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Old 02-04-2013, 09:42 PM   #16
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We're on Pacific Time

We did a back to back late seating on first cruise, main dining on second.

Whole family voted and we are late seaters. Our tummies are just not ready for dinner so early. We ended up snacking more late night when we had main dining.

Also the looks of disappoinments on the servers when you don't order all the courses was hard. They so wanted to please.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:57 PM   #17
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Late seating for us. We usually get home from work about 6 pm so don't eat until about 7:30 normally. Early seating is way too early for me.

Fewer children at second seating. Time to have a drink in one of the bars or on deck before dinner. Early dinner time is perfect for going to the adults only pool. I don't feel like I have to vacate my seat to allow another seating after me. Feels more leisurely.

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Old 02-04-2013, 10:08 PM   #18
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always did second seating on our cruises, including the first one when my daughter was 4YO....this way we could relax getting back from excursions or spend the entire day on Castaway Cay....we would eat, go to the shops, hand around a bit then we'd be ready for bed...
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:08 PM   #19
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We chose the early seating and were very glad that we did, we will do early again for sure. 5:45 is a little earlier than our normal dinner time but we found that you don't actually eat at 5:45. We were seated at 5:45 but were never done before 7:00-7:30. We couldn't see starting at 8:15 and getting done eating 9:30 or later. I guess it depends on your normal eating schedule.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:09 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Meghatron View Post
This depends on the ship's port schedule, as it has NEVER happened to us. But we've only been on MRs. Just wanted to point out that it's not a given, even though it tends to get listed as a universal con to early dining.
I agree to check your itinerary, but ours has us leaving Nassau at 5:30 and the excursion we are doing will have us back to the ship right before we leave if we choose to stay that late Having a day swimming with dolphins and being on the beach and then having 15-30 min to get 2 kids and myself ready for dinner-no thanks!
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:13 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by rentayenta View Post
Trying to decide what seating we'd like better. It'll be myself and DS12.

Please share which you chose for your cruise and why.
Personally, I like late seating. I'm not a early to bed person and usually stay up until midnight or later. I'm also not a show person, so the show before dinner doesn't bother me.

When my kids were younger, we did early seating and I always felt so rushed in the early evening.

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Old 02-04-2013, 10:13 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by bahacca View Post
I agree to check your itinerary, but ours has us leaving Nassau at 5:30 and the excursion we are doing will have us back to the ship right before we leave if we choose to stay that late Having a day swimming with dolphins and being on the beach and then having 15-30 min to get 2 kids and myself ready for dinner-no thanks!
Like I already said, I was pointing out that it's not a universal con to early dining, yet it tends to get listed as such when people ask the question. It depends entirely on the itinerary and the family who's trying to decide. The way it's presented when the subject comes up may make it seem like everyone who has early dining rushes to get ready but that's something they're willing to deal with in exchange for the pros of early, when in fact they may not end up rushing at all.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:18 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by mmouse37 View Post
The age old question.....well do you like to eat early or later. We prefer later dining because we don't normally eat early at home. We also like late dining because I don't like to rush to dinner. Eating 5:45-6:00 is too early for us. I prefer to see the show at 6:00 ish and then have a drink between show and dinner at 8:15 or maybe catch a game show between show and dinner.

Early dinner has more children than late dinner. If you are one to linger long over your coffee after dinner early may not be the best choice. Early dinner has to be done in time to allow the servers to clean up and reset all the tables for late dinner.

Late dining is not at all rushed.

We always choose second seating for the same reasons that mmouse37 described.
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:25 PM   #24
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We think the biggest advantage of late seating is not having to rush back to the ship after a day in port in order to get showered and dressed. It doesn't matter if you are late or miss the show. But it all depends on you and what you like.

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Old 02-05-2013, 06:12 AM   #25

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We are on the east coast and dinner for us (unless we are going out which won't be much later) is usually between 5 and 5:30. It is very rare when we eat anytime after 7PM.

We are all adults and have no small "children" and most of us prefer early dining. If you want to see any of the shows, especially if it is your first cruise, you would need to be ready anyway.

It is really a personal decision and a few factors that apply to you need to be considered - there is no right or wrong time/good/bad time.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:30 AM   #26
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we eat at 6 at home, so I like to keep that schedule. (and we live in the same time zone.) and I personally cant eat that late.

our son for years would fall asleep by 930 so late dinner he would not have lasted, and he would have been the ultimate grump!!
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:50 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by tvguy View Post
Plus, it helps us get in our 4 meals a day....breakfast, lunch, 4 pm heavy snack, 830 pm dinner.
With room service, pizza, burgers etc, my kids think of the cruise as just being 1 continuous meal!
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:56 AM   #28
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To me, it depends on a couple of factors:

1) Where you are cruising
2) Where you are from
3) When you typically eat

For a Caribbean cruise, things are at earlier times for most (we're from the Central time zone), so immediately things are bumped an hour up. Second, when we go to the Atlantic time zone if on an eastern route, that's two hours, so a 5:30 p.m. dinner is like 3:30 p.m. to us.

Although, when we did Mexican Riviera we still did late seating because we are used to eating later, but I think we snacked more on that cruise than most.

In my opinion, late seating is better because the early seaters are busy eating and it gives you a couple of hours to do stuff with a half empty ship. Of course, on DCL, that is mostly going to the show, but if you want to enjoy the deck and pool area, it will be far less congested. Not to say that it won't be after dinner either, but, for us, we use dinner as a wind down to our day.

We've got three kids 9, 6, 4 and they've been at various stages of life on our cruises. The kids 3-under, will usually sleep anywhere and we find two chairs to put together if they don't make it through dinner for them to sleep on.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:04 AM   #29
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Got 2nd seating by default (booked 1 month before) and it worked well.

-less kids
-not hungry late at night so no need to order room service
-watched the shows before dinner
-kids had naps if they needed in the afternoon
-no need to rush back after a port day

But maybe not for some if your home routine is always earlier. Ours varies.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:11 AM   #30
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I have noticed many times that early seating seems to sell out first, so I assume that is the most popular.

That being said, we always choose late seating. My girls were teens when we started cruising and the late schedule just worked better with our habits. Now it is just DH and I most of the time, so we prefer late for several reasons.

We can remain at the pool while others have to run and get ready for dinner. We feel like we have a longer day that way. Sometimes we may sleep in a bit later, so that lines up with our meal times, too. There is no rush at late seating as you don't have to vacate for others coming in. However, we always keep in mind the staff has to complete cleanup and setup for the next day so we don't linger too long, lol.

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