Originally posted by SD Cruiser:
They will also have anytime dining in a dining room that is a twin to the one that had the fixed seating. You can come (or make reservations) any time. A lot of people prefer this flexibility. If you are planning to eat at 7:00 or 7:30, know that these are the popular times, and an advance reservation is best. The only disadvantage is that you will not always have the same wait staff, so of course, they will not learn your preferences and all will not necessarily be equally good. However, we did Anytime Dining on the Golden, and once we found a waitstaff we really liked, we made a reservation for their table every day.
We just got off the Crown in July and we had anytime dining. First of all you cannot make reservations between 6:15 and 8:00. Those are first come first served. You can sometimes shorten your wait time if you will eat with others at a larger table but if not you could get lucky and walk right in or you might have to wait a bit and get one of those buzzer things that alerts you (like they have in the restaurants). We waited anywhere from right away to one hour one night.
We also did not like that we had a different server and different locations each night. The atmosphere just wasn't the same as it is for traditional dining. The waiter didn't joke with you the same way or know any of your preferences - all the things that makes cruise dining what it is.
We booked another Princess cruise while sailing but specified traditional dining. We chose late dining (usually 8 or 8:15) so that we wouldn't ever feel rushed after a port. We have found that this is a good time to eat on a cruise (unless you have small kids with you) because you have time for a leisurely back to the ship, shower, change, drink before dinner, etc. Works out perfectly. And the late show is for the later diners so there's time for that too.
Personally I'd never do the anytime dining again.