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We were on the Allure recently and had 5:15 seating and pretty much were at our table by 5:30 each night.  We saw diners coming in at all times during our usual hour and half of relaxed dining and conversation.  There were a few large tables close by and they would show up at 6 or even 6:30 and they were just one large family with 5:15 seating like us.

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If you let your wait staff know that you will be there at 5:30 each night and not 5:15 they will plan around that with service.    We have had a couple time when we knew we would be late due to an excursion and the wait staff has been super accommodating.   They will usually tell you as long as your here by .... we can still make it work.     But you definitely get better service and attention if they know what you are planning

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26 minutes ago, berkeleykel said:

Is it standard for Caribbean cruises to have the early seating at 5:15/5:30? Seems crazy early to me and I have young kids!

Yes, early seating 5:15/5:30p, late seating 8p. Alternatively, My Time Dining starts around 6:30/6:45p.

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3 hours ago, KJones said:

Yes, early seating 5:15/5:30p, late seating 8p. Alternatively, My Time Dining starts around 6:30/6:45p.

on my recent cruises they have begun seating My Time dinners (as they no longer are having a dedicated dinning room, as they did Pre-Covid) 30 minutes after early seating starts.  They just don't let you book a My Time dinning reservation on line until the 6:30/6:45 time frame.

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16 hours ago, berkeleykel said:

Is it standard for Caribbean cruises to have the early seating at 5:15/5:30? Seems crazy early to me and I have young kids!

6:30-7PM is probably peak dinner time for Americans (by far the largest nationality on Caribbean cruises).  If that was the early seating time, the late seating would be considered very late.  So 5:30PM and 8PM are an attempt to keep things balanced where everybody feels it's a little early or a little late.  American dinner times are definitely earlier than European or South American standards.

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@CruiseGushuh never knew that! I guess we've always just booked MTD as soon as we booked our sailings so never considered there were earlier options. Good to know, thanks!

I think the 5:30/8pm dining times also have to do with having two show times (if applicable). If early dining starts later it would have to delay the 2nd show as well.

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