Royal Caribbean My Time Dining or Traditional Seating

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Reflections - the main dining room on Serenade of the Seas

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As you embark on a Royal Caribbean cruise, your dining choice is an essential decision you need to make.

Royal Caribbean My Time Dining is a flexible alternative to the traditional set-time dining experience. My Time Dining is a flexible option that allows you to enjoy dinner in the Main Dining Room at a time that suits your plans.

With My Time Dining, you are free to make dinner reservations for any time during dinner service hours, which usually begin around 6:00 pm and last until 9:30 pm. The exact times may vary by sailing, but reservations are strongly recommended to avoid waiting.

Keep reading if you’re still not sure whether Traditional or My Time Dining is right for you.

What is Royal Caribbean My Time Dining?

Reflections - the main dining room on Serenade of the Seas

My Time Dining is a flexible dining option available on Royal Caribbean cruises. My Time Dining allows you to eat in the Main Dining Room at any time during dinner service hours, usually 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm.

Though the exact hours may vary depending on the ship and itinerary.

Unlike traditional dining, there are no set dining times. So you are free to visit the main dining room at a time that works for you.

But we strongly recommend making a dinner reservation to avoid long wait times.

Your dining preference only applies to dinner service in the main dining room.

Breakfast and lunch are seated on a first-come, first-serve basis. And your dining preference doesn’t apply to specialty restaurants, the buffet, other complimentary dining venues, or the ultimate dining package.

The three-level main dining room on board Odyssey of the Seas.
(Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean)

If you don’t have a dinner reservation, you can show up at any time. But you’ll need to wait until a table becomes available. And there’s usually a bit of a lineup (less than 20 minutes in our experience).

Reservations are also beneficial because the wait staff is better able to accommodate table and waiter requests.

Just make sure you show up on time if you make a reservation. Your table may be given to another group if you’re late. Then you’ll need to wait your turn for another table.

My Time Dining is a great option if you like to socialize on your cruise.

With traditional dining, you are seated with the same people each night of the cruise. But with My Time Dining, you have the flexibility to choose who you sit with each day.

When you register for your Royal Caribbean cruise, you can choose between My Time Dining or Traditional Dining.

Royal Caribbean requires guests to pre-pay gratuities and purchase vacation protection when booking My Time Dining. It may be a downside, but we prefer to pre-pay gratuities because it helps us with our cruise budgeting.

But how do they compare?

My Time Dining Compared to Traditional Dining

Royal Caribbean main dining room on Spectrum of the Seas
(Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean)

Traditional Dining:

  • Set seating times, either early or late dining. Early seating is 5:30 pm, and late seating is 8:00 pm.
  • Assigned seating with the same table and group of people throughout the cruise.

My Time Dining:

  • Flexible dining hours, usually between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • Choose your table companions and seating time.

With My Time Dining, you get to decide when you eat and who you eat with.

One downside of My Time Dining is that you’re not guaranteed to have the same waiter every evening.

When you have the same server, they get to know your preference and offer a more personalized experience. It’s not a big deal for most people. But if you prefer personalized service, you might prefer traditional dining.

The choice between traditional dining and My Time Dining depends on your preference for a fixed schedule or more flexibility during your cruise vacation.

Main dining room on Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas
(Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean)

The menus are the same for My Time and traditional dining. And the same goes for the dress code. If it’s a formal night on Royal Caribbean, it applies to both dining options.

So there isn’t much of a difference.

While My Time Dining provides greater flexibility, the traditional dining option is still popular. It is a good choice for a family to stick together. Traditional dining times are also arranged so that you won’t miss the theatre shows.

Both options provide an enjoyable dining experience aboard Royal Caribbean. And choosing between the My Time Dining and traditional dining is a matter of personal preference.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the differences between My Time Dining and Traditional Dining?

My Time Dining offers more flexibility compared to Traditional Dining. With My Time Dining, you can choose to dine at different times each night rather than having a fixed dinner schedule. The menu remains the same between both dining options in the Main Dining Room.

How do I make a Dinner Reservation on Royal Caribbean?

You can make a dinner reservation through the online Cruise Planner or Royal Caribbean mobile app. If you need help making a dinner reservation, you can visit guest services on the ship.

Star-class suite guests can have their Royal Genie make the reservation for them. Grand suite guests and above can also request reservations through the suite concierge in the Suite Lounge.

How can I change my dining preference on Royal Caribbean?

To change your dining preference on Royal Caribbean, through the Cruise Plannter, Royal Caribbean’s website, or your travel agent.

You can also visit guest services to make changes to your dinner preference while on the cruise ship. However, space may be limited when you are on the ship, and you might not be able to switch between My Time Dining and traditional dining.

What are the traditional dining times offered on Royal Caribbean?

Royal Caribbean offers two dining times; early seating at 6:00 PM and late seating at 8:30 PM.

What does ‘Flex Dining Guest’ mean on Royal Caribbean?

As a Flex Dining Guest on Royal Caribbean, you have chosen the My Time Dining option. This means you can dine at different times each night according to your preferences, providing you with greater flexibility during your cruise.

Do I need to tell the maitre d’ or waiter I’m not coming to dinner some nights?

You don’t need to let the maitre d’ or the dining staff know that you are not showing up to dinner unless you’ve made a dinner reservation.

How long will I wait to be seated if I show up without a reservation?

While reservations are strongly recommended for My Time Dining, you can still show up without one. However, the wait time to be seated will depend on the availability of tables and the number of guests.

In our experience, the wait time is usually around 20 minutes, but it does vary. To avoid delays, it is best to make a reservation in advance.

Which restaurants does My Time Dining Apply?

 My Time Dining only applies to the main dining room. Your dining preference doesn’t apply to specialty restaurants or other complimentary dining options.

Marcello De Lio
Marcello De Lio

Marcello's been cruising since he was 12 years old. He loves the freedom that cruising provides, meeting new people, and exploring amazing new ships. Marcello created High Seas Cruising to share his passion for cruising and travel with readers and grow a community of passionate voyagers.

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