PS - I'm sorry to hear that HAL will be trying this. Also - we do like to do the dining room for breakfast & lunch. It's nice to meet new folks and chitty-chat over inconsequentials for a bit.... and then there's that many more folks to say "HI" to when you see them on deck or at the show.
I guess they will have one level of the Freedom dining room set up for this? I prefer assigned seating. We've done Personal Choice on Princess. As others have said, these things tend to become hectic and the service can be like a typical Friday night at Applebee's. We had a great table on our last cruise - superb waiter and fun people seated. The conversation and review of everyone's day is part of the meal. Otherwise it can just become a sit/eat/get out scenario.
It also plays hell with the kitchen and wait staff as far as hosing their routine and timing.
I really prefer assigned seats. We have met friends on our cruises who we correspond with on a regular basis. These were people who sat at our table every night and each of us bonded in a special way. We had formal pictures taken with them and we remain in touch by email and Christmas cards. We always request a large table so we can meet new people.
We have breakfast and lunch at the buffet because we usually aren't hungry at the right times to go to the dining room.
I, too, enjoy having the same wait staff all week. They make you feel so special.
We prefer assigned seating, and the 6pm schedule worked well on the last cruise, because the 8pm shows were perfect timing for us. However, the cruise we have coming up the ship stays in port later so our "days" are cut shorter.
I prefer assigned seating, too. On our first cruise on Princess, we had any time seating. We ended up not really putting ourselves out there and meeting people (our own fault, of course)...we sat alone pretty much every night. Plus, you don't get the same waiters every night so there's no relationship there. I like getting to know the waitstaff over the course of the trip. We usually do the early sitting...so my husband can tackle the buffet later on.
Booked on Carnival Freedom, Feb. 2012 (Cozumel, Costa Rica, Panama)
NCL Gem, Sept. 2011
NCL Jewel, Feb. 2011
NCL Dawn, Sept. 2010
NCL Spirit, Feb. 2010
NCL Gem, March 2009
RCCL Explorer of the Seas, Feb. 2008
Carnival Miracle, May 2007
Carnival Conquest, April 2006
Caribbean Princess, Feb. 2005
I completly don't understand the purpose of having to pay the tips upfront. They might as well require all the tips to be paid in the same manner regardless if you have assigned seating or not. When they started the deducting & distrubuting the tips for you, it was discretionary and now it no longer appears that way.
RCI doesn't charge them automatically, and even when you do opt for putting them on your account they don't charge for them until the last day. On the other hand, Carnival puts them on your account immediately upon check-in.
Originally posted by Dave Beers:
On the other hand, Carnival puts them on your account immediately upon check-in.
have not cruised with carnival yet ...just to be clear on this ....if I cruising for seven days and they charge $10 per person per day, does that mean for two of us we would get the $140 charged to our shipboard account on the first day we sail ?
We have always looked forward to our assigned seating each trip. They have always seated us with great matches and we have yet to be disappointed. I also enjoy the growing relationship with the wait saff. i would be hugely disappointed if they did away with this option. I always thought that was what the buffet option was for- choosing time and place.
I like also knowing that when I get there they are waiting for me- with a smile on their faces.
Breakfast is a choice seating in the dining room and I did not like it at all.It also seemed the wait staff didn't feel they had to impress you so it was more like a local busy restaurant where their goal was to keep them moving. They also knew the tip would be less or none.
Carnival Fantasy 6/05
RCCL Sovereign of the Seas 4/07
RCCL Navigator 12/07
RCCL Navigator 11/08
RCCL Liberty 7/4/09