In the afternoon of the first formal night on Royal Caribbean‘s Explorer of the Seas we found an invitation in our cabin to eat at the Captain’s Table that night. Of course we responded yes. We’d never been invited to a captain’s table before, nor actually even realized it was a thing. Maybe it’s not on the other lines we’ve sailed on, or maybe we’ve just never had the honor of receiving an invitation before. Even the staff captain that we had dinner with had no idea who they would choose or why, though I assume special invites are most likely extended to suite guests, high rollers at the casino, and people high in their loyalty program, of which we are none. Sometimes being a cruise ship blogger has its perks.
Our dinner at a large circular table at the center of the main floor of a 3-tiered dining room consisted of 4 invited couples, Staff Captain Luther Bradley Olson, and Chief Safety Officer Ivan Ramirez Villaneuva. Seating was assigned by little name cards set at each chair. We sat next to the captain, who was a very nice guy. The chief safety officer was at the far end of a very large table so we never got a chance to talk to him. The staff captain is the second in command of the entire vessel. Besides being in charge of all the ship’s employees, he is also responsible for docking the ship. Hierarchy must not be the same on all cruise lines because some ships we have sailed on said the ship’s captain docked the ship. When underway it is usually the officer of the watch driving – though more likely than not it’s actually the autopilot.
Although some of the crew like stateroom stewards often work 9 months straight before having any time off, the staff captain said his hitches ran 10 weeks on and 10 weeks off. He could have his wife on board if he wanted, but said she had a life of her own on shore and didn’t stay on the ship with him all the time. The cruise director was traveling with his wife and young daughter though so family privileges extended farther than just the bridge staff. Originally from Canada, the staff captain now lives in the USA, in the same general region where we do. My husband found lots to talk to him about since they both enjoy fishing.
The meal had a special menu separate from what everyone else in the dining room ate that night. We got to keep the menus as a souvenir. They also took a photo of everyone at the table from the deck above and gave one to each of the attendees. The food was superb, the best food we ate in the entire cruise.
After an extra little starter the appetizer course had three choices, a goat cheese soufflé, scallops, or a Caesar salad. I chose the soufflé and John went with the scallops.
The main course offered 4 choices, a fillet of beef, fillet of salmon, roulade of chicken, or stuffed avocado. We both went with the chicken.
Dessert was a generous portion of banana, oreo chocolate mousse with salted caramel and wild berries. It’s an honor to get invited to the captain’s table and we quite enjoyed the dinner as well as the company.
Copyright My Cruise Stories 2019