Cruise TipsDiningHow Does Royal Caribbean’s My Time Dining Work?

How Does Royal Caribbean’s My Time Dining Work?

freedom of seas my time dining
RCCL's Freedom of the Seas Dining Room

There have been both positive and negative reports on Royal Caribbean’s My Time Dining.  But whether My Time Dining works for you or not really depends on what your preferences are.  Some people like to get to know their wait staff and sitting with other people at a table is not a problem, while others like to dine anytime they feel like it and prefer to eat with just their party.

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Fortunately, Royal Caribbean still offers both traditional and My Time Dining options.  Not every ship has it though, so you should check out their website to see if your ship will offer this service if you are interested.

Here is a little how My time Dining works

You can eat anytime between 6:00 pm and 9:30 pm.  No reservation is needed, but Royal Caribbean strongly encourages you to get a reservation if you don’t want to spend a lot of time waiting when you go to dinner.  That is really the biggest flaw with My Time Dining.  The wait.  Often, even if you do have a reservation you have to wait, but the time is much shorter since they are expecting you.

The menu for My Time Dining is still the same, so you will get the same quality meals.

Also, once you have been seated and your meal is being served, no other guests will be sat at your table.  At least, that’s how it is supposed to work.  So for those who like some solitude, they may find that this more “freestyle” approach works better, but not everyone likes the NCL style of eating.

My Time Dining is not available for breakfast, but you can still use it for both lunch and dinner.

What some people love about My Time Dining

One thing I’ve read over and over again from people who really like My Time Dining is that they don’t have to worry so much about what time dinner is.  On a cruise ship there are so many activities and fun shows, that it can be easy to lose tract of time, and not having to worry about being at diner at a specific time works for some people.

It can be awkward to eat with a complete stranger, and this dining option also makes it easier for folks who just want to enjoy their getaway at sea.  As I mentioned, most of the time you will be eating with just your party, but if you prefer to eat with others you can still request it.


What some people don’t like about My Time Dining

A lot of cruisers were actually upset when they heard about My Time Dining and vowed to never sail with Royal Caribbean again if this was the only option.  Well, this is NOT the only option and you can still choose to eat in the traditional manner.  Here is why some people dislike the more informal dining option.

You don’t really get to know the people you are eating with that well.  A fun part of cruising can be meeting the same people for lunch or diner every day and discussing things about the ship or about the excursions they went on.  When you eat with someone different every night it can be hard to get past the introductions every night and really get to know someone.

You also do not get to know the wait staff as well, since you may be seated in a different area every night.  Getting to know the staff and allowing them to get to know you is also a fun part of cruising for some people and My Time Dining would severely limit activity.


Gratuities must be prepaid

If you want to use My Time Dining you must pay for tips in advance.  There is a $9.75 gratuity per day that is required and this actually covers not only the wait staff but your room steward as well.  Why is it combined?  Who knows?  Probably because it makes it less confusing than diving up the tips.  All of the gratuities are divided equally among the wait staff.

If you don’t like tipping in advance to your service, and you would rather leave generous tips individually, there is nothing stopping you from going the extra mile to tip your waiter or waitress each night you use the My Time Dining option.


Any comments?

Feel free to leave a comment below to let the community at Cruise Fever know how you feel about My Time Dining in the comment section below.

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J. Souza
J. Souza
Jon is the co-founder of Cruise Fever and has been on 50+ cruises since his first in 2009. As an editor, 15-year writer on the cruise industry, and avid cruise enthusiast he has sailed with at least 10 cruise lines and is always looking for a great cruise deal. Jon lives in North Carolina and can be reached at [email protected].
Cruise TipsDiningHow Does Royal Caribbean’s My Time Dining Work?


  1. spoke with royal Carib rep today who said prepaid grats are now out if you are using My Time Dining

  2. I did find My Time Dining rather a contradiction as theoretically you could dine anytime between the hours of 6.30 – 9.30, but, its best to make a reservation, as it turned out the waiting time was approximately the same for both cases.
    The Dining experience was Excellent as were the Waiting Staff, the only gripe, there had to be one, was the cost of the Wine.
    Your statement “You cannot sign up for My Time Dining until you are on board the vessel” is incorrect you can do this online when you book the Cruise.


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