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Author Topic: Friends of the Officers Tables  (Read 3509 times)

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Offline cunardqueen

Friends of the Officers Tables
« on: Feb 01, 2009, 09:30 PM »
How many of us have had the chance to dine on a hosted table (or eat with the crew ::))
Stories here please.....

My first time was away back in 1988, our host early on was a lady and introduced as the Berthing officer, l was  in two minds if should ask how exactly she berthed the almighty ship, lm so pleased l didnt jump in and make a fool of myself, she was in charge of the cabin assignments,upgrades, cabin change requests, making a fool of myself was to come later, and often....

The ultimate, l have to say was being asked to the Captains Table in 2006, that was the ultimate and 3 weeks l will never forget, the service, attention to detail, perks, laughs,invites  and drink, oh my heavens it really was an awesome experience and something l never dreamed would happen when l first skipped aboard 20 years ago, what shocked me was that two other guests were people l knew from previous voyages and the American lady from the previous back to back cruise, who was a scream was also to be seated there, it was to say the least a lively table. 
 And we were imparted into the secret of exactly who is asked to dine with the Captain and how it happens .... :-X  we were all left speechless
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Offline singlemalt

Re: Friends of the Officers Tables
« Reply #1 on: Feb 02, 2009, 12:03 AM »

 And we were imparted into the secret of exactly who is asked to dine with the Captain and how it happens .... :-X  we were all left speechless

Myles - I'm intrigued too! (But purely academic in relation to AN Other cruise line)
Was invited to a table hosted by the Chief Officer on a particular cruise. Returned to the same line but a different ship with Officer having been promoted to Captain and a similar invitation issued.
Just worried now that my other tablemates and I had a shared history and previously done the same thing as i had with the Chief Officer to secure a place... especially seeing as it also included my mother  :-X :-[ :o
« Last Edit: Feb 02, 2009, 12:30 AM by singlemalt »
Wearer of swishy skirts and fab heels; otherwise known as the Cruise Director

Offline Andy F

Re: Friends of the Officers Tables
« Reply #2 on: Feb 02, 2009, 12:55 AM »
Ooh er Missus!  Great thread Cunardqueen and an 'interesting' response Ali.  Reading between the lines here, I think I should be VERY worried IF I was to receive such an invitation, unless of course Cunard should subsequently appoint Lady Captains lol! 
Start every day with a smile and get it over with

Offline Stowaway2k

Re: Friends of the Officers Tables
« Reply #3 on: Feb 02, 2009, 01:34 AM »
My first hosted table was at the doctor's table, on a transatlantic.
He was a great ranconteur, and the entire table had a wonderful time, with loads of laughter every night.

A year or so later I was at the doctor's table again, on the Caribbean Christmas/New Years holiday cruise.
This time it was a different doctor.  A bore, who bickered with his wife, made no effort to make conversation, and the table was often tense as the doctor was obviously not enjoying himself.
oh well... you win some, you loose some...

Offline Pia

Re: Friends of the Officers Tables
« Reply #4 on: Feb 02, 2009, 01:39 AM »
On my very first cruise we were seated at the Chief Engineer's table in the Caronia restaurant.   ???

We were never seated at an officer's table again.   ???

Offline cunardqueen

Re: Friends of the Officers Tables
« Reply #5 on: Feb 02, 2009, 02:06 AM »
Quote
Oh - go on - please - even if you were left speechless then - aren't you sometime in the future  going to whisper the secret?!

Well into the meal the question was raised (one of many ) as to Who sits on the Captains table! His response with his irish humour had us all spellbound ,Forgive me if you will as l describe the scene that night..... Onboard the QE2, the best ship in the world we are gently sailing to our first port,the sea is like a mill pond,the moon is high above and all is well in the world, the atmosphere in the Mauretania is nothing short of amazing, everybody is dressed to the nines and the Captains table guests are all enjoying superb service,top quality food and a seemingly endless supply of wines, and everybody is in great spirits and the subjects discussed range from the ship,the guests,sex,politics,ebay Princess cruises and hairspray (that is a story in its self) And during a very rare quiet moment the american lady asks the Question to the Captain "Nick who sits on this table and how is it decided".....The answer that followed is how he described this very great and unique honour.....
He looked us in the eyes and with his face showing that we were all about to be trusted with a very big secret asked us "Can you all keep a secret?",Of course like children we all said yes and nodded our heads... he gently smiled and said "That is great,, as so can l!!!"

.. well after we all recovered from the punch line!!! he did proceed to tell us....He of course took his glass in hand and we all sensed a long and exciting tale awaiting to be told, And if you have ever heard his noon day announcement, you can imagine the scene as he starts saying the following... Long long ago when Samual Cunard first started the Cunard Line, he decided it would be a good idea if the Captains hosted a table in the restaurant so they could meet a selection of the passengers, and so it came to be that Samual Cunard in order to provide the Captains with some guidence as to who should be invited decided he would issue some guidelines in order that it might make it easier for the Captain to decide who this great honour should be bestowed upon,This was done as a matter of some urgency and then printed into a booklet titled the "Captains Tables Guests", of course as the company expanded more of these booklets were produced and issued to each and every one of the Captains onboard the fleet and to this very day that still happens,And up on the bridge there is a very small keycase in which is contained a silver key, prior to the start of every voyage, the captain of the ship with his own key will proceed to open the small case and remove the key, he will then take the key to his cabin and under the bed there is a small safe with a combination for added security measures, After the combination is entered the key is inserted and when the door of the safe opens, inside is this booklet "Captains Table Guests" this is removed and the present Captain will re read the small booklet to to make sure nothing is misunderstood, and when he has finished the booklet will be placed to one side and he will then devote time to going over the passenger list and see just exactly who does qualify to sit at his table,Noting in turn each passenger and their cabin number. When he has reached the required number for the table the booklet is returned to the safe, it is locked again and the key placed back in the case and loked with the Captains key again. The names that are written down are then passed to the Maitre D in a sealed envelope for them to issue the seating cards for the guests!.. He than raised a glass and said Your very Good health, You have all passed with flying colours !
If you had been a fly on the wall that night in the Mauretania as we all sat spellbound and hanging off his each and every word .There was a moment of stunned silence as what he had just said started to sink in and then that laughter started as we realised we had all been caught! proper Hook ,Line and sinker
And so folks that is how its decided who sits on the Captains Table onboard any Cunard ship, Quite how much of the above is really true can only be guessed at, But knowing Nick we can take it "With a pinch of salt "
 

My dinning with the crew started away back in 1987 on "that" crossing when all the ships officers went on a Public Relations overdrive and l was assigned a table of 5 in Mauretania (when they had dinner dancing) we were all seated and along came the Staff Captain  who would be one of our hosts
Over the next few years l was always assigned the Hotel Managers Table, no matter what grade my cabin, but thats another story.... And on the table l was extremely honoured to meet some lovely passengers and hosts, and every night was an adventure, not to mention the stories that were exchanged, bear in mind this was over 20 years ago and l was travelling solo and in my very late teens.

But of course the highlight of all my cruises really was the Captains table (oh no hes off again!) , towards the end of that cruise we all agreed that no money could buy such an experience, Of course friends on land joke about did you get on the Captains table, to say yes does knock the wind out of them.

In all the cruises l can say every table has been fun to be on and l have never had any bad experiences, there was only the once we had an american farmer who was awkward. He must have been a bull farmer as he talked plenty of it !
On the cruise last year on sailing night the Maitre d came along to our table and asked everyone did we wish to change tables, as so lt came to be that l would end up on the same table with the same host as l did some 19 years earlier.
I would never dream of requesting an officers table, but people do make such requests, But l do know when you bum is planted on that seat they know exactly who you are! If you ever watch on a sailing night the Maitre Ds going round they are looking for people to fill in the empty seats on the hosts tables, and if you pass the test and when the names are in place, the whole system swings into place and your assured of a unique experience... That of eating with the crew


From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Offline Andy F

Re: Friends of the Officers Tables
« Reply #6 on: Feb 02, 2009, 02:14 AM »
A most fascinating, nay scintillating tale there Cunardqueen.  Good on you and thanks for giving us an insight to another World!
Start every day with a smile and get it over with

Offline cunardqueen

Re: Friends of the Officers Tables
« Reply #7 on: Feb 02, 2009, 02:23 AM »
Another world? it was ony Mauretania late sitting, alas l never got much further than the Caronia for a crossing other than the odd lunch in Britannia and that was usually an in port lunch on a back to back cruise, nice decor, lovely food, but l think might have lacked the fun of Mauretania.
 Thought about the Queens (Grill ::)) would have been interesting, but you do hear tales of one upmanship and the thought of a table with that doesnt appeal.. 
For me the two sittings are great, you all tend to arrive at the same time and progress through the menu without having folks entering and leaving at diffrent times.
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Offline Andy F

Re: Friends of the Officers Tables
« Reply #8 on: Feb 02, 2009, 01:14 PM »
I know what you mean Cunardqueen as was on second sitting on QM2 and can see your point when sharing a table but as it's usually just the 2 of us on our own table, it doesn't really have the same effect.  On my first soiree on QE2, I was allocated to a table of 4 in Caronia yet went the entire cruise without meeting our fellow table guests.  Once or twice there was evidence they had been & gone but that aside, they never showed up for dinner so must have eaten elsewhere.
Start every day with a smile and get it over with

Offline hollihedge

Re: Friends of the Officers Tables
« Reply #9 on: Feb 02, 2009, 05:29 PM »
Wow Cunard Queen - it sounds like you have had some wonderful dining companions over the years.  On our crossing we were fascinated by an extremely glamorous, seemingly single lady who every night would be accompanied to her table near to ours in Caronia (I think it might have been the Staff Captain's table) by two very handsome, impeccably dressed men who seem to have special Cunard lapel pins on.  One man would hang on to each arm, although she was clearly not immobile.  I never saw them, nor her, around the ship, other than at dinner, and I am sure they were not gentlemen hosts as I never saw them dancing and we were in the Queen's Room most nights.  Any idea who they might have been? - I don't think they were officers.  Our table were intrigued but were too polite to ask and our wonderful waiters didn't seem to know either - it has always intrigued me!!
Gill

Offline cunardqueen

Re: Friends of the Officers Tables
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2013, 06:48 PM »
Where not to sit !
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Offline Rod

Re: Friends of the Officers Tables
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2013, 10:41 PM »
On several occasions, I was "one of the crew" that you speak of!
There was a move to get the Senior Officers tables "Staffed"  for the early sitting at the Tables of the World.
Obviously, the Seniors could not make it so the Chief asked me if I would host..... SURE!!!!!!
Met the Head Waiter, whom I had done a few favors for to get the inside scoop. He said show up 10 mins after the start of the meal and I will escort, you and seat you.. He gave me the names and cabin numbers of the guests, then on to the Pursers Office to get info on the guests.
I arrived...10 mins late..was introduced to the pax. I had already settled on my food choices and the Head Waiter really hammed it up.. "Your usual appetizer Sir?" "Yes please"
Then on to the guests, Mr and Mrs Smith you are from Sandusky Ohio I believe? etc etc...all info gleaned from the Pursers Office. Wine Waiter comes up, you try and get an idea of what people want, not always possible. But the standard is 2 bottles. One table of 8 I hosted only myself an a Catholic Priest were drinkers! Unopened bottle was delivered to my cabin! Then generally you would offer to take them for a brandy, also on the Chiefs account, to the Piano Bar or the Theatre Bar.
All the times I did it I only had I think 2 or 3 "bad" pax.
Difficult to eat though when you have 8 people asking questions, and only 1 answering!
Really enjpyed it!