I was reading my most recent 'Crown & Anchor' and I came upon a small article about the new "My Time Dining" program? Does anyone know if this is just an 'option' that you can try out, or is RCCL changing their dining experience to be like NCL's 'Freestyle' dining?
I cruised NCL in September and really disliked the 'Freestyle' experience. I am hoping that Royal Caribbean is not going in this direction!
Right now it is a test program on certain ships. I believe the Freedom is one of them. On the ships that have it you have the option of the fixed dining or open. They have one level of the dining room for the fixed and one level for the open. When you make your cruise booking you would be informed if your ship has the program. I expect all RCI ships will have the option within the next year.
I just hope that is remains an 'option' and not do away with assigned seating. In my opinion, you really miss the cruise dining experience with the 'freestyle' concept. Half the fun of cruising is the food and looking forward to dinners and getting know your wait staff!
RCCL seems to be having a bit of an identity crisis. I hope this remains merely and option also. The open seating lunch gives you an indication of what to expect--good service, but lacking in the color and fun you experience when you get to know these people day after day for a week. It merely comes down to what I expect eating in a restaurant on any vacation.
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We sure do like the "flex dining" approach. More cruise line companies are adopting this idea. On NCL they have freestyle dining and on Princess they have "anytime dining". We liked the change on Princess last year for our 15 day Hawaii cruise, so RCL would get my vote for the flex dining or open dining.
It's just an option. On the Voyager and Freedom class ships, its on deck 4. If you sign up for "My Time Dining" you'll have to pre-pay all the gratuities. You can sign up before you cruise, or while on the ship. To avoid waiting, they will take a reservation for the time you wish to dine. They will not seat people at your table once your orders have been taken.