Pretty much all cruise lines operate in the same way with regards to the Dining arrangements on board a cruise ship. However, there are some that like to be different. Here I explain how…

Seasoned cruisers will be aware of dining arrangements on board cruise ships, whereas it can be quite confusing to passengers who are new to cruise, or not used to certain arrangements. With the arrival of newer, more modern cruise ships, we have seen new ways of dining being introduced.

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The traditional way of dining would offer two set times for passengers to dine. These are usually 6pm and 8.30pm. There are different names for these dining times. 6pm could be known as: First Sitting, Early Sitting or Main Sitting whereas 8.30pm could be known as: Second Sitting or Late Sitting.

If you are to choose a traditional dining time, this means you will have your evening meal in the main restaurant at this time, each day of your cruise. You will also be seated at the same table each evening, with the same other passengers. This is a brilliant way to meet fellow passengers on board.

Some cruise lines now offer another dining option, in addition to the Traditional times, which is commonly know as ‘Anytime’ dining. This can also be known as Open Dining, Select Dining and MyTimeDining. If you are to choose this option, it is just as it sounds. You can dine in the Main restaurant anytime you like, between the opening hours.

‘Anytime’ dining does not guarantee you the same table or table size. You could be seated with different guests each night. If you are someone who prefers a small table for 2, keep in mind you may well receive a large table for 10, and vice versa.

Most passengers will be thinking, why doesn’t everybody do Anytime dining? This is because most people like to have the same table with the same guests each evening, and know they will be eating at that time. It is possible to have to wait for a table for some time when on the anytime dining option, as one may not be available when you arrive at the dining room.

There are some cruise lines that offer Anytime dining only – no traditional set times.

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