Wouldn't you feel like a jerk occupying a table when someone else needed a place to sit to eat. Sheeeeesh, what inconsiderate fools. But then we go back to the debate about dressing in the dining room, and smoking on the wrong side of the ship, and saving deck chairs and the mantra that "it's my vacation and I'll do whatever I want" bit!
I agree with you completely.
On my last cruise (aboard MV Sun Princess), I encountered one that seems even more obnoxious. An obviously well-off woman (no, I won't call her a lady...) decided that she was not going to eat in the "Anytime Dining" dining room because her assigned (second) seating in "Traditional Dining" was too late -- but she did not bother to tell the Maitre D'. As usual, the ship had a waiting list for "Traditional Dining" but they could not fill her slot because she did not release it.
Of course, Princess's shipboard staff could be more proactive in contacting passengers who don't come to assigned seatings on the first couple nights and inquiring as to their intent.
And all cruise lines could be more proactive in asking passengers who have finished their meals to vacate tables in the buffet restaurant when it's crowded.
"If I'm eating alone, a polite "May I join you?" is sure to bring an affirmative response.".........Norm.
Eating is the operative word. I don't have a problem with somebody eating alone. I often will eat alone because Mrs. Thomas is a late sleeper and I usually eat breakfast alone. What is troubling is watching someone occupy a table reading a book.
I would say the same people who take up space reading in the buffet area are the same ones who "save" all the chaise lounges by the pool. I attribute it to poor manners and possibly poor upbringing. I love when people ask to join me because I love meeting new people.
My husband and I have been approached many times when table were in short supply asking us if they could join us and we've always said yes. The one time, we did the same thing, however, we were told no. What does that tell you? Also one time when we went through the breakfast buffet, we sat our plates at a table and went to get something else and someone had come to our table after that and said it was their table and moved our food. My husband hates to be embarrassed and we are both very polite and quiet people, but I made a fuss that time, and they did not take our table......
I'm traveling solo this spring & Buudy's scenario is one of my fears. I think it was very rudefor them to move your food. Touching someones food is out of the question. I paln to show up early for meals, but how you you save your seat when you go for a refill. I have no problem sharing a table, I just want a place to sit and eat without any problems.
Once upon a time on a cruise ship long ago..., there was a beautiful princess named Ms.cap'nkruzer who was taking her tray from the buffett breakfast line to a very, very, crowded glade. There were soooooo many people there eating and having such a good time that the princess just stood patiently by until she spied a table emptying. Oh, Joy!!! As she started her way to the prize ,, Alas! , she was beaten to the table by an evil sorcerer who bumped her aside with a half-hearted "DIBS,'scuze " and then magically produced a wife and 3 troll like waifs. Drat!! She silently, half heartedly turned her eyes about the grazing masses and,,,as she trudged about ..WHAT-HO! another table magically appears right at her elbow, (next to the service area) Blessed by this boon, she waits and profusely thanks the fair couple for evacuating in such a timely and elegant manner (while she was standing there). After the table is cleared The Princess sets her tray down and casts her eyes longingly about for her Prince.(ME). I in the meantime have been trying to balance coffee, juices, 1/2 # of ham and eggs, danish, waffles,toast,cereal, etc.etc..(i'm on a diet) and looking for her. the princess comes to my rescue (thats a switch). says "Come , My Prince, for I have had good fortune and procured seating," and assists me in navigating me toward our table....but Gadzooks... while we have been conversing our table has dissappeared (actually just her tray,which is now residing on top of the service cart) The new residents of our castle are in the proccess of preparing to consume their food as I approach and inquire as to the validity of their occupation of our kingdom. "Wern't nothin' here when we sit down" was the reply. I called upon all the cruise and etiquette spirits B/4 replying. " I hope they cleaned the table extremely thorough for we suffer from an as yet unnamed viral infection which is truly infectious and may wreak havoc on the entire kingdom. As we (the Princess and I turned to exit the banquet hall, we heard grumblings and whispers and entreaties to their Gods to save them from this evil thrust upon them. OK,,OK.. so it wasn't 'zacly that way but you get the gist of it. If ... i'm.... lyin'..... i'm..... dyin'!
On our way to greener pastures the Princess turned to me and said "That was mean, I'm glad you did it!!!"
On a recent Carnival Triumph cruise, our group of four never had trouble finding a seat in the buffet area. Maybe it is because they have lots of seating,and some people opt for the dining rooms. This was a good thing, because the Triumph did not give you trays, so you were balancing your dinner and side plate. Maybe this is good planning on Carnival's part, because the one person saving a table while 5 come through the buffet line with trays doesn't happen, or the place save has to go back through the buffet line.
During one morning's dining room breakfast, they sat my wife and I at an occupied table of 8, while there was still a mainly empty dining room. Everyone at the table introduced themselves (they didn't all know each other) and told where they were from. Very pleasant and civilized. Carnival may get a bad rap sometimes (the inference being that the "fun ships" attract a lower-echelon crowd), but I saw no evidence rudeness all week. I'm glad nothing untoward happened, because if a situation such as some recounted above happened to me, I wouldn't be able to get away without some kind of retort or other reaction (can you imagine someone removing your full plates or trays?) That just gives a negative edge to what should be a great day.