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glory bound 05-26-2009 03:56 PM

I have been reading this page for a couple of days and it has been very helpful. I am considering booking my first cruise for mid november. my husband and I have a 4 and 7 year old. My question is about the dining room. I really am not intersted in packing dresses, ties, suits, dress shoes, etc that would would needed for all of us to go to the dining room during a 7 day cruise. do people ever go on a cruise and just do informal dining like the buffets, room service, or other places? it just seems like so much work for a vacation. would there be options like that on the Glory?

We usually go to Florida every year and do the theme park thing, so we are very low key, but i like the idea of having activities for the kids.

any suggestions would be appreciated.

Dave 05-26-2009 04:18 PM

Welcome to cruise-chat.

People do go on cruises and never enter the main dining room, but they are missing out on an important aspect of cruising. First off, for a 7-night cruise there are only two "formal" nights and Carnival now defines them as "cruise elegant" where ties, fancy dresses, etc., are no longer needed. You can see Carnival's dress suggestions here. All the other nights it is "cruise casual" where even shorts are allowed - albeit "dress" shorts. They are not very strict about this, they just want to keep "short shorts", basketball trunks, and the like, out.

Whatever you decide to do, please don't remove the dining room gratuities from your onboard account. The dining room staff also works the buffet so they still deserve their tips.

Bear in mind that dress suggestions are for dinner service. Breakfast and lunch in the dining - especially in the Caribbean - finds most passengers wearing t-shirts, shorts, flip flops. Buffets on ships can be frustrating, with crowds and hunts for tables. You don't have that problem in the dining room, where you are always seated promptly and can enjoy a quiet meal with great service.

glory bound 05-26-2009 04:37 PM

thanks Dave. that does help. Looking for tables with two children is also something to think about. is everyone automatically signed up for the dining room seating? so even if i arrange for the early seating, but then decide not to go to the dining room for a couple of nights, i assume it wouldn't be a big deal?


Dave 05-26-2009 04:55 PM

Every passenger is assigned to a table seating, even if you don't go. It isn't a problem if you don't show up some nights. However it is good manners to let someone know if you won't be coming to dinner (your waiter, bus boy, maitre'd, even someone seated at your table). That way they know not to expect you and can proceed with taking orders without waiting for you.

We often will take a break from the dining room dinner and do the evening buffet dinner on at least one night. While I do this primarily to assess the quality of the buffet dinner (being a cruise forum manager), I admit that some nights I just don't want to sit down for dinner. I want to eat and go.

I just noticed your location. We'll be in Saint John's on June 22 while aboard the Grandeur Of The Seas.

glory bound 05-26-2009 05:11 PM

don't forget the sweaters! it has been snowing on and off all day. but the weather is so unpredictable, i hope you have a nice day. it is really beautiful here. i just moved back from the US after being away for 12 years. itis always big news when the cruiseships come to the city.

i am greatful for the advice. i am really thinking that maybe the dining room won't be too bad, but it involves packing much more clothes than i would have packed for just a trip to orlando! i will have to plan accordingly.


Dave 05-26-2009 05:15 PM

Thanks for the advice on your end. I figure it will be like cruising to never know what the weather will be, so plan for anything from freezing to maybe the mid-60's, and either sun or rain.

poormom 05-26-2009 05:15 PM

Glory Bound
You HAVE to go to the dining room! It's such a great place to meet people. It's also a wonderful opportunity for your kids to try food they wouldn't try at home. I never would have gone to a restaurant and ordered escargot for my son to try. Turned out he loved it. He also tried duck, Mahi Mahi and many other foods not found at home. The dress really isn't fancy. If they're exhausted from a day in port, the buffet or room service is just the thing. I'm not sure about a 4 yr old, but they may have a pizza night for the 7 yr old.
Getting clean up and having a family portrait done isn't a bad idea either..they'll be off to college before you know it.

Cruise Fanatic 05-26-2009 05:17 PM

You can ask for the children's menu in the dining room.

Dave 05-26-2009 05:21 PM


It's also a wonderful opportunity for your kids to try food they wouldn't try at home.
For our son it was conch fritters and sweetbreads when he was 3 years old on Celebrity, and on later cruises the escargots and even rabbit!

glory bound 05-26-2009 05:29 PM

well i have packing down to a science, so i will have to learn to pack for a cruise. I want to get the whole cruise experience, so the dining room it is! and you are right. i have looked at some sample menus and there are things on there we would never order, but a good chance to try. i guess we could always finish the meal with a pizza in the room if it didn't work out. the luxury of cruising, right?!

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