We usually don't go to the dining room. I don't like to be locked down to the same specific dining time every night. We always opt for the my time dining. However, we typically try to go to the specialty restaurants most nights. I like the less rushed atmosphere. The main dining room is very loud and busy, regardless of the time you dine. The nominal price you pay for the meal above your cruise fare is well worth it to us. The best meal in have ever had on a cruise was at the Italian restaurant last spring break. We were with 2 of our girls (both teenagers) and simply asked them to bring us a sampling of the chefs favorites rather than ordering off the menu. We are not fussy eaters, and are open to trying anything. It was so wonderful! We had a lot of fun with our server and the chef was awesome! I think he may have been trying new recipes on us and it was great. If money allows you to skip the dining room, it's worth it. On the nights were more tired we just went to the buffet.