What time is best for you and your family?

Most cruise lines offer two times for dining and early and late. Some cruise lines also offer a the option to eat at your choice of times, flexibility dining seem to becoming a popular choice while vacationing. 
My family enjoys the late dinner on most occasions. We find that it fits our travel style much better than the earlier dining times.  

When we travel we like to go with the flow and just enjoy a meal when the day its over. We have a royal Caribbean cruise coming up at the end of the year and I am looking forward to experiencing “My Time” dining. I have already made reservations for the times that I think will work best for the daily activities we have planned each day. An on the days that we are at sea (our relax day) I think we will just go with the flow of the day. 

I was trying to pin point why we enjoy late dining verses early and I think I have it down to a few reasons. 

The one time that we tried early dining we felt rushed. plus since it was on a Disney Cruise I felt that there was a lot of families with little ones. Not that that is always the case on every cruise but I feel that the families with children enjoy eating before the kids need to get to bed. Since we are all “adults” now and at the time family with a teen; that was not an issue for us. 

What do we like to do with our time before dinner?

We like to enjoy cocktails while the pool is quiet and mainly empty. 

Taking our time getting ready for dinner so that we all look extra nice. 

Taking in a show before dinner. 

Being able to enjoy every last bit of the meal and not feeling like we need to get out of the dining room so they can prepare for the next wave.

Even the characters take a few extra minutes for photo opts. after their shows. 


Enjoy a cup of coffee on the verandah while we watch the sun go down before dinner.

Getting back for a port day and enjoying a room service without feeling like you will ruin your dinner.


Or heading up to a quick service restaurant for a bite. Call it a late lunch, snack or a appetizer; what ever you call it they are always good.


I enjoy going to adults only trivia or game shows before dinner.

One of my favorite after dinner activity is to walk around the ship a take it all in. Once the majority of the ship has gone to bed I find I can get the best photos and enjoy all the small details that goes into these ships.


While we are taking our time before dinner we like to look at the menu for the night and talk about what we will be enjoying.

I asked a few of my fellow cruisers why they choice one dining time over the other; this is what they had to say.

  • “We’ve only done late on our 1 cruise but think it’s good since we wouldn’t be hungry if we had early seating. Perfect for older families I think.”

  • “We like late because we don’t feel rushed after spending a day at a port and sometimes we’re not even hungry yet.”

  • “Late = tad less chaos with kids but late for those that get sleepy easy.”

  • “I love early because then we’re not too full to snack after the show 🤣😅😆
  • “Early for sure!! I can’t sleep on a full stomach and we like to be free to play in the evening”
  • “I love early dining because it’s similar to the time we eat back home, plus with little kids, there’s no telling what their mood will be by 6:30 if they haven’t eaten! the only downside is that, depending on itinerary, sometimes you have to get back to the ship earlier than necessary”
  • “We love late dining because the little kids are in bed and our early show is not as full either. We grab a snack around 4:00 and call it good.”
  • “Early: I don’t go to bed super full. Late: I don’t have to rush to get ready for dinner. But it makes for a really late night.”
  • “We love late! We can always grab an afternoon snack, but don’t like having to rush to get to early dinner.”
  • “We love early. There were 15 of us and early gave us the opportunity to keep the little ones on their bedtime schedule and the older to be able to see the shows, go back to the kids club, go back to swimming, etc. it was more of our normal routine”
So as you can see everyone has their reasons for why they choice one over the other. Hopefully this will help you decide what is going to work best for you and your family when you cruise.

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