We were fortunate enough, on a previous HAL cruise, to be seated at a table for 8 that the ships Chief Engineer and his wife joined us on for the formal nights. It really added a nice dimension to our experience. We enjoyed their company so much, we even invited them to join us all one night when we all ate at an alternate restaurant. He was the one who, in fact, got us really excited about sailing on the QM2. He knew quite a bit about her. THe only drawback was he was obligated to buy the wines and we all felt foolish letting him buy our wines. WE finally figured away around that though. This was just a luck random seating assignment. None of us couples knew each other before the cruise. ANyway, all of this to say, I have heard/read people talk about dining at the captain's table, but no where have i heard of any of the other ships officer's dining with pasengers. Do all ships do this and i jsut haven't heard of it, or???HAs anyone sailing the QM2 dined with an officer?? thanks
On our trip back from Southampton on the QM2 after the tandem crossing, we requested an officer's table and were seated at the chief engineer's table. It (and he) were wonderful. We have requested the same on the trip around the Horn next January.
The traditional way on transat ships was to have passengers sit at an officer's table, including chief purser (now hotel manager) for the entire crossing though most hosts did not come the first or last nights.
On QE2, the captain on a transat dined twice in Caronia and twice Mauretania, and when he was not present at one or the other, then he sent another officer, so a table was hosted four of six nights.
On QM2, there are a cluster of tables on the main level of the Britannia Restaurant, and the captain usually takes each in turn at his.
The other officers host their table throughout the crossing, or deputize someone to sit in, in most cases.
Most ships, but not all, have a captain's table once or twice during a seven-day cruise.
On the S.S. Rotterdam's World Cruise, every passenger making all of part of the World Cruise dined with the captain in a private room - Grand Voyage Room - set up for that purpose. The same was done on the new Rotterdam and the Amsterdam on a World Cruise. I am not sure what is done now on the Prinsendam.
I can recall going back to P&O that even the third officers hosted the tables, some were as young as 20 and wet behind the ears, and some passengers were three or four times their ages. That was certainly good training. Now far fewer officers host tables.
Passengers may request an officer's table through their travel agent but it is a good idea to check to see how many do host them and how often. It is no guarantee but one can try. If the officer has any personality, it can be a great evening.
A few years ago on the Caronia, my wife and I just happened to be seated at an officer's table. The evening he had dinner with us and our tablemates was truly memorable.
The officer's tables also tend to be well situated in the dining room, which is enough reason to request one. But on the Caronia, our first cruise, we didn't know that, and so it was just luck, I guess, that we ended up where we did.
Tedscull, Thanks for your great post. We are sailing the "new" Rotterdam in August on a 14 day European cruise. We love the S cabins on some of the HAL ships and i think we will request an officer's table and see what happens.. I didn't realize we could request that. WE both enjoy dining with new people.
Cyn, didn't mean it as snobbery. THe staff, whehter they be officers or not, have so much more knowledge of the ships 'inner' workings that i find fascinating, as well as info and hints on the ports, and generally the rest of the staff is not 'allowed' to dine or mix socially with the passengers, so it is only hte officers. I am one of those people who asks cab drivers about their views and perspectives on things. I love getting to know all kinds of people. Sometimes I can forget there is a whole different world out there that looks at things quite differnetly than I do. Part of why i enjoy reading the various posts about crusing. So many people adn so many dffernt opinons about the same things.
eatsallinsects...ok, got to know why that name????
Wirt, I thinks that is what happened to us... just luck, but sounds like we should try to requset it from now on adn see what happens.
Thanks everyone.... i learn so mcuh from these board...
tgetz, "eatsallinsects" has a history. We are able to get "vanity" license plates down here in Texas and i chose my initials: E A I. I knew there would be questions as to what the 3 initials stood for and came up with that phrase ()!
As for "snobbery" being a part of requesting to dine at an officer's table, I had NEVER thought of it that way. We thought it would be a delightful way to garner information about the operation of the ship.
All right, I was lucky. On two out of three cruises on the Caronia I was seated at an officer's table.
But not everybody enjoyed it: One time the ladies at the table always talked about who would be the unfortunate one who has to seat next to the officer tonight. Thus be careful!
There was also a lady who had requested to be seated at an officers table. The other guests regarded this as rather inappropriate (to put it in a polite way.)
I guess the feeling is, it should not be just another box like smoking / non-smoking or (if applicable) early / late seating but more of an honour.
Anyway, in my opinion Cunard did a great job in assigning guests to the officer's tables. In both cases I met just well-travelled, intelligent, interesting, charming and very enjoyable people.
Your are welcome, and yes an officer's table does give one a chance to get insight into the ship's operation. It sounds as if you are interested as I am. Yes, taxi drivers are another kind of source, especially here in NYC. Most people have good stories to tell if one pushes the right button.
I am sailing aboard the Rotterdam in August, and I am wondering if it could be the same cruise - ex-Rotterdam?
Ted, We are on the 8-31 one, a 14 day from Rotterdam... is that you?
Ifinfo, i have been fairly lucky on the 7cruises i have been on, in that most, but definetly not all, of the people we have had as table mates have been very enjoyable. I assume it could be the same with officers, just because they can operate a ship, doesn't mean they should also be great conversationalist. It just seemed 'special' with a ship's officer- sort of like we got the low down?? And our one experience was so positive. HAL seems to let a lot of officers have their wives on board a lot, so it was more a couple joining us that happened to know a lot about the ship.
EAI, we are in TExas too, Houston in fact. Loved your explanationof your name.. LIke you i never thought of it as snobbery, but obviously, someone did. Oh well, can't please everyone.
So we have now moved on (Ifinfo) it is not just sitting on the officers table listening to their interesting stories !! but who will sit next ot the officer (and this is not snobbery come-on)
A little tip for you all - upgrade to Queens Grill on QM2 - Have a private cocktail party in your room and invite the officers and finally throw your money around - the officers will be flocking around you.
By the way do you also sit in taxis listening to the drivers interesting stories and report it on message boards - I think not
Agree with another that not all officers make interesting table companions, and many probably do not enjoy having to respond to the same passenger questions over and over. But with some lines, it is part of their job.
I do not think it improper for a passenger , through a travel agent, to make a generic request to be seated at an officer's table. However, I draw the line at someone going to the maitre d' and asking if there is space at the captain's table.
Ted in NYC
Hi Ted, I think meeting the people and staff and officers running the ship is fantastic.
On QM2 we were given so much insight into the comings and goings of all facets of life, but you see, we love the ships, it's not about snobbery or anything like that, it's about history in the making. Commodore Warwick will retire one day and someone else will replace him, but to have known him for what he does can never be replaced. When we met the Tony D. on QM2 who had been a Bell Boy on the QM this was all brought home. Just imagine if your grandparents had dined at Captain E.J. Smiths table and lived to tell you the tale...
Just relax, enjoy and get to know the "staff", some have a lot to offer. By the way, we know a lot of wealthy people who do not need to go QG just to have a good time!
P.S. Have you been on QM2 since the maiden Ted?
Ted, definetly agree with you, i can not imagine asking the maitre d... I had never even thougth of asking my travel agent to request this, until i read a hint on this board. I actaully didn't even request it for this cruise, but did call my agent for our next cruise in September.. He is sending a letter, but i specifically asked him to only say, we were amenable to sitting with an officer, not to request it. I can not imagine having to spend my nights with new people every week and having no choice about leaving or not showing up for dinner as some officers must do. I wouldn't wnat to do it, but i am so glad some are willing. I find people and their thoughts about things so much more interesting than a museum. I am definelty not a museum addict, but i like to see the workings of things. I have done a tour of the kitchen in a resort, adn i love manufacturing tours. I will probably do a tour of the QM2 jsut because that intersts me. BUt I guess i like all people. I think everyone has a fascinating story, if you only know the right question to ask. Of course, some may be more than i wnat to hear... :-)
Cyn, I may not have posted what a cab driver says, or his stories, but i find many of them very interesting and often a 'pulse' of a city. I have repeated stories from cabbies to our friends here in Houston. It was actually a New York cabbie that was the first person to ever say to me, he thought Hilary would be a NY senator and run for President. This was way before she ever announced she would run. It was something no one i knew in Texas had ever considered, so it was really intersting when his prediction came to be. Living in Texas, we do get different new stories than the rest of the world. :-)
Noel and Carole
Yes, but way back on 1st May last year, a westbound getting to see the ship under more normal circumstances. I'll be aboard again either late this year or one of the April sailings in 2007.
I have her arrivals and departure listed in my notebook calendar, so if there is time and the weather cooperates AND the ship sails on time in daylight, I plan to head over to the NJ side multiple times tis year to take photos - from Weehawken, Hoboken, Exchange Place and by the V-Z Bridge.
A lot of people who enjoy the art of shipbuilding also love to have dinner with the ship's officers. If you travel in the Queen's Grill accommodations, especially the Windsor Suite, it is possible to request a private tour of the non-public areas of the cruise ship and have a private dinner with the Captain. Many shipbuilders love having the private, personalized tour.
Alas, we are in Queen's accomodations but not the Windsor Suite. Mike and I leave tomorrow for our transatlantic and are packed and ready to go. Will report back when we return. thanks again everyone for all your info...ruth s
We were invited to dine at the Captains table in the Brittania, never requested it, on our last crossing and other than having an extremely rude passenger sit next to me, it was great. There was also an officer seated next to me and it was nice meeting new people, except the person next to me. Cunard had told us we could request to be seated at the officers table, but fortunately we didn't have to.