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Monday, April 06, 2009

Carnival To Finally Roll Out 'Flexible Dining' Fleetwide

It wasn't long ago that Carnival executives would scoff at the idea of eat-when-you-want dining programs on ships. Fixed dinner seatings were at the core of the cruise ship experience, they would argue.

But now even Carnival is rolling out "flexible dining" across its fleet, belatedly following in the footsteps of Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess, Holland America and Royal Caribbean.

Carnival announced late Wednesday that the Your Choice Dining program that it has been testing on the Carnival Legend and Carnival Liberty since last year will be expanded fleetwide by 2010.

Under the program, which the line says was a big hit during the tests, Carnival passengers have the choice of either traditional dining at a fixed seating or flexible dining.

Carnival says it will have the new program up by the end of April on eight ships: the Carnival Legend, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Miracle, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Elation and Carnival Pride. The program then will roll out on the Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Spirit by mid-June before debuting on the Carnival Dream (late September), Carnival Ecstasy (mid-October) and Carnival Glory (mid-December).

The remaining nine Carnival ships -- Carnival Fascination, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Destiny, Carnival Triumph, Carnival Valor, Carnival Splendor, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Victory -- will be configured for flexible dining by the summer 2010.

The line says the slow roll out is necessary to give it time to make modifications to dining room table configurations on the ships.

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