One of the things that convinced me to take my first cruise was all the talk about food. How much there was, the number of choices, the quality, and of course, the fact that it’s included in the cost of the cruise. When embarkation day was nearing, I asked one of my cruise loving friends, “What time is dinner served?” His response? Follow the crowd.
In those days, Royal Caribbean had only two options in the main dining room: early, which was 5:30 and late, which was at 8:00. Since then, they’ve added My Time dining, too, which is almost exactly what the name implies.
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There are lots of places to find food on a cruise, many included in the cost of the cruise and a few premium dining options which cost extra. Most people choose to eat dinner in the main dining room and for good reason, the food is delicious and free. The menu has plenty of options, classics which are always available, and other options that change nightly. Plus, being a family brand, there are kid-friendly options as well.
A quick search for “what time is dinner” will quickly bring you the answer, but perhaps more important, question is which dining option should I choose? The answer is somewhat tricky, actually, because once you choose a seating, that’s the time you eat in the main dining room every evening. Early dining is generally 5:30 or 6:00pm depending on the ship and late is usually 8:00. The excursions you choose and activities on board the ship may make your decision more complicated.
If it’s your first time sailing on Royal Caribbean and you’re not familiar with the timing of shows and other activities, you might consider My Time dining. As the name suggests, you don’t (necessarily) have a set time to eat dinner. With My Time dining guests are encouraged to make a reservation in 15-minute increments, usually between the early and late seating. For example, reservations might be available between 7:30 and 9:00 pm and the time can change every evening.
One other thing related to choosing a dining time that’s worth mentioning is when you choose early or late dining, you’ll sit at the same table and have the same waiter and assistant waiter every evening. For me, part of the fun of being on a cruise is interacting with the same crew members every day. The conversations are always more fun, and after your first meal your wait staff will know what your favorite cocktail or wine is (or whether you’d prefer water), how many desserts you want and how you drink your coffee. When you choose My Time dining, you may request the same table and waiter, but there’s no guarantee they can accommodate you.
Whatever dining option you choose, you’ll have a great experience with the crew members and enjoy a delicious meal every evening in the main dining room.