Depending on the ages, of all. Early would be best. To prevent spoiling dinner appitites and not falling a sleep right after dinner. *We did late seating once and never made it to nightlife activities because we were too tired. Never again.* We've done 7 cruises. All but the afore mentioned in early.
Late dining or early dining - which is better? It is really a question of personal choice.
If you have children, then go to the first seating - most people (and by this I mean the British) (not sure about other nationalities) but generally the London set tend to have a drink or two first, and then dine from about 8 pm.
It is your choice on what you intend to do before and after dining. For us, the social aspect of having a meal in the dining room, socialising with your table mates etc is all part of cruising. We would have either spent an hour in the champagne bar before eating or somewhere else having a gin and tonic the meander to the dining room for eating.
To us, eating in the dining room is not about "eating" as such but about socialising. If you want to eat go to the windjammer.
So many people on these forums complain about the food in the main dining room, they forget it is not about "the food" its about the ambience, the people, being social, communicating etc. Food to us comes well down the line.
If I was starving hungry I would find somewhere to eat, go to Windjammers, order room service etc etc. Getting dressed up (on formal nights) is not abouting eating, its socialising.
I am sorry to get on my soap box about this but I read so many posts on different boards, from people wearing shorts in the dining room on formal nights and casual nights and about the food. The food is irrelevant, enjoy the evening with fellow guests, to hear about others experiences from all over the world comes high on my list.
We like early seating so we can get to the shows and then be hungry if we want to catch a midnight buffet. We are USED to eating around 6pm though and I WOULD be starving if I waited until the late seating. I think it IS all about your choice though.
I lived with a family for a while when I was in Fl and they always ate about 8pm because it wasn't as hot then. I NEVER could get used it and was dying of hunger before we sat down.
Carnival Freedom June 2009
Crown Princess March 2009
Carnival Glory January 2008
Naviagator of the Seas Mar 07
Sovereign of Seas Oct 06
Carnival Glory March 2005
Nordic Empress 1996
Definately Late, if you are all adults. After a full day at the various ports of call, or even a lazy day at sea, you definately will want down time or even a nap. Especially on Formal nights, it is soooo nice to relax while getting ready, go to one of the many lounges for a cocktail, then to a very relaxing dinner. After that, your show at 10:30 followed by a nightcap or a stop at the disco is a must!!!.
If you are hungry, there is always sandwiches, snacks and cookies available to hold you over.
For us it is without question...the late seating.
I have eaten at both early and late and we are leaving next sunday 9/18 on Explorer and I will always eat the early seating so I can enjoy the rest of the night without wanting to fall asleet because I ate to much.