What "free time" does the ship's captain have during a cruise?
He has some free time, probably a bit more while in port
Can the captain leave the ship while in port and do touristy things?
Yes, he can. Just has to let them know up on the bridge and it will sometimes involve spending time with family that is visiting
Are there restrictions on how much "fratrinizing" the captain does with passengers?
I do not think there are real restrictions as far as officers go, though many captains are married and they do have to set a good example.
How much of the captain's time is actually spent piloting the ship? How much is spent handling administrative duties? How much time is spent handling "social" duties (hosting, etc.)
Now, piloting the ship is not strictly speaking his 24/7 job. The only time the captain is actually manually controlling the ship is during turning around the ship and coming up to the dock itself. Channel navigation is handled by a quartermaster under his/the pilot's direction. The ship is not docked using a computer. ONLY the Captain and Staff Captain will do that. They do sail using the autopilot in open sea. OFFICERS handle the watches themselves, the captain is in charge of course, speed, etc. planning and execution. Much of his time is administrative, running the ship as a whole, etc. I'd say he has a VIP dinner, captain's dinner, a few cocktail parties a week, and a few nights he might invite a VIP down to the officer's mess.
What are the captain's quarters like? Does he have an office on board?
The captain's quarters are like suites. Officers below Staff Captain/Staff Chief engineer will have smaller cabins, around the size of a smaller-than-normal OV cabin, but they spend much of their time working, eating, and they do socialize some of the time. The sleep is just that.....sleep. The captain however does spend much of his time in his office, which on CCL fantasy class ships is in his cabin, the first room after you walk through the entryway. He has a large sitting room, and a bedroom which I have not seen (though I have seen where it is) but I guess it is very nice.
Does the captain ever hang out "incognito" in passenger areas during his "off duty" time? Or must he always be in uniform while on the ship?
I think he is usually in uniform, doesn't hang out incognito as such.
Where do the ships' officers generally eat their meals? I understand that some of the officers take turns "hosting" a table in the passenger dining rooms but where do they eat when they're not doing this? And how often during a cruise would the various officers be required to host a table?
In my experience on Paradise officers haven't hosted tables except at the VIP dinner. Other than that the officers have a very nice messroom in the crew areas nearby to the Petty Officer mess and also near the regular crew mess. They have good food, but they need to go to the crew mess for the ice cream machine. On one of my cruises the 2nd officer had his family aboard from Italy, and since I knew him I'd stop by when he went (formal nights)
The captain puts in appearances at various events like the Captain's Cocktail Party, etc. How often during a typical cruise would the captain appear formally like this? Where and when would the captain mingle informally with passengers?
The captain has the formal cocktail party when he wears the white coat. He wears the normal coat at the Past Guest party, and VIP cocktail party, as well as the VIP dinner. Occasionally they have other parties and functions. He might invite certain pax. to his office/cabin, officer's mess, or something similar.
When the captain does make an appearance and speak to the passengers in a hosting type of capacity, he generally is quite entertaining. Can anyone remember anything in particular that a captain has said to the passengers that you found memorable or particularly humerous?
I don't remember anything in particular. HOWEVER the one thing that every captain wishes they could throw the novices overboard for would be the "who's steering the ship then *haw haw haw*" comment. It has to be so annoying and repetitive and shows the ignorance of the people aboard
Hope this helps