Royal Caribbean has been testing its "My Time Dining" on Freedom of the Seas since October, where it has been met with a lot of enthusiasm and success.
One part of the main dining room is set aside for My Time Dining, while traditional dining with the same reserved tables will still be available in the rest of the dining room.
Two more ships will have My Time Dining this summer, and Royal Caribbean now says that all the ships in their fleet will have it by the end of 2008.
Another innovation is "My Family Time" dining. Families with small children have dinner at first seating, and the kids are fed first. Then at 6:40pm, counselors from the Adventure Ocean program come down to the dining room and pick up the kids and take them to activities, while the parents then enjoy dinner without the kids.
My Family Time dining is currently being tested on Majesty of the Seas.
Both of these programs can be reserved in advance, or on embarkation day.
You said this would be implemented by the end of 2008. I have a cruise scheduled for later this year (Sept.) and have already picked a dining time. Is it possible that I will have the "My Time Dining" on my cruise?
Personally, I don't think I like the idea. I like knowing exactly when I will eat each night, and not having to deal with deciding where or when to go. I also like not having to wait on a line if I pick a popular time. But I have also never tried it, so maybe I'm just afraid of change.
Some posts done long ago when NCL and Princess first started any time dining options indicated that "anytime dining" was code for less service. I guess if it isn't broken, don't fix it is my take on it. We like the relationship with get with the waitstaff when we see the same people night after night. We'll be sticking with what we know.
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I cruise with NCL mostly because of the Freestyle form of dining....I don't mind having first or second seating on any of the other ships, but I just like the freedom to choose when and where I have dinner....and with whom:-)
Ever get a table where you are seated with the people from Hell?...puts a damper on a cruise...
But this is a preference thing and some will love it, and some will hate it...