I agree, it won't hurt to ask. DW and I asked for a special table once and we got it. It was a table for two. Try it and see. If you used a TA make your request through them. Other than that I don't know if there is any rhyme or reason to how seating is determined.
we are on RCCL and called the other day. We were already assigned late seating (our request), but this time we asked about sitting with certain age group or those with similiar interested (diving), but they said they couldn't be able to work that out, but could ask for what size table we'd like to sit at. We requested a large table. We are social and we've learned from these boards that we have a better chance of meeting someone interesting at a table of 10 than 4, so we're going to chance it.
I've been told the cruiselines try to match diner partners, but I do not know if that is true or not. As far as the location and size of the table, you can check that out as soon as you board. If it doesn't meet with your liking, you can ask the restaurant manager change it. They try to accomodate.
Mary Lou Scanlon
NCL Pride of America April 24, 2010
NCL Epic February 12, 2011
RCCL Allure of the Seas - September 18, 2011
Celebrity Eclipse - February 11, 2012:
RCCL Navigator OTS - February 9, 2013
My wife and I cruised last week on RCI. I could be crazy, but I do think they try to match you with some people who you might have things in common with.
We sat at a table with 2 other very nice couples. One coincidence was that one couple was from our home state. Another was that everyone of the servers at our table were the same nationality as my wife which was nice because she became fast friends with them. I don't think they spend hours studying your profile but it does seem like they try to match you to people you might have something in common with.
Carnival Holiday (1999 ?)
RCI Sovereign of the Seas 2007
RCI Enchantment of the Seas 2009
We have met wonderful people, and looked forward to dinner every nite; I say we were just lucky. Each celebrity trip our table mates were very different but we became friends and still email each other. I think it is just luck.
We didn't get very friendly people when we went in January. We ended up eating elsewere five of the seven nights. I am hopeful that I get a table with people similar in age and NO CHILDREN at the table. I also hope I get a assignment for the restaurant in the middle of the ship instead of back.
I only have six days until I board the ship, but five until I leave, so I'll be suprised when I do find out....alas, I'll probably get the aft restaurant again.
2007 Victory & Triumph
2008 Conquest & Liberty
2009 Valor, Freedom, and Splendor
2010 Glory and Liberty
I do believe that there is some process to try and match people of similar situations - singles, couples, families, etc.
We have had some wonderful experiences; however our last trip was an "Experience" - our tablemates were mother, daughter (older) and spent the whole meals complaining - we turned it into a drinking game one night - each time they complained, we drank - and went through a glass of wine before our first course!
We have mostly been placed with people in a similar age bracket. When our daughter and son-in-law went on a cruise with us, we ended up at a table for 10 with all 'twenty something couples with no kids'. The first night felt a little awkward, but we became 'mom' and 'dad' after that and it was fine. It was better than them placing our newbie kids at a table with a bunch of people our age. Often we've had another Canadian couple or two at our table. I prayed for good tablemates for months before our last cruise, and they were the best! It can make such a difference to your overall cruise experience. I have lunched in the formal DR and been seated with some of the most boorish people, on their 4th cruise that year, rude to the wait staff and generally embarassing to be with. Don't want them at my table every evening! Also, had a table next to us with a mother and daughter team that probably neared 1000 pounds between them and they totally and loudly dominated the table conversation. Even so, I still prefer assigned seating to freestyle.
We've been lucky too. We always seem to get placed with another couple around our age. We have always gotten along very well and have ended up spending some of the time in port with these couples as well. I think they do a really good job at trying to match people with similar ages and situations.