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cambriah

Table for Two?

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Hi all:

We have taken many ocean cruises but river cruising is new to us.

We enjoy mingling with fellow passengers, but there are times when we would prefer to have dinner by ourselves and discuss the day’s adventures alone .

 

Is it possible to request a table for two on a river cruise line such as AMA Waterways or Viking, or is it all large tables (e.g. 4 or more ) and you find an available spot and enjoy your dinner?

Your thoughts would be appreciated!

 

Cambriah

 

 

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13 hours ago, cambriah said:

Viking, or is it all large tables (e.g. 4 or more ) and you find an available spot and enjoy your dinner?

 

Speaking of my experiences on Viking, there are 2 tables for two on Longships in the Acquavit lounge. We don't like chatting at breakfast (even to each other, as we read our respective newspapers) and we sit there, and often for lunch.

 

There are no tables for two in Longship's main restaurant, but every seat wasn't occupied and some couple who came later chose a table they had to themselves. Many fewer people were in the restaurant at lunchtime, either because they were in the lounge or because they were off the boat. But this can't be guaranteed.

 

However, our last trip was on Sineus in Ukraine and this ship had plenty of tables for two in the restaurant and I understand sister ships are used on Russia cruises so it would depend on where you choose to cruise.

 

Narrow down the route you want to travel, and if a table for 2 is important to you, look at the ship plans on the cruise lines website and that will show the seating configurations in the restaurants

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I did a lot of research on this before booking our very first river cruise (May 2020).  We’re not anti-social, but we were looking for dinner time dining flexibility and a table for two option. Many lines I looked at seemed to have the “everyone dines at 7 as a group model.” We ended up choosing Crystal because a professional review called it “a cruise line for couples” with dinner time flexibility and lots of tables for two and a little bit more of a “do your own thing” relaxed vibe.  I also looked at the new AmaMagna since it’s double wide so more options but it hadn’t sailed yet so I was reluctant and i didn’t like the fact that AMA isn’t all-inclusive.  I recently read a review on AmaMagna about lots of dining options/flexibility and tables for two. Uniworld was also suggested to me but the decor of their ships wasn’t appealing to us and we couldn’t find an itinerary that worked with our schedule.  Also look at Scenic.

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I seem to recall getting a table for two on our river trip with Tauck. But, yeah, generally river boat cruising involves seating more people together for dinner. I, also, prefer more private dining (for two).  The bigger group scene is ok, but I get weary of when the conversation always turns into a sort of 'how many trips have you done', etc. Great setting for well-traveled passengers to "bring and brag", as they say in elementary school classrooms. 

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We definitely prefer a two top for breakfast, but all the two tops are lined up so we usually end up with someone next to us (hopefully not two chatty that early.)  On our three Avalon cruises we have eaten  every lunch in the lounge.  We just prefer the light soup/salad/sandwich thing. But, we have thoroughly enjoyed (most) of our dining companions at six or eight tops at dinner time.  In fact, usually, by the third night we have made some cruise buddies and have dinner with the same other couples each night.  We do our own things during the day but we have fun (and lots of wine) together at dinner.   Avalon, also offers a Bistro dining experience each night in the lounge.  Same menu as in the main dining room but (perhaps) slightly smaller portions served ala carte at the  buffet in individual, enclosed dishes.  The Bistro dining gives us a chance to get away for a quieter time, just the two of us.

 

I understand the desire to have time alone.  We still do, but we've only been married 45 years so that could change in the future. 😉  But don't pass up the chance to meet new people at the dinner table.  It will enhance the the whole cruise  experience.  And the good thing is, if you don't like them, sit with someone else the next night.

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12 hours ago, Kenster said:

 But don't pass up the chance to meet new people at the dinner table.  It will enhance the the whole cruise  experience.  And the good thing is, if you don't like them, sit with someone else the next night.

 

I so agree with this view.

 

And it can be life changing. We shared a table with two American eye surgeons and after talking to them Mrs P and I had the confidence to have lens replacement surgery so not only don't we have the cataracts that were starting to form but don't need spectacles at all.

 

Another trip we shared a table with two couples from California who were very interesting and turned out to be church pastors. We had never met anyone who believed every single word in the bible was literarily true and I don't think they'd ever met people who didn't  believe. We had many interesting conversations.

 

Then there was the amazing @Horsedds (of this board) who me met on our last trip in Ukraine. Or the Canadian onion farmer who had emigrated as a youth from Germany and was on the Rhine, and the fascinating.... well, you get the idea.

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My wife and I usually prefer a table for two on ocean cruises because, well...there are plenty of two tops.  But there were none on our Viking cruise.  So we did what pontac suggest above...meet new people.  I'm not a people person but I really enjoyed talking to others from all walks of life.  Very nice experience.

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Crystal is the only river cruise line that offers tables for two with open seating (arrive when you want between certain hours). There are very few tables for two on the other lines and they are difficult to get.  The Viking aquavit was routinely booked for dinner on our last voyage at least an hour before it officially opened.  If you aren’t interested in dining with others, Crystal is the only line that can guarantee it for all meals.  But you will pay a premium for it. 

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Uniworld offers a handful of tables for two, and is also "arrive any time"

 

Robin

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I just got of the Scenic Gem and can say that although everyone eats at the same time, there are plenty of tables for 2.  There are 2 tables for 2 in L’Amour and in the cafe it is common to eat as a couple if you choose not to go to the dining room.  Also, if you really do not want to socialize you can order room service.

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We had no problem getting a table for two on the Scenic Opal last fall, but I didn't really look around to see how many two-tops there were.

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On our Rhine cruise with Avalon, there were some 2 top tables, however they were away from the windows (one person would have their back to the window), and very close together, so although you have your "own" table, you don't have the privacy you would normally get.  

 

The first night we sat down at a table for 6, and one other couple joined us.  We were sitting on oposite ends of the table, so we could chat but still have our own privacy...I think we were actually further apart than those with the two tops.  We pretty much stayed at that table with others joining us  for dinner so it was nice to meet others and discuss the different tours we went on.

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