Missing persons at dinner in the saloon (table dynamics)

Ricky B


I remember reading on here that allocated seating was provided for first class passengers in the saloon - requests could be made by passengers to the purser for preferences/changes to this and passengers tended to be placed in terms of common interest and nationality, etc.

But, if some passengers decided to eat in the A la carte restaurant one evening, and were usually seated on a table of six, how would this affect the dynamics of the dinner for the other passengers seated at that table? Would these passengers then be seated at another table to match the head count and not highlight the missing diners?

I also think that it would be awful if some poor soul was travelling alone and arrived at dinner, only to be told that all of her/his dining companions are eating elsewhere! I'm sure this would not have happened though.

Any thoughts?
I remember reading somewhere (Ship Magnificent?) that use of the Restaurant was all-or-nothing. It wasn't like the speciality restaurants on a modern ship. You opted to use the A La Carte Restaurant and were credited for not using the main dining room for the whole trip. Or at least that's what I recall.......
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The instructions to first class passengers may be seen in Francis Browne's book. They show that anybody wanting to dine entirely in the restaurant had to advise of this when buying a ticket. Most then received a fare deduction of £3. Those whose fares were £35 or more received a deduction of £5. No other arrangements could be made. From the wording, it seems that anybody who could afford it could dine in the restaurant on odd occasions, but they received no fare deduction.
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