Jump to content
Mightq

Tables For 2

Recommended Posts

The demand for tables for 2 on Cruise ships has increased dramatically in recent years and it would appear that the cruise lines have not reconfigured main dining rooms to cope with this demand. It would appear that in most situations the only way to guarantee a table for 2 is to opt for freedom dining. This very often however is not the ideal solution with on many occasions inordinate wait times via a pager issued.

I understand the difficulties the various cruise lines can have with this what I cannot understand is their current attitude to it.

I will narrate my following experience with Cunard as an example.

I attempted to book a Select fare in a balcony cabin on Queen Victoria and whilst I was told that I could select my choice of set dining time, my wish for a table for 2 would be viewed on as a preferred choice and could not be guaranteed. I queried the reason for this and was given the reason of high demand for a limited number of tables. I pointed out that the dining room was already configured so they knew the exact number of tables. Why could they not allocate them as and when they were requested and once they had all been allocated then thereafter anyone wishing one would be advised that they were on a wait list. That way the position would be quite clear to them and they could make their decision accordingly. The present arrangement is very vague and unacceptable. Cruise lines also must realise that the tradition of dining with strangers as an option has become less attractive given that many of us have been landed with some difficult dining companions over the years. I also cite the analogy that were I to arrive at a restaurant in my home city of Glasgow on a Saturday night hoping for a romantic meal with my partner to be told by the restaurant manager that I had to join a table of 6 strangers I would think it was some kind of joke. I understand that the prospect of meeting new friends over dinner is attractive to some, for others we would rather spend some private quality time in privacy with our companions. The Cruise industry needs to realise that times have changed in this respect and adjust their practices accordingly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You make a good point Mightq. However the problem many cruise lines have is they have to provide dining places for all the passengers and pro rata a table for two takes up more room than a table for 6 or 8. On a cruise last year I was allocated a table for 2 and it was very similar to sitting opposite my wife at home. I personally prefer a large table as to me it's not about just about making new friends but meeting and learning about people from other parts of the world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your comments Oldworldtraveler. I appreciate that space is at a premium with regards to configuration of tables and getting a good balance of table size will be challenging. My point however is about the allocation of the current configuration of tables for 2. Carnival UK tell me that this is the sole responsibility of the Maitre D. When asked how he came to his decisions they couldn't tell me. When asked if I booked as soon as the brochures came out would this guarantee me a table for 2. Again the answer was no. This to me is not acceptable. The fairest way would be to allocate on a who comes first basis and thereafter when the allocation is full advise any other requesters that they would be put on a wait list. In respect of your preference for a large table, I fully understand that. We all have different preferences. We have in the past have had some lovely dining companions others unfortunately have been the opposite . We have a very busy life style and we like to relax in our own company. We do however appreciate that many others prefer to share their dining experience when cruising.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On a recent cruise we were put on a table for 4 near to a window which was lovely. However another couple requested a table for 2 due to a health problem. Their table was next to ours & I do mean next to as the gap was about 2 inches wide so really we were a table for 6 even though we had separate cruet sets, plates of petit fours etc. We all got on really well but it just shows that a table for 2 isn't always quite what you would expect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Solent Richard

You make a good point Mightq. However the problem many cruise lines have is they have to provide dining places for all the passengers and pro rata a table for two takes up more room than a table for 6 or 8. On a cruise last year I was allocated a table for 2 and it was very similar to sitting opposite my wife at home. I personally prefer a large table as to me it's not about just about making new friends but meeting and learning about people from other parts of the world.

 

One also must take into account their ability/requirement to join together 'tables for two' in order to meet demand from other passengers.

 

11306438493_a54722ce35_z.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Solent Richard

Though that would be difficult on Oceania Nautica's Grand Dining Room where they are round...

 

11306394004_55233fca52_z.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Solent Richard

The other risk is of course they do tend to have tables for two against bulkheads (Walls)...

 

11306326655_51459ccc4c_z.jpg

 

I can't think of anything worse.

 

11306394334_ec2a6070d0_z.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too have experienced tables for 2 which are very close together. There is however the knowledge that it is a table for 2 and separate from the adjacent tables. This has a subtle psychological impact in that you do not feel obliged to make conversation with those next to you but can do if you so wish and can do on a casual and intermittent basis whereas if you have been allocated a table for 4 say, you feel obliged to make continued conversation throughout the meal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the great things about cruising was the interaction between guests and for new cruisers in particular is a great way to learn from other people's experience and pick up knowledge. It also builds long lasting friendships. It will be a great pity if cruising reverts to tables of 2, only

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all, I find this topic an intriguing one as I am a fan of both dining with others and a table for 2. I've had some great table companions and some not so great but I've always enjoyed the experience. Most of the time however, my wife and I do like a table for 2 but due we don't encounter too many problems with this now as we tend to always book freedom dining, my time dining, celebrity select - whatever it is called depending on the cruise line. This gives us exactly what it says on the tin....freedom! 

 

Not only are we then able to dictacte the time we dine ourselves, we are also able to request a table for 2 every night if we wish or join a group of others if we wish, the choice remains ours at all times. I like freedom dining for that reason, you re in complete control. If you do not get on too well with some table companions one night then you don't need to worry about it because it's only for the one night.

 

Usually when requesting a table for 2 there is a short wait but the longest we've waited is 30 minutes and it just meant we grabbed a seat in the bar for that time and had a pre-dinner drink which I quite enjoy anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I definitely agree that tables for 2 should be on a first come first served basis, then be put on a waitlist. however, sometimes there are special requests which the maitre d' has to decide between. one elderly couple I met on a cruise, the lady had bad hearing and on the table for 8 really struggled and was really embarrassed during meal times as she could not hear. they mentioned they had asked for a table for 2 but it had not been granted, meaning on the first day of her holiday she found out that she was going to have to struggle hearing for the next 3 weeks round the caribbean!! obviously this wasn't good enough to get a table for 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Buggalugs. I am not advocating that cruise lines revert to tables for 2. I understand that many people prefer shared dining. Many however do not. I am just suggesting that the situation could be mangled better than currently .

To Sammy Sun I am glad that freedom dining has always worked for you. I would suggest that that may be because you are on occasions willing to share. We have had vey mixed experiences with table for 2 requests on freedom dining. Sometimes it has been great but on others as in our two most recent cruises (Britannia &Caribbean Princess) we have been left with a pager for up to 1 hour at a time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't remember which ship we were on but there were screens with tables pushed up to each side a four on one side and a two on the other.The space taken up was minimal and there were quite a lot of tables for two.Personally I enjoy meeting new people we have made many new friends this way and have kept in contact with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi MG16, your story illustrates very well the point I am trying to make. Had the elderly couple been told at the point of booking that tables for 2 had been oversubscribed and that they would be put on a wait list then they would have been aware that it was quite probable that they would not get one and could have reconsidered whether they wanted to go ahead with the booking or not

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There seems to be an assumption that privacy is the only reason for a table for 2. My wife and I don't like to sit around for a long time and since the meal proceeds at the speed of the slowest we have often spent over 2 hours on a meal when we have other things that we want to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

We go on our first cruise next February (Northern lights) and we have booked freedom dining. Is there a particular time when you are more likely to get a table for two without an overly long wait?

Thanks

GiGi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

We go on our first cruise next February (Northern lights) and we have booked freedom dining. Is there a particular time when you are more likely to get a table for two without an overly long wait?

Thanks

GiGi

 

Hi GiGi, 

 

Most of the time it is luck of the draw but if you want to be sure of waiting a shorter time then you're best to aim for either earlier or later. Most of the freedom diners seem to aim to get to the restaurant between 7-8pm, I know because I include myself in that bracket but even in busy periods, we have never had to wait long for a table for 2. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with you, we like to sit with others but sometimes you may get one person like we were seated with who after every bite would put there knife and fork down then join the conversation and so it went all through the meal. We where the last to finish every meal time, so I can understand were you are coming fromwink.png

There seems to be an assumption that privacy is the only reason for a table for 2. My wife and I don't like to sit around for a long time and since the meal proceeds at the speed of the slowest we have often spent over 2 hours on a meal when we have other things that we want to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have never tried Freedom Dining,but on our next cruise we are down for Freedom Dining so we are looking forward to trying it.wink.png

I prefer a table for two and last summer i did freedom dining with P&O and never waited more than about ten to fifteen minutes for a table. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On our cruise next week we are on freedom dining. I like a private table, but also like to share, so we are going to ask for a table for four each night, but if we are told we have to wait or we can share a table straight away, then we will share. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×