This has been an interesting and enlightening thread to read!
Can anyone suggest some things to say in certain circumstances? It usually takes me weeks to think of a good "comeback"
which of course does no good on a 4-night cruise
What can you say to quell a complainer? A racist? A blue-nose? A parent with as you say hellions at the table? A tablemate who wants to talk about his/her constipation etc.? A spoiled brat (of any age)? A religious zealot? An arguer?
Based on your own experiences, are there any specific, polite, gracious -- and clever, of course
-- things that we can say that will be practically guaranteed to silence an unpleasant tablemate and immediately steer the table conversation in a more enjoyable direction? (Or should we resign ourselves to merely scurrying off to another table?)