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  #1  
Old June 14th, 2012, 04:01 PM
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Question First vs. Second Seating for solos...

Does it really make a difference in table mates? What's your take?

I am a Traditional Dining gal and I always request a large table. I've done second seating all but once, and that one time I ended up seated with the most boring "in bed by 8:30" family ever. But then again, in second seating, my table mate luck has been about 60% good/40% get another table and then it's good.

Do you think those stats are any better or worse if I chose first seating?

I ask because on my last cruise I had second seating as usual, but I was also an early riser (7:00am or so) and ended up wanting my bed right after dinner. So, I broke my own rule and selected first seating for my next cruise so I'll still be awake enough to enjoy evening entertainment and digest before bed.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old June 14th, 2012, 05:38 PM
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I always get early seating dinner. I have had for the most part been really lucky with my tablemates. Sometimes they are all solo cruisers and other times they are a mixture of solo cruisers and couples.

On the couple of times (both times with RCCL) that I was given unacceptable tables I asked the maitre d to change my table. One time he refused (I was seated at a 4 top with a honeymoon couple-this was my first solo cruise after my husband passed away) the other time I was moved to a table with all women (I was seated at a table without tablemates).

I have been on many many solo cruises and these are the only times that I have not been satisfied with the table I was given.
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Old June 14th, 2012, 06:32 PM
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I am going to risk displaying my ignorance here.

I am about to embark on my first SOLO cruise. I have done two singles' cruises since my husband passed away in 2008, but they have anytime dining within the group. So, you go with the group, but you can sit wherever you want in the designated area. When my husband and I cruised, we did anytime, also.

I kind of think I should go for traditional dining on my first solo. Do I ask for a larger table when I book the cruise? I've never done this, so please forgive my ignorance. Thanks!
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Old June 14th, 2012, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by JWinATL View Post
I am going to risk displaying my ignorance here.

I am about to embark on my first SOLO cruise. I have done two singles' cruises since my husband passed away in 2008, but they have anytime dining within the group. So, you go with the group, but you can sit wherever you want in the designated area. When my husband and I cruised, we did anytime, also.

I kind of think I should go for traditional dining on my first solo. Do I ask for a larger table when I book the cruise? I've never done this, so please forgive my ignorance. Thanks!
Never be afraid to ask questions. There is always someone that can help you.

I ask when I book the cruise. After my first cruise on RCCL I now go see the maitre d once I board the ship to see what kind of table I am at. They will tell you how large the table is and they can tell you if they are couples, singles, etc.

I prefer an assigned table, but I do know solo cruisers that do anytime dining and like it. They usually request a large table when they get to the dining room.

I have found that doing assigned seating I usually make friends with some of the people and then we can either share some time ashore or shows if we want or go do my own thing.
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Old June 14th, 2012, 07:38 PM
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Default interesting question

I am a firm believer in late seating.

Early seating is people who want to go to bed early and need to eat sooner.. not always,, but generally... and this is families with kids and older folk like I will be some day.. . Mind you I have had good table mates at early seatings... but mostly not so much...

I have found the Late diners to be more lively... now this could well be that they have been suckign cocktails since noon , but I think that they are also the stay up later and be more social crew as well...

I initially switched to late seating because I hate missing photographing the sunsets. I also dislike hurrying to get to dinner at 6pm after a day in port.

As a solo.. do not be afraid to ask for a different table if the folks you are with do not cut it.. if you find people you like, drop a hint that your current dinner folks are not to your liking and you are going to ask to be moved... there may be room at their table... On my last cruise I was on three different tables, and I had great fun making sure each set of table staff got thier own share of my tips... the two sets I abandonned were quite surprised to have me hunt them down to give them their well deserved tips...

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Attitude... being nice and outwardly friendly to staff can make such ahuge difference... especially as a solo... if you treat them special.. guess what? You get it back three fold... I bring Golden Dollars coins and use them liberally ... one given as thanks at the specialty coffee bar and all your favorite haunts during the cruise will get you a big hello when you show up and service with huge smiles and joy... by spreading around $40-100 in coinage during a 10 day cruise you get so much more back out... having the proper attitude can make your cruise...
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Old June 14th, 2012, 09:02 PM
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I always do late seating because I'm a night person and am up for quite some time after dinner. I agree that early seating tends to have more families with children, because it's more convenient for their bedtimes.

I also always ask for a large table. I enjoy meeting new folks and find dinner is a perfect time to do so. If you are seated at a small table, say for 4 or 6, you are likely to find yourself sitting alone on the chance your tablemates are dining in one of the specialty restaurants.

I agree that the waitstaff, for the most part, go out of their way to ensure that a solo cruiser has a great time. Treat them well and you'll earn their respect and gratitude.
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  #7  
Old June 15th, 2012, 02:26 AM
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I'm another late diner at large tables. For me the choice of sitting, comes down to what I prefer, rather than choice of table mates. On my last cruise I discovered that I'd been put on first although I'd asked for second. When I went to see the Maitre D' he said, "but you're British, second is 9.30 to suit the South Americans, that'll be too late for you, almost all the English speaking passengers are on first at 7.15". I explained that was a wrong assumption, and even if I had to dine by myself, I did not want to eat early.

I eat late at home, on holiday I like to have time to chill out before get dressedfr dinner and then have a drink. Often the shp is not sailing NFL 5 or even 6pm, so early would just be too muc of a rush for me.

It is true that there are fewer families with young kids on second sitting. I've never had to change tables because I couldn't get on with my table mates . Did change once so that I could be at the same table as a lady I'd made friends with via a roll call ahead of the cruise. Dont know if my experience would've been different if I'd chosen early.

Y advice would be to pick the sitting that suits your preferences. If you normally eat earlier and like to get to bed at a reasonable time and rise early, first will suit beter. If like me you don't go to bed until after midnight and don't get upmearly, second would be better.
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Old June 15th, 2012, 03:22 PM
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I did second (late) seating on my solo cruise. I chose it far in advance, since I suspected that first (early) seating would have a lot of kids, and I wanted adult company to talk to and compare notes with during dinner. Also, I always stayed up late until 2:00 AM at least, so I'd be running on empty by midnight if I did the early seating. Yeah, there's 24-hour pizza, but pizza is something I can get in Chicago, and authentic one to boot. Cruise food is something more difficult to get on land.
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  #9  
Old June 16th, 2012, 08:44 AM
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For 8 years I did traditional dining, late seating with an 8 top.....
My last 3 cruises I tried Select dining (different reasons for all 3).
I am sailing again in November and will be going back to traditional
dining for this upcoming cruise. To be honest, and if it sounds corney
so be it......but I miss having the same table and same wait staff
and I guess I am just "old school" and if by chance my tablemates
and I don't click....? I will speak with the Mait'rd and move but I am
very much looking forward to having Traditional dining again
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Old June 16th, 2012, 06:07 PM
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We've heard from the second seating contingent, including me -- any solos out there who generally make a habit of doing first seating? I'd like to hear those experiences.

I'm sailing in February, while school is in, that should help cut down on the kid factor.
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Old June 17th, 2012, 01:29 PM
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I'm also with the majority for like the second seating.
I like to return back to the ship from a day on shore and wind down. For me that mean heading to the thermal spa, dressing for dinner and heading for a drink before dinner.
I found that with one exception, all my second seating tables to be a great group of people.
JWinATL this is what the board is for! Ask all the questions you need to ask!
But if you get a table that don't have a good vibe, you can request a change. I didn't know this on my first solo cruise (had a tablemate from H***! and ate in the Lido after that).
I do know solos that had the first dining. Carnival placed them with other solo cruisers.
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Old June 17th, 2012, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lois R View Post
For 8 years I did traditional dining, late seating with an 8 top.....
My last 3 cruises I tried Select dining (different reasons for all 3).
I am sailing again in November and will be going back to traditional
dining for this upcoming cruise. To be honest, and if it sounds corney
so be it......but I miss having the same table and same wait staff
and I guess I am just "old school" and if by chance my tablemates
and I don't click....? I will speak with the Mait'rd and move but I am
very much looking forward to having Traditional dining again
1st 2nd seating??? we used to do that table of ten etc sometimes was a table from hell. She passed away so now I only do Your time/my time reqest same time,table,and wait staff each night IT'S great you can get a 2 topper or what ever
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Old June 17th, 2012, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forecastle View Post
1st 2nd seating??? we used to do that table of ten etc sometimes was a table from hell. She passed away so now I only do Your time/my time reqest same time,table,and wait staff each night IT'S great you can get a 2 topper or what ever
Who passed away? 1st 2nd seating? Not sure I understand the
first question.
Yes, I enjoy late seating so that is what I am doing for my upcoming
cruise.

I sail solo and as I said, I have tried "My time dining". Glad it works
for you.
It does not work for all of us. And I never request a 10 top. That
is too large (in my opinion) but I have never had a "table from hell". And if I did?
I would speak with the Maitr'd and ask to be moved.

Different strokes for different folks
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Last edited by Lois R; June 17th, 2012 at 03:25 PM.
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Old June 20th, 2012, 12:21 PM
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Default Could use some encouragement

I'm doing my first solo in September. I've been on numerous cruises with lots of family members, but this is something I've always wanted to do. Use to work on cruise ships MANY years ago. Best 5 years of my life!!!

I'll admit to being nervous - I'm a 56 year old female - and had myself convinced to eat either on lido with my kindle or room service. Picked early seating, but didn't think I"d have the nerve to try the MDR alone - but, thanks to you guys, maybe I'll go the first night & see where they put me.
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Old June 20th, 2012, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sc4125 View Post
I'm doing my first solo in September. I've been on numerous cruises with lots of family members, but this is something I've always wanted to do. Use to work on cruise ships MANY years ago. Best 5 years of my life!!!

I'll admit to being nervous - I'm a 56 year old female - and had myself convinced to eat either on lido with my kindle or room service. Picked early seating, but didn't think I"d have the nerve to try the MDR alone - but, thanks to you guys, maybe I'll go the first night & see where they put me.
Hi we are in the same age bracket...I am 54....I will strongly
encourage to not eat in your room.....go out and about
Give the dining room a try....please.....
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Old June 20th, 2012, 04:57 PM
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Hi sc4125- You won't be in the "MDR alone" if you request a large table - you'll be sitting with a bunch of other people! You *will* be sitting alone if you only request a table for two and bring your Kindle, or, heaven forbid, eat dinner in your cabin every night. Some solos like eating alone, and that's fine, but if you want to socialize with other people, you'll have to sit with other people. And if those people aren't your cup of tea, talk to the matre' d. First night is always the hardest, but power through with a positive attitude and you'll be fine.
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Old June 24th, 2012, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcmarc2 View Post
We've heard from the second seating contingent, including me -- any solos out there who generally make a habit of doing first seating? I'd like to hear those experiences.


I'm a first seating person. I want to eat considerably earlier than 8:30 ish. I've done early traditional on 3 cruises. The first one I was at a table of 4 (a 30ish couple and a parent ) and it worked out pretty well, but I was happier the other times at a large table since there were so many more conversations and topics.

I can't recall ever seeing any young children at nearby tables at early traditional, so I'm unsure why this seems to be an issue (and two of these cruises were over Xmas). At one large table there were two 'older' children - a high school senior and a university sophomore and they were the most fun part of the group.

Once or twice it was a rush to get there after a port day, but generally I had time for a drink or two before heading into the MDR.

Will I do it again? Absolutely. Next cruise I've asked for early traditional and a large table again.
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Old June 26th, 2012, 03:49 PM
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I have done two cruises solo (b2b) and I had early dining for both. I chose early dining because I like to eat at 6pm. I never found that I was rushing back to the ship for dinner.

Both cruises I was sat at a 4 person booth (Carnival).

The first cruise I was seated with a woman (40's) (I'm in my 30's) and a man (40/50's) and his son (20's). The dad and son abandoned us after the 1st formal night (I think the dad really wanted the lobster) and the woman and I got along really well. There was one night were the woman didn't show and it was uncomfortable eating on my own.

The second cruise I was seated with a man in his 50's, an woman in her 60's and a man in his 70's. It wasn't the best but I stayed with the table (as I didn't know I could ask for a different table).

On my next cruise (RC B2B) I am going with my grandparents, but couldn't get early dining (we booked seperately a week apart). I am booked for the late dining. I hope I will be able to switch so I can sit with my grandparents but I might be solo again.
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Old June 28th, 2012, 05:05 PM
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I prefer open (anytime) dining. You can meet a lot more people that way. If you find a group you like, you can sit with the same people again, or not, without any hard feelings if you choose to sit with others the next time.

When you are in the mood for a quiet dinner and don't feel like chatting, you can request a table for yourself.

You can eat when you wish, not because it is your assigned time to go to dinner regardless of whether or not you are ready or hungry then.

At work, most people have regular, scheduled hours so it is nice to escape from that type of regimentation when you are on vacation.

I like to control my own dining schedule on a cruise rather than letting the ship's dining schedule control me.
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Old June 28th, 2012, 10:37 PM
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I lucked out on my 1st solo and was seated with 2 single guys, a single gal, and 3 sisters traveling together. It was a great group; we would sometimes meet for a pre-dinner drink and some of us went dancing in the disco after dinner.
2nd and 3rd solo not so great. Second cruise they seated me with a married couple 2 sets of inlaws and the kids...awkward. I switched to anytime.
3rd cruise I was seated with 4 couples, oh well... I had reservations in the specialty restaurant for 3 nights so I just filled in with this group.
Sure, I feel out of place at times but as others have said there is always conversation. Next cruise, in Jan. I haven't asked for a specific table yet; it's the luck of the draw.
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