Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
TheRampantSnail

Sociability on Crystal?

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, lizbeth said:

but the open seating concept is not our preference.

Me as well, but in my case it's not a deal breaker for cruising with Crystal.  It would have been had they not added the extra dining venues (particularly on Symphony, which didn't even have Tastes).   I don't mind dining alone, though it's not my preference and I don't like it in the banquet hall - oops, I mean the main dining room. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, oakridger said:

I have a question though.  I had read that right after switching to open dining a couple years ago that they were seating guests at spontaneous shared tables even after the other diners had started eating.  I was hoping that practice had stopped! 

The practice was alive & well on our Dec sailing

We watched a table for 6 nearby   that started with a couple  then 1/2  hour another couple was added  then a single  all in various stages of the meal 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sharing a table or dining solo?  It’s a dilemma for the solo cruiser and, as the OP stated, for some couples as well.  For me, the idea of being seated with unnamed strangers is unappealing.  And I get tired of people telling me to join a shared table and meet people as if I’m some awkward country cousin.  Food is important to me.  I enjoy the experience of perusing the menu, talking to the waiter and wine steward, and enjoying a (hopefully) wonderful meal.  Adding the whole dynamic of chitchatting with strangers who may be seated at different times and leave at different times detracts, in my opinion, from the pleasures of dining.  On the other hand, sharing a table with people I’ve met on board and choose to dine with is an entirely different experience.  As another poster commented, meeting others by going to lectures, fitness classes, religious services, excursions, or just enjoying a drink and music in the lounges is a better (but not guaranteed) way to meet congenial people. This is just my perspective.  I have friends who thrive on meeting “total strangers.”  To each his/her own!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, lizbeth said:

The problem appears to be the "control point" as you enter the dining room. They do not understand the match-making they need to do to ensure shared tables are actually shared!

And, because of this we really only met 3 other couples on this cruise.

 

 

I agree  with you  the problem is at check in

Sometime they ask " would you like to share"  other times  they just say   "A table for two?"

We discussed this with Paolo  when we had a meeting with him about DH  hearing issue

 

Out of the 16 nts  we only dined  once  with a couple  & once with you  & your hubby

We are used to sharing tables   & enjoy meeting  different people  at dinner

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I've seen enough comments on this board to take it as accurate that Crystal has not figured out the semi-mystic dance of pairing up folks for dinner now with open seating.  Which is rather surprising considering how very good they were building tables during the fixed seating regime.

 

But the fact is, even before open seating, this magic was dying.  After Crystal made the interim move to "open seating by reservation", the trend of couples requesting tables of 4 or 6 or 8 tapered dramatically.   We requested a table for 6 several times after "by rezzie" started, and we found ourselves at an officer's table (another relic) with a family of four traveling together.  Not exactly the amable good old days. So we moved on to deuces, which also suits us (I find my spouse endlessly fascinating, and she pretends to do the same by me.)

 

Outside that however,  on the ocean ships you're still traveling on a vessel carrying probably between 500 and 800 pax (present unfortunateness excepted.)  Opportunities abound to meet folks.  And how does this happen?  As teammates exhort each other in the American game of baseball: "you've got a bat, do something with it."   

 

PS: the above cliche may also be true in cricket.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, KenzSailing said:

 

I've seen enough comments on this board to take it as accurate that Crystal has not figured out the semi-mystic dance of pairing up folks for dinner now with open seating.  Which is rather surprising considering how very good they were building tables during the fixed seating regime.

 

But the fact is, even before open seating, this magic was dying.  After Crystal made the interim move to "open seating by reservation", the trend of couples requesting tables of 4 or 6 or 8 tapered dramatically.   We requested a table for 6 several times after "by rezzie" started, and we found ourselves at an officer's table (another relic) with a family of four traveling together.  Not exactly the amable good old days. So we moved on to deuces, which also suits us (I find my spouse endlessly fascinating, and she pretends to do the same by me.)

 

Outside that however,  on the ocean ships you're still traveling on a vessel carrying probably between 500 and 800 pax (present unfortunateness excepted.)  Opportunities abound to meet folks.  And how does this happen?  As teammates exhort each other in the American game of baseball: "you've got a bat, do something with it."   

 

PS: the above cliche may also be true in cricket.

When there was fixed seating, the calculus of arranging seating was far easier as the MD had only two fixed times to work around.  Now every night is different as each individual or couple wanders into the dining room on their schedule.  Thus before, a table of eight was set before embarkation (or on the first day) and stayed the same throughout the cruise.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, TheRampantSnail said:

Thank you all for the answers but, probably because of the thread title I used or because I worded the question badly, most answers have missed the point. Inviting people to join you for dinner is not what I was asking.

On the lines we have cruised with, we typically say at the entrance to the restaurant that we are happy to share a table. We are then taken to a table where others have asked to share and we all wait and chat until the full complement of the table has been reached and then we all order our selections.

I would like to know if this happens on Crystal. Two people have specifically answered this point and I must say I am not very encouraged.

 

Just my experience:

 

If you're looking for a table for eight...I don't think this works well on Crystal.  It would take too long.   Now...I've done it at breakfast...but generally people sit and order, then have people join in.   Not at dinner.  For dinner, I suggest hanging out at the Cove and finding dinner partners there. 

 

I think it puts too much pressure on the wait staff to seat a large table for dinner and wonder when it will fill. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, History&Wine said:

Just my experience:

 

If you're looking for a table for eight...I don't think this works well on Crystal.  It would take too long.   Now...I've done it at breakfast...but generally people sit and order, then have people join in.   Not at dinner.  For dinner, I suggest hanging out at the Cove and finding dinner partners there. 

 

I think it puts too much pressure on the wait staff to seat a large table for dinner and wonder when it will fill. 

Yet, other cruise lines do it well. And with fewer passengers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, History&Wine said:

Just my experience:

 

If you're looking for a table for eight...I don't think this works well on Crystal.  It would take too long.   Now...I've done it at breakfast...but generally people sit and order, then have people join in.   Not at dinner.  For dinner, I suggest hanging out at the Cove and finding dinner partners there. 

 

I think it puts too much pressure on the wait staff to seat a large table for dinner and wonder when it will fill. 

They mentioned a table for 4 or 6.  Just the opportunity to socialize with a couple other people over dinner.  I hope it works out for them.  Cherie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Multiple times we've gone down to the Cove for a drink before dinner, met up with people we have never met before and wound up sharing a table with them. Additionally we've made friends with folks we've met through Trivia, knitting and needlepoint (for me), lectures, or just hanging around the ship, etc. This past cruise we were on Serenity and did the Supper Club, got seated with another couple, and wound up enjoying their company throughout the cruise.

While the shared tables are not as successful as on Regent, we have found it not to be a problem at all and we cherish the new friendships we've made. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find this whole thread puzzling.  I love and welcome the open seating concept.  I hated having to dine at a set time, with the same table mates over and over.  It was great if you loved them, but not great if they were in constant broadcast mode with no conversation allowed by anyone else,

 

I'm happy to meet people with the same sensibilities in the gym, on excursions, at lectures, etc.  We can then join up if we see fit. I've met most of my cruise friends with a champagne glass in my hand on sail-away (because, isn't this fun?!)  I'm not fond dining with people who have completely different (and vocal) social viewpoints. 

 

However, the tables for two are placed close together so it is easy to chat with the adjoining couple if you find their conversation palatable. It is also as easy to ignore them if you do not. We've met great people that way. We share tips on lovely shore restaurants, super museums and beaches, our favorite ship-board entertainment, etc. But I've also traveled solo a lot for work - so, admittedly, maybe this is easier for me.

 

For those who differ with this opinion (obviously more gregarious and less curmudgeonly than me), I think it would be pretty easy to tell the Crystal Maitre D' exactly what you want.  I've never known Crystal to be less than accommodating in that regard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting reading through the responses.  I wonder how many wait at a restaurant reception desk on land asking to be seated with another couple.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Cruise-y said:

For those who differ with this opinion (obviously more gregarious and less curmudgeonly than me), I think it would be pretty easy to tell the Crystal Maitre D' exactly what you want.  I've never known Crystal to be less than accommodating in that regard.

Well, more than a few people are here to tell you that Crystal has been less than accommodating in this regard.  I'm not sure why you find the thread "puzzling"......is it because you can't understand that people might want something different than you do, or because you don't believe them when they say that it's unavailable to them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, almostretired said:

Interesting reading through the responses.  I wonder how many wait at a restaurant reception desk on land asking to be seated with another couple.

Different situation, different culture. Most of us don't go to a restaurant for every meal, and thus look for new company there. Part of the cruising experience for many of us is the opportunity for group meals. Those who don't want this get a 2-top or solo table. Those who do expect the maitre d' to work with us. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think there is anything wrong with the legacy cruise tradition of wanting to rotate dining partners with people you don't know, but the shock that people can't relate to that is quite interesting.  I grew up in that world, but there's an entire generation of people entering cruising now that have no frame of reference for this and wouldn't have that experience.  If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting others this way, I'm not sure hearing the description of it quite does it justice, and you'd probably get a reaction like, "WHY?"

 

Vince

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/24/2020 at 12:40 PM, TheRampantSnail said:

Thank you all for the answers but, probably because of the thread title I used or because I worded the question badly, most answers have missed the point. Inviting people to join you for dinner is not what I was asking.

On the lines we have cruised with, we typically say at the entrance to the restaurant that we are happy to share a table. We are then taken to a table where others have asked to share and we all wait and chat until the full complement of the table has been reached and then we all order our selections.

I would like to know if this happens on Crystal. Two people have specifically answered this point and I must say I am not very encouraged.

 

Thank you for clarifying your post as I found the topic and the original post not as clear as this one.

 

Sharing large tables at Waterside (the main restaurant) other than making arrangements ahead of time with others to dine with you is not the norm on either Symphony nor Serenity.  

 

The two Crystal ships were not designed for open seating as is the case on other lines.  For example, I believe on Serenity Waterside has capacity for 450 guests dining simultaneously whereas Serenity could be carrying upwards of 900+ guests.  As such, when they went with open seating the vast majority of tables were set up as two table tops followed by four table tops with some six and eight table tops at Waterside. This was to maximize the number of people dining together.

 

While this has not been a show stopper for the vast majority of guests we have spoken with as they prefer smaller tables or to make arrangements ahead of time to dine with other guests some do not care for this arrangement.  To me not a surprise because I don't think there is anything other than maybe being offered a free cruise that everyone will agree on.

 

So if each time you arrive to Waterside you are looking to be seated at a shared table it might not happen or you might end up with a table where others have already started to eat at the time you are seated or you have to wait for along time.  If this is a deal breaker for you I wouldn't book a cruise with Crystal because you will likely be disappointed.

 

If on the other hand you are willing to make dates, even spontaneous ones, with people you meet whether it be minutes before at a lounge or hours or a day or more before you will find this works very well and Crystal might be a good alternative for you.  We have not sailed Regent but we have sailed Seabourn (back in the days of the triplets) and on Silversea and for us we made dates whether this was us asking others to join join us or others asking us to join them or in the case of Seabourn also being invited every couple of days to sit at hosted tables.


Again, if you are looking precisely for something that you have described I am afraid you will be disappointed and if this is a deal breaker as I mentioned I wouldn't book a Crystal Cruise because no one can assure you that what you are looking for will occur each night of the cruise.

 

P.S.

 

As to the subject of your thread we find the guests on Crystal to be very sociable and without mentioning cruise lines we find it more sociable compared to one of the lines you mentioned even though it does not address what you mean by sociability.  😀

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, BWIVince said:

I don't think there is anything wrong with the legacy cruise tradition of wanting to rotate dining partners with people you don't know, but the shock that people can't relate to that is quite interesting.  I grew up in that world, but there's an entire generation of people entering cruising now that have no frame of reference for this and wouldn't have that experience.  If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting others this way, I'm not sure hearing the description of it quite does it justice, and you'd probably get a reaction like, "WHY?"

 

Vince

 

 

Vince,

 

Interesting thought, but it got me to thinking about a related data point.  I follow local restaurant news and reviews pretty closely, and here in the DC area one thing I've noticed, over the past five years or so, is the trend toward a communal table in a lot of the newer spaces.  These are mostly trendy but not super-spendy establishments aimed at a fairly young demo (millennial and post-millenial.) So someone is sitting at those tables, and it's not the grey beards like me.

 

So why would they be adverse to doing this on a cruise?  My guess (and that's all it is) is that they aren't.  But they are also a little too young to have cruised at all. So their opinion in this matter simply doesn't register in the cruise industry.  Makes me wonder if, say, ten years from now, more pax will be clamoring for a shared dining environment, rather than fewer.

 

Maybe twenty years from now, some innovative cruise line will roll out the daring concept of two seatings for dinner, calling them "classic main" and "stylishly late!"   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now, getting back to the actual question posed by the OP:

 

1.  Are people on Crystal ships friendly?  

 

I would say yes.

 

2.  Are they any more/less friendly than passengers on other cruise lines? 

 

I don't know.  I don't think there's any way to determine it and any answer would be wrong.  There are friendly people and no-so-friendly people, and downright unfriendly people, and they all take cruises, and they don't necessarily tell you which ones they are taking next.

 

3.  Would you avoid Crystal because they are not as "sociable?"

 

Basically answered in 2.  I don't think Crystal passengers, in general (thought that's a ludicrous statement to generalize all passenger on Crystal), are neither more or less "sociable" than those on other cruise lines.  Or at least that's my impression so far.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, KenzSailing said:

 

Vince,

 

Interesting thought, but it got me to thinking about a related data point.  I follow local restaurant news and reviews pretty closely, and here in the DC area one thing I've noticed, over the past five years or so, is the trend toward a communal table in a lot of the newer spaces.  These are mostly trendy but not super-spendy establishments aimed at a fairly young demo (millennial and post-millenial.) So someone is sitting at those tables, and it's not the grey beards like me.

 

So why would they be adverse to doing this on a cruise?  My guess (and that's all it is) is that they aren't.  But they are also a little too young to have cruised at all. So their opinion in this matter simply doesn't register in the cruise industry.  Makes me wonder if, say, ten years from now, more pax will be clamoring for a shared dining environment, rather than fewer.

 

Maybe twenty years from now, some innovative cruise line will roll out the daring concept of two seatings for dinner, calling them "classic main" and "stylishly late!"   

 

Everything does go in cycles.  :classic_smile:

 

I was including myself in the generation that was used to the communal tables and somewhat used to the idea of meeting people that way.  I think the examples of the communal tables are probably the closest landside equivalent and I think you have a point there.  That said, results may vary regionally...  That was a really big fad here in my area in the mid-to-late '00's, and lately they seem few and far between.  A coworker and I had lunch at a restaurant a few weeks ago that still had a communal table, and we took 2 of the 12 seats at the table, and everyone else that came in saw the only other seats were with us and either left or stood at the bar waiting for a private table.  That's probably more a statement about how awful it would be to sit near me at lunch than it is about the demand for communal tables around here lately though.  :classic_blush::classic_biggrin:

 

Vince

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, wishIweretravelling said:

Different situation, different culture. Most of us don't go to a restaurant for every meal, and thus look for new company there. Part of the cruising experience for many of us is the opportunity for group meals. Those who don't want this get a 2-top or solo table. Those who do expect the maitre d' to work with us. 

Then by all means make an appointment with the maitre d' to explain you desire --- and hope that there are other people who share your wish for a group table.  It seems, for the posts expecting group tables to be available, that a majority place the burden on the MD.  There are at least five dining venues open between 6PM till after nine plus the option to dine in your stateroom.  With 900 PAX, you might have 500 eating in the Waterside.  Of these many are with other people when they arrive and some prefer to eat at a two top - arriving over three hours.  So expecting the MD to find another couple or two, eating when you arrive, may not be that simple.  Again, we have found it quite easy to meet around the ship - during lectures, over drinks or breakfast at the Marketplace, over coffee at the Bistro, on excursions, at computer classes or the Meet and Mingle, etc.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

EVERY ship we have been on, once there started to be open seating, we were either ask or said we would love to share a table with others. One or two tables would be "filling up" and then they would take orders. Personally I do not think the regular Crystal cruiser wants to eat with new people. It isn't complicated, and if you want to eat with your group, or yourselves, offer the option to be seated with others who would like to get to know someone else. It is simple, and there were never 500 people eating in Waterside. On Crystal we had to ask......which tells me that the guy at the front didn't want to be bothered. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Sydney, there's still a big trend for commercial tables at both cafes and restaurants. However, no one asks to sit at these tables in the hope of striking up a conversation or a friendship with others at the table. I've never sat at a communal table in a restaurant and spoken a word to anyone who was not in my party. To me they are just a way of making more seating space in a restaurant or in some instances a design choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, alwaysonaship said:

EVERY ship we have been on, once there started to be open seating, we were either ask or said we would love to share a table with others. One or two tables would be "filling up" and then they would take orders. Personally I do not think the regular Crystal cruiser wants to eat with new people. It isn't complicated, and if you want to eat with your group, or yourselves, offer the option to be seated with others who would like to get to know someone else. It is simple, and there were never 500 people eating in Waterside. On Crystal we had to ask......which tells me that the guy at the front didn't want to be bothered. 

This is the thing that is really puzzling me - why, as so many posts have indicated, does getting to share a table by requesting so on arrival seems so difficult on Crystal when on the other lines we have sailed with make it so easy. Is it the staff who don't want to facilitate or, as seems more likely from what I am reading here, do Crystal cruisers not want to socialise in this way?  What makes Crystal cruisers so different from those who cruise on other lines?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Psoque said:

Now, getting back to the actual question posed by the OP:

 

1.  Are people on Crystal ships friendly?  

 

I would say yes.

 

2.  Are they any more/less friendly than passengers on other cruise lines? 

 

I don't know.  I don't think there's any way to determine it and any answer would be wrong.  There are friendly people and no-so-friendly people, and downright unfriendly people, and they all take cruises, and they don't necessarily tell you which ones they are taking next.

 

3.  Would you avoid Crystal because they are not as "sociable?"

 

Basically answered in 2.  I don't think Crystal passengers, in general (thought that's a ludicrous statement to generalize all passenger on Crystal), are neither more or less "sociable" than those on other cruise lines.  Or at least that's my impression so far.

 

 

 

As a passenger with only one Crystal cruise under my belt kindly allow me to give my opinion on this matter.

For dining my DH and I have no issues with anytime dining as we enjoy sitting alone.

 

I do, however, think that passengers who have sailed with Crystal for many years are upset that there are newbies sailing. Case in point,  on our November Symphony sailing there were some rowdy gals who were posing as mannequins in the boutique and many other passengers commented negatively to this behaviour.i didn't agree with their behaviour either,  but they were really harmless!

Also we took transfer to the Pullman Hotel in Miami and I overheard a lady complaining about the quality of cruisers on our sailing.

We have sailed for over 40 years and have never encountered this attitude on other lines.

So are passengers sociable on Crystal, not sure. There is certainly an old boys network and if you are new to the cruiseline it is very difficult to fit in.

Both Keith and Terry do a great job at promoting friendliness on board but I am still unsure. As someone said,I guess I haven’t drank the Crystal Kool Aid!

 

 

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

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations

Announcements

×
×
  • Create New...