Thread du Jour: Crazy Dining Room Tablemates

April 24, 2012 | By | 11 Comments

If you’ve ever been proposed to by a 10-year-old, offered the Book of Psalms after ordering wine with your meal or watched someone hand-inspect every single roll in the basket before selecting one, welcome to the club. You’ve broken bread at sea with a crazy tablemate.
Stretching 550 posts, readers have been sharing their most memorable experiences from cruise ship dining rooms. Strangers or not, politics, religion, love and why the fella to your left refuses to eat anything that’s not white are all acceptable topics of conversation. We like to think stories like these propelled the transition from the classic assigned-seating crapshoots of yesterday to the more flexible focus of today.

Here are a few highlights from the thread:
“They loved the cruise,” said Adriennerm of her sister’s recent sailing on Liberty of the Seas. “But they had a problem with a party of four at their table.
“It was a 10 top. The first night for dinner everyone ordered wine.
“Once the server left, the husband in the group of four said, ‘I hope you don’t mind, but we prefer to keep this table dry.’ My sister’s fiance tried to be diplomatic about the situation. He explained they would be ordering wine and apologized if this wasn’t their preference. The other couple at the table apologized if the liquor bothered anyone, but said they had no intentions of not ordering either.
“Once the wine arrived, a female in the group of four told the other couple to move their glasses. She began implying that the smell was causing her to have a sour stomach.
“The husband from one of the couples who ordered wine said something like, ‘Let’s get through dinner tonight and perhaps you guys can request a private table going forward.’
“Nothing else was said, but the other lady in the group of four kept her napkin over her nose throughout dinner. Whenever a server asked her what was wrong, she said she was sensitive to the smell of alcohol.
“When the group of four were leaving, the husband placed the Book of Psalms in the middle of the table. He said they should read this tonight and maybe they will change their ways before it’s too late.”

“Several years ago we were seated with a very nice couple in their 70’s – 80’s,” wrote Yazoo cruiser. “Every night she would ask her husband what he wanted. He would say something like, shrimp cocktail, green salad and the prime rib. When the waiter would come, she would say, ‘My husband would like the Caesar salad, French onion soup and the lobster — entirely different from what he said. This happened every night and he never complained. Great people and we really enjoyed meeting them.”

“One woman [we ate with] had absolutely no filter,” posted cyntil8ing. “She had millions of stories and told them all well. She didn’t monopolize the conversation or make everything about her, she was very charming. But some of the things she told us! More than once a tablemate would catch my eye and we would just laugh in shock.
“These stories were so farfetched, we figured most of them were made up. Her husband was the ‘captain of the captains’ for a major cruise line. She had lived onboard ships for years. Her daughters were actors and had been in commercials and TV shows. Her house was the set for some movie. So, when we got home, we Googled her. It was all true.
“But we also heard of her affairs. Her traveling companion was one of them and both of them were married to other people. The TMI stories just went on and on.”

“My best story was being proposed to by a 10-year-old,” posted maighdeanmnar. “He even bought me a ‘betrothal’ gift in Grand Cayman — a marble dolphin. I still have it somewhere.”

“Our crazy dinner companion claimed to be a travel agent, then told everyone to order wine by the bottle because it was ‘free,'” wrote GottaLuvCruising. “He ordered and ate only white foods — huge amounts of white foods (spaghetti with no sauce, multiple dishes of mashed potato) and his wife had a bottle of some kind of seasoning he sprinkled on top of all his white food.”

Posted 19snapshot: “We sat at a table with a couple that were whisperers. We sat down, they looked at us, leaned toward each other and whispered. We ordered … they whispered. Someone talked … they whispered. They weren’t laughing, just staring and whispering. One of the other couples was so creeped out that they stopped coming to the main dining room. It was completely creepy, like a Stephen King novel, but we ended up laughing about it. I wonder what they were whispering about?”
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    11 Responses to “Thread du Jour: Crazy Dining Room Tablemates”

    1. plaidkin
      April 24th, 2012 @ 6:40 pm

      My mother and I went on a lovely Caribbean holiday cruise on a luxury line a few years ago, our first cruise in many years. We were first seated at a large table for 8, where two couples spoke little English (mainly Portuguese, so my French was of no help) and the 3rd couple who were also American had booked most of their dining in the specialty restaurants. After night two, we requested to be re-assigned to a smaller table. Our new MDR table mates were a quiet, retired couple from England who seemed innocuous, until the wife pulled out a pair of Bose noise canceling headphones and put them on, and wore them most every night. I recall that she claimed it was to counter-act her tinnitus, and even though she swore she could still hear table conversation, she never registered how *weird* it was for us to view our table mate wearing headphones each night!

    2. Stacey Goodwin
      April 25th, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

      We had a strange MDR experience last fall on a Disney Dream Cruise. We arrived at the dining room to discover that the other party at our 10 top had arrived, and the six members of the party had spread out so that none of the remaining 4 seats were next to each other. If my family was going to sit we would have had to sit next to strangers. Also, no one in the party spoke english so we were not able to ask them to re-seat themselves. It worked out though. We spoke to our Head Server and they accommodated by giving us our own 4-top for the rest of the Cruise and they seated another spanish-speaking family of four at our original table. Though it worked to my benefit you would have thought that the family would know to sit as a group at the table.

    3. Goofy559
      April 25th, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

      I think I dined with the same couple Yazoocruiser did….we had a similar experience in 2006 on Princess…..and they were a lovely couple!

    4. Cori Macrae
      April 26th, 2012 @ 11:36 am

      I was traveling solo on a 4-day mexico cruise in the early 90’s. I was seated at a table with all 3 of the other singles…one man, Frank, and 2 other women. Every night when I ordered a glass of wine with dinner – Frank would observe “You’re throwin’ your money away, you’re throwin’ you’re money away” Since I was a Good Girl (we don’t cause fusses – not an issue for me anymore!)- I didn’t say anything but the wine went from 1 glass to 3 and the last night … I looked him dead in the eye and said “IT’S MY MONEY!!!”

      That began my journey from “Good Girl” to Bad-Ass Momma :)

    5. Tweekster
      April 26th, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

      My last RCCL cruise in Novemeber, an older gentleman arrived and was seated for the evening dinner wearing no pants. He was wearing his sports jacket, dress shirt, socks and dress shoes. He just forgot to put on his pants.
      The manager came over to talk with him and his wife, but the never made him leave, they served him dinner like everyone else in the main dining room.

    6. Dee
      April 27th, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

      We were on the Voyager in December 2011 and had a prime table for 2 just on the rail by the entry to the dining room. From this vantage point you could see every person who entered the dining room. One formal night they led a family dressed in VERY casual clothes into the DR and the last person was the older man in the group. He was wearing the \Bib\ overalls and barn boots that I imagine him wearing to go to milk the cows. They were well worn and dirty. These weren’t even considered \casual clothes\ they were \work clothes\.
      My husband grew up on a farm and still owns it (100 years in the same family), and he will tell you that you wear your \Sunday best\ when you go someplace special! :) RCCL does not enforce their DR dress code.

    7. Di
      April 27th, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

      I was on NCL EPIC Feb 2012. Families were seated together at one table and solo guests such as myself was seated at a table for 2 with one side being empty. It made for a lonely dining experience with the exception of a nice couple from Texas that were at the next table for 2 who initiated a conversation with me and made me feel welcome. Thank you to that very kind couple.

    8. GiGi
      April 27th, 2012 @ 11:27 pm

      On our first NCL cruise in December of 2010, my daughter and I were getting some breakfast from the Garden Cafe and I noticed that most of the bacon was rather undercooked so I asked my daughter to let me give her a few pieces of well-done bacon since she had gotten some of the undercooked bacon. I was aware that there were folks behind us and I was hurrying but even so, the two elderly women behind us kept saying “oh dear, this is taking so long!” etc. etc. etc. but they started saying that as soon as they reached the buffet line. I think that they were just irritated that anyone was in front of them because “oh dear” they had to wait a hot minute. I also noticed that the dress code is not enforced in the full-service dining rooms. We had a lovely time but I could have done without all of those “oh dears.”

    9. Carl
      April 28th, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

      My wife and I were seated at a table with an elderly couple, and two other middle-aged couples from the U.S. The elderly gentleman spoke only Spanish and his wife hardly any English and none of us spoke their language well enough to converse with them so they asked the head waiter to move them to another table. They repeated the request to the matire’d. The head waiter led them away to another table. Meanwhile, the Matre’d found a young bilingual couple to join our table, seated them, and convinced the older couple to return.

      A short time later, the young couple, realizing they’d have to spend dinner translating asked to be and were moved to another table. Deja vu! Us, the other folks and the non-English speakers together again.

      My wife and I got a table for two the next night.

    10. Dean M.
      April 29th, 2012 @ 2:41 am

      To the couple who were advised by their tablemates that they preferred to keep the table “dry” upon one ordering wine and then placed the Book of Psalms in the middle of the table for them with an admonition to read it “Before it’s too late”, if they meet him again they may respond with the admonition for him to read the second chapter of John, re the wedding at Cana wherein it is recorded that Jesus turned water into wine. One doubts that in His (generally considered ) first miracle he would have so chosen to do and then considered it a sin to drink it…let said gentleman ask next time for a temperate table rather than attempting conversion of people who came for a vacation, not to be preached to.
      Dean M

    11. Randall
      April 30th, 2012 @ 12:47 am

      FYI: There is no dress code on night 1 because most luggage hasn’t been delivered to the rooms yet. You still can’t dress like the ‘Walmart’ emails.

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