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Recognise any of your Table Companions?

Cruise Dining Table Companions

For years, one of the many highlights of a cruise holiday would be making new friends. Dining room managers would assign seating tables from four to eight guests.

Passengers who dined together quickly became friends with some of their relationships lasting years after the cruise.

The ideal scenario is that each would go their own way during the day and meet up in the evening in the main dining room, enjoy and share a meal together while discussing their daily events and experiences in port. Some cruise lines have a formula for who sits where in a dining room and for tables that are pre-assigned, based upon the area of residence, marital status and age.

Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? Well, let’s face it. There are times that your dining companions just don’t make the grade and you are ready to crawl under the table to avoid them.

From experience the following list contains examples of what I consider to be unsuitable dining companions:

The Bragger

This person is the one who describes his grand suite in detail and then inquires how it feels being cramped in your stateroom.

The Cling-On

They seem nice enough and pleasant, but all of a sudden you are their BFF. They start making plans on and off the ship that includes you.

The Expert

26 cruises and more to come, the ‘expert’ knows it all from the best bargains in port to where to sit in the theatre for the best view. No matter what is said, they are the ‘only’ one with expertise in cruise holidays and everything else.

Never Satisfied

They are the ones who complain about every item on the menu. They will pour ketchup over their entire meal before asking for a replacement.

Need to Divulge All

This person is the type that goes into deep detail of all that ails them from ingrown toenails to herniated disks. It is a never ending conversation of pills, doctors and surgeries of them and/or those they know.

The Over Indulger

Some people do let loose on a cruise, but this one is intoxicated each evening before dinner is served. They tend to be the recipient of the all-inclusive alcoholic beverage package and want to get their money’s worth. They slur and sometimes become argumentative after spending the entire day with a cocktail or beer in hand.

The Wrong Family Affair

Families at the table can be a pleasant experience especially when their children are well behaved. However it is never a pleasant encounter when a child sling-shots their mushy peas into your wine glass.


  • If at an assigned a table and you feel uncomfortable with your dining companions speak with the dining room manager. They may be able to switch you to another table, but this is only based on availability.
  • Dine al-fresco on your balcony by ordering room service.
  • Do not choose assigned seating for dining if the ship offers anytime dining. However, showing up in an open seating dining room could also bring you together with unsuitable guests, but at least it will only be one evening.
  • Head to the evening buffet one night. Not as crowded as for lunch, some ships go as far as creating a fine dining experience by placing tablecloths and setting the table. Wine can be ordered and the food is freshly made and readily on hand for seconds and even thirds.
  • Feast in the specialty restaurants. Not only will the choice of cuisine be bigger but a table for two will be available. Some ships even offer pre-paid specialty dining options as an add on to the price of the cruise at a good discount.

Some of these types may be tolerable but why should you have to deal with them? If your tablemates are not to your liking, seek a solution and enjoy you’re the rest of your holiday.

Come across any of these characters before? Let us know below in the comments.

Written by Veronica Shine

One Reply to “Recognise any of your Table Companions?”

Patricia Pickford
June 11, 2014
What do you do when you are stuck with non-English speaking Flemish on your dining table? This happened to me as a solo passenger on MSC Opera ship Norway cruise recently! The ship was 90% Flemish passengers and 10% English! A nightmare from start to finish! MSC this has left a nasty taste! (excuse the pun!)

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