This is our first time cruising and when the TA asked if we wanted to sit by ourselves or with others I really didn't know what the difference between 4,6, or 8 would be? Give me your opinions. Would you rather eat alone with your mate or with others? How many and why?
We like a table for 6 or 8. A chance to get to know some fellow passengers on more than just elbow bumping in the buffet basis. Have had situations where the others at the table were traveling together, but never let that mean we were excluded. Anyone surprised that I wouldn't let that stop me? Some of my best memories came from those interactions with people I might never otherwise had had a chance to know.
We had a booth, for the three of us, on a Carnival ship, years ago, and honestly hated it. I can eat like that at home. I too prefer a table for 8. Believe it or not, if the table is a rectangle, like it was on another Carnival ship, the "ends" never said a word to each other. After that cruise I alwasy sit in a different seat each night,. You get a different view of the dining room, and different conversations.
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I agree. Go for a table of 8. We have met wonderful people, from different states and countries, all so nice. We looked forward to dinner to compare notes of the day, and we also got good tips from those tablemates who were more seasoned travellers. Also, I agree with switching seats - Every night - so none of us had to look at the same section of dining room night after night. We have done it when there were just us 2 and when we travelled with another couple.
We normally request the larger ones and enjoy the interaction with others - boy do we have some fun stories about our experiences. Last year, only 4 of us ever should up to dinner at our table of 4 and the other two were the most negative people we had ever met. We ended up turning our dinners into a drinking game. Each time they complained, my friend and I took a drink...one night we had 2 glasses of wine before our entrees arrived
Horror stories are a good reason to opt for a cruiseship that allows you to select when and where and with whom you eat dinner each night.
We have a two week cruise coming up. There are over 30 in our group. The only difficulty gets to be deciding which reastaurant and with whom you are going to eat each night. It is sort of like filling in a dance card.
If you haven't tried open seating dining, try it. What could be the negative? If you want to dine with total strangers that might be obnoxious, just ask the Maitre 'D and he will gladly find some victims for you to dine with.
I always ask for a table of 8 or 10 - much better for conversation and they usually are round or oval. Got one for 12 (not my request) one time. I arrived first - and then this group of 11 (a couple and their 5 adult children with 4 spouses). First one to arrive was one of the in-laws and HE said "you don't belong here". Great greeting - NOT. Turned out the rest of them considered him a big jerk - though the other 10 were nice. Would just rather not have been the only outsider at that table - and usually you don't get stuck with a private party. I've met a lot of nice people at these large tables and still correspond with quite a few of them.
I cruise the Emerald Princess, Eastern Caribbean on April 16, 2012
We always ask for the larger table, usually 8. I agree that 4 or 6 can be questionable with no-shows or not great matches. We have been at a table for 10 once and that was okay too. I love my man dearly but we can eat alone at home. Half the fun on a cruise is getting to know people from all locales and walks of life. If one poster thinks tablemates are always rude, loud and non-English speaking, I would suggest a different cruiseline. Perhaps one's expectations and their own friendliness (or lack thereof) influences the table conversation. If I was at that disagreeable a table I would ask to be moved. We have experienced a less than great table only once, otherwise always enjoyed the commaraderie. Hated free style... missed having our own table with new friends, a server who knew our personal choices, waiting in line, felt like going to any old restaurant instead of something special.
On our last cruise we had a table for ten and there were eight of us on most nights. There were officers on some others.
It was a great table because it included Australians, a political insider and just regular folks, like us. We could actually talk about travel, politics, world events, culture and even religion and not get into arguments. It was refreshing. After the first three nights it can be pretty boring talking about what you did in port that day or kids and grandkids.
There is nothing better than "adults" who can have a good conversation. Sadly, those topics often just lead to nothing more than an argument or hurt feelings.
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kd....sailing a different cruise line is not going to make a difference, I have sailed other cruise lines in addition to Carnival and have never had good tablemates, regardless of the cruise line or ship. We always look forward to meeting our tablemates and have been sorely disappointed every time. We were seated at a table for 8 once and 6 passengers were family members who introduced themselves the first night and proceeded to ignore us the remainder of the cruise. Another time, the 6 other passengers did not speak English which made conversation very difficult, another time we were seated with people who drank heavily and were very loud, etc., etc. Now, we always ask for a table that will sit our party exclusively. Changing your seat assignment is not as easy as it sounds. Your inference that we lack "friendliness" is not appreciated. I'm happy that you have had positive experiences with your tablemates but don't disparage the ones that do not and make offhanded guesses as to why.
I was in no way inferring that you were not friendly and I am very sorry that you have had such bad luck with tablemates. I know from experience that it really affects the overall cruise experience. I was simply stating that some people are not friendly at the table and their overall experience reflects that. I think that if a family group is travelling together they should reserve a table for that number. This is what we did a couple years back when we led a family group who were all first-time cruisers. Placing one or two people with a familof 10 is just stupid. We often keep in touch with previous tablemates by e-mail for a couple years or more. Even arranged other visits. Hope your next cruise tablemates are fantastic.
Whenever we cruise as a group of 4 or more, we try to get a table just for our group. Whenever it is just the two of us, we love a large table of at least 8 and have met some great people on the ship. We still swap e-mails with some of them.
On one 7 night cruise with just the two of us, we were assigned to a small table with no view. We went to the dining room on the first afternoon and asked to be reassigned to a large window table. The first night, we were the only ones at a table of 8. The next table of 8 were having a great time and asked us to join them, but we did not want to take someone's seat who might show up late or even the next night. So the second night, we were joined by a couple from Asia. She spoke no English and he was very curt. He actually asked to be moved to another table mid-meal because he felt that this area of the dining room was to turbulent.
Once again, the group at the next table asked us to join them and we made the proper arrangements to be moved and had a blast with them the rest of the trip. So, if you do wind up at a table you where you just feel uncomfortable, don't be afraid to ask for a change.