I'm just curious, I occasionally read about tablemates who are "jerks" and how some people arrive at their assigned table and immediately turn around and request different seating arrangements. If you have had this experience, what has made you run?
My wife and I have been on 10 cruises, some long and some short, and most people are great. We still communicate with people we sat at dinner with years ago.
However, although we never "ran", we have had some unfortunate experiences - here are just a few:
--people who talk down to the service help and are rude to them for no real reason,
--people who won't talk to some others at the table (the reasons are unclear),
--people who complain about EVERYTHING. One couple was switched to our early seating table on day 3 who stated that the service was lousy at the late seating. BUT, every night thereafter they showed up at dinner an hour late (this screws up the flow of the service for the table), and while the man was a nice guy, his wife complained and complained, while everyone else at the table thought everything was fine!!
On our last cruise we got a table for 2. But we still got to meet some people at breakfast and lunch at large tables in the dining room.
But again, most people we have met have been fine, down to earth people (and I hope they felt the same about us).
We have found that the bigger the table, the better the chances of having a good time. Sharing a table with a strange couple is chancy but we have had good luck. The odds of them not taking a shine to us is about the same as our not clicking with them.
We try for table for eight or just the two of us.
What really irks me is the attitude that "I am on vacation" and all rules of civility and concern for others is put on hold. Those are the true "jerks". Showing up for dinner in the same tank top that you have been sweating in all day saying you would normally shave and shower but "I'm on vacation". I once asked a fellow if his hellions always acted like that and he said of course not but they were on vacation and should have fun. If the fun is at my expense, it usually gets ugly, which I suppose makes me the cause of other's distress.
Another attitude on cruise is the blue noses that let you know that they usually travel in higher stratas but got booked on this one unknowningly or just to see what it is like. Then they let everyone know how this experience doesn't measure to what they are used to. When I get tired of it, which doesn't take long, things get ugly, which I suppose gives them more to complain about.
Then there is the guy who berates the service staff, insists on special attention, refuses to wait his turn, and makes sure that everyone gets out of the way of his family because he paid $5000 and is going to get his money's worth. I won't get out of his way, things get ugly, which I suppose reinforces his contention of why dealing with the common herd takes his positive attention.
It's been my observation that the more insecure people are, either with their situation or themselves, the more people tend to hold court. Conversation is low key, in response to other's interests and really does involve moments of silence.
It is nice to see the look of relief on our table mate's faces which means they were as concerned as we were about who they were going to have to put up with.
I specifically request a table (at late seating) with no children. Before you flame me, realize that I'm a teacher and need a break from adolescence and youth during my vacation. Anyway, I always double-check with the maitre d' before dinner so that if my request wasn't honored (about 50/50 chance) I can change rather than run. The one time I practically broke the record for the 100-meter-to-the-maitre'd dash was when Carnival assigned me - a single twentysomething - to a table for eight with a mom, dad and five kids ranging in age from two to twelve. As soon as a dinner roll flew, I did too!
After 22 cruises, I think I can say that what really turns me off are the chronic complainers. The food is no good, the shows are bad, the shore tour was bad, the ship rolls too much, etc, etc.
And too, the loud, rude people in the dining room. Eating with the wrong fork or using my bread plate instead of their own is not a problem.
But--loud and crude behavior is a turn off.
Don G has pretty much nailed it but add one more, the drunk. They typically do all that Don mentioned and more. Like others we ask for a very large table figuring that the odds are better should we get a table with at least two other couples of meeting and hitting it off with really nice folks. The other thing that nobody has mentioned is the location of the table. I detest those booths. With my knees and feet the way they are it is exceptionally difficult to get in and out of the booth and quite frankly I am glad it give me a good excuse to tell the Maitre D' that I must have another table. I just don't like sitting in them.
My husband & I have been on 4 cruises and have enjoyed our table mates on every cruise, except one.
Last year we were on the Enchantment of the Seas(gorgeous ship!). We were at a table of 6. One couple was very strange...........thier choice of topics to disguss were very unusual, and disgusting. Everynight the husband would tell us about his constipation problems and whether or not he was able to relieve himself. This was one of the milder topics. I will not even mention the others.
Anytime we saw them on the ship we turned and walked the other way. Very strange. But we laugh about it now.
Thinking back on our cruises, our only really bad experiences in the dining room were during open seating meals like breakfast or lunch when you walk in and they stick you at a table. They don't talk, they tell, and I get tired of being told. If the table is large, the others make it so obvious the bore isn't appreciated, but it seems to go over their heads.
Assigned seating, on the other hand, usually works out fine. Have to admit, after two politically charged careers, I enjoy dining alone with my wife of 43 years.
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?)
A racist I just 'happen to mention" that my brother, sister, son, daughter, whatever, is married to whatever they don't like. For the blue-nose I drop names of those I have met that are well above 'their' station. For the parent with the hellion or brat I ask them if they forgot thier muzzle, leash, etc. The constapation or other gross person I start talking about my time as a cop at traffic accidents, you know, blood and guts etc. The zealot I come back with being a worshipper of plants and animals and the belief in voodoo and the arguer I just tell them i couldn;t agree with them more. Something for everyone. I would much prefer to be able to carry on a pleasant conversation and talk about who we each are and our life's experances and learn something about life. To those few that are incapable of intelligent conversation, they soon leave me alone. <>:
I ask if the racist has ever had a blood transfuson, then let him/her know that I have it on good authority that the race in question in his area is known to sell the largest percentage of blood collected.
The other that works for me is simply be whatever it is they can't stand. It's fun arguing a point of view that you yourself can't tolerate. Sometimes my wife wishes I wouldn't profess to being gay with her sitting beside me. That backfired once. Seems the husband of a couple in our midst in the Virgin Islands was a closet gay. He didn't appreciate the humor when I set him straight, pardon the pun.
For hellions, simply say that "my kids behave a lot better than yours". They response I usually get is that normally their's behave but they are on vacation so all rules are off. They should have fun.
When I lived in the Caribbean, the response to my objections to cutting in line was, "they are in a hurry. If you are standing in the line, you obviously aren't in a hurry". Have to be quick to parry that one. Same as when they picked the lemons off our tree. "If you wanted them, you would have already picked them". Have to admit it makes sense.
A disgusted "don't you ever talk about anything else" sometimes will get them off bodily functions. When one returned to the table after announcing exactly why he had to leave, I told him that since his eyes were blue, it must have been successful. Usually the wife gets it while it all goes over the head of the offendee.
That's the advantage to a table for six or eight. The others usually back you up and greatfully join in your converstation, excluding the boor.
These are funny!!!! However, what do you do when you don't like to offend someone or don't want to be rude to your table mates, because you will eventually have to run into them in some other part of the ship?
We are "reserved" for a table for 4 with another couple we are cruising with, which works our great, but we are considering getting a table for 6.
SO as a party of 4 with 2 kids, (very well behaved - the kids, not us adults), how do I see to it that the other people at our table don't mind kids? Should I see the Maitre'd (sp) before we sail and confirm that we are with others with kids,. We have been on 5 cruises but this is only the second time with the children (first time we were with another party that had kids so it wasn't a problem - although they were, but that is another story).
We have had a few experiences that were not the greatest - people that didn't speak english, people that had no manners, etc ... but we have ALWAYS had a great time, no matter what.
Although we NEVER seem to get super outstanding or awesome waitstaff - good, compenent, but not the kind that are doing the magic tricks or having their tables laughing and clapping for their antics. ---but then again when we go to Beni-hanna (sp) we never get the spuer fantastic tableside cook -- competent, but not the show stopper.
On a weatern Carribean on the Enchantment in Feb of this year, we were at a table of six (six of us traveling together). We had the absolute BEST waitstaff. Waiter Raj, assistant waiter Leslie and head waiter Eduardo were so much fun, I think one of the best parts of our day was dinner. They were so cordial, answering questions about their families, jobs, backgrounds, etc. Sometimes joining in on our fun, but more often they were responsible for the fun. We only ate dinner in the Cascades, but when we saw them in the Windjammer at breakfast and lunch, they greeted us like we were old friends. I'm sure we are spoiled for any future cruises, but I think it was worth it. Our next cruise will be in Feb. 2004. My husband and I are going alone this time. We asked for a table for 6-8. I am looking forward to meeting our tablemates. I'm not a real extovert, but feel I can talk to people fairly easily. If we happen to get waiters anywhere near as great as the last time, I think they will be a great icebreaker for us until we get a little more acquainted. I hope not to want to change tables afer the first day or two, but I guess in an emergency, it's nice to know we can.
On our first night at dinner, the couples at the table were reviewing the evening entertainment schedule, of which "Village People" were on the agenda. To which a member of one of the couples remarked, "Must be imposters. The original members are dead of AIDS, thank God." Since one of my dearest friends had died from the disease shortly before, I was so sickened I couldn't even eat dinner. We never made it back to that table.
Oh Jeana, i'm so sorry to hear of this. Here where i live (Arkansas) the "good decent" people (as they consider themselves) say such things too -- they're convinced that whoever-or-whatever is in charge of the Universe has a grudge aginst anybody who isn't a white heterosexual Baptist Republican.
Sincere condolences on the passing of your friend.
My sympathies, Jeana, and my prayers to you and your family, Jim.
Back on the subject, on our (my fiancÚ and me) first cruise, lunch in the dining room was not at assigned tables, and the waiters would guide you to a table with random people you might never see again. Once we were seated at a table for 4 with a couple who was angry and obviously not speaking to each other. The tension was palpable and the silence extremely uncomfortable. My fiancÚ and I both finished in record time - I've never wanted to get out of a place so fast in my life!
Land Cruise, Britain and Belgium
Now posting as MichelleP.
Tell your travel agent. Also, when you get on board, there will be a Carnival Capers newsletter in your cabin. It will tell you when and where the maitre d' will be available to speak to about your dining reservations. Go talk to him and confirm.
Land Cruise, Britain and Belgium
Now posting as MichelleP.
Tables for two are becoming more popular. A lot of the tables for four are actually 2 X 2s which they can pull apart to satisfy the demand. We have no trouble booking one for the late seatings. We like to eat dinner alone and seek out the big tables for breakfast and lunch.
Reminds me of a guy at our table a couple years ago. I showed up at dinner wearing a rather fanciful tie--a child's drawing of a big yellow sun with stick-figure children playing and holding hands below.
Mr. classy tablemate said, "Whatsa matter? Can't afford a grownup tie?"
I replied, matter-of-factly, "The drawing was done by a sick child at St. Jude's hospital to express her hope for recovery and better times ahead. The tie was a table favor at a St. Jude's benefit dinner that we attended recently. We also have a son who is a cancer survivor, so I wear the tie in tribute to all youngsters who are having a tough time."
Well, we didn't wind up changing tables, but that sure shut his sorry butt up for a while.