If you’re sailing onboard a cruise with a group of people, be it friends, relatives or colleagues, the question of who dines with whom and when is bound to come up. Each cruise line is different.
For example, Carnival Cruise Lines does confirm group dining requests 3 weeks before sailing (Guests with individual reservations must wait until boarding the ship.)
NCL has found that Freestyle actually offers group members more options. Due to the extensive restaurants and cuisines offered on-board, group members can break off into smaller groups and dine together. Avoiding peak times at restaurants is another way passengers can be accommodated when they want to dine together.
Reservations-only supper clubs and restaurants are now the norm. Reservations for these specialty restaurants can only be made once on-board the ships. (Groups are not given any preferential treatment.)