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Preferred dining time


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Hi, was just wondering what folks' preference when it comes to dining time are. We are currently signed up for 8:30 seating, which is fine, as I think it gives us time to leisurely come back from port and change, and also watch some of the earlier shows.

We're debating between 8:30 and 6 pm, because if we do 6 pm seating, then I can go do WJ afterwards for more desserts lol. I hear they have awesome dessert spread every night. But I'm concerned that port visits will feel rushed if we do that.

What about MTD, what are the pros and cons of doing so?

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We have done both early and later seating. Our last cruise and the next two coming up will be early seating because we have two younger kids who would revolt if we had to wait for the later seating. We have stuck with traditional dining as well since we like the idea of the same servers for the duration too. With both I have never felt rushed to get back to the ship because we knew that even if we missed the MDR service, there was always the windjammer, and there is always room for dessert regardless of what time dinner was.

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We normally either skip lunch or eat a very light lunch when at home...but for reasons that are very understandable, we cannot help ourselves when we are on a ship.  We have found that we simply cannot eat a big lunch (and we always do !) and then eat a big supper at 6:00.  Just can’t do it anymore.  So we have found ourselves pushing supper back later and later.  If you are doing traditional dining, I would recommend late dining.  If you are doing My Time Dining, just go when you’re hungry !  That’s the beauty of MTD.  You go whenever you want to.

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Early seating is too early for me, late seating is too late for my wife. MTD is the happy medium, but we prefer to ensure that we have the same wait staff every night. That requires reserving a similar time every day which often means the same times as early and late traditional seatings (the MTD reservation options for intermediate times fill up almost as soon as they appear in the cruise planner - miss it by a day and you're stuck with early, late or take your chances each day).

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Only have three cruises under our belt, but we prefer early traditional seating in the MDR.  We only eat a light lunch, that way 5:30 isn't to early for us to eat dinner.  The first cruise we had late seating 8pm; the DW didn't like finishing dinner until 9-9:30pm; not enough time for dinner to digest before heading to bed.  The next two cruises we did early seating 5:30pm; that worked well for us, we were able to finish dinner and had a good 4-5 hours to enjoy the evening activities on the ship.  There were several times that we didn't make it back to the ship in time to clean up and make it to the early seating.  So on those nights we ate at the Windjammer.

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17 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

We normally either skip lunch or eat a very light lunch when at home...but for reasons that are very understandable, we cannot help ourselves when we are on a ship.  We have found that we simply cannot eat a big lunch (and we always do !) and then eat a big supper at 6:00.  Just can’t do it anymore.  So we have found ourselves pushing supper back later and later.  If you are doing traditional dining, I would recommend late dining.  If you are doing My Time Dining, just go when you’re hungry !  That’s the beauty of MTD.  You go whenever you want to.

We are guilty of this as well. Even though we have MTD, we will have a standing reservation in the MDR for 8:00pm on our next cruise. This allows us to take a non-hurried approach to getting ready for dinner. If our schedule changes, with MTD we can just go anytime we want.

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We have always been early eaters, so we prefer the early session.  If we go out to eat and we arrive after 5, we feel like we're late.  We've been eating with the blue hairs for many years now.

But as has been noted already, the early seating fills up first.  So the past few sails, we've gone with MTD and reserve times as early as possible.  For our upcoming trip (10 days and counting down), we have 4 MDR reservations at 5PM, the other 3 nights will be at the specialty rooms at 6PM.

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18 hours ago, nyold said:

We're debating between 8:30 and 6 pm, because if we do 6 pm seating, then I can go do WJ afterwards for more desserts lol. I hear they have awesome dessert spread every night.

I don't know which ship you are on, but all of the RCLs we have done the late seating is 8, not 8:30.  Typically they try to schedule their shows tied to traditional seating.  IE the 5:30 will give you time to get to the 7 pm show.  The shows typically last 45 mins., so the 7 show will be done in time for the 8 pm seating.  The late seating will be done in time to go to the late shows, or things like 70s night, Love and Marriage or the Quest.    IE on Adventure 2nd seating was 8, and Battle of the Sexes started at 9:15.  You can easily do dinner in an hr.

As far as the WJ, we do the opposite of your plan.  We go to WJ at 6 and get snacks to place in our cooler aka mini fridge to enjoy when we come back at the end of the night.   On sea days,  this is what we do:

  • Order continental breakfast to our cabin (free).  
  • Go to MDR for lunch at 11:30 (Tutti Salad and something off the menu)
  •  Go to WJ for their afternoon tea (3-4) for a light snack
  • Go to WJ at 6 pm and get my late night snacks.  IE fried chicken, specialty salad, etc.  Make sure you use a bowl, because the plates are too large for the mini fridge.  So much better than getting pizza or their pre made sandwiches night after night.  I will get pizza some nights, but on a long cruise, I just can't eat pizza every night 
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We chose MTD on our last cruise and we just went with the flow.  Sometimes we ate lunch at windjammer, sometimes we just grabbed pizza.  We went a couple of times to the MDR early before the rush and then grabbed something later in the evening and a couple of times we went late.  Specialty dining I just went up and asked what time they had available for tonight and we took that time.  I went in trying to plan out our meals and in the end it was way easier to just take it a day at a time.  There is so much food on the ship that you will always find something to eat.  My advise is do MTD and just play it by ear.  Also, if you can hit up Chops Grille I highly recommend it.  We went twice back to back nights it was so so good.  One of the best steaks Ive ever had and the service was out of this world.   

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When me and my family are going on a cruise February next year, we want to dine early in the MDR. The depature is berfore 5PM every day, exept one day, when the depature is 7PM. Is it possible to get MTD for that day or do you have to either have MTD or regular seating through the whole cruise? (I know that we can go to WJ that day, but we really like the MDR)

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11 hours ago, Yo2slick said:

Also, if you can hit up Chops Grille I highly recommend it.  We went twice back to back nights it was so so good.  One of the best steaks Ive ever had and the service was out of this world.   

We love Chops too.  Now a days we buy the 3N Dining Package and just go to Chops all three nights.  So good...

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10 hours ago, MathiaasO said:

When me and my family are going on a cruise February next year, we want to dine early in the MDR. The depature is berfore 5PM every day, exept one day, when the depature is 7PM. Is it possible to get MTD for that day or do you have to either have MTD or regular seating through the whole cruise? (I know that we can go to WJ that day, but we really like the MDR)

Hi @MathiaasO and welcome to the RCB forums.

You should be able to do that without a problem.  Yes, it would be like you will be MTD dining for the night.  If you have a chance when you first get on the ship, schedule that one night in advance so you will have less to worry about during your vacation...

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10 hours ago, MathiaasO said:

When me and my family are going on a cruise February next year, we want to dine early in the MDR. The depature is berfore 5PM every day, exept one day, when the depature is 7PM. Is it possible to get MTD for that day or do you have to either have MTD or regular seating through the whole cruise? (I know that we can go to WJ that day, but we really like the MDR)

Four of us tried to do that one night on our cruise on Oasis last November and they told us they couldn’t do that because they had too many MTD people waiting for tables.

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2 hours ago, YOLO said:

We love Chops too.  Now a days we buy the 3N Dining Package and just go to Chops all three nights.  So good...

We always get the 3N dining package.  We're a bit more partial to Giovanni's, but still enjoy both.  Our experience with Chops is that it can be inconsistent and really comes down to who's cooking the meat.  We had some amazing dinners at Chops and a couple of so-so.  We've also found that Chops is better early in the week, perhaps because the better cuts are used first?

For our 9/22 sail coming up, we'll do Chops on night 2, then likely do Giovanni's on nights 4 & 6 (Serenade only has Chops and Giovanni's).

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2 minutes ago, PatsFanBrian said:

Yes, forgot about that, but I'm not a fan of seafood (lived my whole life within 30 miles of Boston and I don't like seafood :35_thinking: ).

Haha! You might be the only one! No chowdah?

We enjoyed Izumi's last cruise along with Chops and Giovanni's. This cruise we opted to skip Izumi's and go with just the other two, which we enjoyed more. I'll definitely stop in for a roll or two, just not a whole meal.Chops is a great option while on board. Being from Chicago, it can't hold a candle to a lot of the great steak houses we have here, but it shouldn't have to. We think it's definitely worth the cost, especially when you combine it with one of the other specialty restaurants in a package. We choose the specialty restaurants to mix it up and for a more intimate dining experience.

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7 hours ago, YOLO said:

Hi @MathiaasO and welcome to the RCB forums.

You should be able to do that without a problem.  Yes, it would be like you will be MTD dining for the night.  If you have a chance when you first get on the ship, schedule that one night in advance so you will have less to worry about during your vacation...

Thank you!

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