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MacinVic

How to avoid politics at the dinner table?

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It's been a couple of years now since our last cruise.  We were so put off with our last due to dinner companions with strong political views, that we finally moved to a table for two.

 

We're Canadian and both of us have voted both sides of center over the years, depending on who is running and record to date.  But on our last cruise, we simply couldn't get a table without conservative Americans who felt it was their duty to strongly lecture all the people at the table about the merits of Donald Trump.  Most of these were retirees, apparently well educated and financially comfortable.  This would occur at the assigned dinner tables, and often at lunch and breakfast in the dining room, where you're seated with a different set of strangers at each meal.  It was so bad that we decided we no longer wish to cruise.

 

It almost seems that dining room assignments might have to take political leanings into consideration, when making up the table assignments.

 

Has anyone else experienced this? 

 

Any suggestions for being seated at a non-political table?

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We speak up immediately if the discussion moves to politics.  "I'm sorry, discussing politics makes us uncomfortable, could we change the subject please."

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Gee there seem to be a lot of taboo subjects 

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You must have managed to miss all the folks complaining how Hillary lost.

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I suppose you could try to nicely say something like, not all of us vote in the same election.  I'd prefer not to talk politics. Then change the subject.  When you have know it all blowhards who want to pontificate, the silent majority who want them to shut up are often grateful when someone else tries to steer the conversation back to more neutral subjects.  

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8 minutes ago, FlyerTalker said:

You must have managed to miss all the folks complaining how Hillary lost.

Our last cruise was shortly before the election.

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Just now, MacinVic said:

Our last cruise was shortly before the election.

 

Then it would have been all the folks swooning over her upcoming coronation.

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To the folks suggesting tables for two, as retirees, every night is a table for two for us.  Our fondest memories of our previous 15-ish cruises are of the amazing table-mates we enjoyed in the past.  A great deal of the pleasure of cruising would be lost for us, sitting at a table for two.

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1 minute ago, FlyerTalker said:

 

Then it would have been all the folks swooning over her upcoming coronation.

Sighs...  we probably wouldn't enjoy sitting together.

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I absolutely did not intend for this to develop into a discussion or debate on the merits of left vs right, nor of the previous American election.  I apologize in advance if it does.  And if it does, I suggest that mods remove it.  I won't respond any further.

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Posted (edited)

The only time my DH and I have asked to be moved to another table was because, on the first night, our table-mates wouldn't shut up about politics. This was several years ago, and since then we've pretty much stuck to 2-tops -- or dining with folks we know, or are traveling with. I was raised 'old-school' -- that there are three topics which you only discuss with close friends/associates and family: Religion, Politics, and Money. I've actually had to spell that out for folks who refused to take a hint, when I gently tried to steer the topic of conversation to something more neutral. But, no -- if we encountered someone like the OP is talking about, we would attempt to change the subject. If that didn't work, we'd just excuse ourselves and move on. There are LOTS of nice, interesting folks on cruise ships. Sometimes you just have to keep looking, until you find them! 😎

Edited by wwcruisers

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, MacinVic said:

To the folks suggesting tables for two, as retirees, every night is a table for two for us.  Our fondest memories of our previous 15-ish cruises are of the amazing table-mates we enjoyed in the past.  A great deal of the pleasure of cruising would be lost for us, sitting at a table for two.

 

I completely understand.  We are Canadian, too.  If we are with Canadians, we use the line about discussing politics making us uncomfortable.  If we are with US residents, we use the same line.

About three months ago I entered the "politics makes me want to cry or scream or hit something" phase.... we don't even discuss politics at home now.

Edited by VennDiagram

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I would more than likely agree with these people at your table but would never boor some one with this kind of talk . I always stick to small talk and talk about this or other cruises. Oh yes and witty retorts .B.T.W .To stop cruising over this is pretty silly.

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Choose a cruise line that few Americans ,especially very conservative ones would be unlikely to sail on. I have since 2004 when I sailed on a MSC ship that few US cruisers knew anything about. But I was wrong. A British couple we met onboard  had your very same experience with some George W Bush supporters in pre-election mode. My five cruises on three different lines have had few Americans aboard. There are a few around, 

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54 minutes ago, MacinVic said:

Sighs...  we probably wouldn't enjoy sitting together.

 

Not so.  I was merely pointing out that the boorish political preening can be found on both sides of the aisle.

 

I don't like it from either side - and am saddened when it is tolerated (and abetted) if it comes from one side but disliked when from the other.  In either direction.

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I've mentioned this in another thread in this forum, but during my last cruise, I was constantly berated by almost-strangers, based solely on the U.S. state in which I live and its politics. I never introduce politics into conversation with new acquaintances.

 

I have been planning to lie about my state of residence in the next cruise, which is just over a week away, but this could backfire. Of the various states that I know well enough to fake, all are equally objectionable to some people, either in the same way as my present state, or in the opposite direction.

 

And this time I have fixed dinner seating. Based on the itinerary, I think that the passenger demographics will be different from my last cruise, but that's not at all certain.

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Sports, travel, books, movies and entertainment.  These are things we try to steer the conversation toward.  Doesn’t always work but we try to avoid the angst.

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Little know fact: Politics is actually compound word....poli = many; tics = small blood sucking disease carrying vermin.

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2 hours ago, MacinVic said:

It's been a couple of years now since our last cruise.  We were so put off with our last due to dinner companions with strong political views, that we finally moved to a table for two.

 

We're Canadian and both of us have voted both sides of center over the years, depending on who is running and record to date.  But on our last cruise, we simply couldn't get a table without conservative Americans who felt it was their duty to strongly lecture all the people at the table about the merits of Donald Trump.  Most of these were retirees, apparently well educated and financially comfortable.  This would occur at the assigned dinner tables, and often at lunch and breakfast in the dining room, where you're seated with a different set of strangers at each meal.  It was so bad that we decided we no longer wish to cruise.

 

This makes no sense. If politics bother you so much, why didn't you just get up, leave the table and go eat at the buffet? 

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I'm very glad this topic was brought up.  When we can make our reservations I will get a two-top regardless of the time.  I am a card-carrying, foaming at the mouth liberal and would last maybe two minutes with some of those described.  Thanks for bringing it up.  It answered what I needed.

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Funny, I seem to get Canadians who want to preach about their health care system.  I simply do not engage.  

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Perhaps we are just lucky because despite cruising up to 100 days a year we cannot recall the last time we were at a large table (we always prefer Open sitting schemes and sharing large tables) where politics became the topic of discussion.  If that were to happen we would politely suggest that religion and politics are not good topics for table discussions.  If some did not take the hint and we found the discussion offensive we would politely excuse ourselves and quietly ask the Maitre'd to put us at another large table.  The incident would not upset us and we would just write it off to having tablemates that have no clue how to socialize with strangers.   Sure, DW and I do have some very strong political views but that is not an appropriate discussion topic at a table with strangers.   It is a lot more fun to talk about cruising, travel, ports, and grandkids.

 

Hank 

Insert other media.url

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I have found that simply stating that it is probably a good idea to avoid politics seems to work - particularly if followed up with introducing a topic unlikely to raise hackles.  The inability to steer conversations is only a bit less pathetic than the impulse to try to impose ones own narrow views.  There is a whole lot out there worth discussing and sharing opinions on.

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