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KeithnRita

Table Size? Do You Have A Preference?

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My husband and I are both definitely in the table for 8 second sitting club. Have enjoyed Cruising for a good few years and in that time have been quite lucky having "jumped table" only 3 times. The last time that happened was on the Oriana last April and tried open dining which we did not enjoy as we felt we were being rushed all the time regardless of table size. 

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A table for 2 everytime. We dislike sharing tables and conversation and prefer a quick service. I hate ut when people wt adjoining tables for 2 try to start a conversation. If they want to chat they shoukd opt for a larger size table and not hog the already scarce tables for 2. Our last cruise was spoiled by two very loud couples, both occupying tables for 2, conversing with each other every night.

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6 is the perfect size for us - 8 at a push.  Anything larger makes it very difficult to converse as a table, and it becomes a series of smaller conversations.  2 is fine if you don't want any company, but frankly I'd miss the chance to chat with other people - it's one of the high spots of the day for me.

4 would be great if you could guarantee that the other two would be good company, but it's a big risk!  It could make for a very uncomfortable meal if you didn't get one.

By and large, you do meet some great people (I'm talking P&O here essentially) and I wouldn't swap freedom dining at any price - the variety's great.  On the odd occasion that you encounter someone really obnoxious you make a mental note to try to avoid it happening again - though you can't guarantee it if you happen to be the first on the table and they join you!

 

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We always try to get a table for eight ( or more, we don't mind)  for the late sitting and on every cruise,  we have met lovely people of many nationalities. Maybe we have been lucky but in all honesty the evening conversations have "made" our many cruises. On one cruise two people who lived  just round the corner from us who we had never seen in our village were on our table and became great friends. Even on our 70 day portion of our world cruise, when we had a table for ten, not all were on for the whole duration and new arrived at different ports, we all were sad to see some go, but happy to welcome the new. We do try and move seats each night so you have different people next to you so that does  avoid the "shouting" from one end of the table to the other and help if you should encounter a clash of personalities ....or that lucky cruiser that has got their cruise for half the price and and an upgrade!!!  A table for two at the early sitting would be the only reason to persuade me to opt for freestyle or alternative dining all the time. One question I do have is that twice on P&O cruises we have had a ships officer on our table, once the Chief Engineer and second the Catering Manager ( no problems with food & service that cruise!) but do they still do that? Also on our World Cruise with Cunard we had an invite to dine with the First Officer, we were nothing special cabin wise or in the Grills Suites but had had some "disappointments" because my husband had unexpected medical problems, could this have been why we had some VIP treatment?  We have always  appreciated our "eating"  companions I hope I shall not have to "eat" my words!!!

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Can those experienced Cruisers help clarify as I can`t make up my mind whether to ask for a place at a table for 8 or not. Whilst we would enjoy sharing in the experience of the other Diners` day, we are a bit unsure if there would be an expectation that we would spend the rest of the evening with them or indeed how we could make our leave of the table to do our own thing without appearing rude?  Also what happens if you decide to dine in your cabin or at another restaurant - must you make that known to your fellow diners in advance?  I have heard that the Head Waiter will not serve the Starters until everyone is seated at the table and if a couple are late or indeed has chosen to eat elsewhere without mentioning it, it can ruin the evening for the others as they have a delayed start to their meal whilst the Head Waiter finally decides the `missing` couple are a `no show`  

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2 hours ago, Seabreeze6 said:

Can those experienced Cruisers help clarify as I can`t make up my mind whether to ask for a place at a table for 8 or not. Whilst we would enjoy sharing in the experience of the other Diners` day, we are a bit unsure if there would be an expectation that we would spend the rest of the evening with them or indeed how we could make our leave of the table to do our own thing without appearing rude?  Also what happens if you decide to dine in your cabin or at another restaurant - must you make that known to your fellow diners in advance?  I have heard that the Head Waiter will not serve the Starters until everyone is seated at the table and if a couple are late or indeed has chosen to eat elsewhere without mentioning it, it can ruin the evening for the others as they have a delayed start to their meal whilst the Head Waiter finally decides the `missing` couple are a `no show`  

My husband and I are both definitely in the table for 8 second sitting club. Have enjoyed Cruising for a good few years and in that time have been quite lucky having "jumped table" only 3 times. The last time that happened was on the Oriana last April and tried open dining which we did not enjoy as we felt we were being rushed all the time regardless of table size. 

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Hi seabreeze - you are not under any obligation to spend the remaining evening with your new dining friends. Indeed if the table is running a little late and there is a particular show you wish to see then you just politely excuse yourselves. We have done this on many occasions and no offence is taken. 

Also if you are aware that you will not be dining the following evening it is polite to inform your dining friends and also to inform your waiter. No problem! 

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1 hour ago, Seabreeze6 said:

Can thos e experienced Cruisers help clarify as I can`t make up my mind whether to ask for a place at a table for 8 or not. Whilst we would enjoy sharing in the experience of the other Diners` day, we are a bit unsure if there would be an expectation that we would spend the rest of the evening with them or indeed how we could make our leave of the table to do our own thing without appearing rude?  Also what happens if you decide to dine in your cabin or at another restaurant - must you make that known to your fellow diners in advance?  I have heard that the Head Waiter will not serve the Starters until everyone is seated at the table and if a couple are late or indeed has chosen to eat elsewhere without mentioning it, it can ruin the evening for the others as they have a delayed start to their meal whilst the Head Waiter finally decides the `missing` couple are a `no show`  

Do consider myself to be a fairly experienced cruiser (see my comments to this subject )and do like dining with others. While I don't think there is any 'official' protocol if we know we are not going to dine with our fellow table mates we do let them know and also our waiter just as a matter of courtesy. We also like to go to the shows etc., and if the meal is taking a long time just make our apologies and go, there is never a problem. Having said that sometimes, perhaps for various reasons you change your mind  without notice I have never experienced fellow passengers having to wait or being inconvenienced, we are all " in the same boat" excuse the much used pun,  and common sense should, and I have found on Cunard, P&O, Princess and RCI  will prevail. Hope this helps.

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Thanks to all for their prompt reply.   We usually make up our mind at the last minute whether we are dining in the restaurant or having a meal in our cabin, particularly if we have been on a Tour, which is fine when at a table for two, but we would hate to inconvenience others if we were at a larger table, so your replies have been reassuring. 

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