Friday, September 30, 2011

The Ballad of Margaret and Julian

This post is all about how Chris, Kent, and I ended up having dinner at the Captain's Table one night of our cruise.

Spoiler alert: it's not because we're classy. Actually it's because we are the complete opposite of classy.

Our first day on the ship, we went to the show where the officers and the entertainment staff (including the cruise director) introduce themselves. When it came turn for the Hotel Director to speak, I was instantly smitten. Never mind the fact that he was in his late 40s, didn't have a lot of hair, and was married. He was from England! So that's all you need.

So from that point on, I was determined to get to know Julian.

But our tale really begins with an explanation about where our cabin was located on the cruise ship. That stuff above was just setting the scene. Chris loves to be at the front of ship (or the bow if you want to get fancy). I'm not really sure why, maybe it's posher? Anyways, this time our cabin was right next to the door to the bridge and the officer's quarters. No lie, right next door.

While walking down the hall one day, Kent passed Julian on his way to or from his quarters. As there had been a shocking lack of towel animals in our room, Kent stopped the Hotel Director and asked if we could get towel animals. Most people would probably just take this up with their cabin steward, but Kent decided to go right to the top. Julian was very gracious and promised to see to it that we would get towel animals.

And we did!

In response, on our comment card, I wrote the following message: We <3 Julian! I then dropped the card off at Guest Relations. Was this an adult way to thank someone? No. Were we really excited about getting those towel animals? Hell yes. So it seemed appropriate.

And then! The next day, after returning from lunch or something, we came in to find a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries had been delivered to our room. With compliments, from Julian. So now we were feeling really special. I composed a lovely thank you note and sent it on its way.

But we were only getting started. We decided that it would be nice to invite Julian, Mr. Hotel Director, to join us for dinner one night. After all, we had this big table for 8 all to ourselves (the other people assigned to our table never showed up). So we decided next time we saw him, we would invite him.

That night, while playing craps in the casino, the cruise director, Sue, wandered past us. Sue was a lovely older woman (also from England). Chris and I exchanged a look, grabbed our chips and took off after her. And when I saw "took off" I mean that we literally ran down the hall yelling her name. We finally caught up to her and breathlessly asked if she and Julian would like to join us at our table sometime. She gave us the typical "we're very busy in the evening" line but took down our cabin number and promised to call us and let us know if they were available.

The next day we had a phone message from Sue. While she and Julian were not free for dinner, they invited us to drinks at the martini bar the next night. Success! We ended up having a great time; we chatted with them both for more than an hour, which was more time than we thought they would give us. And apparently Sue and Julian had a good time too. And let's be honest: we probably the only people on that ship under the age of 50, so it must have been nice for them to talk to some spry people. They also both expressed surprise at our dinner invitation, apparently this was the first time someone had extended it to them. Usually they were the ones who asked people to dinner! We also learned that Julian's cabin was next door to ours. Awesome.

We parted ways good friends, and looked forward to seeing them around the ship. Imagine our surprise a few days later when we received a printed invitation to join Julian at the Captain's Table in the main dining room for dinner.

At last, we were in.

It was the last formal night of the cruise, so we were dressed in our best. We met up with the other people dining at the table that night in the wine bar and enjoyed some hors d'oeuvres, wine, and champagne. Julian and his pregnant wife (who had joined the ship in Copenhagen) joined us and then we walked to the table in the dining room. Actually it was more like parading, as they led us through the center of the room and everyone got a good long look at the cool kids who got to sit at the main table. Chris saw that some of the people older people looked as us askance, I say let them. They were just jealous.

Dinner was excellent; we had the main maitre des as our servers, and all the wine and champagne we could drink. It also seemed like the quality of the cuts of meats and such was slightly better than you find at the normal tables. That was very gratifying. They even took our picture and gave the ladies roses. You guys, we were so fancy. We had a wonderful time just eating and chatting with Julian and his wife and I think I can honestly say that the table would have been much more boring without us. But isn't that true of everything?

All in all, it was a perfect way to begin the wrap-up of our vacation. And it just goes to prove that persistence can get you almost anything. If you stalk someone long enough, chances are you'll get what you want! Not sure that's really the lesson here, but whatever. It's Friday. I don't have time to come with a moral for every blog post I write.

Still to come in the vacay recap: posts about Tallin, Estonia and Copenhagen, Denmark. Are you psyched??

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