Why Do Cruises Have Formal Dining? Bookmark and Share

If you’ve considered booking a cruise in the last 2 years you will have noticed that more and more cruise lines are making a BIG thing of advertising their informal dining options. I know from a personal point of view that when we talk to friends about cruising the one question they all have is “Do you have to sit at the same table with the same people every night?” It’s obviously something that most people don’t want to do, so why do cruises have formal dining?

On our last voyage (doesn’t that sound posh?!) there was clearly 2 different types of people onboard. Those there for the formal cruising experience and those who were there for a good time. It’s quite clear that the formal cruise guests have a definite looking down their nose issue with people who prefer more freedom. Isn’t freedom what a holiday should be all about? Where else in life would you pay many thousands of pounds to be told where to sit, when to sit there and most importantly who you will be sat with? How can that possibly be seen as the luxurious option? This is even more obvious if you consider how formal arranged dining came about, space saving! Cruise Ships had this regimented dining experience in order to make the most of the available space! It wasn’t to offer the best possible service, it wasn’t to offer their guests the ultimate luxury. It was for no other reason than having people sat in a certain place at a certain time was the best way of making sure everybody got fed! There wasn’t enough room to have everybody sit where they want when they want.

A cruise is just another holiday. Paint it up, call it what you like but it is still just a holiday, a holiday that you’re likely paying a great deal of money for and a holiday on which you are the guest. On modern large cruise ships the ability to dine with who you want when you want should be a given, not an exclusive selling point! I’d have far more respect for certain cruise lines if they could admit that it is the norm as well – most people do not want to be told who they have to eat with!


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