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Best night to skip MDR for Specialty Restaurant?


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We pretty consistently do the specialty dining, regardless of the cruise line, on the first and last nights; that way, we avoid any conflicts with entertainment, formal night menus, etc. the first night is usually an Italian specialty restaurant as they're less formal restaurants which works well with my 7 year old since the kids programming isn't in full swing yet. We save the steak house for the last night to cap off the end of the cruise.

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My wife and I enjoy the MDR and usually eat there the first night.  We like to sit at a large table to enjoy the company of others and hopefully meet good people from around the World.  We introduce ourselves and soon begin inquiring what our tablemates have planned and ask about any celebrations they may have planned for the cruise.  An Example of what we like to do would be on our next cruise in Sept. We will be celebrating our Anniversary which is actually on Sept. 3rd our Departure date.  We always attend the first night in the MDR so we hold off making a reservation for celebrations until we can get a better Idea of our Table Group plans. I book a cruise and ask for a large table seating in the MDR because I feel that even a mediocre dinner is improved with good people around you. We then make our reservations according to what information is gathered.  We announce that we will not be dining in the MDR (We feel that this is proper) on specific nights and have asked those that wish to join us to please do so. We were given the opportunity to get to know a couple better on our last cruise as we found out that they would be dining in the MDR alone as everyone else had plans somewhere else. We invited the couple to join us and told them that we had a 2 for 1 coupon(we lied to get them to go).  That was the best dinner we had and I cannot even tell you what we ate because it didn't matter! We go on cruises to enjoy new Places and new People. Good food can be found anywhere but it is a gift to find Good people to enjoy the experience. We treasure our MDR friends but are finding that those large tables are becoming empty more often when those that are booked at a large table and then switch to My Time Dining because they did not know that they can request a small table or even my time dining ahead. For those of you that wish to dine alone, book many nights at Specialty Restaurants or do not like crowds please take into account those of us that do enjoy the large table gathering and book your MDR arrangements with us in the back of your mind. Your forethought could help keep my Table full and help us both to have that WoW sailing that we love.  

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I agree with all the comments that for us, formal night is a great night to go to Chops & Giovanni's. I have no interest in bringing anything more than jeans, summer shoes, and casual, short sleeve button down shirts. I've seen info that dressing up is not actually required, but out of respect for those who will be enjoying the dressy experience, we will not go those nights. Reservations are made for both formal nights, and we'll be at Sabor for one other night. 2-3 nights in the MDR is more than enough for me. I'm not much on the fancy schmancy stuff.

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Always avoid formal night...feel like a wedding crasher as I refuse to pack a suit to wear for 2 hrs on a cruise.

 

But that's just me. If it wasn't for not liking the formal night, there really would be no other night to say to avoid the MDR for a specialty restaurant imho.

I'm totally borrowing someone else's phrase but my wife and I view formal night as "adult prom".  It's a good excuse to actually dress up and it's not for someone else's wedding.

 

That being said, I don't think you're wrong at all.  When I was solo on Quantum I did not pack a suit and used your strategy of going to a specialty restaurant instead.

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Just a note about the dress code:  I haven't packed a suit in quite some time and haven't even packed a coat in years.  The last time I packed a coat was on Holland America as they require one in the MDR on formal nights.  Even so, you can borrow one.  I simply wore a dress shirt and tie on the Brilliance, which was more formal being in Norther Europe than comparable Caribbean sailings, and never felt out of place.

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I haven't worn a suit for formal night for the last 6-8 cruises including RCI and Disney. Pair of slacks and a decent button down shirt has been more than acceptable (or at least no one seemed to have any issues). If my wife wants to do a dress up night I will but if she is ok with "casual formal" I don't have a problem :) 

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