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First class passengers needing the loo during dinner

Discussion in 'Eating on Board' started by Ricky B, Oct 28, 2017.

  1. Ricky B

    Ricky B Member

    I was wondering about loo visits for first class passengers during dinner in the dining saloon. Surely with the duration of time and amount of liquid consumed both before and during dinner, a trip to the loo was inevitable.

    Would passengers politely excuse themselves to other passengers at their table and then, what seems like quite a long walk to the toilet facilities, venture forward of the ship to relieve themselves?

    And this leads me to think that if this is the case, there must have been a certain amount of pressure to get to the loo, relieve oneself and return as quickly as possible to the table. Would it have been frowned upon for keeping a table waiting as one course finished and the next was ready to be served?

    And what of passengers who preferred not to use the public toilet facilities (favoring the use of their cabin's toilet) as is the case of some people in today's society? Would they have to state, "Will be back in a good twenty minutes or so, as I need to walk all the way to my cabin located at B89! See you shortly."

    I would also hate to think of a passenger making these journeys only to return to the table and think 'Oh my, I need the toilet again.' God forbid a man or woman with nerves or a water infection of some sort.

    I would be interested to read any responses to these thoughts. Thank you.
  2. codad1946

    codad1946 Member

    Here's a guide to protocol in the Royal Navy and passenger ships of yore - based on my experience on passenger ships of the 60s and warships and shore naval establishments of the Royal Navy to the current day. As all officers in WSL were members of the RNR, I would think that the rule was - whilst only spoken and not written - rigidly adhered to as "the thing to do" in polite society. Everyone in 1st Class (possibly not the Americans...) would be aware of the rules of polite society and would never even dream of breaking them, unwritten or not. Also, unwritten rules cannot be changed or removed unless polite society deems it right to do so.

    Under no circumstances do you go to relieve a call of nature during the actual dinner. Guests are supposed to relieve themselves before going in to dinner, and if you can't manage to last the dinner out, then you should have your meals in your cabin. If - under extenuating circumstances (as an officer, probably not as a passenger, but whoever invited you) - you have to go, then the fine is a "round of port" or some other alcoholic beverage suitable to the rest of the table. This lasts until the table is cleared for coffee and smoking (if allowed), whence leaving the table for comfort reasons is allowed - all very civilised. Hardly an arduous exercise, though my first naval dinner at BRNC Dartmouth lasted 4 hours (I guess a bladder testing exercise which is not followed in other establishments, thank heavens), during which even the ladies were handing round wine bottles under the tables...

    The half hour for cocktails prior to dinner being served should not be used to slug down a couple of pints of Speckled Hen, otherwise you are going to be very uncomfortable during the meal. Sherry or cocktails are served, and should be limited to one only. Wine is served with the meal.

    Even after leaving the navy, I still found it strange to see people leaving the table throughout the meal, and could never bring myself to do it. Old habits die hard...

    Here's the guff - from the Royal Canadian Navy, but the same thing pretty much.
    ReadyAyeReady.com - The Laws of the Navy - Customs and Traditions - The Canadian Navy
  3. Alex Clark

    Alex Clark Member

    If the fine for leaving the table to piddle is a round of port, might that not lead to a snowballing effect, resulting in endless table leaving, port, table leaving etc? ;)
  4. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    The passengers could use the toilet facilities behind the staircase before entering the dining room and after. There were two sittings for dinner and the passengers would meet in the reception area with their fellow dining companions before they were shown in and seated in the dining room.


    Robert T. Paige likes this.
  5. Harland Duzen

    Harland Duzen Member

    Didn't only 3rd class have to have 2 separate sittings?
    Madeleine Herne likes this.
  6. 3rd Class had 2 separate sittings. 1st and 2nd class only one. 2 sittings were held only when the ship was to full and there were not enough seats in the dining saloons (as it was the case in 2nd class in September 1914 on Olympic).
    1st class passengers had the choice between the Dining Saloon and A-la-Carte Restaurant, so a 2nd sitting there is less unlikely than for 2nd class passengers.
    Harland Duzen likes this.
  7. I don't think that back then they went for a loo visit during dinner.
  8. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    I read that Titanic could accommodate almost 700 First class passengers but her dining room could only seat around 550. There was a seating chart and possibly the passengers who were seated at each table would first gather in the reception area until their party was ready to enter the dining room. That would be their opportunity to go to the powder room.

    Harland Duzen likes this.
  9. Harland Duzen

    Harland Duzen Member

    Thought only 3rd Class had only 2 sittings, but it's interesting Titanic's 1st class seating didn't have enough for all 1st class, Unless following the addition of cabins thoughtout the ship on C-deck and other they later changed the seating layout.

    ...Or this would only happen when 1st class was overbooked and 2nd Class cabins were commandeered to act as 1st Class.

    Either way given Titanic was fortunately 2/3 full, it's safe to say there was probably no seating problems on her maiden voyage.

    Back To Topic!
  10. Surely first class passengers would have been able to use the toilets whenever they needed to, no matter what they were doing. How about passengers with young children? I'm pretty sure children wouldn't have been expected to be able to sit through a whole dinner service without needing the toilet at least once. Were there no toilets in the dining saloon? If so, that seems a bit silly.
  11. The Tour Guide at the Queen Mary Hotel remarked that children were not permitted to dine with parents in the First Class Dining Salon on RMS Queen Mary. Would this have been true on RMS Titanic ?
    The Guide's remark was " You would have to have a peanut butter sandwich in your cabin."

    In the 1953 "Titanic" the Sturges' young son Norman is shown having dinner in the First Class Dining Salon.Would he have been old enough to do so ?
    Of course he considered himself "Old enough to wear long trousers."
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
  12. The Deck Plan just shows a "Ladies Lav". Where did the men go if they had to go ?
  13. Bob Godfrey

    Bob Godfrey Member

    Robert - This is a cut & paste from my own post in an earlier thread:

    Children aged under 10 were catered for in the main dining room but at separate sittings before the adults arrived. Those aged 12 or above were charged the full adult fare and could therefore dine with their parents - if the parents so desired. Children aged 10 or 11 also could dine with their parents if the parents chose to pay the full adult fare for them too. But it's likely that most parents would have preferred not to take that option. It was standard practice even at home for the children of the upper classes to dine in the nursery with nanny rather than with the grown-ups.
  14. Robert --

    Gentlemen did not go to windward.

    -- David G. Brown
  15. :D
  16. Mark Baber

    Mark Baber Moderator Member

  17. On D Deck which is the deck shown in the plan here the male bathroom was located slightly further up the corridor from the female one, only just cut off from the right edge of the plan.