Personal Choice Dining

Aug 1st, 2001, 05:46 AM
  #1  
Lydia
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Personal Choice Dining

Can someone explain Personal Choice Dining to me? I'm confused.

Do you still have to choose early or late seating for the formal dining room? Even at that, can you still dine elsewhere, and where is that elsewhere on the Dawn Princess. Must you inform someone in the dining room (the one that you signed up for) that you won't be dining there on a certain night or do you just not show up?
If you don't dine in your designated dining room, won't that leave tablemates dining alone? and is that quite fair to them?
Also, can you dine in the formal dining room some nights and elsewhere other nights?
And if you don't dine in the formal dining room, do you still have table service or is it buffet style?
I understand that there is a buffet on deck for breakfast and lunch, is that where the Personal Dining is?
Sure would like to have this cleared up for me.
Thanks


 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 05:14 AM
  #2  
MichelleK
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We are going on the Golden Princess in two weeks and have opted for Personal Choice Dining. From what I understand, there is an area in the dining room set aside for "Personal Choice" people. You do not have a set time, a set waiter, or a set group of people you normally eat with. Its different every time. If you do not want to eat in the dining room, you simply go to one of the other alternative restaurants on board. (No need to inform anyone.) On the Grand and Golden I believe there is an Italian place and a Tex-Mex type place, as well as a 24-hour buffet. I hear that the alternate restaurants fill up quickly though, and that reservations should be made for the nights you plan on eating there. You can check Princess's website....they may have more information.
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 02:20 PM
  #3  
sammie
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We were on the Sun Princess in June, prior to our trip we were confused about Personal choice.
Upon boarding we noted our cruisecard did not have an assigned table or sitting , so we became personal choice.
1 of the 2 main dining rooms is Personal Choice, the other one is traditional.
Personal choice diners can call and make a reservation for each evening or they can take their chance and just show up. Lines form after 6pm if you dont have a reservation.
The menus are the same in both main dining rooms.
The buffet is walk in, no reservation, there is some wait staff but it is pretty much self serve.
There is a steak house in personal choice by reservation but it has an $8 cover charge, we didnt try it out.
We liked Personal choice very much,
Dont worry about the rules or offending anyone or making a mistake. The goal is less regimentation, it is your vacation to plan as you wish.

 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 04:09 PM
  #4  
Lydia
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Thank you so much for your replies.
It clears up a lot of things for me.

Couple more questions:
Even if you designate early or late seating when the TA asks, do you have to stick to it or can you still use Personal Choice Dining?
What happens on formal nights? Can you have either/or? If you chose a definite seating, do you have the same table mates that the cruise line matched you up with or do they seat you with someone different every night? like open seating.
On some cruises we've had a specific, very nice table by the window in the dining room. I sure would hate to give that up for Personal Choice.
Also, we've had a lot of very, very nice table mates in the past which I wouldn't trade having met for anything.

 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 09:12 PM
  #5  
Paul Therault
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I do not care for personal choice dining. I do like regimentation in dining times. I know when I return from a tour I will not have to wait in line to eat. My time is set.

I also do not wish to sit with different passengers each night. It does take some time for people to loosen up with strangers and when you finally do the meal is over and you may never see these passengers again.

I prefer to sit at a large table. I have made some lasting friendships some going back 30 years. If there is one dud couple at the table you do have the others to converse with.

Also, if you do not care for your table-mates you can just see the maitre d' to have your table changed for the following night.

Let's keep this thread going. I would like to hear all the positives of personal choice.

Paul
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 04:09 AM
  #6  
sammie
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We made our cruise plans 6 mo in advance before Personal choice rolled out, we were changed from first sitting to Personal choice by the cruise line. We wanted Personal choice anyway.
I heard positive comments about Personal choice. I did hear that people in large groups who want to sit together are better off with traditional dining. When you make the Personal choice reservation you can sit at a table for 2 or join another party at a larger table. We did both, we actually sat with the same group twice.
We did not wait in any lines for Personal choice as we had a reservation made each evening. If you dont have a reservation and you want to eat between 6 and 8 you will prob wait in line like at a busy restaurant.
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 06:05 AM
  #7  
elaine
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Lydia,

In answer to your latest query re: Personal Choice:
You indicate you prefer 'same' tablemates at dinner. If this is your preference I don't think you would enjoy Personal Choice.
On our March cruise on Grand Princess, we opted for Personal Choice and enjoyed having this option.
We met lots of interesting tablemates each evening.
Or, one could have tables for 2, 4 or more persons (arranged w/Personal Choice maitre'd).
Since our cruise was one of the first cruises offering this dining option, I must admit there appeared to be lots of confusion by staff. Some folks were trading traditional dining to Personal Choice (and vice versa).
If you enjoy being seated at the same table with the same folks for dinner, my suggestion is to choose Traditional.
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 06:50 AM
  #8  
Lydia
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Regarding this post, I agree with Paul on a lot of things about Personal Choice however, I STILL have questions.
What gives the cruise line the right to change a passenger's dining arrangements from first sitting to PC.?
Shouldn't that be the passenger's preference? after all, they're paying a bundle for the cruise.
Sammie you said with PC that you can sit at a table for 2 or join another party, does this mean open-seating or does the waiter seat you? or do you designate the table size when you make the PC reservation?
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 07:07 AM
  #9  
Lydia
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Just thought of another question regarding Personal Choice Dining.

How do you handle dining room tipping?
Does the cruise line automatically add the dining room tips to your bill whether you have PC or traditional and if so, how much is it per person per day? And who gets the tips, the wait people you have at PC or the ones you had in the traditional dining room?
This question is another reason that I think PC is confusing.
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 12:28 PM
  #10  
sammie
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PC reservations are made by phone, they ask you to select size of the table. If you request a table for 2 they will accomodate you. You are seated by a maitre de and they fill in open seats at occupied tables unless you request table for 2. Generally we were seated with people who arrived just ahead of us so we were on the same dinner courses.
We are novice cruisers so it made no difference to us that they changed us to PC.
Princess adds a $6.50/diem gratiuty for all wait staff, I did hear that if you object to this you can request the purser deduct it from your bill.
We were told PC just rolled out this summer in Alaska and the initial feedback was positive on cruise surveys.
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 02:04 PM
  #11  
Sandy
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We have cruised many times on Princess, but this will be the first with PC. My question, how is the service, with different staff each day,and the tip a sure thing, whats the incentive. We are doing back to back cruise in Sept. and will try PC, if we don't like will change.I don't mind the tip being added to bill, but SOME of the head waiters do nothing. I assume part of the 6.50 goes to the HW. Just a thought. Sandy
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 04:45 AM
  #12  
sammie
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I would describe the service as decent, laid back and friendly. We are novice cruises so I cant compare the service to other formats. I do not like hovering table service so laid back was fine by me. The tip money is split between all dining employees who are normally cut in on tips.
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 08:37 AM
  #13  
Lydia
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Who are the usual wait people that the tips go to? Is it the wine steward, the head waiter and the matre de?
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 03:28 PM
  #14  
Lydia
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In other words, if you choose Personal
Choice Dining at the time that you book your cruise, you have to eat Personal Choice every night and can't eat the traditional way any night, is that right?
With all these questions that I've asked and as confusing as this all seems, and how different the dining arrangements are compared to the way they used to be, I may never cruise again.
 
Aug 5th, 2001, 10:32 PM
  #15  
Paul Therault
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I believe personal choice is more confusing and that is what no one wants on a cruise.

Paul
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 07:11 AM
  #16  
Michelle
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From what I understand about the tipping, Princess charges you their set tip....who knows who it goes to. But if you would rather change the amount and who it goes to, I believe you can just go to the Pursers Desk and change it. Also, Lydia....don't worry you can keep cruising! Personal Choice is just that.....a choice you do not have to opt for! I gather that the traditional seating dining rooms are still alive and well, as always. And I don't think that PC means you can never eat the traditional way.....we have a group of six and are planning on eating in the dining room as always, but with more time flexibility and possibly a night or two at one of the "alternative" restaurants. I don't think it will take away from the experience for us, but I will let you know when we get back!
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 06:16 PM
  #17  
Lydia
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Michelle,
Do you mean that you are going to choose early or late seating and then some nights dine PC? Can you do that?
Also, doesn't it take time out of your cruise to go up to the purser's desk and request PC. With all there is to do on a ship, I certainly wouldn't want to got to the purser everytime that I wanted to change from traditional to PC.
I would like to spend all the time I can doing the activities. As it is, I always have to pick & choose which activities I want to do because so many of them overlap and I sure don't want to spend my time at the purser's when I could be out doing something else.
Does all this make sense or is it not all that difficult? I don't know why they are giving so many optionals.
Why couldn't they just leave it alone
and have everyone eat together in the two dining rooms like before?
 
Aug 6th, 2001, 09:29 PM
  #18  
Paul Therault
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Exactly my thoughts. Why have to think about reservatons and times on a cruise? I believe it will take away from your relaxation and enjoyment.

Paul
 
Aug 7th, 2001, 05:15 AM
  #19  
Michelle
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No, you can't change back and forth from PC to traditional seating. What I meant was that if you choose PC in advance, as we have done, you can simply choose where and when you want to eat on board. There is a dining room that is the same as the "traditional" dining room on board, except that it is reserved for PC cruisers. Basically each night you just decide okay, tonight we'd like to eat in the dining room like everyone else...then you go to the traditional-style PC dining room and eat there. Same food as in the regular dining room. Or you say, tonight we'd like to eat in one of the other restaurants on board (I hear they get crowded though so they recommend reservations.)The only differences between selecting PC vs. traditional are that you don't have to pre-set a dining time with PC, which for us is valuable because of the flexibility, and you don't have set table mates because of that. Also if you decide you'd rather eat elsewhere on board, you have that option. Obviously this is not the plan for some, but I do not think its all that confusing. Personally I prefer to vacation with more freedom and flexibility, rather than being locked into times. I think its a great OPTION to offer.
 
Aug 7th, 2001, 03:05 PM
  #20  
sammie
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We liked PC, there were few rules to follow other than a phone call to reserve a time to eat. You do not stand in line at a purser office. The 2 main dining rooms are identical as is the menu- one is traditional with preset tables and dining times, the other is by reservation or you can take a chance and walk in.
There were not too many rules for PC when we were on board the Sun in Alaska late June. It makes perfect sense to me to minimize rules and regulations, esp for stressed people who are on vacation. If someone wants traditional it is still available.
 

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