Anytime Dining

Princess Cruises | Caribbean Princess Reviews

By Bernard TAYLOR on 11 October 2016

My wife and I have recently returned from a cruise on the Caribbean Princess from New York to Quebec and, when booking, asked for Anytime Dining. I appreciate that between about 6.00 pm and 7.30 pm is a busy time for restaurants but ,on this cruise, the Anytime Dining option simply did not work. On the first occasion when we went to the restaurant at about 6.30 pm there were two long queues at the doorway. The first was for guests to collect a bleeper as no tables were available and the second was for people who had made a reservation(!) We were told that no bleepers were available in spite of there being 3 in the rack, and that we should go away and return after 20 minutes. This I refused to do as it would mean getting on the back of an even longer queue and then possibly getting the same response. We therefore remained at the head of the queue and, after about 5 minutes, were given a bleeper from the rack. I was not aware until then that it was possible to reserve a table for Anytime Dining but learned that some guests had even reserved the same table for the same time each evening. I decided to play the game and, early the next morning. telephoned the restaurant to reserve a table for that evening. I was told that no reservations would be accepted for dinner between 5.30 pm and 7.30 pm as it was such a busy period. The fact that people with reservations were queuing at 7.00 pm to get into the restaurant was not explained. Eventually, I was referred to the maitre D’ for an explanation of the situation. I therefore went to see him but he simply repeated that no reservations were taken for the peak period. The fact that some guests had reservations for the peak period was, again, unexplained and I was told that I had misunderstood the situation. My wife and I varied the time we went to the restaurant during the busy period but on each occasion the situation was the same and there would be a flock of frustrated and complaining diners at the door to the restaurant. On two occasions when we did gain entrance we were then formed into a snake of about six couples and were then led once downstairs to the Palm, and once upstairs to the Coral restaurant by a member of the dining staff. Throughout, the dining staff were always very polite and the maitre D’ was obviously under pressure but, the fact is, the Anytime Dining system in place simply did not work and led to a considerable amount of ill-feeling amongst guests.

By Bernard TAYLOR on 11 October 2016

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