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sapphire_407

Sitting with strangers in the MDR

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Not everyone gets that amount of time with their spouse. We get about 75 dinners a year together, so yes, sometimes on vacation we want to dine alone. Frankly if anyone has a problem with that, it's their problem, not ours.

 

Why would you think anyone would have a problem with your dining plans, or even care about them at all?

 

I do question those who are afraid of, or are otherwise reluctant to consider, dining with others - especially when that aversion extends to opposing tgthe notion of assigned dining at all.

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Yes, my husband and I have a huge problem with it. We enjoy our own and each others company and to eat our meals at our pace. I would not enjoy making small talk with people I probably wouldn't dine with in normal circumstances. Thw whole thing would just stress me out and my husband would just eat his food in silence then get up and walk out. For those reasons we only started to cruise when we found a line that would accommodate our needs.

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Why would you think anyone would have a problem with your dining plans, or even care about them at all?

 

I do question those who are afraid of, or are otherwise reluctant to consider, dining with others - especially when that aversion extends to opposing tgthe notion of assigned dining at all.

 

We don't really care for assigned dining. We'd rather eat when we want and with who we want (or don't want.)

 

Just because someone doesn't like the idea of assigned dining or dining with others, it doesn't mean that they are afraid of anything. Some simply prefer to dine alone, which is their prerogative.

 

Why do you think everyone should be forced to eat at a specific time or with people they don't care to eat with? I suppose you also think it's appropriate to sit down at a table with others uninvited in the buffet, without regard to the fact that perhaps they would prefer to be eating alone.

Edited by ducklite

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A wise friend told me once that being an extrovert or introvert isn't about shyness or social skills, it is about whether you recharge your batteries by being alone, or by seeking out company. Dh & I enjoy other people but our batteries get drained by social contact and we recharge by being alone together even in crowded ding rooms. My stepmother, brother in law & others i know are drained by alone time & must have company to recharge.

 

Dh & I dreaded fixed seating. When anytime dining came in we were big fans. If we need to be alone, or if we can tolerate a group of random strangers we get to choose. Now the extroverts can enjoy their dinner, & we can enjoy ours. Win win all round.

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We don't really care for assigned dining. We'd rather eat when we want and with who we want (or don't want.)

 

Just because someone doesn't like the idea of assigned dining or dining with others, it doesn't mean that they are afraid of anything. Some simply prefer to dine alone, which is their prerogative.

 

Why do you think everyone should be forced to eat at a specific time or with people they don't care to eat with? I suppose you also think it's appropriate to sit down at a table with others uninvited in the buffet, without regard to the fact that perhaps they would prefer to be eating alone.

 

You are reducing the question to an absurdity: given the option of anytime dining, no one is forced to eat at a specific time - with, or without, others.

 

Comparing sharing an assigned table in the MDR to joining someone, uninvited, in the buffet is an exercise in irrelevance. Of course, simple courtesy would lead two people at a four top in the Lido to welcome others unable to find any other unoccupied seats ---- or, does your notion of privacy extend to justifying two people hogging four chairs in such a circumstance?

 

A number of posters have expressed aversion to dining with others - so much so that they look forward to all assigned dining being done away with. That, madam, is what I was referring to.

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You are reducing the question to an absurdity: given the option of anytime dining, no one is forced to eat at a specific time - with, or without, others.

 

Comparing sharing an assigned table in the MDR to joining someone, uninvited, in the buffet is an exercise in irrelevance. Of course, simple courtesy would lead two people at a four top in the Lido to welcome others unable to find any other unoccupied seats ---- or, does your notion of privacy extend to justifying two people hogging four chairs in such a circumstance?

 

If we can't find a two top, we're going to take a four top, and chances are we won't invite anyone to join us unless someone we know comes by. We also don't linger. We eat and leave. I've never seen the dining area so full that there were no other seats available.

 

A number of posters have expressed aversion to dining with others - so much so that they look forward to all assigned dining being done away with. That, madam, is what I was referring to.

 

It wouldn't bother me if assigned dining was done away with. Having done it both ways, I have a strong preference for open dining. Have you even tried it?

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We have become very good friends with many of our previous table mates. Its a great way to meet people. We do not take tables for 2 ever. We have a table for 2 every night at home:p

 

We too don't mind meeting others on a cruise at meals. To us, it's one major way a cruising vacation is different from going on a land trip. And I tend to be shy.

 

I have been cruising since 1976 and have lost track of the number of cruises I have been on.

 

In all those cruisers, we have only had trouble with one couple on our table who were "born again" Christian "Taliban." They wanted to start every meal with holding hands and praying and proceed to "witnessing" throughout the meal.

 

We tolerated the praying the first night. No go on the witnessing.

 

Second night, when they looked around and said, "Shall we join hands?" My response as I picked up my fork was: "We did that last night; I'm good to go for the next ten years."

 

The rest of the table snickered and started eating. They behaved themselves for the rest of the meals.

 

Now, this is one situation I would have a problem with. I don't impose my spirituality on others and expect the same for myself from others. If someone asked me to hold hands with them at the dinner table, I would have said no thanks. If they have a problem sitting with "heathens," that's their problem.

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Not sure what the complaints are about. The cruise lines have Traditional Dining for those who enjoy eating with other people, and MTD for those who prefer to eat alone or with their significant other. Has nothing to do with phobias, fears, being anti-social, etc - just personal preference. Sounds like the cruise lines are actually listening to their customers....

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I don't mind table mates at all. I'm outgoing. My husband is not outgoing. The last cruise we did ATD but we were with family. I like ATD for the convenience to eat when you want.

 

The next cruise we are doing ATD and will eat by ourselves. However, we have kids and this is a nice break. I want to have dinner with my husband. I can do,whatever. I do what he wants because that is more important to him. We have always had good table mates though.

 

One couple left our table of 8 on the Royal Caribbean. To each their own.

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You can choose "my time dining" - so you can certainly have a table for 2. Or cruise with NCL, they don't have fixed dinner times.

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Does anyone else have a problem with that? Every time we walk on a cruise ship the first thing my husband and I do is hunt down the maître D and request a table for 2. I have noticed throughout the cruise the tables near me begin to have missing people and I have often wondered if they didn't like their tablemates and began eating up on the Lido deck.

 

What happens if you don't like your tablemates and request another table? Then you have to hope you don't bump into them on the ship because that would be awkward.

 

This is one thing about cruising I think needs to be changed. Am I the only one who feels this way?

 

DW & I always sit either with a table for 2 , or 3 times we cruised with my SIL & hubby, so we had a table for 4..this has been controversial here on CC, less now with freestyle or anytime dining..my feelings are these: if you want to dine with people you don't know, nor have anything in common with, that's OK, I don't care..BUT, cruise lines should NOT make you sit with strangers on your cruise- dining with people I've never met, never will see again ( except for a SMALL percentage of cruisers who stay in touch afterwards) , is not my idea of a vacation...I do not cruise to meet waiters nor strangers, and since my wife is from Peru & speaks Spanish as her first language, sitting at table with 4 or 6 others is not comfortable for us. Once we had asked for a table for 2, and the maitre D told us that he would get us a table by the 3rd night, and he did..we just told the other 2 couples ( one who were always arguing & complaining), that we had requested a table for 2 ORIGINALLY, and now it was ready, and we wished them a great cruise ( and good riddance) ..I feel choosing to spend 60-90 minutes with my wife at dinner should be MY choice, not the cruises, nor anybody else's...

 

Big Al

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If we can't find a two top, we're going to take a four top, and chances are we won't invite anyone to join us unless someone we know comes by. We also don't linger. We eat and leave. I've never seen the dining area so full that there were no other seats available.

 

 

 

It wouldn't bother me if assigned dining was done away with. Having done it both ways, I have a strong preference for open dining. Have you even tried it?

 

I have tried open dining - several times on NCL: their Freestyle-only approach is a primary (though not only) reason for our preferring other lines. We have also tried it on Celebrity and HAL.

 

Actually, I am glad that open dining is offered on most lines: it increases the likelihood that our table mates at assigned dining will be compatible.

 

While most meals are simply matters of "refueling", we don not like eat and run dinners, finding that conversation with others (including people we have just met who have a similar approach to dining) enhances the process, making it worth the hour-plus investment of time.

 

It's great that people who are reluctant to dine with others have the anytime, my time, Freestyle, or whatever option -- I only entered this thread because the OP expressed the view that people who like the assigned dining option should not be able to have it.

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I don't mind table mates at all. I'm outgoing. My husband is not outgoing. The last cruise we did ATD but we were with family. I like ATD for the convenience to eat when you want.

 

 

 

The next cruise we are doing ATD and will eat by ourselves. However, we have kids and this is a nice break. I want to have dinner with my husband. I can do,whatever. I do what he wants because that is more important to him. We have always had good table mates though.

 

 

 

One couple left our table of 8 on the Royal Caribbean. To each their own.

 

 

I don't know that outgoing vs not outgoing has anything to do with it. I'm very outgoing and my wife is not, but neither of us have any desire to eat with strangers on our vacation.

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I have tried open dining - several times on NCL: their Freestyle-only approach is a primary (though not only) reason for our preferring other lines. We have also tried it on Celebrity and HAL.

 

Actually, I am glad that open dining is offered on most lines: it increases the likelihood that our table mates at assigned dining will be compatible.

 

While most meals are simply matters of "refueling", we don not like eat and run dinners, finding that conversation with others (including people we have just met who have a similar approach to dining) enhances the process, making it worth the hour-plus investment of time.

 

It's great that people who are reluctant to dine with others have the anytime, my time, Freestyle, or whatever option -- I only entered this thread because the OP expressed the view that people who like the assigned dining option should not be able to have it.

 

We don't eat and run at dinner either. We do at lunch usually, big difference.

 

We have had the most wonderful but also the most incompatible table mates during open seating. The advantage to open seating is that it's easy to not have to sit with those you'd prefer not to. On all the cruises we've been on, we really only became friendly with five people who we still keep in touch with to varying degrees after a couple of years--and we met them on a full ship charter where everyone already had a shared interest. We don't cruise to make friends, and we don't consider people we've cruised with for a week to fit our definition of "friend."

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Obviously, the responses break down as I would expect. Some like sharing and others don't. I got to thinking maybe it has to do with how we grew up. I was raised in a large family-I had 5 brothers plus mom and dad made a busy table every night for dinner for many many years. on holidays we had my grandparents as well. So, I am comfortable eating with a crowd.

 

OTOH, I can imagine people who has small families are more comfortable eating at a table for two...

 

I wonder if this makes sense to anybody else?

 

I have 7 siblings. so of course I am used to loud, busy dinner tables. However, I am related to all of those people. They are not strangers. I am not unsociable, I just do not like having to make small talk with strangers while trying to enjoy my meal and some people have absolutely no manners. I have done traditional dining when I first started cruising as well as shared a table in anytime dining. Honestly the number of "bad" tablemates has far outweighed the number of good ones and I'm just not willing to risk it any more. Also, I am a very slow eater and I don't like the looks that I get because apparently I am holding up everyone's meal.:rolleyes:

 

I just recently went with my sister on her very first cruise and one night the wait for a table for 2 would have been lengthy and she was very hungry so she agreed to share a table. We were seated at a table for 8 and the woman seated next to me was obviously drunk - I mean hammered! :eek: It was bad enough having her shriek unintelligibly in my ear throughout dinner but one of the men at the table decided it was appropriate to make political jokes once he found out that I was from New Jersey. Then that same man argued with another man across the table about real estate for the entire dinner. Needless to say, my sister has decided that she loves cruising, but she will never, ever agree to share a table again.

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I have 7 siblings. so of course I am used to loud, busy dinner tables. However, I am related to all of those people. They are not strangers. I am not unsociable, I just do not like having to make small talk with strangers while trying to enjoy my meal and some people have absolutely no manners. I have done traditional dining when I first started cruising as well as shared a table in anytime dining. Honestly the number of "bad" tablemates has far outweighed the number of good ones and I'm just not willing to risk it any more. Also, I am a very slow eater and I don't like the looks that I get because apparently I am holding up everyone's meal.:rolleyes:

 

I just recently went with my sister on her very first cruise and one night the wait for a table for 2 would have been lengthy and she was very hungry so she agreed to share a table. We were seated at a table for 8 and the woman seated next to me was obviously drunk - I mean hammered! :eek: It was bad enough having her shriek unintelligibly in my ear throughout dinner but one of the men at the table decided it was appropriate to make political jokes once he found out that I was from New Jersey. Then that same man argued with another man across the table about real estate for the entire dinner. Needless to say, my sister has decided that she loves cruising, but she will never, ever agree to share a table again.

 

With that type of experience, sandwiches from room service might have been a better option. Holy smokes, that sounds like the meal from hell. :eek:

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I never wanted to cruise because I did not want to be told when I had to dine and who I had to dine with (or be relegated to eat burgers on the Lido). When open seating came about, I finally started cruising. I like not having to worry about cutting an activity short just because I have to eat at a specified time.

I have to engage in small talk every day with strangers - if you want to be a Forbes 5 star hotel, there are certain things that you must do. When I go on a cruise (or any vacation), I prefer not to have to continue that. I would much rather have a table by myself or my travel partner and not have make banal conversation with strangers. I don't cruise or vacation to make friends, I do it to relax and recharge.

Now, if someone prefers to have the same dinner time at the same table with the same people, go for it. I won't deny you that if that is your preferred way of dining. But, don't expect me to do it, too...

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It's great that people who are reluctant to dine with others have the anytime, my time, Freestyle, or whatever option -- I only entered this thread because the OP expressed the view that people who like the assigned dining option should not be able to have it.

 

I think the cruise lines have actually balanced things quite well. You can eat with a large group every night - or not. I love having choices...

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We prefer a table for 2 in Anytime dining. There are many other opportunities to meet people besides dinner.

 

We have found that conversations at larger tables follow this sequence:

 

1. Geography (Where are you from? Why would you want to live there? etc.)

 

2. Biography ( Where were you born? Where did you go to school? What kind of work did you do ? Were you married before? I'll tell you about my kids and grandchildren? How many cruises have you been on. etc. etc.)

 

3. The third item can be described as LIES!

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On our first cruise we didn't know anything and were seated with two couples from New York that we had absolutely nothing in common with. Didn't know we could have asked for another table. Since then, on over 80 cruises, we always request and get a table for 2, at late dining. We enjoy the time together. One of the first things we do when we go aboard is check our table assignment, and if it isn't a table for 2, we immediately see the Maitre de to get it change. Our only exception is at when we are traveling with a conference group, and then we do sit with others.

Edited by jgawne

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We have normally enjoyed being seated at a group table and meeting all kinds of fascinating or fun people each night. However, our last cruise seemed to have all family groups and they never sat us with anyone. We see each other every day and wanted to meet others. the MaitreD then sat us with a group but it consisted of 4 family members, none of whom spoke English. Finally the last two nights we sat with another family who did speak English and in fact we knew someone in common. I am thinking of getting "traditional dining" for our next cruise so we can have people to talk to. If they're not compatible we can always switch, and we want to avoid another lonely cruise.

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My husband and I are opposites when it comes to social situations. He is energized by groups of people, and has never met a stranger. I on the other hand am worn down by these same settings. I would never consider myself an introvert or "shy". I can speak to large groups of people confidently and I am very much a leader in my everyday life.

 

My ideal vacation consists of very little interaction with people. Luckily, my husbands ideal vacation includes only spending time with me :)

We enjoy every bit of our time together. We have been seated many times with strangers and we've always made the most of it. This next cruise is just for us and we booked early enough this time to grab YTD and intend on a table for 2, even if we have to wait.

 

I can totally understand both sides, since I am on one and my hubby is on the other. Just do what is best for you. There are options for both of us :D

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We have been cruising many years and enjoy Carnival. One of many reasons is we always get ATD and always have a choice of table for 2 or sharing a table with many, again as in some other cruisers it depends on our mood. Usually we prefer with others as it invites conversation leading to friendships (or not) our choice. We have met some great people who we remain in contact with. We have had our bad experiences too and we just move tables the next night and problem solved.

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This is one thing about cruising I think needs to be changed. Am I the only one who feels this way?

 

My understanding is that it is changing. And even as someone who generally prefers mytime dining, I feel a bit saddened by this. Nobody is being forced to take an early or late sitting at a 10 top - but I think that option should remain for those who want it. I love meeting new people, and will talk to whoever I am with, whether it's whilst eating my meal or waiting for my elevator - my husband however, not so much! so, a mytime dining/shared table combo on alternate nights works for us.

 

So long as there are tables for 2 available, then those people who want to share should be able to continue doing this. I do think fixed dining will slowly disappear - certainly on the bigger ships.

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We do the same as you....find the Maitre D and request a table for 2. We enjoy relaxing and rehashing the day by ourselves and prefer to dine as soon as the dining room opens.

 

We look at dining on a ship just as we do as dining in a restaurant. We'll share a table for dinner if we have family or friends on board with us, but if it just us two, a table for two only please. :)

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