Archive for May, 2009

Dine on your own time, Royal Caribbean promises

Friday, May 1st, 2009

RCI_Voyager_CouplesDine

Royal Caribbean wants you to set your own schedule for meals and other cruise activities. Following a cruise-industry trend that is now close to universal, the cruise line has enhanced its dining program, offering guests greater flexibility, personalization and convenience. The new programs are called My Time Dining and My Family Tine Dining, and they allow guests, including families, to choose when they will drop in to eat.

The cruise line has been testing the concepts for about a year and the response has been positive. My Time Dining allows participating guests to eat in the main dining room of their ship whenever they like. My Time Dining guests can make daily reservations for specific seating times or choose to walk-in. Guests can be seated with the party they arrive with, request to be seated with other guests or dine alone. To ensure a smooth and undisrupted experience, no additional guests will be seated at a table once dinner service has begun. Guests choosing My Time Dining must prepay gratuities and enroll onboard or in advance through their travel agent.

My Family Time Dining is more about getting the kids fed and providing the parents some unfettered alone time during the evening. The program will offer an expedited 40-minute dinner experience during the first seating in the main dining room for kids, ages 3-11, enrolled in the Adventure Ocean youth program. Once seated, kids will enjoy expedited service and be immediately served. Forty-five minutes into the seating, a youth counselor will escort kids from the main dining room entrance back to the Adventure Ocean spaces for continued evening activities, allowing parents to enjoy the rest of their dinner at their leisure. For more convenience to parents and more fun for kids, Lunch and Play provides kids in Adventure Ocean with lunch, movies, cartoons and free-play time between noon and 2 p.m. under the supervision of Adventure Ocean counselors. There is a charge of $7.95 per child for the Lunch and Play program.

Royal Caribbean is the latest entry in the dine-whenever trend that has greatly diminished the old saw about cruise vacations being too regimented, with each activity unflexibly scheduled. Now, cruise passengers can pretty much dictate what they’ll do and when.