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  #1  
Old October 7th, 2012, 05:02 PM
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Default The First Dinner!

Soon to embark on a solo adventure - and wanted some strategies and maybe input on that first dinner!

I am very active on my roll call - and have arranged many tours with roll call buddies and staying in a hotel full of cruisers.

While many on the roll call have made arrangements to dine together I have not joined in - my thinking is a) altho I am having fun on the boards this does not necessarily mean I will want to eat dinner with these same individuals for 15 nights!; b) I will make more friends this way? and c) I have other activities planned with all these people so don't need to spend every waking moment with them.

Now I am having a bout of 'cold feet' as I envision that first night - heading to my (hopefully) large table filled with other solos (?) finding a spot and having to introduce myself and make small talk with strangers...

I am by no means a shy person and consider myself friendly and outgoing but this is a new experience for me and I am wondering how I will make out. Of course I know there is always the option to switch tables should I not enjoy my dining companions.

Any advice or input appreciated!
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  #2  
Old October 7th, 2012, 05:51 PM
bottomfeeder bottomfeeder is offline
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I have my first solo cruise coming up next month, and have thought about that as well. Many of the solos on my cruise, having early or late seating, have arranged among themselves to be seated at the same table. However, I have select dining so I don't really have that option, although for the reasons you list I would not really be eager to do so anyhow. I am trying to put together a solos night at one of the for-fee restaurants, though.

I kind of look at it this way: how is it really any different than cruising with a SO (or in my case, SO or son) and going to dinner and being seated with a group of folks you don't know? It really isn't any different at all! Except maybe that you won't have someone to discuss the dinner conversation with later!
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  #3  
Old October 7th, 2012, 06:48 PM
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The first night is always the hardest, but just because it's hard doesn't mean it'll be terrible. You're already ahead of the game if you are outgoing and friendly. You've set up traditional seating, which is a good strategy. Just come out of your cabin, take a deep breath, walk to the MDR, and be yourself. It'll probably go better than you anticipate, but if not, it's no big deal to go to the Maitre d and make other arrangements.

Don't limit yourself to hanging around with solos. It's great to do so, but remain open to all types of people and parties on board, even parties that may not look good "on paper" to you. If you enjoy their company outside the MDR, there will be no problem. Also remain open to the opportunities that will make your MDR experience great. If someone else is at a bad or empty table, invite them to yours if there's room.
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  #4  
Old October 7th, 2012, 11:27 PM
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Froufrie, I think you answered your question in one regard as you realize you have an out if the first night's dining doesn't go well. That happened to me on a transatlantic. I deliberately asked for a large table thinking there would lots of options for conversation. No one spoke to me. So, some people on my roll call had space at their table, and we arranged for me to dine with them the remainder of the cruise, and all went well.

That said, you might find a new group of friends - some solo and some not - who are good dining companions with whom you can share each day's activities.

Enjoy.
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  #5  
Old October 8th, 2012, 12:00 AM
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Froufie- Must agree that first night is always an unknown. I would say I wouldn't pre book yourself that first night until at the very least meet some folks face to face at the hotel. What you decide today might not be what you want to do tomorrow. That's the joy and big benefit of being a solo cruiser, you do what you want when you want. Do as much or little as you want.

Why I also say face to face at the hotel and allow yourself to meet some in person is how you chat online may not be how a person is in person.

You'll have a great cruise. I'm excited as I'll be on my 3rd solo cruise in a month too!


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  #6  
Old October 8th, 2012, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcmarc2 View Post
Don't limit yourself to hanging around with solos. It's great to do so, but remain open to all types of people and parties on board, even parties that may not look good "on paper" to you. If you enjoy their company outside the MDR, there will be no problem. Also remain open to the opportunities that will make your MDR experience great. If someone else is at a bad or empty table, invite them to yours if there's room.
Well said, especially the bit about not limiting yourself to meeting/chatting/hanging around with other solos. Lots of interesting people come in all sorts of traveling groups, whether solo, coupled, in tour groups, or in a family group. You may also find that some of the roll-call buddies you made on line are different and not to your liking in person (you never really know until you spend time with someone face to face), and you may find you want to change up companions during the cruise too.......so don't limit yourself now -- go in with an open mind set.

Also, making pleasant small talk is a skill that you can practice and learn, so if you find yourself in a group or seating with people you don't know, it is still very possible to pass a pleasant couple of hours over a meal. Then, if it was only pleasant and you don't like the "work" of making small-talk, you can make other arrangements for your next dinner, but don't despair that one meal in those circumstances will be lousy.
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  #7  
Old October 8th, 2012, 10:45 AM
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I'm with those who say don't limit your horizons to other solos. Some of the people with whom I had the most fun were couples. And not all couples are "joined at the hip" 24/7. You will also get to know people (solos, couples, trios and half of a couple) on shore excursions. In so many circumstances (excursions, poolside, etc.) it is not at all obvious whether you are solo or coupled.
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  #8  
Old October 8th, 2012, 11:06 AM
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Never said I was limiting my horizons! Lots of solos/singles/couples and families on my roll call. I intend to make friends with everyone!

Just assuming my dining table would mostly be made up of 'like' types - and thought those would most likely be other solos. I would have no issues with couples at my table...

As mentioned I have no problem striking up conversations wherever so not a shy person - just feeling a bit anxious about walking up to that table all alone and taking a seat and speaking up!

But thanks to everyone for the good advice - I think I shall try to arrive early to get my choice of seats and maybe 'start' the introductions? My feeling has always been that the larger the table the greater the 'opportunity' to find one or more individuals I am compatible with?
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Last edited by Froufie; October 8th, 2012 at 11:09 AM.
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  #9  
Old October 8th, 2012, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Froufie View Post
Never said I was limiting my horizons! Lots of solos/singles/couples and families on my roll call. I intend to make friends with everyone!

Just assuming my dining table would mostly be made up of 'like' types - and thought those would most likely be other solos. I would have no issues with couples at my table...

As mentioned I have no problem striking up conversations wherever so not a shy person - just feeling a bit anxious about walking up to that table all alone and taking a seat and speaking up!

But thanks to everyone for the good advice - I think I shall try to arrive early to get my choice of seats and maybe 'start' the introductions? My feeling has always been that the larger the table the greater the 'opportunity' to find one or more individuals I am compatible with?
I don't know how the cruiselines determine where solos sit. I agree that I like to be with couples or two same sex friends as well as other solos.

I'm now part of a group of women who cruise solo, and we are widowed, divorced, never married and married with spouses who don't like to travel. Three of us are on a cruise in about a month and have linked our reservations to sit at the same table for dinner, but we've planned excursions with others (and not always together) when in port. Life is more interesting when there is a mixture of genders, ages, marital status, etnicities, etc. - well IMHO anyway.
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  #10  
Old October 8th, 2012, 01:21 PM
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I have cruised solo several times...and only once was I seated at a table with another solo person...maybe it was just my bad luck..but I ususally ended up sitting with other couples or families...not always a bad experience but just so you know you can't count on having solo's at your table either...
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  #11  
Old October 8th, 2012, 03:42 PM
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I have cruised solo several times...and only once was I seated at a table with another solo person...maybe it was just my bad luck..but I ususally ended up sitting with other couples or families...not always a bad experience but just so you know you can't count on having solo's at your table either...
That's interesting ....I always thought they made an effort when seating people and used what information they had to make some of their choices (e.g. I am Canadian and often find myself seated with other canadians, also when travelling solo - with another solo friend - we were usually seated with other solo travellers - this was always on Carnival though).

I do intend to write the maitre d before my cruise and ask about table seating!
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  #12  
Old October 8th, 2012, 08:50 PM
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On my first two solo cruises I did "My time" or "Any time" guess whatever you want to call it depending on the cruiseline. Anyways I figured this flexibility was that other added benefit of solo cruising having more control over when, who and for the most part who you ate with. On my first cruise I sat by myself at a table for two, however two of the nights on either side of me at table for two were a other solos. Couple nights in a row we ended up eating at the same time. This allowed for mutual conversation and less awkwardness. By the fourth night I know for sure, the third night is fuzzy without going back to read my notes I ate with some new "ship" friends. Had a great time!

On my second solo cruise I was moved to "Anytime dining" (Royal Caribbean) once I had boarded the ship, met some great people ironically my first night that I sat with had a great time and socialized with them off and on throughout the cruise. We didn't eat together on the 2nd night but did on the 3rd and last night. Again had a great time.

On my third solo cruise, which will be in a month I'm signed up for "My time" (Carnival) dining and will take it as it goes. I'll have two "first" nights as I'm doing two cruises back to back a three night and a six night. 3 night cruise, no roll call. 6 night cruise, active roll call.
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  #13  
Old October 8th, 2012, 08:52 PM
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On one cruise I was traveling solo, but as part of a larger group. Three of us odd birds were seated not with the larger table, but at a table of 4. Although the couple was nice after a few days we ran out of things to talk about. It was awkward. I was telling my room mate about my situation and he invited me to join him as there was an empty seat at his table and that worked out well. Look, it a crap shoot. There is absolutely nothing you can do until your first night. Who knows it might work just fine; maybe not. So don't worry until after your first night at dinner. It's like a blind date. You never know what you will get until you meet them for better or worse. Once I got seated at a table of 6. An older couple, a travel agent and two elderly sisters from Florida. I was 29 years old...yikes!! Well, the two older sisters were a riot. I never laugh so hard. It was the best table to date. Whatever the case, if it doesn't work out then speak to the Maitre'd for a table change or ask your fellow CC roll callers if you can join them. What I've learned after 30+ cruises there are no easy answers. You just go with the flow and let the cards land where they may fall; but never stay at a table and be miserable. Everything usually works out in the end. I never can say I've had a bad table for dinner that I couldn't fix. Sometimes for breakfast or lunch where it was open seating I've sat with people that weren't all that friendly or didn't say a word. In those situations you just eat and leave.
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Old October 8th, 2012, 09:50 PM
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Very good advice - and no I would never sit there and be 'miserable' that's for sure!

I have had situations as well where we have an 'empty' seat and have invited someone I bumped into who was having a less than fun dinnertime to join our table and it worked out great. In most cases I have had very good luck with tablemates (were those two sisters ex-schoolteachers who 'liked' their wine? Think I met them on a Princess cruise! LOL)....and I hope to continue the trend.

I guess I just have to take a deep breathe and plow into it and as you say - see what happens!
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  #15  
Old October 10th, 2012, 01:34 PM
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I wouldn't want to plan out dinner with the same people each night. It'd feel too regimented like a schedule.

I just returned from a cruise a couple of weeks ago. There was no sailaway meeting on my roll call and the M&G was the next day, so I simply helped plan an informal gathering the first day. For those not wanting to dine alone the first night, it was a good way for the solos (and couples) to make dinner plans and meet people before the M&G. There were also solos and couples who enjoyed sharing tables and meeting new people for dinner every night.

You can ask the Maitre D that you'd like to share tables (for those doing freestyle or any time dining) with other people who specifically asked to share tables. These people are there to be friendly and socialize.

Seemed each solo each did want they wanted to do throughout the day. We would often meet each every night at the ship's own "solo get together" and those who didn't have dinner plans headed off together. I had dinner with many different people and made friends both from CC and not including couples. I simply talked with the couples who happened to be there.

A larger group of us did dined together one night and a few of us felt it was too big a group because we had to shout or couldn't hear people across the table. I guess I prefer meeting up with different people in smaller groups for dinner each night. I wouldn't want to do any kind of traditional scheduled dinning seated with the same people every night.
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  #16  
Old October 11th, 2012, 06:35 PM
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Froufie, I have read many of your great reviews of previous cruises, and I cant imagine that you would have trouble in this regard. I guess there is always that one time that things dont quite work out well. It has actually only not worked out well twice when I was cruising with others, and our table mates were not very freindly.

As far as my real solo cruises go; ( I mean when I am going alone and and dont know anyone else on board, three of these so far ), I have always been seated at large tables with great mix of singles, friends together, mother and daughter,s other solos. The last time I cruised, two years ago, I decided I needed to try out your time dining, and was a little worried, that I would stick out like a red flag! Wrong. They sat me a two person table each night, and folks around me at neighboring tables always talked to me, and I met some other solos too. Im rambling, but my point is;

You, though I have not met you, I can tell from your reviews, are a very pleasant and easy going person, outgoing and humorous. If I were a betting person, I would even wager a bet that you will have no problems!

Looking forward to your review!
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  #17  
Old October 11th, 2012, 10:52 PM
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Froufie Froufie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMSACE6 View Post
Froufie, I have read many of your great reviews of previous cruises, and I cant imagine that you would have trouble in this regard. I guess there is always that one time that things dont quite work out well. It has actually only not worked out well twice when I was cruising with others, and our table mates were not very freindly.

As far as my real solo cruises go; ( I mean when I am going alone and and dont know anyone else on board, three of these so far ), I have always been seated at large tables with great mix of singles, friends together, mother and daughter,s other solos. The last time I cruised, two years ago, I decided I needed to try out your time dining, and was a little worried, that I would stick out like a red flag! Wrong. They sat me a two person table each night, and folks around me at neighboring tables always talked to me, and I met some other solos too. Im rambling, but my point is;

You, though I have not met you, I can tell from your reviews, are a very pleasant and easy going person, outgoing and humorous. If I were a betting person, I would even wager a bet that you will have no problems!

Looking forward to your review!
You are so sweet! Thanks for your kind words - and yes those that know me would be surprised to hear about my sudden 'lack of confidence' shall we say? I know I 'should' be okay - but just a case of 'cold feet' I guess? I am hoping you are right....and that as per my usual experience I have a great time with my tablemates!

I am sure it will all be documented in my next review (Froufie Breezes across the Atlantic! )
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  #18  
Old October 12th, 2012, 03:59 AM
AmoMondo AmoMondo is offline
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I've done 13 completely solo cruises and always requested fixed dining at a large table. On the line I mainly sail with, they used to sit solos with other solos which sometimes worked great and sometimes didn't (mainly because there were too few English speaking solos wanting the same sitting as I di so would end up on my own (not such an issue) or with only 2 others who were very different from me and conversation was a bit stilted. Thankfully now they just go for language first, and try to put same nationalities together and that works much better.

I think the thought of first dinner is always worse than the experience itself - it's just the fear of the unknown. The more you do it the less it worries you. more often on paper some of my experience with table mates would not be a good match, but they invariably are good or even great. People who ask for larger tables (even with couples and groups of friends) want to meet and speak to other people. If they didn't they'd request smaller tables. Passengers also usually have a love of travel in common.

On my last cruise we had a young Irish couple on first cruise and honeymoon, middle aged American couple and a slighted older English couple and moi (middle aged female Scot). It was great, we gelled so well and the laughs we all had. There were a few nights they started switching off lights as a hit they wanted us to leave because we were last (don't blame the staff, it was after midnight- we'd just not noticed, we were talking that much)

If you are really unlucky and just can't get on with your table companions, do speak to the Maitre D' to change table.
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  #19  
Old October 12th, 2012, 05:21 PM
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LandlockedCruiser01 LandlockedCruiser01 is offline
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I cruised solo, and had assigned dining, late seating. I was seated at a 10-top, with one other solo, a married couple, and a group of friends. Everybody at the table was very welcoming, warm, and accepting. The married couple ended up being "pack leaders" of sorts: they brought the table together and got everybody talking. I went dinner every night except once, when I was dancing in port and lost track of time.

The only awkward moment was the first night. I arrived a little early, and ended up being the first one at the table. Since unlike on land, I didn't have the clutch of looking at my cell phone, it felt awkward to be one guy sitting alone at a 10-top. But then the second person arrived, then the third one, etc, and all awkwardness was gone. Introductions went around, and quickly, we were having great conversations.
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  #20  
Old October 21st, 2012, 09:11 AM
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Lois R Lois R is offline
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Hi everyone is different. Some people don't want to sit at the same
table each night, while others enjoy the comraderie of getting to
know each other. We all have our own likes and dislikes and that
is what makes the world go round

I am sailing (solo of course) next month. I am participating in the roll
call and I put the question out there asking if anyone would like to
share a table. I received responses from 1 couple and 2 other gals
who are also sailing solo. We have linked our reservations and at this
point there are 5 of us. We all had posted we all enjoy late dining
at a large table and looking forward to meeting everyone.

As for choices....I enjoy having the same wait staff/table each
night. I have tried the "my time dining" option before and really
didn't enjoy it nearly as much as traditional. (But that is just me).

Hope you enjoy your cruise
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