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sapphire_407

Sitting with strangers in the MDR

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We don't have as many cruise experiences {only 7 completed) as many of the previous posters so perhaps our attitude will change with time but...

 

We have always asked for a table of 6 or 8 and always been satisfied. We haven't always ended up with that number but that was OK too.

 

Cruise 1: table for 6, never saw 2, always sat with 2 single men from Canada who had never met before - both very interesting. One an "embedded" journalist analyst covering the middle east, the other a bus driver with an incredible knowledge of hockey.

 

Cruise 2: Table for 6. One a retired cruise travel agent and friend doing their 32nd trip, the other a French Canadian couple doing their first. The cruise agent and friend ate with us for the first 3 nights and then didn't come again. Said they found eating at the late seating was not good for them - surprising they hadn't figured that out in the first 31 but maybe they were trying to be polite to us. The other couple stayed and we enjoyed comparing wines each evening.

 

Cruise 3: Table for 6. One couple from US, one couple from Puerto Rico who spoke only Spanish. They had extended family on the cruise who wanted them to be with English speakers. They tried and we tried but they were clearly uncomfortable. They were able to be re-seated with some from their family. The four of us compared daily reviews and enjoyed.

 

Cruise 4: Table for 6. One couple one night, a different couple the 2nd night, couple #1 the 3rd night, sometimes no one else, then #1 or 2 again (it was football playoffs and games were available on TV). But we really enjoyed the family at the table next to us. And we had phenomenal service.

 

Cruise 5: Table for 6 requested, assigned table for 4 and no one else ever came. The table for two next to us wanted to stay a table for two but we talked across the aisle each night.

 

Cruise 6: Table for 6 or 8 requested. Met another couple through the Cruise Critic Roll Call and asked to be assigned together. Found another couple at the on-board sail-away party Had a great time together every night other than nights we ate in the specialty venues.

 

Cruise 7: Table for 8. Fabulous luck of the draw! Two couples from the US, two from the UK. Similar in age, all semi-retired. Each enjoyed good food and good wine, good conversation and good laughs. Each night we changed our seating position so we had an opportunity to relate to everyone at the table, not always talking across it.We did our specialty dining at noon so we wouldn't miss an evening together. Nightly dinner was probably the highlight of this experience.

 

It is the luck of the draw - sometimes it works, maybe not. I would describe my husband and myself as sociable but not aggressively so,. We don't do small talk well but I look forward to meeting new table mates on each sailing.

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We ALWAYS get a table for 2. My husband and I both have highly stressful jobs...wait a minute, doesn't most people? :) We cruise to get away from everyone and just spend time with each other. We are not anti social by any means, but I am not comfortable with small talk. Years ago we did sit with others and it became a circus with everyone trying to "one up" each other. I know that people do form many friendships and have a great time meeting others, but when we cruise we just like meeting our cabin stewards, dining room staff, bar staff, gift shop staff, casino staff, etc :)

 

A perfect explanation and I couldn't have expressed it better. :)

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We always get anytime dining and request a table for two. My hubby would be fine dining with anyone. I, on the other hand, feel awkward enough carrying on a conversation over dinner with people I know, sometimes. I'm truly not anti-social, and I like meeting and chatting with people, but I do have a touch of social anxiety, apparently.

Also, I think sitting with the same assigned people night after night feels "forced", rather than a natural progression of meeting, getting to know someone, and continuing the relationship. And, if they don't show up, you're left there wondering, "Was it something I said?"

If we would go on a line now that only has fixed dining, I would definitely select the largest table possible. I have found that to be less taxing than a table for 4 with just another couple, even though we've never had a bad experience, really.

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DW and I did the Rotterdam from San Diego to The French Polynesia in March, 2010 and made loads of new friends from around the world through Cruise Critic. Though we had a two seat table for dinner, we shared breakfast and lunch. We still communicate with them to this day and hope to cruise with them again in the near future.:)

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We prefer to sit with others becuase we love meeting new people. We have actually met up with one couple from our last cruise when our paths were going to cross a while back and we had dinner together. We have never shared a table with anyone obnoxious though but we are the type of people to just roll with it. It'll just give us something to chuckle over later :rolleyes:

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We like to sit/meet fellow cruisers as well at dinner. We've never asked for a specific table size on any of the cruises we've been on. We tend to book a few specialty restaurants while on board too.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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One of the main reasons that we have fallen in love with cruising is the fact that we can sit on a table with other people,it makes the holiday much more interesting and enjoyable.On the couple of cruises we have been on we have met some great people who have become friends after the holiday is over.

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On one cruise we were unable to get early dining in the MDR so we opted for Anytime dining and met many nice and interesting people. One advantage of ATD is that if don't care for a person, you're not stuck with them every evening for the rest of the cruise!

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Our cruie followed a weeklong tour, so we'd had a lot of "togetherness" with previously unknown folks and requested a table for 2. We were shown to a table occupied by 6 other people, and I felt terrible apologizing to them (it's not you folks, but...) and again requesting a table for 2. I think this made the waiter mad, as we were then shown to an empty table for 6 located between a serving station and the wall of the kitchen where, judging from the sounds, a wresteling match was taking place. At least the dirty tablecloth gave us to opportunity to guess what the last diners enjoyed! Oh, there were plenty of tables for 2 unoccupied. That was our last visit to the MDR!

 

People should be able to choose how they want to dine, whether that means at a large mixed table of just with their own party.

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I began cruising in 1965 with Home Lines on the SS Oceanic. This was an Italian line and was far ahead of its time. It even had a magnadrome roof that could be closed in inclement weather. Part of the fun in cruising for me was always meeting new people. Some relationships have lasted for over 40 years and had us travelling to each others homes. I have never met people that I didn't like at my table. As a matter of fact in 2012 I was on a Transatlantic cruise and initially my cousin and I were seated at a table for 8 people. The first 2 nights there was only another lady at the table, then we had 2 wonderful sisters from Ireland join us for the remainder on the 3rd night. On the 5th night, two more people joined us and we had the best table in the Dining Room. We have all become friends and have kept in touch. We've stayed with our friend in Ft. Lauderdale on several occasions and the last couple who joined us lives just north of Ft. Lauderdale, and they are going on another Transatlantic and needed someone to pet sit. As a result, I am going to their home to look after their little guy. They have a pool, so I'll just be absolutely in my glory. I'll be there for 27 days! So, you see if you don't take the chance, you may never meet wonderful people. I'm looking forward to this trip and again on my 2 week Caribbean cruise this coming March with our friend from Ft. Lauderdale and my cousin. Thanks to cruising I've met many many wonderful people! As everyone says, if you don't like the people, then you can change, that's what the couple that I'm pet sitting for did and all us had to admit that we all were so lucky in that we had the pet table mates ever! We have all become great friends even though my cousin and I live in Canada, then there are the 2 ladies from Ireland and of course our American friends. But, if you want to be alone, then go ahead and book a table for 2.

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When we cruise by ourselves, which is about 1/2 the time (14 cruises) we feel lonely if we have to sit at a table for 2 every night. We have met wonderful people form around the world. That is one reason I like anytime dining. If you didn't like your tablemates, you don't have to see them again. If you do like them, you can arrange another meal together.

 

Love the freedom!

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All year round, with shift work, I am lucky to sit at a table for a meal with my wife more than once or twice a week. Holiday time is a chance to make up for that. We certainly don't want to have to spend this valuable bit of time together having to make polite conversation with people we have not met before. Enjoy a chat with folk in bar or any other area before or after meal but not during if possible.

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I have always wanted to sit at a large table for eight. Changed seating one time from a 2 person table in a corner bad location. I have been friendky with all of the people at our table, stay in touch with some of them, one couple going back to 2007.

 

We have been on 14 cruises, 7 when it was just the Misses & I, 4 when it was us and 1 or 2 friend/family.

 

I do not care for the Any Time dining, preferring to get to know our Wait Staff and to let them know our preferences.

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We started cruising in 1997 and have quite a few cruises under our belts. For many years, traditional dining was all that was available . There were no other alternatives. We sat with some great tablemates and some that were not so great.

 

We enjoy Anytime Dining. We enjoy not having a set time. We have no desire to become best friends forever with the wait staff. We do not dine with strangers at a restaurant at home. We enjoy a table for two where we do not have to make chit chat with strangers. We enjoy each other's company and have done so since 1970!:D

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Several years ago, we were on the first night of a 14 night Panama Canal cruise. When we arrived in the MDR, two other couples were already seated (6 person table). Initial conversations were short, but by the end of the night, there was a lot of talking going on.

We enjoyed the other couples enough to join them for drinks before and after dinner each evening. Since that cruise we have taken 14 cruises together.

So, you just never know what friends you might meet in the MDR.

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I love a big table with 8 - 10 people. But once we had a really "snotty " lady & her husband or whatever he was at our table for 10. First of all she had an evening gown on every night. He was in a tux. Then she watched how everyone was holding their utensils. If you got soup she made it her mission to inform you that you push your spoon away from you when filling your spoon. I was in shock that someone would tell people how to eat. She also only took 2-3 bites of any course. She seemed appalled that people were eating every bite on their plates. There was a lot of eye rolling. We ate elsewhere on night 2. Night 3 we came into the dining room and everyone else was missing. Found out later they all asked to be moved. So on night 3 she informed my husband that he had placed his butter knife on his plate incorrectly. He looked at me and hoped I would just keep my mouth shut. But I can't do that. So I took my fork in one hand and knife in the other, looked her square in the eye and said, " My husband can put his knife anywhere he wants. But me, I'm gonna stick mine up your tight ass if you come to this table tomorrow night." I thought she was going to have a stroke. She looked at her man who didn't say a word. They just got up and left. We never saw them again and we asked the original table mates to come back, which they did. They also bought me a drink for telling her off.

 

Wish there was a "like" button. :)

 

If people are reluctant to interact with others (who are, of course, initially strangers) they are free to try getting a table for two at traditional dining or go to ATD -- but to want traditional dining done away with (for everyone) because of their personal preferences is the height of self-obsession.

 

I think it is fine to want "quality time" with spouse or significant other while on vacation, but what is wrong with trying something new on vacation? My wife and I enjoy our quality time most of the year - and find the chance to dine with a group of people for two weeks or so to be one of the real pleasures of cruising.

 

Another "like." Many cruise lines have kept traditional dining as an option, because there are many who feel this is what makes dining on a cruise unique compared to other vacations, as I've said before.

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We've been cruising ncl withe the freestyle dining, so we haven't had tablemates in several years.

 

I would enjoy dining with other folks. I can't see my dh and I ever being so annoyed by anyone that we wouldn't want to dine with them. I find people of all types and from all walks of life fun and interesting.

 

But, I do enjoy dining with only dh also. Our house is hectic with kids and grandkids, so time alone with him is pretty rare!

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Booze Babe,

Good for you!! I love it. My wife and I love to share a table with you anytime!!!!! :)

 

Tony from Chelsea MA.

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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?

Wow! I'm a little surprised at the under tones of sarcasm to your sole question, for what it's worth here goes. We chose select dining for 2 reasons 1) don't know what time we'll be back from shore excursions and 2) and wanted to have a variety of different people, if we so chose, each night or the option to dine alone on those "oh I just want to de-tune after a long day" kind of nights.

My husband and I did share a table on our very first cruise and to this day I think of them all often. So after all this blah, blah, blah, do what's right for you, if your not comfortable dime by yourselves, there's no right or wrong answer. Go and have fun!

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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?

 

Sometimes we eat alone.

Sometimes we eat with strangers

Every cruise line we have ever been on gave it's customers this choice so no changes needed in my opinion.

 

For those who never eat with strangers, just a couple of thoughts.

Everyone of my clients (who end up paying for my cruises) was once a stranger to me.

My DW was a stranger to me before the night I met her.

So not all strangers are tooo bad.:D

Edited by DirtyDawg

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One of the points of travel is to have new experiences. Having dinner with people one has never met before certainly qualifies as a new experience. Too often people say "I don't cruise to make friends" - apparently explaining their reluctance to interact with previous "strangers".

 

Having dinner with "strangers" may or may not result in making new friends: no problem--- but avoiding interaction with those "strangers" pretty well guarantees that you will not make new friends.

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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?

 

We have been cruising for 30 years, early on, we did share tables but never really socialized beyond polite table talk with others. We don't cruise to socialize or met others. So for the past 20+ years we get a table for two.

 

Many years ago, we had an unpleasant experience on the first night at a table for 6. We asked to change tables the next night, then we got a table again for 6, the other two couples were very heavy drinkers which was okay but not that pleasant. So if you ask you can easily get your table changed.

 

We sometimes eat at the buffet because it is easy to get a table with a view before sunset. Or we have a late lunch either from Room Service or a plate we bring back to our cabin and enjoy on the balcony if we are in port. Today cruise ships have lots of options.

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My husband and I went on our first "together" cruise this year and we were disappointed by choosing Any Time Dining - we would rather have had the experience of meeting other people on our anniversary cruise, rather than only really chatting with each other. Not that we don't love chatting together! But we love to meet people and want to have a more engaging experience next time.

 

I also meant to mention that while I always love the breakfast in the MDR, I absolutely loathe the randomness. At dinner, you can 'get to know' your tablemates over a few days. At breakfast, it's a crapshoot. Two memorable moments were when the ancient couple from Palm Beach haggled with the server about "This orange juice isn't 12 ounces" and the super stuck up lady who repeatedly sent the coffee back - on the final morning of the cruise! - because it wasn't hot enough. Considering it was steaming coming out, I don't know how nuclear she wanted it, but the rude and imperious manner in which she spoke was incredibly off-putting. I'm certain she was still a B when at home, but also certain she didn't have servants of her own to boss around and therefore probably only acted like that while on a cruise. That kind of behaviour is just tacky, but happily I haven't (so far) seen it to be the norm.

Edited by Mskjel

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My husband and I went on our first "together" cruise this year and we were disappointed by choosing Any Time Dining - we would rather have had the experience of meeting other people on our anniversary cruise, rather than only really chatting with each other. Not that we don't love chatting together! But we love to meet people and want to have a more engaging experience next time.

 

For future reference, note:

With anytime dining, you can request to be seated at at shared table. You will then be seated with like-minded people, unless they are just hungry, impatient people unwilling to wait a few minutes for a two-top to become available. (although we've rarely had to wait for more that a couple of minutes.)

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In 79 cruises, we only asked to be changed once. We were at a table for 10 and the other 8 people were ladies who came to dinner every night drunk beyond belief. By the third night we couldn't take it anymore and asked to be changed. Heck, we didn't even mind the table mate who licked his plate after finishing a item---we just shrugged and laughed.

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