Advice - Early Or Late

jtorch

Earning My Ears
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
I've asked this question before but I'm still very undecided. I don't know whether I should choose early or late seating. I know there are a lot a pros and cons. In the past (w/o kids), we have always had late seating and loved not being rushed. Now we have two kids. Problem - they are far apart in age. I have a 6 and 1/2 year old DD and a 14 month old son. My DD is a night owl.

I don't know if I should choose early, eat together and hope the baby falls asleep in the carriage AFTER dinner so we can enjoy the show, etc. or...if we should take late seating, feed him before and then hope he falls asleep in the carriage while we are eating. I really need help deciding. I know you can't predict everything but I really want to do what is right for my kids. (Baby's usual bedtime is 8PM).

Help. Please give me some advice, opinions and past experiences!!

Thanks. Janine
 
We just cruised with DD 8 months old. We had late seating and really enjoyed it. However, we are pretty flexible so we changed her routine a little.

We fed her before we went to the dining room and then offered her food, if she ate fine, if she didn't that was okay. Some nights we took her carriage and she slept. She actually only ate probably 2 or 3 nights! She loved the food at the Character breakfast! The servers are very good with the kids, entertaining as well as bringing them any food you want that is available! Our DD ate veggies from the adult menu.

She adjusted fine, did a little "extra" nap while DH and I got ready for dinner!

It was well worth it for us to have the extra "day" hours in the sun to relax in exchange for a slightly new routine for DD. She quickly got back into the swing of our home routine once we returned.

Others have posted that they want their children to be able to enjoy the shows more than dinner. Check to see if there is a matinee show during your cruise.

You also have the option of using the Kids Club and Nursery in the evening. We did use the Nursery if you have specific questions!

Susan
 
Here is another vote for late dining. I also have a 6.5 year old and she did great with the late dining. She would get hungry at around 6ish, it was very easy to get her something to eat via plutos or you could do room service (we never did). Some evenings she would dine with us and other evenings she would not. She would choose to go into the kids club. Which of course gave me and DH some 'couple time' :). Also, the pools cleared out close to 5 because of those getting ready for early seating. If your DS is like mine and loves the pool he will enjoy having the pool in a half empty state :).

Regarding the shows, well, after seeing the first show (Hercules) DD did not want to attend any other shows. We never forced her to, although I regret not convincing her to see Disney Dreams as I know she would have loved it.

The time goes very, very quickly. Try not to stress too much. You will find your groove.

Mary
 
Here is another vote for late dining. I also have a 6.5 year old and she did great with the late dining. She would get hungry at around 6ish, it was very easy to get her something to eat via plutos or you could do room service (we never did). Some evenings she would dine with us and other evenings she would not. She would choose to go into the kids club. Which of course gave me and DH some 'couple time' :). Also, the pools cleared out close to 5 because of those getting ready for early seating. If your DS is like mine and loves the pool he will enjoy having the pool in a half empty state :).

Regarding the shows, well, after seeing the first show (Hercules) DD did not want to attend any other shows. We never forced her to, although I regret not convincing her to see Disney Dreams as I know she would have loved it.

The time goes very, very quickly. Try not to stress too much. You will find your groove.

Mary
 
We have cruised with Disney twice so far (7 night coming up next month) and have chosen early seating both times and it has worked well for us. My DDs were 2 and 3 the first trip and 3 and 4 the second trip. We ate dinner with them every night except one (when we visited Palos). They ate dinner with us (which they enjoyed) and then our younger DD went to Flounders for a few hours the first trip and older DD either came to the show or went to the kid's club. Our second trip, they went to the kid's club each night after dinner. They were very happy in Flounders (the first trip) and the club. They seem to schedule a fun activity in the clubs each night at 8:30 or so, so late seating kids would miss that unless they didn't eat dinner with their parents. My kids wanted to be with us most of the time. THey did not want to be in the clubs all day or all night, but there were certain activities in the Navigators that they really wanted to be there for. As I said, we are cruising again in March and my DDs have already checked out the 7 night kids Navigators on inkkognito's site and are very excited about going to the clubs for some of the evening activities. My suggestion would be to have early seating dinner then make reservations for your younger child to visit Flounders (assuming you are comfortable with that). That would give you time to see a show or visit a nightclub and have some adult time.
As a practical matter, you really just have to come up with a plan you are comfortable with and you will have a great time either way! :)
 
I think this is really a personal preference thing..."different strokes for different folks".. we cruised in June with a 9 & 11 yr. old and had early seating. We plan on choosing early seating again when we cruise in 2003. Yes, we did feel alittle rushed once in a while in the afternoons, but we could not see being in the dining rooms and eating till 9:30-10 pm...the kids had alot of activities in the kids clubs at night that they wanted to go to also. We eat dinner at home at 6 pm so we are used to that time, but again, what works for one, may not for the other....enjoy!!
 
We had early seating and our 12yo daughter bailed out after the appetizer a couple of times so that she wouldn't miss any of the action in the Oceaneer's Lab. We were originally slated for 2nd seating and waitlisted for 1st. We got 1st seating more for the sake of the kids than anything else, and the younger child ended up not eating with us anyway.

I agree that personal preference should play a big role in deciding when you want to eat. We are early eaters and felt that 8:30PM was too long to wait, so the earlier time worked best for the majority of our party.
 
Another point to consider that I don't see mentioned here, because all the replies are from Eastern time zone folks :) is that if you are from a western or midwestern time zone you will be off schedule anyway. We talked with a lady from Seattle who was 4 hours off her regular time zone, we were only 2 hours off (about 3 days of the 7 day cruise you are on Atlantic time zone).
So even though we had late seating, which works well for us anyway, it really didn't seem so late to us.
 
I vote for early seating. We sailed 7 day in January and had late seating. Our children are 11 and 5 and we felt that the schedules in the Oceaneer's Club and Lab seemed more geared toward early seaters. We found it difficult when our children wanted to opt out of dinner with us. They felt that the evening activities scheduled during our dinner time were some of the best activities. The clubs take them to dinner early, which coincided with our show time and other family entertainment options, so they would miss eating there and we would need to take them to Topsiders or get room service and sit and watch them eat. It seemed we would have had a lot more flexibility with the earlier seating.
 

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