at Traditional dining. 

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