View Single Post
  #12 (permalink)  
Old June 28th, 2006, 05:14 PM
Rev22:17 Rev22:17 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 4,770


"suit youself"! Good one.

I take it that you clicked on the link....

The etiquette rules that I am glad to see go include the snotty handkerchiefs. Yuck!

Of course, handkerchefs should go into the laundry whent they get to that point....

Another is the family napkin rings. When a baby was born, someone would give a silver napkin ring with the baby's name on it. Still have mine. When the family dined alone, each person had their own napkin (cloth, no paper ones). At the end of the meal, you put your dirty napkin back in the ring and they were placed on a side board. I'm sure that most people had the sense to wash them, but it didn't always happen every meal, as you were supposed to only use it to dab your mouth.

Yes, we used those napkin rings in the Wardroom (commissioned officers' mess) aboard ship when I was on active duty with Uncle Sam's Navy to cut down on laundry. Realistically, most people use their napkins only a few times during most meals so a cloth napkin is serviceable for a couple days. That's far too much work aboard cruise ships, though!

This is back when people had servants, so you had to hope they were doing their jobs. Even when it looked clean, I always felt rather disgusted.

Servants were not all that prevalent even in times past. Historically, wealthy people had servants but the middle class did not. Today, though, we have a lot more machines so we're a lot less dependent on manual labor. Most people do not wash dishes or clothes by hand, and you can now buy inexpensive machines that will vaccuum your house and wash your floors with minimal attention.

The basis of all etiquette is courtesy, though, and that I wish were more common.

Yes. Here, I have two anecdotes.

>> Once, when a delayed flight caused a broken connection, I went to the courtesy desk in the gate area to get rerouted. Sympathizing with the plight of the poor agent, who was franically trying all sorts of searches to come up with a flight, I said that I was sorry to be such a pain. She immediately looked up and said, "No, no, you're fine! You are, at least, polite!" I asked if she got many who were not, and the response was a resounding affirmative. (To this day, I cannot comprehend why people must take out their frustrations on the agents who obviously had nothing to do with causing the problem but who can do a LOT to fix it. It's amazing to what ends those agents will go if treated with a little respect!)

>> Five years ago, I met Joe and Lorraine Artz aboard MV Royal Princess. At the time, Joe and Lorraine were on their two hundred eighth Princess Cruise (and they did over 125 cruises on other lines before settling on Princess). Joe and Lorraine were an amazing couple. In Joe's later years, they booked that ship's Princess Suite (one of the two top cabins on the ship) for about a dozen consecutive cruises a couple times a year. The most amazing thing is that I met many crew members who had served Joe and Lorraine during several of my cruises with Princess, and not one of them ever made a comment that had even a slight tinge of negativity toward them. Rather, every single member of Princess's crews who knew Joe and Lorraine spoke with considerable enthusiasm about the plesure of serving them. When my cruising days cme to an end, I aspire to have a similar legacy!

On to cutlery. Those rules were devised back when eating out meant dining at someone's home. It was the job of the hostess to determine the menu and then to ensure that the proper cutlery had been laid out to match what was being served. In any situation where the guests have options on what courses to order and choices for each course, you simply cannot lay out proper cutlery because you have no way of knowing who will need which pieces. We're not talking about faux pas here, but logical restrictions on what can be done. I'm not sure if it would even be feasible to train every waiter in the old style cutlery anyway. There were literally dozens of different pieces possible for any given meal. Most cruise lines do get the basics right, but for passengers, you shouldn't have to worry about using the right one since it may or may not even be there!

With regard to cutlery, customs may have differed from place to place. In some places, it's customary for waiters to set the table with the cutlery for only the first course, then to serve new cutlery before each course rather than setting the table with cutlery for many courses. Princess adopted this approach many years ago, and it seems to work better, partly because many passengers do skip courses and partly becasue it eliminates the need to replace standard utinsils with the proper type for a particilar selection. This approach also makes the table less cluttered during the early courses of the meal.

With regard to training waiters (and now waitresses) in "the old style" of cutlery, I have noticed that both Princess and Celebrity do very well. Both lines are consistent such subtleties as bringing fish knives to passengers who order fish.

A minor bit of etiquette trivia...there is no such thing as a salad knife. The hostess was supposed to make sure that salads were served in bite size pieces, so it was an insult to feel the need to cut the salad. This is one that always seemed ridiculous, because if a single piece of lettuce wasn't cut, you had to fish the rest out rather than violate the rules. And, I do love salads!


I'm not sure whether this is an issue of understanding of the word "salad" or an issue of local custom. If one's host serves a wedge of iceburg lettice with slices of tomato and cucumber rather than a tossed salad, one most certainly does use a knife to cut the wedge of lettuce and the slices of the other vegetables into bite-sized pieces that one can eat with a fork. This example begs the question of whether it is a "salad" or rather a "garden plate" but I'm not persuaded that it's worth arguing over semantics. Your point about chopping or breaking vegetables into bite-sized pieces is absolutely correct for something like a tossed salad or a Caesar salad, though!

The more I ponder this reply, though, the more I think that the guides to cruising need to add a chapter to cover this type of thing. There are a lot of people who can afford cruises now who do not know the basics.

Got a great visual of a guy in a tux trying to negotiate the deck of a Windjammer cruise. Come one, Norm, I just know you would be wearing one!

Maybe on Halloween if I'm escorting you in your ball gown.... ;-)

Reply With Quote