His name is Dalibur
He asks us to call him Dali. As in Salvador Dali
But the rest of the crew call him Dolly and tend to burst into a chorus of “Hello Dolly” whenever he passes by.
He is French, which is generally not a good thing. It is especially not a good thing when he is your waiter. Which he is. We are on board Silversea’s new cruise ship, Silver Muse. Have you noticed that there are never any French crew on a cruise ship? There is a very good reason for that.
The French are not born to serve. And to be fair, nor are the English. But the English, when pressured into serving are just grumpy and not very good. The French are downright rude and have an attitude to go with it. Of course the French are that way whether they are serving or not.
Dali is no exception. But his attitude and rudeness comes with a twinkle in his eye and he quickly becomes one of the family. The family in this case comprises of four glamorous, amusing and dashingly handsome friends (they will be reading this!) we are traveling with. Some of our little gang of 6 are rather demanding (not Gordon or I you understand) and we are perhaps a rather daunting prospect for anyone destined to look after us. Dali however proves up to the task
He is at a guess, in his forties, of average height, weight and looks, with not too much going for him other than a very stylish pair of gold rimmed glasses. His large gallic nose provides a perfect place for them to sit and allows ample room for Dali to adjust their location. Most of the time they are perched halfway down. He peers over them with twinkling eyes full of humour.
He approaches the table, pauses for dramatic effect and with perfect timing that must have been learned on the stage, delivers his opening line:
“Gentlemen, may I interrupt the sparkling conversation at this table with some information about the menu. I will need approximately 2 minutes and forty seconds of your time”
He then pauses, sweeps the table with his green eyes and allows a sardonic smile to pass his lips.
We are hooked
One of our glamorous group has arrived on a motorized scooter/wheelchair which he abandons next to his dining chair as if expecting valet parking. Dali is only too willing to oblige and sets off on a victory lap around the restaurant, knocking into a few tables as he goes. The French only know two ways to drive – badly and too fast.
There is a sommelier waiting to tell us about the wines, but Dali dismisses him sniffing his disdain as he announces that he is not French. He then launches into a long and informative description of each wine. When we choose a bottle which he doesn’t approve of, he lowers his glasses even further down his nose, gives us a piercing look, lightly coughs and writes nothing, waiting for us to make a better choice
We then place our orders for food. I order lobster which he dutifully notes, but when I ask for a side of mayonnaise, he stops writing and glares down at me like a schoolteacher, disapproval written all over his face
“Perhaps Sir would like an order of chicken nuggets and ketchup” he says with just a hint of a twinkle.
Sadly the food and delivery do not live up to the waiter. We sit for two hours before we get the main course, and when it comes it is average at best. Even sadder is that this is the story of the entire cruise. Poor food but wonderful service
When our table of six starts to get a little frustrated, Dali entertains us with a wonderful impersonation of Edith Piaff. Imitating her voice perfectly he sings
“Non, je ne regrette rien”
If only that were true.