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Beginning with the finer dining is the officer’s mess. The ship’s Captain and department heads usually have reserved seats at the Captain’s table. Other officers may sit at any table of their choosing. In the officer’s mess you will typically find a well-dressed buffet or have the opportunity to order from a menu.

A trainee waiter will take your order. He or she will work very hard to make you feel like royalty. 

The staff mess is a little less formal. Actually the atmosphere is more like that of a cafeteria. The staff mess is usually a loud, inviting room with many people laughing, singing, telling stories and jokes. The meal is served buffet style, but some ships allow the staff to order from the menu. 

The crew mess is where you find long tables and plastic chairs. This is where you hear the most foreign languages spoken. The crew line up at a buffet that has foods suited to their main nationality. If the ship employs mainly Filipino crew, the buffet’s focus will be on rice and fish. The crew always eat at designated times so it can be a noisy place when everyone is gathered to chow down.