Oh, Captain! – Dining at that table is a great honor… and, for some of us, a challenge.

Monday Mantra

I want to dine with the Captain…I want to dine with the Captain…I want to dine with the Captain…

Oh, Captain!

Dining at that table is a great honor… and, for some of us, a challenge.

I love John Cleese — Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, A Fish Called Wanda. So, it’s not surprising that I had an extreme reaction to the captain of SeaDream I’s entertaining account of when he tried to persuade the star to man the reception desk as his eccentric Basil Fawlty character during a 1970s sailing on his previous ship. Unfortunately, I was seated beside the captain when he told the story and, in my excitement, grabbed his shoulder and came away with his epaulet in my hand.

Not my proudest Captain’s Table moment.

An invitation to dine with the captain is one of the greatest honors for a cruise passenger. Service is impeccable, fine wines flow throughout the meal, and conversation is dazzling — unless the chat is monopolized by some pompous know-it-all who seems intent on convincing everyone that he or she is infinitely more fascinating than anyone else at the table. Including the captain.

Best of all, being seated at the most coveted table in the dining room earns you the envy of your shipmates, including that horrible woman who shooed you away from the deck chair you wanted earlier that morning. With a little luck, she’ll be nearby with an unobstructed view of you schmoozing with the big guy. Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah.

I used to wonder how the Captain’s Table selection process worked, but finally gave up in much the same way you give up trying to figure out how certain people win the lottery more than once or how Taylor Swift can win every single music award out there. I was nearly convinced that Captain’s Table diners are always repeat guests, occupants of owner’s suites, journalists, or local celebrities until I shared a Captain’s Table with a couple of first-time cruisers who were actually sailing in an inside cabin. That blew that theory.

Whether it’s your standing with the cruise line, your reputation, or just the eenie-meenie-miney-moe method that has singled you out, nothing beats returning to your cabin to find that elegant invitation stating that the ship’s captain requests the honor of your presence for dinner. RSVP immediately, don your finest evening wear, and prepare for an exclusive experience that will make you the envy of all of your friends and, more importantly, your enemies.

Have you ever dined at the Captain’s Table? Tell us about it in the comments below!


— Judi Cuervo

Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.