Posted May 2nd, 2012, 05:25 PM
You might consider raising subjects about which you have things in common:
The ship you are sailing
The ports you are visiting
The entertainment on the ship
The good or bad weather you've enjoyed or not during the trip
The menu/dinner you are at that moment eating
My fish is delicious, how is your prime rib - probably will bring you to conversation about foods you/they like or not
Ships and travel in general
Those topics are bound to bring you to 'safe ports' to continue the conversation in a comfortable direction.
If your table 'clicks', it's great and your conversation will evolve. If the table does not 'click', you have offended no one.
My inlaws have cruised a few times, always with family which I think is a fantatic thing because the thought of someone having to share a table with them depresses me. They are the kind where nothing is EVER right, or good enough. So dinner conversation with them is something like this:
"What do you think of the ship?"
- it's too large/small/pointy, things are too cheaply made/too expensive, and it's too hot/cold/wet/dry/bright/dim.
"What did you think of this port?"
- too expensive, all the sellers are just there to take advantage of tourists, the locals are too pushy/quiet/foreign, it was too hot/cold/wet/dry/sandy/rocky.
"Have you seen any of the shows?
" - they're too boring/loud/busy, the performer is too weak/loud/short/fat, the theatre was too cold/hot, the seats were too hard/soft.
You get the idea.
Of all of their vacations over the last decade+, I've never heard them say a positive thing about any of them. I really pity anyone who has to sit with them at dinner.