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Dining Rooms and Meals on Board Ocean Liners

View of the First Class Dining Saloon and Dome on the RMS Lusitania of the Cunard Line.

View of the First Class Dining Saloon and Dome on the RMS Lusitania of the Cunard Line. GGA Image ID # 17983c24c7

The dining-saloons, which are always a most important feature on board ship, are spacious and attractive apartments, occupying the entire width of the amidships section.

Handsomely finished in hard woods, with high paneled ceilings, beautiful in their decorations, they are amply lighted by sky lights of cathedral glass, and ports forward and on the sides.

Louis XVI Style Dining Saloon on the RMS Aquitania Awaits First Class Passengers.

Louis XVI Style Dining Saloon on the RMS Aquitania Awaits First Class Passengers. GGA Image ID # 1798e74f1b

The Dining Saloon

The grandest internal feature of these ships is, beyond all doubt, the first-class dining saloon, which is located on the saloon deck. It is a room of noble proportions and extends almost entirely across the ship.

Unlike on most steamers, the dining saloon is carried to an immense height, through two decks and a half, and is surmounted by a cathedral glass dome of magnificent design and exquisite coloring.

The full height is twenty feet, while the length of the arched roof is fifty-three feet, with a span of twenty-five feet. In this grand saloon, there are dining places arranged for 271 passengers.

At one end of the saloon, and under the gabled archway formed by the domed ceiling, is the grand organ loft, which is accessible also from the promenade deck.

The second-class dining saloon is a most inviting apartment 45 feet long and 40 feet wide, well-ventilated and well-lighted, providing places for 133 passengers.

It contains a fine piano and a well-stocked library of choice books and provides a pleasant place for concerts and entertainments of the second class passengers. The ladies' room and the smoking room in second-class are pleasantly situated upon the promenade deck.

The third-class passengers are located in suitable accommodations. Rooms containing two, four, or six berths are provided for married couples and families, the berths being of metal, with woven-wire bottoms, ensuring perfect cleanliness.

On the American Line steamers, large, well-ventilated dining rooms are provided for third-class passengers. These are also used as sitting-rooms, and for the frequent evening entertainments, a piano in the dining-room adds to the pleasure of the passengers.

First Class Dining Saloon on the RMS Friesland of the Red Star Line, 1908.

First Class Dining Saloon on the RMS Friesland of the Red Star Line, 1908. GGA Image ID # 17993d8a1b

The most attractive feature of the Friesland is the dining saloon, located well away from the machinery. It is an airy room of spacious proportions and is beautifully lighted by a huge 22 dome-shaped skylight.

The cabinet work is finished in elaborately carved oak, while the relief work of the pure white ceiling is delicately picked out in gold-leaf.

MEAL HOURS AT SEA

The hours for meals at sea vary with the line and vessel. Breakfast is usually served from eight to nine o'clock; luncheon, from one to two o'clock, and dinner at seven P. M. Where there is a second seating, these hours are apt to vary.

Times for meals are usually posted in the staterooms, or the stewards will be glad to inform the passengers. Bouillon and crackers are served on deck and in the companionways, and tea is served at four o'clock.

On some lines, it is possible to get supper at nine o'clock in the evening; and on other lines, there is a buffet supper in the smoking room in the evening, which is apt to be elaborate.

Passengers hungry at any time can always obtain something on application to the steward; no one need ever go hungry at sea. The sea air is so invigorating that the steamship companies expect to furnish very full meals, except for those who are physically incapacitated on account of seasickness.

Example of Meal Hours and Dining Room regulations:

Meals will be served at the following hours in the First Class Dining Saloon:

  • BREAKFAST: from 7.30 a.m.
  • LUNCHEON: from 1.0 p.m. to 2.30 p.m.
  • DINNER: 7.0 to 9.0 p.m.

and in the Second Class Dining Saloon:

  • BREAKFAST: 7.0 to 9.0 a.m.
  • LUNCHEON: 12 noon to 1.30 p.m.
  • DINNER: 6.0 to 7.30 p.m.

Breakfast will not be served in the dining room after 10 a. m.

Seats at Dinner arranged by Chief Steward.

Children must dine at first sitting.

Afternoon tea will be served at 4.00 p. m. on Deck and in all Public Rooms, but children will be served in the Dining Saloon.

Lights are extinguished in Saloon at 11 p.m., Music Room and Drawing Room at 11.30 p.m. and Smoke Room at midnight, Bar closes at 11 p.m.

First Class Dining Saloon on the RMS Adriatic of the White Star Line, 1909.

First Class Dining Saloon on the RMS Adriatic of the White Star Line, 1909. GGA Image ID # 17992e970b

SEATS AT TABLE

Application should be made to the chief steward onboarding the steamer for seats at table. The chief steward assigns all seats at table.

Where a number of persons are sailing on the same vessel and wish to be placed together, this fact, together with the names, should be sent to the company a day or so in advance of sailing, and the necessary arrangements will be made.

View of the Dining Saloon on an Orient Royal Mail Line Steamer circa 1907.

View of the Dining Saloon on an Orient Royal Mail Line Steamer circa 1907. GGA Image ID # 17993d08b4

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