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jrobertson82

Dining Room with kids

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Just curious, as I am in the process of working on booking first cruise... As I am traveling with my teenage kids, is there any sort of option to request to be seated at a table with other families with kids, ideally in the same age range? Or is it completely random and you get what you get?

 

Do people with kids find that the early or late slot works better? or the any time dining option?

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Posted (edited)

Seems like many American families tend to be in the early MDR seating time frame.  I've seen more than one family the first night, have kids who acted out or got cranky, or simply fell asleep at the table, and then notice they didn't appear at the late seating again.

 

It's tough for kids to stay awake or behave well at late time dinners, especially after a port day.

 

As far as sitting with other families, that's up to the Maitre'D.  If the OP has a special request or just wants a different table, they can talk to the Maitre'D and express their preference.  Often, they can be accommodated.

Edited by evandbob

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I can't swear to it, and don't know the specifics on how they seat people together, but I can't recall an instance where a family with kids is seated at the same table with an older group of people.  Of all of our cruises, we have been assigned a table with other guests only twice.  On BOTH occasions, the other guests never showed up, so we had the table to ourselves.

 

As others have said, you can always send an email to the Maitre D' about a week prior to your sailing with your specific request.  

 

As for early or late, it's entirely dependent on your family's dining preferences.

 

All that said, enjoy your first cruise.  You're likely to be hooked on cruising.

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The MDR staff will seat families together with other families at the big round tables.  Usually the first night they will ask if you want to be seated with others or just as family (at a smaller table). If you do not like your new tablemates and prefer to switch up, you can always request different seating next time.  Early / Late seating arrangements are usually pre-planned by the MDR before the cruise starts.  But they can rearrange if needed.  

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Familes tend to get seated alone or with other families.  If you think your teenagers might be interested in the teen club, you may want to get copies of those activities (any ship should be ok, they're probably posted here somewhere), just to get an idea of timing.  If those start during late dining, you probably don't want to choose that because then the teens will miss out. 

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Whenever we've traveled with the kids and have had assigned seating, we've been seated with other families with children of the same age group. Once, we had a table of 12, 3 families with 2 kids each. All were between 14 - 17. The boys really hit it off and spent a lot of their on board time together. The girls seemed shier (including mine) and didn't interact much. 

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My experience has been the same. It's often been uncanny how we always find ourselves at a table with kids the same age as ours. The only conclusion is that they are actively matching tables on that basis.

 

Now if you have a specific other part or group you want to sit with, I think you can do that through the carnival.com booking, but I've never done it.

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Whenever we've had assigned seating with our two kids, we've always been given a table for four.

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Call and ask for the seating you'd like ahead of time. I wouldn't wait until on the ship, even though you can do it then. The cruise lines will try to give you the dining arrangement you'd like, and they can do it better with more notice. On most cruises I've been on, early dining sells out first, I presume because of people traveling with children and elderly. We always try for early when my grandmother or kids are with us, late dinner when just 20s-40s adults.

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6 hours ago, jrobertson82 said:

Just curious, as I am in the process of working on booking first cruise... As I am traveling with my teenage kids, is there any sort of option to request to be seated at a table with other families with kids, ideally in the same age range? Or is it completely random and you get what you get?

 

Do people with kids find that the early or late slot works better? or the any time dining option?

 

 

What time do you eat at home? Nobody mentioned YTD, which allows to eat when you are hungry.

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8 hours ago, jrobertson82 said:

Just curious, as I am in the process of working on booking first cruise... As I am traveling with my teenage kids, is there any sort of option to request to be seated at a table with other families with kids, ideally in the same age range? Or is it completely random and you get what you get?

 

Do people with kids find that the early or late slot works better? or the any time dining option?

 

On the one and only cruise where we took our kids, they automatically assigned us to a table with other families with kids their ages. 

 

And last week my husband and I cruised, and although our randomly assigned table was all adults, around us were some tables of families with kids -- and each of those tables had kids the same age. 

 

So my uninformed guess is that the maître d' already takes this into consideration when making table assignments. 🙂

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We’ve always been seated either with another family with similar age kids or at a table for just our family. Definitely choose early dining as the teen club activities start during late seating. 

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If your teenagers are like most I know, you won't see them at dinner anyway.

 

There will be activities that will be missed if you have an assigned dinner time. I'm speaking of the music trivia parties, the captain's toast, movies on the lido deck, etc...

 

I recommend your time dining, and checking the fun times to see what events you may enjoy attending, and plan your dinner each day around that.

 

If you cannot get your time dining, you may choose the lido buffet at any time and do the same. 

 

If your evening plans are just to be together, choose the dinner time closer to what you are accustomed to. 

 

Have a great cruise!

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Oh, and if there are 3-4 of you together you may be seated at a table to yourselves, with a chance of being seated with others at a larger table.

 

If for whatever reason you don't like your assigned table (that comes with assigned time dining) ask to be moved the next day. They are really accommodating.

 

 

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Thanks for all the updates. Sounds like they just do put families together anyway, so I will trust the system.

 

I know myself and my kids, im guessing we end up in the MDR maybe a couple times for breakfast, and a couple for dinner, but thats probably it. We are much more likely to choose quicker options and eat on the go. But you never know, we will see. It's our first cruise, so will be a learning experience.

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They do seem to try to get "like" groups together.    We sail as a couple and have never been seated with a "family".

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Posted (edited)

The only time I had one that was a little off was back in 2006. I was with a group of 2 other guys, in early our 20s. We were matched at a table with 3 girls of similar age, and an older couple with a daughter still in college. So still pretty well matched, but it's the only time I've seen a "family" matched with a non-family.

Edited by CruisingViper

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If it were me I'd request being seated with another family early in the week before your sailing.

Your request would involve another family's seating as well as your own ... not just a simple swapping of one table for your family with another of the same size.

 

You might also try contacting John Heald thru his FB page posting what you'd like 4 days before you sail.  (Post in the morning).  He'll need your ship and sailing date as well as your cabin number as well as your request.

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2 hours ago, jrobertson82 said:

Thanks for all the updates. Sounds like they just do put families together anyway, so I will trust the system.

 

I know myself and my kids, im guessing we end up in the MDR maybe a couple times for breakfast, and a couple for dinner, but thats probably it. We are much more likely to choose quicker options and eat on the go. But you never know, we will see. It's our first cruise, so will be a learning experience.

 

Keep in mind, that if they're looking to hang in then teen club, instead of going to dinner, the club is actually closed. I want to say they closed at 5 and reopened at like 8, then started the activities again. For us, I like that they did this, it kind of "forced" our teen to come with us. It gave us a little time to talk about our day, the next day, what he did all day (for sea days especially, when we don't see him most of the day), and just have a little family time.

 

We have often cruised with other families, so we had one large table for all of us. Or when it was just the 3 of us, we had a table to ourselves. We usually did the early dining, as that's closer to when we eat at home due to school and swim practices. But on our 1 RCI cruise in Europe, we did have the anytime, which worked nicely on their ship. We actually made "reservations" for each night to go the time we wanted based on the time in port. Carnival doesn't do reservations for YTD, you just show up. Which we did that for Alaska as well.

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