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Hey Tina

What do you like and/or dislike about sharing a table with strangers?

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Social media has been a game changer for meeting people aboard ship. We have at least a dozen couples we are friends with, having only met them on a 5-7 day cruise.

Our luck on over 200 sea days has been great. I learned early to be vague about my career in healthcare, thus eliminating the “does this look infected to you” questions. Trust me, it happened. We don’t talk politics, careers, etc. Most nights we talk about the days experiences in port.

We’ve only had main seating dinner, and only asked to be moved to a new table one time.

Last year a couple of long-time cruisers could not be made happy by anyone. They complained about their food and ours. We moved mid-meal the second night.

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No one should be judged for their choice. That is why there is "anytime dining" with the table of your choice. Each and every person on the cruise is there to enjoy their vacation and it should be "their choice."

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Or perhaps it is the judgmentalism of so many of those with whom they are seated.

 

I suppose it is possible to be upset if a table mate holds a differing opinion on a particular topic, but it is usually easy to steer the conversation in a non-confrontational direction - rather than to simply write someone off as “judgmental” — without stopping to consider other opinions.

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Or perhaps it is the judgmentalism of so many of those with whom they are seated.

 

That may be the case sometimes, but also I often see there is a defensiveness in people, making them all to quick to see judgmentalism when there is none.

 

I've been at a table where there was some interesting (but not necessarily heated) discussion on a topic. Afterwards at a different venue one of the parties involved was holding court with a "Well I never have been so judged!" story that did not resemble the event at dinner at all.

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I think that in the end those who want to share a large table at dinner like it because they approach it with a positive attitude. Those who prefer to dine alone are just not as open to the possibilities because its not what they want to do. We have - in 9 cruises, never had a bad experience. One or two were less than stellar, but became the source of laughs afterwards with a nightcap on our balcony. We have never had grace, arguments, braggarts etc. It delights me as the week goes on as people who looked boring to us on night one become so interesting further into the week or two.

 

Once, cruising with my teen aged boy, he said on night three.."I can't believe I am actually looking forward to hearing what our table mates did in port today" This from a kid who dreaded the group dining scenario. He learned how to dine with strangers. A life lesson and worth the cost of the cruise IMHO.

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That may be the case sometimes, but also I often see there is a defensiveness in people, making them all to quick to see judgmentalism when there is none.
I've seen it both ways but the former much more than the latter, and in that case the offender generally sees nothing wrong with their contribution to the interchange.

 

 

 

This post may have been entered by voice recognition. Please excuse any typographical errors.

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I think that in the end those who want to share a large table at dinner like it because they approach it with a positive attitude. Those who prefer to dine alone are just not as open to the possibilities because its not what they want to do. We have - in 9 cruises, never had a bad experience.

 

...

 

 

Good observation. This is why the introduction of "my time" dining is a good thing: people disinclined to enjoy/contribute to the common table experience can opt out, with the result that they are happier dining on their own and those who enjoy the interaction are likelier to have more compatible table mates.

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Not every ship that plies the waters offers Any Time Dining (sadly). I chose my next cruise line for the itinerary but it means set dining. So, for me it is a 2 top for 1. I may share a large table at breakfast or lunch. I am more introverted than extroverted, allergic to perfumes, am apolitical, a-religious, a-sports minded. Growing up, we were taught to not discuss religion, politics or money.

I used to use Twain's travel quoted previosly as my email footer, particularly during the recent years while I have been volunteering and traveling solo globally. Never in my mind would I have applied it to dinner mates. In port, I will seek my own activities and the locals that offer tours or companionship for my interests. I relish the times between bird sightings to get to know locals, the environment, a (possibly) more real perspective of local life. I will chat with my cruise mates at Bingo, or while lounging and if we like each other, we will make time to get to know each other, but my choice to have down time at dinner has nothing to do with anyone but me.

I am cruising again for transport to ports and using sea days as down time and R&R (I still work).

The great thing about living in developed countries is we actually can exercise our right to choose.

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Many cruisers who dine in pairs are not guilty of "a knee-jerk reluctance...to expose themselves to opportunities for civil conversation" nor are they "just not ...open to the possibilities" of sharing a large table due to negative attitudes. Nor are they "judgmental" or "defensive."

My husband and I, for example, cruise to concentrate our time, attention and conversation on each other -- an opportunity our everyday life little affords us. We therefore frequently dine alone. I imagine many cruising couples are similar.

No one, however enthusiastic (even evangelistic) about large group dining should look at cruisers who dine in pairs as being closed-minded, unenlightened, abnormal, or pathetic.

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Many cruisers who dine in pairs are not guilty of "a knee-jerk reluctance...to expose themselves to opportunities for civil conversation" nor are they "just not ...open to the possibilities" of sharing a large table due to negative attitudes. Nor are they "judgmental" or "defensive."

My husband and I, for example, cruise to concentrate our time, attention and conversation on each other -- an opportunity our everyday life little affords us. We therefore frequently dine alone. I imagine many cruising couples are similar.

No one, however enthusiastic (even evangelistic) about large group dining should look at cruisers who dine in pairs as being closed-minded, unenlightened, abnormal, or pathetic.

 

Thank you. Very well-said.

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Many cruisers who dine in pairs are not guilty of "a knee-jerk reluctance...to expose themselves to opportunities for civil conversation" nor are they "just not ...open to the possibilities" of sharing a large table due to negative attitudes. Nor are they "judgmental" or "defensive."

My husband and I, for example, cruise to concentrate our time, attention and conversation on each other -- an opportunity our everyday life little affords us. We therefore frequently dine alone. I imagine many cruising couples are similar.

No one, however enthusiastic (even evangelistic) about large group dining should look at cruisers who dine in pairs as being closed-minded, unenlightened, abnormal, or pathetic.

 

Totally agree with you. Some of the comments made in this thread about people who prefer to not share a table are not kind at all.:(

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Two of the strangest comments have been ...oh I hear that most of the nurses in Canada wear burqas and the hospitals are dirty. The speaker had of course never been in Canada. But she apparently knew.

 

The next winner was on an Oz cruise when a lady asked, at a large table, if our aboriginals were like theirs...10,000 years behind on the evolution scale. We changed tables.

 

Would never have believed either if it had not happened to us. It made some of the political and faith based comments appear mild. This is a definite minority but it can really put us off sharing. We find that it is better to share a large table of eight than a smaller one.

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We have always had traditional dining and enjoyed the experience of having table mates. However, the thing I hated the most was the first night. I get very nervous when meeting new people. Of course, after the first night the jitters are gone and we look forward to the conversations.

 

On our next cruise we have chosen My time dining to enjoy the flexibility it offers. We are hoping to have many new experiences on this cruise.

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