Would you request your own dinner table in this situation?

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by MissDaisyofTexas, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. MissDaisyofTexas

    MissDaisyofTexas DIS Veteran

    Nov 24, 2007
    We are a family of five and have sailed on DCL 7 times. For our first 5 cruises, we dined by ourselves at our own table. We didn't request that, that's just what we were assigned.

    On our 6th cruise, we were grouped with another family of 3. They were nice, but we didn't have anything in common. Their kid was older than our kids, so the kids didn't really click either. We made small talk, but they usually arrived to the dining room later than us and our servers would take our order first. We would get our food before them and it was weird to be eating when others at our table were not. It wasn't a terrible experience, just not necessarily comfortable all the time.

    For our most recent cruise, we decided to request a table to ourselves.

    On our next cruise, it will just be me and my two younger kids (husband and oldest can't go/don't want to go). Should I give it another try with a shared table, or request to be by ourselves? Since I am traveling solo with kids, it might be nice to be matched with another small family with similarly-aged kids, but I just don't want it to be awkward again. Does DCL usually do a better job of matching families? What would you do?
  2. Marc D

    Marc D DIS Veteran

    Aug 27, 2016
    They usually match families based on composition, unless they need to fill a 8-top with a group of 5 and a group of 3. Of course, they do not know each guests and cannot make miracles. Only you knows your family dynamic. For us, we enjoy each other’s company and prefer being by ourselves, so we always request a private table.
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  4. DisneyWishes14

    DisneyWishes14 DIS Veteran

    Nov 21, 2011
    I, personally, would request a private table given any situation. While I enjoy meeting others on cruises and other vacations and, perhaps, meeting up to do an activity or one meal, I really don't want to eat with strangers every single evening.
  5. lilsonicfan

    lilsonicfan <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b

    Jan 20, 2003
    ^^ me too. I am not inherently that social, and even less so on vacation because it's my time with my family. Everyone is so different on this topic.
    suedon70, ChicosWife and kaseyC like this.
  6. PrincessShmoo

    PrincessShmoo DIS veteran

    Feb 12, 2009
    I'm not particularly outgoing, but if it were me, yes, I'd just go with whatever dining assignment DCL gives me. My experience with random dining companions is that Disney does an excellent job of matching parties. It's quite likely you'd be matched with another single parent with young kids. Or not.

    I'd say, let Disney assign you as they see fit. It it isn't a good match after the first night, ask the head server about changing seating assignment. Most of the time they can work with you on that.
  7. nancyjo1998

    nancyjo1998 DIS Veteran

    May 2, 2008
    We have typically asked to dine alone, sailing in party size of 3 or 4 each time and it was granted. On our last sailing it was just DS (12) and myself. I decided to leave it up to DCL with this one and sit where ever they put us alone or with others. We were sat with 2 other families. They were both single moms and each had a 10-11 year old DD. I got along with the mom's good. My DS however was a bit reserved sitting with 2 girls and never really clicked with them, which made dinners a bit awkward for him. I think from now on we will always ask to dine alone. The 2 girls were instant BFF's so it was a great match for them.
  8. lorimay

    lorimay Celebrating 32 Ears

    Dec 11, 2008
    We have always just dined with our own party since 2002, it works for us and we never have to worry "what if".
    Maybe one day our request won't be granted, but we will deal with that if it happens.
    a1tinkfans likes this.
  9. apathetic

    apathetic DIS Veteran

    Sep 16, 2013
    When traveling as a couple we are ok going with the couples DCL matches us with. With the kids, we prefer solo table. This is a time to catch up with what the kids are doing and plans for the night/next day. Once we were matched with another family and it was a similar situation. Kids didn't really connect and they (other family) were always later for dinner. The servers would slow down our dinner to wait on them and we didn't get done until after 730 every night. I hated that and we always request a private table when we are with the kids.
  10. DisneYE

    DisneYE Mouseketeer

    Oct 7, 2013
    Yeah this is a topic with a variety of opinions.
    We're 3 and we've sailed 7x with DCL. Have requested solo tables on cruises 2 and 3 as the 1st one was a bit of a shocker for us and we were politely denied(!)
    But we've been lucky in that we've always been seated with families that were either just ok to really funny and pleasant to be around with people.

    Speaking of shockers and on this topic, a kind of sad story:
    on our latest cruise, as we sat down the 1st night and introduced ourselves to the other family, we see the 8-top table beside us with a another family of 3.
    They were already seated, a nice looking couple with a toddler. Another family of around 4-5 approached, with the HS pointing to the table as being theirs.
    They stood there looking shell-shocked. Probably their 1st cruise. They looked as if they were in shock that they had to seat with others on the same table.
    One of the males in the group took the HS aside and after a few minutes they walked away. Not sure if to another table or what. Never saw them again.
    That night and the rest, that family of 3 sat there alone on an 8top table by themselves, looking a bit gloomy. They obviously noticed the rejection.

    So, yeah, this is a touchy issue. Many families are really awkward about seating with strangers. I know because WE were on our 1st cruise.
    I think DCL should send an email note to 1st time cruisers indicating they will be seated with others so the shock (to some) is minimized prior to the 1st dinner seating.
  11. grantclaire

    grantclaire DIS Veteran

    Sep 23, 2007
    We got rejected once as well! We were a group of 3, Wife and I and teenage son arrived first night and taken to an 8 top where a lady was seated by her self, I said hello and she replied "we are not staying" I tracked down the Head server and he found a 4 seat table for us as I did not want to sit 3 at a large table. So maybe you should request a table for just your family
  12. cruisehopeful

    cruisehopeful Wishing I was taking a nap on a ship.

    Oct 25, 2015
    I would go with whatever they assigned. If after the first night you decide that you'd rather have your own table, they might be able to arrange that.
  13. DisneYE

    DisneYE Mouseketeer

    Oct 7, 2013
    Sorry to hear this. some ppl are just idiots and some of them cruise with DCL unfortunately.
    MDR the first night is like the opening scene of forest gump - you never know what you're gonna get.
    We always joke and even have alternate plans if we were ever rejected by these types of creatures.
  14. cadien

    cadien DIS Veteran

    Apr 19, 2017
    We got lucky on our first/only cruise so far. We're a party of 3 and were seated with a party of 5 who had cruised before. And we knew we'd be seated with someone. They had a boy within a month of our son's age. The kids kept each other entertained and the adults could relax and talk to each other. We didn't have a lot of conversation with the other adults simply because both groups were with very chatty kids so dinner was our one opportunity each day to talk to our adult traveling companions, so everyone was happy.
    PollyannaMom likes this.
  15. cheermom2four

    cheermom2four DIS Veteran

    Apr 24, 2015
    Yeah our first cruise was awesome. It was just dh and myself to try out DCL. We were seated with 2 other couples and we really enjoyed each other's company. On our second cruise we were seated with another family that had 2 teen boys. We had our two youngest kids (at the time one was 6 and other was 17) and not one thing in common with any of us other than teen boys. Plus when we sat down they were like, after tonight we will be dining elsewhere. I was like, umm it couldnt have been anything I said because we had just sat down. It was awkward to say the least. Last cruise we had more family with us and requested to sit alone (6 of us) and they obliged. This next cruise we are back to 4 of us and I really really hope they honor our private table request. This upcoming cruise we had early dining and switched to later just to have a better chance at having our own table so we can try to avoid the rejection feeling.
  16. Ralph&Pam

    Ralph&Pam DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2001
    We have had cruises where we requested a table for two and others where we let DCL assign us to a table with others. For us, it varies with the length of the cruise. For long cruises we prefer our own table. Since these have been the transatlantics and Panama Canal cruises where there are usually fewer passengers on board, we have been accommodated each time we’ve made the request. To avoid surprises when we go to the MDR on the first night, we visit the dining changes location after we’ve had lunch to check whether our request for a table for two has been granted.
  17. Kernandi

    Kernandi Earning My Ears

    Jul 22, 2011
    I knew (thanks disboards) that we would be sharing a table when we took our first cruise. I was with two daughters- 13 and 18. We were paired with a family from a neighboring state who had three daughters— the age of my elder daughter and older. Our youngest didn’t bond to them because she was too into the kids she met in the club. She ate and disappeared- but the rest of us had a great time together. We are still in touch and that was 7 years ago. The girls and I are going on our second cruise this year and we will just trust DCL.
    PollyannaMom likes this.
  18. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2007
    We were that sort of party of 3, but it went well. I’m shy and don’t normally love forced socialization, but on a cruise I like it. My son was older than their boys, but my guy gets along with almost everyone, and they had a grand time. The adults talked about what they did and had a nice time.

    Since you’ll be the party of three this time, why not try it out?
    PollyannaMom and COASTIEandMATE like this.
  19. LynJ

    LynJ Mouseketeer

    Jun 23, 2014
    This raises a related question for us. My daughter is very chatty and social, but she wears a hearing aid. In loud situations, including noisy restaurants, it can be tough for her to follow a conversation. Obviously, we're used to this, but in wondering how loud the dining rooms usually are. If reasonably loud, I'll request a private table, so it's easier for her--fewer people to follow and sitting closer to her. Thoughts?
  20. MonaMN

    MonaMN DIS Veteran

    Nov 21, 2014
    We have only done one cruise on the Dream, but I would say it was moderately loud.

    We were a group of 3, places with a group of 5. They were lovely and they had a daughter close in age to ours, but they only ate in the dining room 2 of the 4 nights, so sitting at an 8 top with just 3 of us was a bit awkward. But I would not request our own table next time - it was fun meeting them!
    PollyannaMom likes this.
  21. Frozen2014

    Frozen2014 DIS Veteran

    Jan 12, 2014
    Tough one...not on Disney but same debate. On our last cruise we forgot that for traditional they assign you with other people by default. We ended up with another couple...more our parents age, and with a mom around our age and her son in high school (our kids are a little younger). It worked out well for us though as they were all really nice people and it was interesting hearing of others experiences on ships overall and about their day. I would say the only downside is that the dinners were close to 2 hrs as our servers tended to let us chat more and took their time. So...it was long for our kids (13 and 9 years).

    For our upcoming cruise, we have traditional but we did request our own table. DH even commented that he knows I carry around my camera and "would have" taken photos, maybe ordered differently, if we were alone but he knew I felt silly taking food pictures with others there so took no photos.

    It's a gamble though as you never know who you will get, and once you are assigned may not be so simple to switch. It may turn out great, and it may be awkward or unpleasant.
    MissDaisyofTexas likes this.

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