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Dyxiegirl 08-20-2006 03:24 PM

I have been reading somewhere in here about how rude it is to be late for Fixed Seating; that you need to be within 5 minutes of the seating time or everything is screwed up. My question is, since Princess has personal choice dining and even if you do have a Fixed Seating assignment you may choose to go to another restaurant, how does that work when someone at your table is late? Do they assume after 5 minutes that they are not eating in the Main Dining Room and serve the table, or wait a while to see who shows up? If they do, it seems you could be waiting at every meal. Someone (everyone!) please explain. We have only done Personal Choice dining and have a Christmas cruise booked for Early Fixed Seating instead.

Dave 08-20-2006 03:48 PM


You are probably referring to a post I made in another thread. I used 5 minutes as a general guideline for politeness. There is no set time that the staff will wait until they start taking orders. After a few minutes, if everyone hasn't arrived they will take orders from those who are seated. If the others show up after these orders are taken, the staff will simply hand them menus and move forward with dinner service. You won't have to wait until the whole table arrives before they take orders.

My point is that people who routinely decide to enter the dining room at their leisure - and could care less about being prompt - are putting pressure on the galley and the wait staffs. These people have a set routine and timing is everything to them.

Again, don't worry! If you are on time you will be served in short order. Don't fret about the tardy people.

JC 49 08-20-2006 04:33 PM

Dyxiegirl, If you have set seatings and time I agree you should be there in a reasonable time frame. 5 min. to me is not reasonable, but 30 min. is too long also. The first thing to remember is you are on, VACATION,(STRESSSS RELIEF} so there should be some leeway, the cruises we have been on there wasn\'t a problem. We\'ve cruised 14 times on different lines with different rules and have never had a problem. You have to remember your wait staff can make the whole difference in this situation. They will wait a few extra minutes for a day or two, then they will know who to wait for or not. We all know some people are always tarty so they can make their grand entrance, your wait staff will know this. Personally I leave this to our waiter/waitess to make this choice. Normally most cruisers arrive about the same time. If not your waiter will start taking orders for cocktails/appetisers/meals for those who are present, then take the orders of the late arriving guests after. On most of the cruises we have been on the servers will usually ask if the other parties are coming to dinner. Hopefully this will help, like I said before your on VACATION, R&R, RELAX, ENJOY, whats another 10 or 15 minutes anyway??????????????

Dave 08-20-2006 05:09 PM

I guess it is the military man in me. I spent 4 years in the Marines and 6 years in the Navy, and I am one who is always early - even on vacation - and I feel quite embarrassed to be late for anything! To me, being late for dinner is no different than being late for a business meeting. It\'s just the way I have been programmed over the years.

Dyxiegirl 08-20-2006 06:00 PM

Thanks guys! Okay, I'm sort of with Dave. I hate to keep a client waiting, calling to tell them I will be late if it will be more than 5 minutes. I think it is just common courtesy. But I will just have to wait and see; maybe for once I will relax!
We are traveling with my mother-in-law, and my brother-in-law and his family. The wife is NOTORIOUSLY late for everything, so it is really her that I am worried about. I was planning to email the 5 minute rule to her husband, or just tell her dinner is 15 minutes earlier, so she might have a chance in to get there on time. I'm sure you ALL have a relative like that. My brother has to be told 2 HOURS ahead for Thanksgiving! Luckily, he wasn't invited.

Cruise Fanatic 08-20-2006 07:54 PM

Wow Dave, is that why I agree with you? My 20 years in the Air Force? Seriously, it is rude to be much more than 5 minutes late. Especially if it is the early seating. The wait staff is under a time constraint of about 2 1/2 hours to get everyone through a 5 course dinner, allowing time for you to linger over coffee and dessert, possibly having to stop to provide entertainment, provide any special request, stop to chit chat if someone decides to engage them in 50 questions, and get those tables cleaned and reset for the late seating. If you're late and your waiter has already placed orders for your table he can't just run in the kitchen to the head of the line to place your order. He has to wait behind the other waiters. Your tardiness throws everything off. As Dave says it's no different than a business meeting. Or a movie starting on time, a plane,train,bus,shore excursion, leaving on time. It's being courteous to others, not just your table mates but also the waitstaff.

Dave 08-20-2006 08:24 PM

Cruise Fanatic added many more fine examples. Are you late for a train or excursion and expect them to wait for you?

I grew up in and around the food service industry and know how hard it was for the servers and kitchen staff. I carry this experience forward with me to cruises and like to show the dining room staff a LOT of consideration for their efforts.

20 years in the USAF? I salute you! In retrospect, I wish I had completed my military career. I was half way there. Too late now!

penny3333 08-22-2006 06:23 AM

Just a side note. We were at a table where 2 were always late. Not only was it hard on the wait staff, but the rest of the table would always say we'd wait for our food, so we could all eat together. One night they were over 30 minutes late, so we went ahead and ate. They showed up about the time we were having desert. I really thought it was totally rude, but since I was on vacation, I blew it off and hit the casino. Best wishes!

Karen Knowlton 08-22-2006 06:59 AM

Dyxiegirl, I can relate - my mother is the same way. It might be a good idea to give her the 5-minute rule (or tell her you need to be there ahead of time)!

ChucksOK 08-22-2006 07:27 AM

Reading these posts remind me of my singular experience on Princess (Regal Princess inaugural season) traveling with the same folks we've traveled with many, many times. Their daughter (a real knock-out) needed to take that extra "few" minutes to finish primping and of course make the entrance - well, one night she took one too many minutes and was locked out of the dining room! After a reasonable waiting period of "time-out" they let her in - that broke her!

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