Hello all. I am thorougly enjoying this thread. As a retired (some might say retarded) Naval Officer, I do have some insight into the matters at hand. Norm is correct in stating that it is a major faux pas to decline an invitation to dine with the Captain except for certain instances i.e. sickness, etc. However, note that it is a major faux pas, just as failing to dress properly is. It is not a crime and the word "required" is probably a little strong. Nobody will place you in the brig if you decline but it is still a demonstration of poor manners. Some have suggested this is "old fashioned"...it is more than that, it is Maritme TRADITION and should be honored and respected. Maritime traditions add to the cruise experience and to ignore them means you will miss a wonderful part of the seagoing experience. You can call us stuffy or arrogant or aloof, but we shall enjoy the time honored traditions established through hundreds of years of sailing and we invite you all to join us.