New to Royal Caribbean - My Time Dining vs. Traditional Dining?

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

#1
17 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Hi,

We are getting ready to book our first cruise on RC - we have cruised twice before on Disney. I was wondering if anyone could tell me what the pros/cons are to MTD vs. traditional dining. I'm sorry if this has been asked a thousand times before, but this is my first post! It will be my husband and I cruising for my 40th birthday and we are leaving the kids at home We are going on the Freedom of the Seas in September.

Thanks!!

Stacey
#2
26,257 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by Stacey in MD
Hi,

We are getting ready to book our first cruise on RC - we have cruised twice before on Disney. I was wondering if anyone could tell me what the pros/cons are to MTD vs. traditional dining. I'm sorry if this has been asked a thousand times before, but this is my first post! It will be my husband and I cruising for my 40th birthday and we are leaving the kids at home We are going on the Freedom of the Seas in September.

Thanks!!

Stacey
Traditional dining offers two seatings each evening (early and late). If you choose it and enjoy the opportunity to meet and dine with others, you will be assigned to a specific table with the same tablemates every evening. Your wait staff will be the same and will come to know any special dining requirements or preferences you have (for example, tea vs. coffee, decaf vs regular coffee; more than one appetizer, entree or dessert)
If you choose My Time Dining you will be able to choose the same or a different dining time every evening. You can request, and they will try to accommodate you if possible, to have the same servers each evening or you can choose to be served by different waiters and assistant waiters each evening. You can make reservations in advance or just show up when you want to eat and most times you will have little or no wait to be seated, and you can request a table for two or to be seated with others. You don't have to miss any shows if you take the time to check out the show schedules and arrange your dining time to fit those times. If you choose MTD, you will have to prepay your gratuities for your dining room staff and your room steward. If you choose traditional dining you can prepay your gratuities, fill out a form to have them automatically added to your onboard account, or simply wait until you get your envelopes and put the appropriate tip amounts in them to be distributed on the last night of your cruise.
It is pretty much your choice, but sometimes there are wait lists for early or late and sometimes for MTD, so make your decision as early in the booking process as possible. Then sit back and enjoy your cruise.
#3
Massachusetts
27 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Pros: You can eat at anytime you want. Basically you can prebook some reservation time online prior to cruising and if you want to change you can do it at the dining room checkin area (would recommend changing night before or at least give them a few hours). I would recommend reserving some times ahead.

The mytime section is usually the top floor of the dining room. Everything else is the same as seating times. If they sit you at a table you like (or you see one you like) don't be afraid to ask for it everynight, they are very accomodating. Just return on the Navigator and we asked to sit in a particular waiters section every night (this waiter and assistant were fantastic.) - even got the same table 4 nights. The mytime section is deck 5 - same as promenade. You can sit by the windows (even saw dolphins one night). Mytime has tables for 2 people.

Cons: ??
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
~ Paul
Liberty of the Seas...... 4/2010
Navigator of the Seas.. 2/2011
#4
1,331 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Well with MTD you choose when you want to eat (within) reason) we did on our last cruise which was on the Freedom as well. We found that we had a lot more flexability. With only two of us dining we never had any problems getting in.

The difference between MTD and traditional is you are not seated with the same people for seven days,you you are meeting new people every night.Depending on how you look at that can be a good thing or a bad thing. For us MTD is the way we are going to go from now on
#5
Pittsburgh
360 Posts
Joined May 2010
I always recommend traditional assigned dining. You never have to wait for a table and you get the same team of servers for the entire cruise, which usually results in better and friendlier service. We always get a table for just our family and choose the late seating (8:30 when we were on the Freedom last summer) so it gives us more time to explore each port without rushing back to the ship to get ready for an earlier dinner. The late seating is very relaxing and still enables us to see all the shows. My kids are in their teens and they prefer this too but I can understand why families with younger children would prefer earlier dining times and flexibility.
#6
Dallas, Texas
4,634 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
If it is just the 2 of you, MTD should be fine. With a group, I find traditional works better since you all know when and where you have to be for dinner.
I always do traditional because I don't want to wait for a table.
I do know on the Voyager of the Seas there can be line for MTD. I'm not sure how fast the line moves.
Yeah, I have to wait until my assigned time, but at least then I have options of where to wait (like a bar) instead of waiting in line.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
SS Norway – Sep 1997
Norwegian Sea – Jan 1999 & Apr 2000
Carnival Jubilee – Oct 2002
Norwegian Star – May 2003 (Hawaii)
Carnival Jubilee – Sep 2003
Carnival Conquest – Nov 2003
Rhapsody of the Seas – Jan 2004
Carnival Ecstasy – Dec 2004
Carnival Elation – Nov 2005
Splendour of the Seas – Jan 2006
Rhapsody of the Seas – May 2006
Carnival Ecstasy – Dec 2006 (New Year's Eve)
Splendour of the Seas – Feb 2007
Voyager of the Seas – Mar 2008
Carnival Ecstasy – Jan 2009
Voyager of the Seas – Mar 2009
Carnival Ecstasy – Jan 2010
Voyager of the Seas – Mar 2010 & Dec 2010 & Mar 2011
Carnival Conquest - May 2011
Mariner of the Seas - Dec 2011 & Mar 2012 & Dec 2012 & Mar 2013
Navigator of the Seas - Dec 2013 & May 2014 & Nov 2014 & March 2015 & Sept 2015
Liberty of the Seas - Mar 2016
#7
Oklahoma
19 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
We're going on our first cruise on Radiance of the Seas in Sept. They urged us to set up reservations online for the MTD which we did. So from what I've been reading, we are not locked into those dining times? We really didn't want to be on an "eating schedule". Especially since we don't know what time the shows and other activities are.
#8
Charlotte, NC
2,102 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
that is correct. You can change what time you eat every night if you want. You don't need to make a reservation but if you don't you may wait up to 20 minutes for a table.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
270 nights at sea and counting
#9
Lancaster, PA
1,681 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
We've done the My Time Dining on our past several cruises and will never go back to traditional. We've never made any reservations, and have never waited more than a few minutes for our table. We like the flexibility that you get with my time, especially on port days.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Joan
We're spending our kid's inheritance, one cruise at a time!

Carnival Vista - 10/07/2017
Radiance of the Seas - back to Alaska! 06/02/2017
Empress of the Seas -If RCI doesn't cancel us again 04/30/2016
Adventure of the Seas - B2B - 10/10 & 10/17/15
Serenade of the Seas - Going to Greece!! - 10/11/2014
Celebrity Constellation - 01-20-2014
Celebrity Solstice - Alaska bound! - 05/17/2013
Independence of the Seas - 12/05/2012
Freedom of the Seas - 05/06/2012
Jewel of the Seas - 01/26/2012
Oasis of the Seas - 10/15/2011
Celebrity Solstice - 03/20/2011
Oasis of the Seas - 10/09/2010
Liberty of the Seas - 5/23/2010
Serenade of the Seas - 3/6/2010
Navigator of the Seas - 1/21/2010
Freedom of the Seas - 10/2009
Monarch of the Seas - 8/2009
Carnival Liberty - 3/2009
Liberty of the Seas - 10/2008
Adventure of the Seas - 3/2008
Caribbean Princess - 2/2007
Serenade of the Seas - 3/2006
Adventure of the Seas - 3/2004
Grand Princess - 3/2002
#10
5,643 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
We always choose MTD, even though we prefer WJ. For us the reason is simple. If we decide that we like the MDR menu, we go there. If we decide we don't, we go to WJ. If we don't like either, we'll do a specialty. Either way, no one else is inconvenienced by our decision. Wait staff won't wait for us to show up to serve the rest of a table, if we want to do a show, we can work our dining time around it, and we eat at our leisure.
#11
Bonita Springs, FL formerly Baltimore, MD and before that Phila. PA
3,228 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
We have switched to MTD no matter which line we sail. Mainly because of the dining times. 6PM is too early and 8:30 too late.

We like to arrive about 6:45 and MTD has worked out great for us. Plus if we happen to be onshore late we have the flexibility to go to the dining room later to avoid rushing to get changed for dinner.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Sea ya,





RCI-Nordic Prince '86 & '90, , Grandeur '99, Sovereign '99, , Grandeur '00, , Rhapsody'02, , Radiance '04 & '05, Brilliance '06, Majesty 06, , Serenade 08, Enchantment 09, , Navigator of the Seas 09, Majesty '11, Liberty '12, Monarch '12, Allure '12, Independence '12, Liberty 2/13, 11/13, Legend 12/13, Freedom 4/14, Enchantment 15
Grandeur 15, Brilliance 15. Serenade TA 16, Navigator '16

Carnival-Inspiration '97, Ecstasy '01, Dream 09, Miracle '11
Celebrity-Horizon '00, Galaxy '02, Eclipse TA '10, Constellation'15
NCL- Star '12
Princess-Caribbean Princess 07
#12
Fredericksburg, va. USA
84,246 Posts
Joined May 2001
The shows are scheduled around the 2 traditional dining times, so there's no reason to miss a show...ever! With Mtd, YOU'LL be responsible for deciding which show to see and eating in a timeframe that will allow you to make the show of your choice. Traditional takes all the guesswork out of it!
#13
levittown, pa
763 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
We had always done traditional dining because I enjoy having the same servers thru my entire cruise. Now we do MTD and still have the same servers as long as our dining times stay somewhat around the same time each night. We always like to eat around 7pm so it works.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#14
atlanta
1 Posts
Joined Dec 2014
We will be a party of 14 with 6 children ages 4 - 15. Can MyTime dining room accommodate us? How do we make reservations prior to cruising? MyTime was all that was available when we booked our cruise 5 months ahead.
#15
Central Illinois
115,411 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by rebgal
We will be a party of 14 with 6 children ages 4 - 15. Can MyTime dining room accommodate us? How do we make reservations prior to cruising? MyTime was all that was available when we booked our cruise 5 months ahead.
You will most likely have to use two tables near each other, suhc as a table for 8 and a table for 6. I don't know of any tables for 14.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Bob

Past Cruises

Celebrity: Mercury
RCCL: Adventure, Allure, Brilliance, Enchantment, Explorer, Freedom, Independence, Legend, Liberty, Majesty, Mariner, Monarch, Navigator, Oasis, Radiance, Rhapsody, Serenade, Sovereign, Vision, Voyager
#17
Central Illinois
115,411 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by postmanrings
So are all the entrees different each evening in the MDR? Or just a few change ups here and there?
This menu typical of what most ships offer in the MDR:

http://www.royalcaribbeanpresscenter...d-press-kit/7/
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Bob

Past Cruises

Celebrity: Mercury
RCCL: Adventure, Allure, Brilliance, Enchantment, Explorer, Freedom, Independence, Legend, Liberty, Majesty, Mariner, Monarch, Navigator, Oasis, Radiance, Rhapsody, Serenade, Sovereign, Vision, Voyager
#18
Green Bay, WI
4,487 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
Originally posted by negc
Traditional dining offers two seatings each evening (early and late). If you choose it and enjoy the opportunity to meet and dine with others, you will be assigned to a specific table with the same tablemates every evening. Your wait staff will be the same and will come to know any special dining requirements or preferences you have (for example, tea vs. coffee, decaf vs regular coffee; more than one appetizer, entree or dessert)
If you choose My Time Dining you will be able to choose the same or a different dining time every evening. You can request, and they will try to accommodate you if possible, to have the same servers each evening or you can choose to be served by different waiters and assistant waiters each evening. You can make reservations in advance or just show up when you want to eat and most times you will have little or no wait to be seated, and you can request a table for two or to be seated with others. You don't have to miss any shows if you take the time to check out the show schedules and arrange your dining time to fit those times. If you choose MTD, you will have to prepay your gratuities for your dining room staff and your room steward. If you choose traditional dining you can prepay your gratuities, fill out a form to have them automatically added to your onboard account, or simply wait until you get your envelopes and put the appropriate tip amounts in them to be distributed on the last night of your cruise.
It is pretty much your choice, but sometimes there are wait lists for early or late and sometimes for MTD, so make your decision as early in the booking process as possible. Then sit back and enjoy your cruise.
Some of this information is incorrect.

You can do traditional dining - early or late seating - and request a table for two. The size of your table is your choice. However, once you decide then that is your table for entire week. If you request a large table and for some reason don't like your table mates you can request to change, but you normally don't change daily.

You do not have to prepay gratuities with either MTD or traditional dining. You can if you prefer, but it is not required. RC bills your daily gratuities to your Seapass account. This can be helpful if you have onboard credit to use. No envelopes on the last night for many years. You may find envelopes in your stateroom, but these are for any additional tips you might want to give; not required, but accepted if you would like to give extra.q
#19
Oakland Park, Fl
11,442 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by Grandma Dazzles
Some of this information is incorrect.
It was correct at the time it was given - more than 5 1/2 years ago.
#20
Green Bay, WI
4,487 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
Originally posted by Biker19
It was correct at the time it was given - more than 5 1/2 years ago.
Thanks! Didn't look at the dates! Never understand how such old threads get resurrected!