We've all been there.
You go to have lunch at the buffet, but you can't get a table. Well, there are several reasons for this. Larger capacity ships, does not mean more square foot allocation for dining. So, when 4000 passengers all decide to eat lunch at noon, it becomes an issue. What can you do to avoid this ? Well, you can go to the MDR, if it's still serving lunch. You could stagger your meal time by an hour or so. How about dining next to the pool ? Does your ship offer lunch back there ? I bet it does. Try one of the smaller dining options. O'Sheehans on NCL is free and often not crowded. On our last cruise that's where we met friends for lunch, rather than deal with the welcome aboard feeding frenzy at the buffet.
You know how you find these places ? Do your research. Learn about your ship BEFORE you sail. You are on board for 7 days. There are plenty of places to eat. You don't have to wake the family at 5:00 to make sure you get a table for breakfast at 6:00.
People like the buffet for one reason only, well two reasons; variety & gluttony. Variety is obvious. But, no one thinks anyone else is watching when they head up for the third time for another plateful of biscuits and gravy, but we are. We see you. Mainly because we want your table, but also the disbelief. Cruise ships defy physics. It's amazing how a 175 male can eat half his weight 5 times a day, and by day 5 is complaining the onboard laundry shrunk his clothes. Which leads me to another thread.
So, if you can't get what you want, try somewhere else. You have to adapt because everyone else, won't. Not for you anyway.