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Aerogirl November 16th, 2013 11:00 AM

Time are changing too much
There seems to be changes coming to Carnivals dining room and John Herald recently asked what do people prefer when it comes to seating. I was taken back at how many would prefer to sit only with their family or group.
I think that's just really sad, why are we becoming so disconnected from one another. To me sitting with a group of people I don't know adds to the whole cruise excitement and makes for great table conversation. Taking away this dynamic makes a cruise just a bunch of people on a boat. I would of loved to know the ages of people as well as their choice because I wonder if its has something to do with the generation.
What's your choice when it comes to dining? I'm not talking about Your Time Dining.

1. You would rather sit only with you family
2. You want to sit with a group of strangers
3. You don't really care

I'm really noticing a change in thinking in today younger adults.

Dave Beers November 16th, 2013 11:42 AM

With an assigned table seating we request a table for 8 and like meeting other cruisers. Choice #2.

Of course we've had some duds along the way but mostly we've had nice interactions and look forward to hearing how everyone's day went. Since I write about cruises, both here and on other websites, I also look at dining with strangers as an opportunity to get other points of view of the ship and cruise.

Mike M November 16th, 2013 12:36 PM

I don't mind dining with a group and we have had some wonderful table mates. The problem is dining at a fixed time during the cruise. I do not enjoy having my activities dictated by what time I have to eat. With alternative dining options we may only eat in the dining room three or four times on a seven day cruise.

If, for some reason, you aren't going to make it then you need to inform your dining companions and the Maitre 'D that you won't be there so they won't "wait" for you. You may not see your dining companions until the next night and often, the night before, you have no idea if you are going to eat in a specialty restaurant or not. We've informed the Maitre 'd a few times and it seems that about half of the time the information never got to the waitstaff and the table mates waited for us. This was one of the reasons we switched to open seating.

Even in open seating we don't mind sitting with others and having some nice dinner chit chat.

There are times, especially after a long day ashore, we just want to eat and then relax. One thing my wife and I have no problem with is having a conversation. Even after 30 years we still find something to talk about.

I like to have "options" and not succumb to the herd mentality. The regimentation is what almost stopped us from a cruising a few years back.

If I am with my family, it would be at least six people, so I have to say that I would prefer to just eat with them and not have two people feel somewhat left out.

If it is just my wife and I, and it's open seating, I have to go with #3.

Take care,
Mike November 16th, 2013 03:04 PM

When it's just the two of us traveling, we like a table for 6 so we can get to meet some new friends. Round tables of 8 or more are often too big and it's tough to carry on conversations with anyone other than those directly next to you.

If we're traveling with friends and family, then we like to sit and eat with them because often we don't get to spend too much time with them during the day since everybody is usually off doing their own thing and dinner is the only time we get to visit.


seadog2 November 16th, 2013 03:11 PM

Weather I'm traveling with just the wife or with my kids and grandkids we always choose option #2.

Sistersolo November 16th, 2013 04:11 PM

Whether I'm traveling solo or with someone, I always request a large table. Only once was I disappointed, when it turned out that everyone else at my table seemed only interested in how much and how fast they could eat. Luckily, on that trip I had met a very interesting couple right away, and when it turned out that their table was never full, I was able to switch.

Even for anytime dining, I always indicate willingness to share, and a preference for a large table. Anytime actually has the advantage that if you don't hit it off with the others, it's only that one meal; and if you do, you can always plan to meet again.

Donna November 16th, 2013 04:44 PM

I also enjoy eating with new people, so far, have had good tablemates....We've all heard some horror stories about people they sit you with....OY.

Truck Cruiser November 16th, 2013 08:40 PM

Option #3....Really don't care either way. I'm with mike though....I don't like being dictated to as to what time to eat or who I have to sit with. I like the anytime dining much better!

Aerogirl November 17th, 2013 10:12 AM

If I were cruising with a group than I woud want to be seated with my group that kind of goes without saying.

Travelbuggs December 31st, 2013 03:00 PM

I would no more want to sit with a group of strangers on a cruise anymore than I would want another party to join my table at a nice restaurant at home. Now wouldn't that be odd!

I am one of those who have had table mates who made dinners very uncomfortable, and I also don't like being told when and where. Thank goodness we found NCL and Freestyle. Makes dinners so much more relaxing. We meet people all over the ship. And at dinner we can chat with the table next to us, or just chat with each other without having to feel we are being antisocial. December 31st, 2013 09:52 PM

Guess you haven't gotten the memo; NCL is not the only cruise line offering freestyle dining. All cruise lines now offer anytime, your time, my time, or open dining on almost every ship. When arriving in the dining room, you can request any size table and select whether you want to sit with others or not.


Trip January 1st, 2014 09:52 AM

On our first cruise on the Celebration, the 3 of us ended up in a booth, and, I vowed never again....I also had a long rectangle on the Tropicale...the ends never said 2 words to one another, never again....give me a table of 8 of strangers,[10 is too big] and I will rotate my seat every evening to get a different dr view, and, tablemates.

For us, meeting new people from around the globe is what we love. #2 January 1st, 2014 12:49 PM

I agree, Trip. Normally, we'd much rather have a table of 6, which we've found perfect for us (maybe 8 at the most) - bigger is not better as you just can't talk to everyone.

But in our case on this cruise, the booth worked out well because of our soon-to-be 5-year old grandson being with us. We figured it was better since there were no other small children at the late dining and this way he didn't interfere with others. We weren't sure how he would do, but he did great and it wouldn't have been a problem.


Travelbuggs January 15th, 2014 07:14 PM


Originally Posted by cruise planner (Post 1492230)
Guess you haven't gotten the memo; NCL is not the only cruise line offering freestyle dining. All cruise lines now offer anytime, your time, my time, or open dining on almost every ship. When arriving in the dining room, you can request any size table and select whether you want to sit with others or not.


Yes, I did get the memo;). Have tried "my time" on other lines and not the same at all, IMO. They are still set up to offer a traditional style of dining to the majority of passengers. Too often we were chided by the hostess who pouted prettily because we could not be persuaded into joining other tables. Either that or we were sat at the exact same table every single night next to the exact same passengers. Or, they wanted us to tell them in advance what time we were coming:roll:. That is not freestyle. Perhaps they have improved in the 4 or 5 years since then. Hate to sound antisocial, we talk to people all over the ship, but we like to dine just with our own party, when and where we please. January 15th, 2014 08:18 PM

We've done anytime dining on several cruise lines and we've always been asked if we wanted a table for just the two of us or whether we'd like to sit with others, so we've never found it a problem. And yes, we've always been offered the opportunity to book the same table every night at the same time if we'd like, but it's their way of trying to please everyone and giving us the chance to avoid any lines, if that's what we'd like to do. So I don't see this as a negative, but as a wonderful positive and truly a 'freestyle' type of dining because they're offering us the opportunity to do whatever we want, whenever we want, and wherever we want.

In fact, on the luxury cruise lines and river cruises, anytime dining is all they offer. NCL is just the first one to offer to the mass market, but now everyone is offering it along with other choices, which NCL doesn't offer.

Something out there for everyone no matter what your likes or dislikes and that's what makes cruising so great!


Travelbuggs January 16th, 2014 10:28 AM

It has been a few years since I cruised another line, so they hopefully have refined the experience since I was there. It was not just that they inquired whether a table for 2 or with others, but that it was made into an uncomfortable situation for us every night. It should be what the customer requests, no questions asked.

NCL does allow passengers to request a table with others at the MDR. They can also ask for a set reservation, early or late, if they are set in the traditional mode of dining.

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