I just learned from a travel agent friend that Princess is adding a third Traditional Dining time on most ships:
"May 13, 2010
Princess Cruises adds new Traditional Dining seating time
Dear Travel Professional,
As part of Princess Cruises’ continuing commitment to service, we’re pleased to announce the addition of a third Traditional Dining seating time on most voyages. The new seating time is in response to the high demand we’ve received for our popular Traditional Dining option, and as the Consummate Host®, we’re happy to accommodate our guests and travel agent partners.
The new seating time will be in a separate dining room at either 5:15 pm or 5:30 pm depending on the voyage. The only voyages not offering the third seating will be on our small ships, or those sailing in Australia.
Penny, if I understand it correctly, the Grand Class ships with three dining rooms will have one for Traditional (both seatings), one for Anytime, and the third with will be the new earlier Traditional and then switch to anytime.
I have heard that Sapphire and Diamond Princess, with five dining rooms, have been doing this informally for some time now.
What I don't know and kind find out anyplace is how Island and Coral Princess, with only two dining rooms, are going to handle it.
And it dosen't apply to the Sun Class and small ships.
I see. I can understand the smaller ships and the Sun class, since they have to take some of the buffet area now for the steakhouse. With only 2 dining rooms, I don't know how they'd do that either. Maybe separate part of the buffet area for the early seating?
I don't know, Penny; this is from the e-mail my friend received:
Ship - Traditional Dining Seating Times
5:30 pm (NEW)
Coral Class and Sea Princess
Sea Princess (non-Australia voyages)
5:15 pm (NEW)
Sun Class (Australia voyages)
Sea Princess (Australia voyages)
So I don't know. The Horizon Court already serves Bistro-style dinner; so the only thing I can think is maybe they'll use half of the Anytime Dining Room for the 5:15 seating and then open it to Anytime. The dining rooms on Island and Coral are pretty big since there are only two.
The new seating will be in a separate dining room at 5:15PM or 5:30PM depending on the voyage. It won't be offered on the small ships (Ocean,Pacific,or Royal), and won't be offered on Australia voyages.
Dinner times will be: 5:30PM/6:00PM/8:15PM on Grand,Golden,Star,Caribbean,Crown, Emerald,Ruby,Diamond, and Sapphire.
Dinner times will be: 5:15PM/6:00PM/8:15PM on Coral, Island, and Sea (Non Australia voyages).
Dinner times will be: 6:00PM/8:15PM on Ocean,Pacific, and Royal.
Dinner times will be: 5:30PM/7:45PM on Dawn,Sun, and Sea (Australia voyages).
Would it be safe to say that those wanting the 5:15 seating would otherwise have been at the 6pm seating? Thus it will be a split seating in the same dining room, just that some people started early? I think Carnival had something similar a while back, but they dropped it.
Dave, that would meke sense except that the waitlist for 6:00 Traditional is always in the hundreds; so the 6:00 crowd alone would fill the room. The 5:15 was to added to accomodate the hundreds that couldn't get 6:00.
Jan, the only problem with that is Island, Coral and Sea Princess only have two dining rooms; If you put 6:00 and 8:15 Traditional in Dining Room A and Anytime from 6:00 on in Dining Room B, where do you put the new 5:15 seating? My guess is (and it's a variation of what Dave said) they will split Dining Room B: half Traditional at 5:15, half Anytime at 6:00, and then all Anytime when the 5:15 group clears.
Okay, I'm going to go take an asprin now--this is way too complicated :-)