Royal Caribbean – My Time Dining vs. Traditional Dining

Posted November 10th, 2014

You’re just about ready to book your Royal Caribbean cruise, when your travel agent asks you if you would prefer Traditional Dining or My Time Dining. Pardon? What’s the difference?

If you haven’t cruised with Royal Caribbean before, this may be a new choice for you, so we wanted to give you the ins and outs of each option so that you can make the best choice for you and your cruise. In the Main Dining Room, fine dining is a complimentary dining option served in a sweeping, multi-level restaurant that offers world-class cuisine and extraordinary personal service. It is here that you can choose between two nightly seatings – Traditional Dining – or choose My Time Dining.

So, what does this mean?

Traditional Dining

Dinners in the main dining room are split into two seatings each evening for Traditional Dining. When you book your cruise, you can select to be on the early or the late seating. The early seating usually starts at 6.30pm, and the late seating at 8.30pm – depending on the ship you are on. This allows you to plan your evening activities around your dining time – so if you are dining early, you can make the late show, and if you are dining late, you can see the early show.

The Main Dining Room on board Rhapsody of the Seas

You will dine at the same time every evening, and be seated at the same table with the same tablemates. This means you will get to know your fellow diners and perhaps make some new cruise friends. You will also have the same waitstaff each evening, and they will quickly learn any special dining requirements or preferences you may have.

My Time Dining

With My Time Dining, you can choose to dine at the time of your choosing, just like you would at your favourite restaurant at home. For many, this option is more convenient and flexible, as you can fit your dinner around the rest of your onshore and onboard plans rather than making your plans fit around your dining time. You will still dine from the same menu as the Traditional Dining option, and still get the same impeccable service, but you won’t receive a table assignment or permanent tablemates or waitstaff like you would with the first option.

If this sounds like the best option for you, here are some tips as to how you can make My Time Dining work for you:

  • Make a reservation:

While you may be drawn to My Time Dining because of the flexibility it offers, a little pre-planning can go a long way to ensure you get a prompt seating and other preferences catered to. So, we suggest making a reservation when you can. You can pre-reserve specific days and times online after you have booked, and you can make a reservation onboard during the cruise. So, if you know ahead of time that you are going to be back late from a shore excursion, you can pre-reserve your dining time to fit in with your shore excursion. Or, if you want to grab an earlier dinner so you can fit in a show one night, you can reserve your dining time onboard. This will ensure that when you arrive for your dinner, your table is ready and you will be promptly seated.

Make a reservation to get your preferred table on board Voyager of the Seas


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  • Seating Arrangements:

These work a lot like traditional seating – you can be seated with the party you are with, or at your own table. If you do want to be seated privately, or with certain guests, it is advised to make a reservation so your request can be accommodated. You can also request for a certain waiter each night, and you and your party will be worked into his or her area, depending on availability.

  • Tips:

If you want to book My Time Dining, you must pay for tips (or gratuities) in advance. There is a per day gratuity that is required to cover waitstaff and your room steward, which is then divided equally among the staff. Because you may get a different waiter each night, pre-paying your tips ensures that you don’t need to tip each waiter every night, making it more convenient for you, as well as ensuring that the staff is recognised for their impeccable service.  Iif you do feel you received exceptional service from someone in particular, you can also choose to recognise this with a separate tip.

My Family Time Dining

Royal Caribbean has also launched a new dining option for families, which may interest you – their Family Time Dining. Designed to help your kids finish their dinner within 45 minutes, and freeing you up to enjoy coffee and desserts at your leisure, this option will see your kids be escorted to Adventure Ocean with their counsellor to enjoy evening activities while you finish your dinner. This option is only available for the first dinner seating on select cruises, and for children aged 3 to 11 years.

Enjoy dinner at a more leisurely pace with My Family Time Dining

So, now that you know what to expect if you pick Traditional Dining, My Time Dining or My Family Time Dining, so you can book your Royal Caribbean cruise with confidence. But, if you do have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Cruising Specialists on 1300 954 661, who will be more than happy to help.

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