Carnival Says Arrive On-Time or Eat Upstairs

For many people, one of the best things about assigned-seat dining is getting to meet new people with whom, over the course of a cruise, you can bond. Often, these tablemates can wind up becoming lifelong friends. However, if there’s a downside to this type of arrangement, it would be those situations where you spend a week having to deal with people who are always late for dinner.

Now, Carnival Cruise Line is testing out a rule that will either put a little pep in the step of perpetually-late diners… or have them looking elsewhere for their evening meal.

What Are They Changing?

“We are testing a two-hour window on Carnival Glory and Carnival Conquest, between dinner seatings instead of the regular two hours and fifteen-minute window,” said a spokesperson for the line. But the bigger change involves those who show up late. “We are now turning guests away after 30 minutes.” Those who arrive late are offered the opportunity to check back later to see if seating has opened up or head to the Lido deck.

Senior Cruise Director John Heald explained the reason for the change on his Facebook page. “Some guests have been arriving late,” he said, “sometimes an hour after opening. And honestly, we just cannot operate a huge dining room like this. So now, if a guest comes more than 30 minutes after the dining room has opened, we will politely invite them to enjoy dinner on the Lido Deck.”

Why It Makes Sense

Thinking about the way dining rooms with assigned seating work, it’s easy to see how late arrivals can have a negative impact. If a couple arrives 45 minutes after the rest of a table has been seated, the wait staff — which may be presenting main courses — suddenly has to backtrack in order to bring appetizers and cocktails to the latecomers. An already busy waitstaff suddenly has their entire routine thrown out of whack.

While Heald acknowledged that this is likely to rub some guests the wrong way, he also indicated this was very likely to become the norm. “While many understand,” he writes, “some don’t it seems, so I want to get the word out there as we look to put this into practice across the fleet.”

As always, Heald ended with a call for feedback, saying, “I hope you all agree and understand why we are doing this… in fact, let’s find out!” Like him, we’re curious to hear what cruisers think, so hit the comments and let us know your take on this attempt to curb bad behavior.

Photo: Carnival

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