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Nosleepatall

Anytime dining questions

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We are traveling with a family group of ten on the Royal.  We currently have reserved dining but wondering whether we might do better with anytime dining because it sounds as if we may want flexibility to catch some shows or events or to handle a late day on shore.   However, we DO want to sit together and I'm concerned  there will be a nightmare wait time for a party of ten.  Also, how does the wait time work?  Presume they don't make you stand in line the entire wait?  If we can get drinks at the bar and wait with a pager, then not such a big deal.   Is it possible for one person to go by the anytime dining room early and make a reservation for a large party later on, depending on availability?  For instance, could I stop there around 5 and put in our name for 6:30?

 

We eat around 7-8 at home but some nights on board we might want to eat around 6 or 6:30 - I don't see us managing to get there any earlier than that! 

This is our first cruise so any opinion or experience from larger family/groups much appreciated!  Thanks.

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I suggest late traditional given your table for 10 requirement.  Unless you can make a standing Anytime reservation, you will have a hard time and probably a long wait with Anytime.  Of course a standing Anytime reservation would require eating at the same time every night anyway.  You can try to make a daily reservation by calling the dine line, but that would require calling early every morning to increase your chances of getting the reservation.

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If you do anytime and reserve the same time every night (when I have done the equivalent on RCCL I book a time between the fixed seatings - I like knowing I have a table to myself since I cruise solo), can you request once onboard to have the same table and servers? Since I am gluten-free it makes life so much easier...but traditional grouped tables always end up awkward for me (it's either "Oh you poor thing without anyone" - I'm quite happy, thank you - or "spotlight on the single person" - ugh - or even worse the "let's dump all our solos together" - don't get me started.

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1 hour ago, Nosleepatall said:

We are traveling with a family group of ten on the Royal.  We currently have reserved dining but wondering whether we might do better with anytime dining because it sounds as if we may want flexibility to catch some shows or events or to handle a late day on shore.   However, we DO want to sit together and I'm concerned  there will be a nightmare wait time for a party of ten.  Also, how does the wait time work?  Presume they don't make you stand in line the entire wait?  If we can get drinks at the bar and wait with a pager, then not such a big deal.   Is it possible for one person to go by the anytime dining room early and make a reservation for a large party later on, depending on availability?  For instance, could I stop there around 5 and put in our name for 6:30?

 

We eat around 7-8 at home but some nights on board we might want to eat around 6 or 6:30 - I don't see us managing to get there any earlier than that! 

This is our first cruise so any opinion or experience from larger family/groups much appreciated!  Thanks.

On the Royal ATD opens at 5pm and will be in the Symphony DR, deck 5 mid ship. This DR stays open until around 9pm. Around 7 or 7:30 additional ATD becomes available in the Concerto DR, deck 6 mid ship. Tables fill early and by 6pm, maybe earlier, the DR is full. Since it takes about 90 mins. to dine new tables will start becoming available around 6:30/6:45. It is much easier to to get seated after 7:30. Most tables are for six or eight with a few for 10. Getting a 10 top every evening could prove difficult.

Wait time works with a pager.

Usually the maitre'd will accept reservations for ATD. They are normally for fixed times for example 5:30 or 7:00. You make reservations by calling the dining line in the morning. You could stop by at 5 and try to make a table reservation for another time, but I'm not sure how or if that will work. Have not seen this done.

The best way to have an open evening to see shows is to book early traditional dining. Late traditional dining cuts into some shows and activities, but you may be able to see pre-dinner shows. There is always the option of dining at the World Market Place buffet on the nights you wish to see a special show. If you choose ATD I would visit the maitre'd on boarding day. He will have hours in the afternoon. The time and location will be posted in the Princess Patter. Get there early.

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We traveled to Alaska on the Star in July.  There were 11 of us.  We did anytime.  Because we had kids we didn't eat late but we certainly weren't at the door when the dining room opened.  They always immediately set up a table for all 11 of us.  The wait was never more than 10 minutes.  One evening we put the 5 kids (ages 7-13) at one table and the adults at the next table.  We never made a reservation and just showed up when we were ready.  It was great.

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It must depend heavily on your ship and how crowded it is.  We were in Mexico last January on the Ruby and were a family of 5 with anytime dining.  We always had to wait up to 20 minutes, and I can't remember if we had a pager.  I specifically remember trying to call the dining line to make a reservation in the morning several times and NEVER could get anything around 6 p.m. so I just quit trying.

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It must depend heavily on your ship and how crowded it is.  We were in Mexico last January on the Ruby and were a family of 5 with anytime dining.  We always had to wait up to 20 minutes, and I can't remember if we had a pager.  I specifically remember trying to call the dining line to make a reservation in the morning several times and NEVER could get anything around 6 p.m. so I just quit trying.

 

P.S.  We are going with traditional dining this coming January at 5 and planning to show up at 5:30 just before the doors close.

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10 minutes ago, Nosleepatall said:

Thanks.  Sounds like maybe we just keep our (later) reservation!

 

Probably a very good choice!

As much as we like Anytime, with a large group we would pick Traditional. :classic_wink:

 

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Keep in mind that the buffet on the Royal is excellent.  For those nights that TD doesn't work the buffet should do nicely.

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The Royal buffet is so good that many times it surpassed the items offered in the DR in both selection & quality.

Of course you have to serve your self, which a lot of folks don't like.  

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On 12/18/2018 at 8:32 AM, Nosleepatall said:

We are traveling with a family group of ten on the Royal.  We currently have reserved dining but wondering whether we might do better with anytime dining because it sounds as if we may want flexibility to catch some shows or events or to handle a late day on shore.   However, we DO want to sit together and I'm concerned  there will be a nightmare wait time for a party of ten.  Also, how does the wait time work?  Presume they don't make you stand in line the entire wait?  If we can get drinks at the bar and wait with a pager, then not such a big deal.   Is it possible for one person to go by the anytime dining room early and make a reservation for a large party later on, depending on availability?  For instance, could I stop there around 5 and put in our name for 6:30?

 

We eat around 7-8 at home but some nights on board we might want to eat around 6 or 6:30 - I don't see us managing to get there any earlier than that! 

This is our first cruise so any opinion or experience from larger family/groups much appreciated!  Thanks.

We always travel ten of us and we always eat anytime dining.  The first night on board you just line up and let them know you are a party of 10.  They have several big tables to accommodate ten and they usually use them for people willing to share.  I don't think you will have a problem with a very long wait.  And yes you can wait outside the dining area in the atrium where there is a bar.  Also, I would contact the matre'd and let them know you will be ten people nightly and if you have a certain time you want to eat let them know.  some ships let you pick the time, others insist if you are reserving a table, it has to be the same times as the regular dining room times.  Just enjoy and don't sweat the small stuff.

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15 hours ago, Knickearth said:

We always travel ten of us and we always eat anytime dining.  The first night on board you just line up and let them know you are a party of 10.  They have several big tables to accommodate ten and they usually use them for people willing to share.  I don't think you will have a problem with a very long wait.  And yes you can wait outside the dining area in the atrium where there is a bar.  Also, I would contact the matre'd and let them know you will be ten people nightly and if you have a certain time you want to eat let them know.  some ships let you pick the time, others insist if you are reserving a table, it has to be the same times as the regular dining room times.  Just enjoy and don't sweat the small stuff.

Thanks - really helpful and maybe the way to go.  We are definitely more on the relaxed and don't mind waiting side of the equation (as long as I don't have to stand in line:).  Also, was this on a Princess ship?  

 

We are not stressed about the actual time we eat (could be 6pm or 9pm, we'd be fine) but my husband and I would like to use dinner time as a "touchpoint" with the rest of the family daily, so that even if everyone is off doing their own thing, we can gather each evening to share our adventures.  Also, I can see AD being an advantage in that I won't feel guilty when we don't show up for our reserved table...which probably would happen!  

 

Thanks to everyone who has replied - it's all very good information.

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