Travelled with "Emerald Princess"(brilliant) Nov 07,opted for formal dinning, excellent service,same menu avaliable in all resturants,but heard several complaints about ant/t/dinning long wait+pager.M,Pugh Torbay 16/1/2008.
I have never experienced any queues when I select Anytime - and I would always select this over Traditiona.
Going on Sea Princess for 2nd time this March ,would always pick anytime over traditional.We never had a long wait ,just picked up a buzzer at the restaurant and went for a drink and before we knew it were being called.It certainly beats eating at a fixed time with people you possibly didn't have a lot in common with for 2 weeks .
In busy times if you are prepared to share a table with others like "traditional" dining then you will normally be seated in a few moments, if you require a table say for two and one is not available right then you will be given a "pager" when your table is ready the "pager" will bleep and you can go straight to your table(normally about 10 mins). Other that that use the DINE LINE number on your stateroom phone to book a table in advance. All this works very well, so for me I would stick with your anytime dining.
Went on sea princess to caribean last jan and we did combination of both. just book tradtional but then do the flexi, we did seak house etc, at least you know you will have table in dining room everynight if you want. We had the same table and waiters, had 5 formal night it was brill. enjo.
You can also book the night before if you know what time you wish to eat and avoid queuing totally.
We have done anytime dining twice on Sea Princess and it has worked well. If you go at peak times e.g 8pm or directly after Captains reception etc there is a v long queue but on the whole we have never had a problem. On a few occasions (usually when we wanted a table just for 2)we were given a bleeper, went to have a drink and usually didn't get time to finish it before we were called. We loved the flexibility of anytime dining-there were days when we just wanted the 2 of us but plenty of times when we were happy to share. We met some lovely people this way and, unlike traditional seating where you are with the same group, we met with different people each time.
If you have not sailed on Sea Princess before you will love it - sister to P&O Oceana - I particularly liked the area at the back of the ship with the small circular pool. Enjoy your cruise when it comes - we are sampling Ventura in August with 2 couples we first met on Aurora years ago.
Just phone the restaurant of your choice and you can book a table up to 6pm, no bookings from 6-8pm. After 8pm one can book up untill 10pm.If you find a nice table with excellant service, take a note of the number and rebook it for whenever you wish,on a future evening.
One of biggest drawbacks with NCL Pearl was queuing on "freestyle"cruising in main restaurants and not being able to book for speciality restaurants due to bookings already filled when system had just opened. We now book traditional on other cruise line.
We have been cruisers for some 20 years and welcome anytime dining. The only time when you do see people queing is later in the evening but you can always book your table the previous evening or earlier in the day if you have an idea of what time you wish to be seated. It really is a wonderful way to dine. If you go ashore and arrive back later, it's wonderful to have the option of a lazy drink before dashing for dinner. We would thoroughly recommend it.