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Old 07-31-2008, 12:25 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: australia
Posts: 11
Hi, this is our first cruise and we have heard some pro's and con's about first and second sittings. Does this apply to breakfast, lunch and dinner, or just the evening meal. Would love to hear what peoples preferences are. We have sort of decided we will take which ever comes out best on this post. Hope you are all having a wonderful day
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Old 07-31-2008, 01:33 AM
f-mattox's Avatar  
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Costa Mesa, California
Posts: 4,740
Hello shazz_1958;

congratulations on your first cruise; we'd love to hear what it is if you are so inclined.

As to dining room seatings; breakfast and lunch are open seating. You just show up anythime during the specified hours.
For dinner, we prefer second seating. On sea days the late afternoon is (for us) the nicest time around the pools. Many have gone to dress for dinner and it is just the most peaceful time on deck. On port days you don't have to rush back to the ship to be ready for early dinner.

And it may be just psychological, but we think second seating is more relaxed, more leisurely. The times we've tried early seating we had the feeling we were a bit rushed--they had to get us out and prepare for the next seating. And first seating has more families with children--don't crucify me--we have three grown sons and five grandsons and when we take them, we have first seating also. But when it is just the wife and I we enjoy the quieter ambience of second seating.

The only downside we have found is when we linger over coffee and conversation, we are sometimes late for the show for second seating and good seats are not to be found. But we figure we can't have it both ways.

But it is a very individual choice and you will hear many good reasons for doing early seating.

Once again, I hope your first cruise meets and exceeds all your expectations.

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Old 07-31-2008, 03:11 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 129
I think Rick covered it all. We always go for 2nd seating. On port days we don't have to rush back to the ship, we can relax a little once back on board, take our time getting ready (maybe even nap a short time in preparation for a night of great food, entertainment, dancing, kareoke, piano bar or whatever)

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Old 07-31-2008, 04:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maryland
Posts: 3,904
Some of what goes into your choice should be the time that you usually eat dinner at home. If you eat at 6-7pm at home, it may be hard waiting until 8:30pm on the ship.

Also consider how late you like to stay up. With late seating, you won't get out of the dining room until 10pm or later, to start your evening on the ship.

Early seating tends to have the young families with children, if your cruise line is one that attracts young families. It can be a bit of a rush to get to early seating on port days.

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Old 07-31-2008, 06:06 AM
Spiritfilled's Avatar  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,155
I've done both and I like 2nd seating better because you don't feel rushed when you are on shore you have time to get back shower relax even for a moment and then get to dinner, Yes this may have you up late and if you linger you will miss good seats at the shows. it is all on what you like and when you may feel you need to eat.

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Old 07-31-2008, 07:01 AM
Dave's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Alabama
Posts: 18,001
We have done both too. We do main seating now - ironic since for years we did late seating when our son was younger. We just don't like getting up from a table at 10pm, full of food, with bed time in the offing. We are not night owls. As for rushing back from port - we don't stay ashore till the last minute. We usually return to the ship at least two or three hours before sailing time, so there is no rushing to get ready for main seating.

I like Sandy's advice - consider what you normally do at home. A drastic alteration in your routine can be a lot to handle.
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Old 07-31-2008, 08:13 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 139
I like the 2nd seating also for the same reasons, don't have to rush. I also like to take a nap after a long day then we get ready & head for dinner. You might also consider My Time Dining if that is available & then you can pick a time.

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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 07-31-2008, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 934
We prefer early seating for the reasons Dave mentioned.

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Old 07-31-2008, 09:03 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Cape Coral, Fl.
Posts: 1,329
I'll vote for Dave's response also. Who wants to finish eating at 10 PM & try to sleep at midnight with a full stomach?
Dining late doesn't buy you much more time ashore unless you like waiting until the last minute to board. Sure, you can take your time getting ready to eat at 8 PM but you're missing out on a something that the early diners will attend after eating.
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Old 07-31-2008, 09:19 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 16
I would have to agree with Dave and Sandy too. I have had both and I just do not want to eat that late at night. Makes it hard to go to sleep with a full stomach...JMHO....

I always make sure that whatever excursion or thing I do in ports, I am back to the ship at least two hours before the ship leaves so I am usually always back way in time for main seating. Better safe than sorry is my motto, but I am a worrier, too.

As I have gotten older (45 years old now), I just find the later seatings too much for me. I like to be in my room by midnight at least. You would be surprised at how tiring your days can get, especially days at port. I am disabled though, so I may tire more easily than someone else my age.

Another thought is many like to go to the Midnight Buffets....and while I no longer do them because I am too tired by that time....I have experienced them in the past and they are worth doing at least once. If you don't eat, at least view it....it's amazing at what they can do with food and ice ....Take lots of pictures!
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