Why hasn't Disney solved the main/late dining debacle already?

truck1

Growing older but not up.
Joined
Jul 7, 2009
And, I believe, many cruise contracts specify that they don't guarantee the ship will even leave port. So there's that.
Pretty much. Ive glanced at DCLs and a few others. Until I started getting a headache trying to keep up. And they can substitute what ever ship they fell like. You may book the Queen Mary but they can put you on the SS Minnow and not think twice.
 

Yokelridesagain

Mouseketeer
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
The statements about the cruise contract are absolutely correct--when you sign up for a Disney cruise, or pretty much any cruise, what the cruise line is promising to do for you is show up to port with a boat--any boat--that has accommodations for you and make a good faith effort to sail said boat somewhere--anywhere.

That being said, there is a world of difference between the cruise line's legal obligation and the negative cost to them in public relations if they attempt to enforce the letter of the contract. The recent NCL debacle seems to me a good example of an organization with poor performance in crisis management.
 

truck1

Growing older but not up.
Joined
Jul 7, 2009
The statements about the cruise contract are absolutely correct--when you sign up for a Disney cruise, or pretty much any cruise, what the cruise line is promising to do for you is show up to port with a boat--any boat--that has accommodations for you and make a good faith effort to sail said boat somewhere--anywhere.

That being said, there is a world of difference between the cruise line's legal obligation and the negative cost to them in public relations if they attempt to enforce the letter of the contract. The recent NCL debacle seems to me a good example of an organization with poor performance in crisis management.

Out of curiosity, how is it poor? There refunding the cruise fares of the people on the canceled cruise, covering flight changes up to 300, refunding part of the existing cruise and giving future cruise credits. There doing what they can.
About the only thing I see missing is hotels. Ship had an issue, it came into port, and they have to wait on parts most likely. I'm not defending them and probably will.never cruise them but it seems they did what they could under the circumstances they were dealt.
 
  • jf256

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 20, 2018
    I know it is a different experience.. but i really enjoy my time dining on the RCL. Just booked what I needed in advance according to the timings for the ports or you can turn up and wait. They manage it fine never had to wait any longer for dinner and it means that in the main dining room the servers have people with staggered times. So everyone doesn't order their mains, desserts etc at the same time.

    I have an allergy and was given the same server every night.

    Disney - we have late service - two adults i am okay with this.
     

    kiford

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 9, 2012
    I really don't understand what kind of jobs allow people to book vacations a year-plus in advance. No employer I have ever worked for sets their schedules that far ahead.
    I routinely book my vacations 12-18 months ahead and that's preferred. We have regularly scheduled Board meetings which we know 18-24 months ahead of time that I have to work around. I have year-end and reporting schedules I have to meet. I need to be able to make sure that everyone knows when I'm gone and to make sure I have backup or am able to hand over critical pieces to someone else. We'd like to know when our employees might be on vacation so we can work around those projects and contracts we have in hand and those we are going to put in proposals for. It's extremely difficult for people to just announce a couple of months prior to wanting vacation; we need to plan at least a year - or more - in advance for our workload and schedules. I've never worked anywhere where you could easily take vacation with less than 6 months notice unless it was a very short one. However, I've also never worked anywhere where we would cancel someone's previously booked vacation time. I think that's just wrong.

    I think it is pretty clear that for many cruises main dining is not in fact full when they begin the waitlist. Especially when you can go on the website and see that the cruise is nowhere near sold out.
    Just because the cruise isn't sold out or nowhere near sold out doesn't mean that the main dining isn't full or to a level of capacity where they need to stop "guaranteeing" the time selection. The majority of those who booked may have booked main dining. And you have no idea how many people there are even if you knew how many staterooms are booked. Occupancy in any stateroom could be 2 or it could be 5; the average could be 2 or 4. And we don't know at what notional capacity they start putting people on waitlists - could be 80% or it could be 95%. I'm sure they have years and years of stats that tell them when they need to stop telling people that they have main seating in order to retain the flexibility to accommodate those who really need it (medical issues), how many are likely to move voluntarily, how many more are likely to want main, how to balance the workload and staff needs between dining times, or how many might cancel prior to sailing. They also know how many people wanted main but were never able to get it. If it's below a certain level or there isn't an increasing trend, they probably don't consider it to be an issue - maybe to the individual it is but it's not to the extent that they need to make changes that might alienate a much larger group. I like the PP who likened this to wedding seating on a larger scale. You know you're going to annoy someone and you just hope it's not going to be the rich uncle you hope will leave you his fortune.
     

    BeverlyHVS

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 15, 2012
    Just as a further suggestion. It may not be a bad idea to periodically check with DCL and "confirm" that you are on the wait list. Failing that, you can ask once you board about switching.

    As the final fall back option - you can talk to you head server and ask if you can be seated at early seating, if there are available tables. Of course, that means you won't be getting the same table/servers every night, but if that's not an issue, maybe that would work for you.
    I agree. Sometimes families request to change seating on certain days. If you discuss it with your server, you may be able to swap with a family from the earlier seating. We did this one cruise and really enjoyed getting to know the new family we dined with in the other seating.
     

    holden

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2005
    Our TA booked us early dining and I had to request we be moved to late. I don't want to have to get showered for dinner at 4:00pm. I'd much rather relax and enjoy myself.
     
  • PollyannaMom

    I was a click-clack champ!!
    Joined
    May 16, 2006
    I'm not a cruiser, but stumbled onto this thread from the "new posts" option, so I may be missing something, but it seems like it would make the most sense to have 3 options when booking - early, late, and "don't care". - That way, they could place the people who have a strong preference first, then fill in with those who don't. (I'm guessing that there are really quite a few people who don't really care which option they get, but are forced to pick one, so they randomly choose early?

    I think somebody made a similar suggestion on another page, about checking a box saying they could call you to change if needed.

    Or they could even do something like airlines do for overbooked flights - offer some sort of bonus (after people are on the ship) to those willing to trade when the requests are very lopsided.
     

    PrincessShmoo

    DIS veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2009
    Our TA booked us early dining and I had to request we be moved to late. I don't want to have to get showered for dinner at 4:00pm. I'd much rather relax and enjoy myself.
    That's funny, as the default for dining when making a reservation is late. I'm guessing your TA just decided (without asking you) that you wanted early?
     

    PrincessShmoo

    DIS veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2009
    (I'm guessing that there are really quite a few people who don't really care which option they get, but are forced to pick one, so they randomly choose early?
    Not really. The default when making a reservation is for late. You have to change it to get early. Those people who don't care, can just leave the default.
     
  • holden

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2005
    I’m not sure why we got early dining. We were able to change it to late so it all worked out.
     

    speicher46

    DIS Veteran
    DVC Gold
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2007
    We love second seating - first dining is just too early. I would request second seating every time. We did early seating on our first cruise with a then 6 year old and we were rushing about all the time.
    Second seating is so much more relaxed and gives us more time to enjoy the ship.
    There are food offerings everywhere for you to take advantage of so having that extra time in between meals is great. Definitely not a debacle for us
    I totally agree. We have been on thirteen cruises and never had early seating. I prefer the relaxed atmosphere of late dining. We have been on two cruises with our grandchildren (6, 3 and 1) and still did late seating. It was great. You have more time to enjoy the ship and you can sample some of the great food and snacks around the ship in the afternoon without spoiling your dinner.
     

    speicher46

    DIS Veteran
    DVC Gold
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2007
    Is it a debacle or are people overreacting? How many people report asking to switch dining times on board and not being able to? I think it's more an issue of people not wanting to accept a small degree of uncertainty. Seems like a silly reason to cancel a cruise tbh.
    It is certainly not a debacle. I think Disney handles it well. Some people are never satisfied.
     

    Fire14

    Spartan Living in land of Buckeyes.
    Joined
    Dec 19, 2001
    I'm one of those not so lucky folks who got 2nd dining. I booked long ago but apparently it was popular cruise time. I am wait listed for early and really hope it happens as I usually eat around 430-500 and know i'll eat everything in site before dinner and than be too full to enjoy dinner if 2nd dining. plus I really think I have some issues with reflux that will be hard with late dining. if it doesn't get changed i'll deal.
     

    Disney1fan2002

    <font color=red>Like OMG the TF is SOO psyched to
    Joined
    Jun 21, 2002
    I don't understand the draw of main dining. We have sailed with our kids since they were 4, 5 and 7. We had main dining exactly ONCE and never want it again. There is too much going on on the ship in the afternoons to stop everything and have to get ready for dinner. Late dining was perfect. We would go to the 6pm show, have a little time to hit up a trivia game before our seating, or go back to the stateroom and relax. After dinner, the kids would choose to go back to the stateroom for bed, or check out the late-night happenings in the kids clubs.

    Is everyone assigned late dining and they have to request main? It seems I am always assigned late no matter how early week book.

    PS, for the people who can't wait until 815 to eat, there are other food options onboard. Eat early and then go to the MDR to order dessert if you want the ambiance of the MDR.
     

    LittleMissMagic

    Victoria on Vacation
    Joined
    Dec 24, 2008
    Personally, I always choose Late Dining - I consider it the ideal dining time. 5:00 is way too early to eat dinner, in my opinion! And I'm glad that Main Dining is so obscenely popular because it means that the 2nd Seating usually isn't full and is much quieter. There are less children, so the children that are in 2nd dining get more attention from the wait staff.

    So if you ever get "stuck" with Late Dining, my advice would be to have an open mind and give it a try - you might find out that it's really not a bad option.
     

    John VN

    DIS Cast Member
    Joined
    Aug 2, 2003
    I'm not a cruiser, but stumbled onto this thread from the "new posts" option, so I may be missing something, but it seems like it would make the most sense to have 3 options when booking - early, late, and "don't care". - That way, they could place the people who have a strong preference first, then fill in with those who don't. (I'm guessing that there are really quite a few people who don't really care which option they get, but are forced to pick one, so they randomly choose early?

    I think somebody made a similar suggestion on another page, about checking a box saying they could call you to change if needed.

    Or they could even do something like airlines do for overbooked flights - offer some sort of bonus (after people are on the ship) to those willing to trade when the requests are very lopsided.
    Doesn't RCCL have MTD, My Time Dining = show up when you want???
     

    Disney1fan2002

    <font color=red>Like OMG the TF is SOO psyched to
    Joined
    Jun 21, 2002
    I'm not a cruiser, but stumbled onto this thread from the "new posts" option, so I may be missing something, but it seems like it would make the most sense to have 3 options when booking - early, late, and "don't care". - That way, they could place the people who have a strong preference first, then fill in with those who don't. (I'm guessing that there are really quite a few people who don't really care which option they get, but are forced to pick one, so they randomly choose early?

    I think somebody made a similar suggestion on another page, about checking a box saying they could call you to change if needed.

    Or they could even do something like airlines do for overbooked flights - offer some sort of bonus (after people are on the ship) to those willing to trade when the requests are very lopsided.



    I don't think Disney has to do this. I think the procedure they have in place now works just fine. They book everyone to late dining and assign main dining to those who request it. I think the problem is, some people are not aware that it is a default assignment and they should ask for main when they are booking. It's not until they get the details of their booking that they realize they have late, maybe they say they'll change it later, but it's too late.

    To me, if everyone is booked to the late dining and the main is only for people who request it, then it seems that everyone should get their request. There are many people who prefer late and many, many people who don't care that they have late, so they won't request main.
     

    LittleMissMagic

    Victoria on Vacation
    Joined
    Dec 24, 2008
    Doesn't RCCL have MTD, My Time Dining = show up when you want???
    My Time Dining is actually not show up when you want. You have to make a reservation for a dining time. The normal dinner time (6-7:30 PM) reservations are booked up almost immediately. Or if you don't have a reservation, you can either show up super early when the dining room opens, or super late and not have to wait. Otherwise, they'll take your name and tell you to come back in 30 minutes, then try to make a reservation for you for the rest of the week.

    Norwegian Cruise Line has "Freestyle" dining which is where you can show up when you want. They don't have first or second seatings - everyone just shows up at anytime for dinner.
     

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