The best sitting is the one that fits you and your schedule of events and do you like to eat early or late this is really a choice that you would make better than anyone else. Welcome to cruise chat steadymann.
Yes, as Spiritfilled stated, this is a personal choice.
They offer two dinning times (sometimes 3) to allow for personal tastes. Some people enjoy eating later and some earlier. The early seating starts at 5:45PM (again depends on the ship but this is typical) and you will be finished with dinner roughly about 7PM or so depending on how long you like to linger. The 8:30 seating (late seating) finishes up closer to 10PM. My wife doesn't like to eat that late because it bothers her. Frankly that is too late for me normally too, but since I'm up soo late on a cruise, I could do it if I had to.
Note that both dinning options have a main show time that allows them to see the evening show and still make dinner. Carnival does two viewings each night and in the Caper paper, they will be listed as the 7PM "Late seating" theater and the 9PM "early seating theater". So you are not going to miss anything by picking either dinning option.
The other thing to consider is that the early seating normally coincides with the time you are leaving port. So coming in from your port visit you would have to immediately get changed/dressed for dinner and head down. Some people don't like that hurry up and eat thing, but we have never found it to be that big of an issue. (Of course with a couple of kids and the need to grab showers, it can be a challenge unless you come back to the ship slightly ealry from port.
Originally posted by steadymann:
1st timer here. Me 40, my wife 35.
Can anyone tell me what is the best sitting and why?
As spiritfilled and Jim C indicate it is a personal choice. My wife and I always take the earliest seating so we can watch the shows TWICE We really love the shows and the first show (for the late seating) usually follows a Bingo or some other event in the main theater and the best seats are already taken for the show when we get there. So we watch that from wherever we can and then the 2nd show move up to 5 rows from the stage and center. Sometimes we watch the first show from the balcony behind the sound tech and watch him work, fasinating.
For a long time we took late seating because it allowed for longer afternoons. I never thought much about it until last year when my agent talked me into trying early seating for our then upcoming cruise. I found that I liked it since I got dinner out of the way and had the whole evening to do stuff, instead of spending it waiting for dinner to start and then sitting in the dining room until 10pm.
However, which seating you choose can also depend on the cruise itinerary. For our next cruise to Alaska, which has most port calls where the ship won't leave until 8pm or later, we went with late seating since this will give us more time ashore.
That's a good plan for Alaska Dave. The sun will still be up when you go to dinner, so you won't feel like your eating late. But, you may have issues adjust to the time zone changes AND eating later than normal. But you should be able to adjust to that.
We have a main seating time for our Alaska cruise and we did find ourselves coming back to the ship a little early to get to dinner "on time".
On a side note, what you said about having the early dinner so your night is free is true. i noticed that the casino isn't very crowded after the early seating since the late dinners are in watching the show end and then they are off to dinner, so you can get in some crowd free gambling that way too...
Around 4PM the pool areas start to clear out and the ship is a bit quieter up on deck. It's my favorite time of the day to relax on a lounge chair b/c the temperature is just right and it's nice and quiet. Choosing the late seating gives you a couple of extra hours to take advantage of the late afternoon. Also, there are more children at the early seating. Just my 2 cents. Happy sailing.
It really is a matter of personal choice as has been stated. I like the late seating, because we like the lido deck, and enjoy a few drinks as we sail away from the ports. It just seems too rushed to make the early, plus I can sneak in a power nap. Different strokes...