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JMGJD Jul 22nd, 2010 07:51 AM

Help! Any suggestions for switching to early dining when it's already full?
I know this may sound like a strange question but I was hoping that someone might have had a similar experience and could help me handle the situation. We are going on a 5 day CCL Canada cruise to celebrate my grandparent's 60th Anniversary so it is a large group of people (13). We booked a long time ago and at the time the late dining seemed like a better option. We forgot all about it until we went to fill out our boarding information the other day. We are traveling with our 9 month old baby and an 8:15 dining time is going to be a disaster since her bedtime is much earlier. When I called today to switch the dining time I was told that it is already full. We are currently on a wait list, but I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions of anything that we could possibly do to get a table during the earlier seating.
Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

Eschew Jul 22nd, 2010 09:03 AM

If it is for a couple of people, it is easy. You are almost certain to get changed. For a group of 13, your chance is much slimmer. I am assuming that you have asked for the group to sit together, and if that is the case, that would make it even harder to switch. Are you willing to get switched without sitting together?

If it is not changed by the time you get on board, you can try greasing the palm of the matri'd, but even that may not work as you are tlaking about 13 pepole.

There are other alternatives.

Feed the baby earlier and left the baby with a sitter (everyone takes turn?) and the sitter ate earlier at the buffet.

Or only the family with baby get swicthed to an earlier seating and everyone stay at the late seating.

Or book at the premium restaurants and pay extra.

If the baby is the only isssue, I wouldn't change the time as the late seating is prefeered for that cruise. You will have more dayalight hours enjoying the scenic cruising.

I have a question. Do you intend to bring the 9 month old into the dining room? Can the 9 months old sit still for 2 hours during dinner regardess of the time of the day? Maybe it is better off that the baby is tired and slept through the whole dinner hours at the late seating?

pjtulsa Jul 22nd, 2010 09:10 AM

I see you have older folks in your group, is there any chance any of them have any med problems like Diabetes that would REQUIRE them to eat earlier? If so you should contact the Special Needs Dept and they may be able to help you...

The only other choice would be to go to see the Maitre d' as soon as you board.. you would probably have to be willing to accept seperate tables and maybe even different stations. Early Dining seems to be easier to get than late on Carnival so there is hope..

Good Luck and be sure to check out Cruise Critic Dot Com where you will find info on even the simplest questions.

Rhea58 Jul 22nd, 2010 10:43 PM

Pjtulsa has given excellent advice. Also, pls. don't bring
a 9-month old baby to the dining rm. Uncomfortable for the
baby, detracts you from having interaction with the rest
of your group & others present.

If the maitre d' cannot switch you (ask to see him as soon
you board which I have done in the past before everyone can
get to him) then hiring a babysitter for 2 hours may be your

Hope this works out for you - let us know when you return.

JMGJD Jul 23rd, 2010 04:35 AM

Thanks for the advice everyone. I received an email at midnight that we were taken off the wait list and confirmed for the early seating!
In response to the questions/concerns about bringing our 9 month old into the dining room.... yes, baby will be joining us for dinner. She comes out with us often and sits in a highchair eating her food and sampling ours and playing with the small, quiet toys that we bring to keep her entertained. We've been traveling with her since she was 3 months old. No one in our family feels that having her present detracts from the interaction (in fact, the sentiments are exactly the opposite). We are extremely respectful of the other guests present and, in the event that she gets antsy, our family members will be fighting over the opportunity to take her out of the dining room and babysit until the meal is over :)

bratsandbeer Jul 23rd, 2010 06:14 AM

JMGJD It seems you have everything under control regarding your baby in a dining room.

Last week we went out to dinner and a couple had 2 small children. They behaved so badly, running around and screaming constantly, being very demanding. It made our meal miserable. There were 8 of us and also other tables were full. Everyone looked miserable.

Then there are times when some children are so well behaved it is a joy to have them in the same room.

Dayenu Jul 23rd, 2010 12:50 PM

On one of the cruises there was a large family next to our table, with children of pre- and school ages. Only at the 3rd dinner we realized there was a baby too. All of them were so well behaved!

Made me think not only my children are raised properly ;)

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