This question was answered on our Cruise IQ show on December 13, 2017.
When cruising with 8 or more in your party, you may need to take some extra steps to make sure your companions are seated together for dinners. The first and most important step is to make sure your reservations are cross-referenced or linked together. This will let the cruise line know that you are not just random guests, but related in some way. If you have a traditional dinner assignment of early or late seating the cruise line may pre-select a table large enough to accommodate your party or if needed multiple tables that are close by each other. If you selected open dining, then once your entire party has arrived, the dining room staff will assist in arranging a table or tables that suit your needs. With either traditional or open seating, feel free to request a change or specific tables and the staff will do their best to accommodate you. Most main dining rooms onboard cruise ships have tables that can seat up to 10 or 12 guests. For parties of any larger you will most likely need to split into smaller tables. Make it easy on yourself, the dining staff and your fellow guests, by having a seating plan in mind before you sit down to dine. You can always change it around from night to night if you wish. If you wish to try the specialty restaurants onboard, check with the ships dining team to see how best to accommodate your party.