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Old 10-02-2012, 07:52 PM   #1
paddles
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Second seating with young kids?

I'm planning a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise in late Feb, with my entire family for my mom's birthday. There will be 10 of us - 6 adults and 4 kids (ranging in ages from 9 down to 6).

The only dining available is second seating, and I'm worried that will be too late.

Have any of you been on waitlists or have been successful after boarding to switch to main dining? We typically eat at 5:30 or 6pm at home, so 8:15 will be really late.

I really want to book this cruise since it celebrates a big milestone birthday for my mom, but I don't want the dinner time to ruin the fun and flow of the vacation (since my kids will be tired, hungry and cranky by dinnertime).

thoughts or advice? feel free to tell me I'm over-reacting...
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:58 PM   #2
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It seems like most people who ask to be switched are able to be switched. I agree with your concerns. Our eight year old at the time kept falling asleep at the dinner table. Our two year old was a mess. Early seating is much better if your kids are used to eating around 5 and going to bed by 9.

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Old 10-02-2012, 08:07 PM   #3
delsdad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paddles View Post
I'm planning a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise in late Feb, with my entire family for my mom's birthday. There will be 10 of us - 6 adults and 4 kids (ranging in ages from 9 down to 6).

The only dining available is second seating, and I'm worried that will be too late.

Have any of you been on waitlists or have been successful after boarding to switch to main dining? We typically eat at 5:30 or 6pm at home, so 8:15 will be really late.

I really want to book this cruise since it celebrates a big milestone birthday for my mom, but I don't want the dinner time to ruin the fun and flow of the vacation (since my kids will be tired, hungry and cranky by dinnertime).

thoughts or advice? feel free to tell me I'm over-reacting...
Early dinner always seemed too early to us. We switched to late on our last cruise, and will never go back. Late dinning allows the kids time in the pool after 5 when it's less crowded. You won't need to rush back from castaway cay to change for dinner. You can see the shows before dinner! It makes for a much more relaxing afternoon. Our 9 year old insisted on late dining next cruise.
There's always the chance of switching to early if you wait list. We were wait listed our first two cruises, and got early both times. But that's a family of three. It may not be as easy with a group of 10.
Another plus of late dining is that you can nap in the late afternoon, then grab a snack (room service, by the pool, in the lounge district) to tide the kids over. Then a show before dinner. The wait staff can feed the kids first if they wish to do play and dine. They eat with you, then the councillors from the club retrieve them at the door of the dinning room and take them up to the club. You can enjoy dinner, then pick the kids up at the club. If you can get them to leave the clubs!
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:08 PM   #4
kristof65
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Keep in mind what time zone you live in. My mom was having the same concern for our cruise, until I pointed out that 8pm eastern was only 6pm mountain, which is exactly when we all eat anyway.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:38 PM   #5
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After two nights of my 4yo unable to sit thru dinner, we started bringing him to the kids club between show and dinner, grabbing a hot dog or sandwich along the way... It worked well for everyone! We loved late seating, and likely would not do early... It's just too early and we would feel too rushed!
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:38 PM   #6
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I'm a big fan of second seating. I took my then 3 and 1 year old to late dinner in Alaska (11:15 our time; they usually go to bed at 8-8:30). First night, the three year old fell asleep in the act of eating. After that, they really did quite well. The servers kept things moving along for us, and we were done by 9:30-9:45.

It's more important to me (and more memorable to them) to be awake and attentive for the shows than for dinner. And staying up until 10 for dinner kept them from waking me up at 6 am when I'm supposed to be on vacation!
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:43 PM   #7
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We love second seating. Like the others have said you don't have to rush to get ready for dinner and a lot of the times you can see leaving the ports. Also see the early show so the kids won't be too tired to watch after dinner...our kids just wanted to get back to the clubs.

With the kids they will bring out the kids food first with your apps. and a councelor from the clubs will collect the kids and take them there for you. They only do this for the second seating.

You can always get the kids a late snack up by the pools to hold them over until dinner time. That is what we did.

Asked for a change in times but they could only tell us day to day so we said forget it , didn't want to not know from day to day when our time was. Some people go to Palo etc. leaving a table empty that night so they would call and say we have an early seating available.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paddles View Post
I'm planning a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise in late Feb, with my entire family for my mom's birthday. There will be 10 of us - 6 adults and 4 kids (ranging in ages from 9 down to 6).

The only dining available is second seating, and I'm worried that will be too late.

Have any of you been on waitlists or have been successful after boarding to switch to main dining? We typically eat at 5:30 or 6pm at home, so 8:15 will be really late.

I really want to book this cruise since it celebrates a big milestone birthday for my mom, but I don't want the dinner time to ruin the fun and flow of the vacation (since my kids will be tired, hungry and cranky by dinnertime).

thoughts or advice? feel free to tell me I'm over-reacting...
We did first seating with our kids back in February 5 through 13. In September we did second seating, only took two kids, 6 and 11. It was much better at second seating. It was more relaxed. No running around after the days activities trying to get to dinner, etc. We ordered a couple of cheese plates from room service and the kids sat and relaxed with their snacks while we got ready for the show then dinner. HIGHLY recommend second seating.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:52 PM   #9
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I would not worry too much considering all the options you can have for snacking before dinner. I would just run by one of the snack bars or go see the shows before dinner (with a snack in hand) which will keep the distracted until meal time!
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:42 PM   #10
kathi
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First seating is just too early for my husband and me, but late seating is too late for our daughter (who was 5 on her first cruise and is now 8). Since she is not much of an eater anyway, we solved the problem by getting her dinner earlier from counter or room service and then she goes to the kids club and we go to dinner. She has a great time and can just rest and watch a movie if she gets tired. It's amazing how she couldn't keep her eyes open at dinner but can go all night in the kids club.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:56 PM   #11
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We have had late dining on two of our cruises. Our kids were 3 and 5 on the first one, and 5 and 7 on the other. No issues, and we typically eat at 5 or 6 pm EST. On the days that they were hungry early we let them grab a late snack like splitting a pizza or something...and they still ate dinner just fine. My daughter did miss the pirate party on the first cruise, because of being exhausted.

We actually prefer the late dining. We had early dining on our 7 day and we just felt rushed on days we were at ports. I think the kids actually skipped dinner entirely 2 times.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paddles View Post
I'm planning a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise in late Feb, with my entire family for my mom's birthday. There will be 10 of us - 6 adults and 4 kids (ranging in ages from 9 down to 6).

The only dining available is second seating, and I'm worried that will be too late.

Have any of you been on waitlists or have been successful after boarding to switch to main dining? We typically eat at 5:30 or 6pm at home, so 8:15 will be really late.

I really want to book this cruise since it celebrates a big milestone birthday for my mom, but I don't want the dinner time to ruin the fun and flow of the vacation (since my kids will be tired, hungry and cranky by dinnertime).

thoughts or advice? feel free to tell me I'm over-reacting...
we've been on four Disney cruises and always had second seating- it was never a problem and my daughter usually eats dinner the same time as you/your kids...in fact it may be a little early if they are eating ice cream on the ship more of the day......

the first cruise my daughter was 4YO...we actually prefer second seating this way we are not rushed from afternoon activities...
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:43 AM   #13
kcashner
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OP, we love late dinner, but many don't. If you want main, ask to be waitlisted. Then call DCL every couple of weeks and ask about your WL status. If you still don't get it, go to "dining changes" after boarding and ask if you can be moved (although with a party of 10, your best bet will be in advance

If you don't get main, a nap and late afternoon "healthy snack" can work wonders.
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:02 AM   #14
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To answer the wait list question, we got on the list back in May, and found out about a month ago that we were moved to main dining for our December cruise... So it's definitely possible to get moved!
Good luck!
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:19 AM   #15
tammie33
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Time zone definitely plays a roll... we are from CA, so for us even late dining seems early (8:30 is 5:30 our time). Our DD8 did great at late seating and we took full advantage of the dine and play option at second seating. Around 9:15 the kids club staff would come through the dining room and we would sign our DD over to them and they'd take her back to the kids club. Our wait staff had her dinner ready early, then after she left DH and I would relax and enjoy the rest of our meal. And as others said, we never felt rushed coming back from port, castaway, etc.

We are cruising again on the Wonder over Thanksgiving week and we are doing late dining again.
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