Trip Advisor: Assuming isn't likely to get you your wish

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Q My wife and I recently celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, and our three children (and their spouses) and seven grandchildren are all joining us on a seven-day cruise. All 15 of us have the early dinner seating.

Can we assume the cruise line will seat us together at some combination of nearby tables? And can we change up the table assignments so we get a chance to sit with all of the grandkids?

I've been on cruises before and know that the wait staff tends to serve the same guests every night at their particular table. If we switch around, will it be a problem?

I should add that one of the grandkids has allergies and will be following a special diet.

A First, congratulations to you and your wife! It's fantastic that your whole family can celebrate your anniversary with you on a cruise.

I definitely wouldn't assume the cruise line knows what you want. Did one person make all the reservations? If not, they probably have no idea you're traveling as a group and would like to sit together.

Call the cruise line's customer-service number and explain what you want. They should be able to link your reservations in their system (if they aren't already) and explain what types of table configurations are available on your ship.

It wouldn't hurt to put in a request for tables near each other, but I'm not sure they can arrange that over the phone.

In any case, plan on having someone from your party speak with the dining-room staff as soon as you board. You can go over the table assignments with them and make sure they're as close together as possible.

Also ask the staff what they think about switching who sits at what table. I'd like to think they could accommodate you. (Surely yours is not the first family group they've ever dealt with that has wanted to do this.)

However, you may want to keep the child with food allergies at the same table for the entire cruise to make absolutely sure there's no mix-up with his or her meals.

Q I know that if you sit in first class, a flight attendant will usually offer to take your coat. (I usually sit toward the front of coach, so I've seen this.) Well, I finally have enough miles to get upgraded to first class, and I have a question about this. Is it weird to keep your coat instead of giving it to the flight attendant? I get cold on planes.

A It's not weird at all. The flight attendants want you to be comfortable. Just say, "No, thanks," when they offer.


Email travel-etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at


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