Q – We are booked on Viking River’s Elegant Elbe program on October 26th next year. The cruise goes from Prague to Berlin. It is our very first cruise of any kind and we’re excited. We got 2-1 rates and the people at Viking were extremely nice and helpful. One thing we are wondering about – how can we get invited to the Captain’s table for dinner. We hear that is a special event and we’d love to try it one time. Any other advice would be appreciated.
A – The first bit of advice might be that you cancel your cruise and reschedule it. The Elbe has the worst record of all of Europe’s major rivers when it comes to flooding. Most of the lines do not operate there for that reason. We do not want your first experience to be ruined by a higher than normal likelihood of itinerary changes.
Dining with a Captain on a river boat does not have the same panache as it might on a luxury cruise vessel. Riverboat Captains are selected for their experience – not their personality. Most often, they are employed by the real owners of the ships not the brand that leases them. You might find their dinner conversation less entertaining than you imagine as many of the current captains speak German fluently but have a hard time with English. As with any floating hotel, guests selected to grace the Captain’s table are normally selected from the pricier accommodations.
All of that said, it should not be difficult to sit with the Captain. Soon after boarding, speak with the on-board Cruise Director and let him/her know of your desire. Normally it can be easily arranged. If the table conversation gets bogged down, ask the table what they think of Trump’s foreign policy positions.