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Old November 19th, 2012, 10:36 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Mechanicsville, VA
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Default Comparing Dining Room service - Carnival Dream and RCCL Vision of the Seas

In a review of our cruise on the Carnival Dream in Oct, I commented about the poor service in the main dining room especially during the evening meal. Service was slow (some dinners took almost 2 hours to get through); sometimes items ordered after the main order (i.e. salad, soup) never arrived. I also commented that we couldn’t really place all the blame on the wait staff as they were grossly understaffed in the dining room.
As we had a cruise with RCCL Vision of the Seas scheduled for Nov I said I would compare the two ships. And no, we are not traitors to CCL. It was a group tour of 48 from our community in Florida, all veterans as RCCL offered a wonderful rate for a 10 day cruise to the Southern Caribbean.

The dining room service on the Vision was the best we have had in our 17 (14 CCL, 2 RCCL and 1 Princess) cruises. The wait staff (of which there was ample personnel) was efficient, energetic and very competent. Service was fast and dinner was finished in about an hour each night. We had a table for 8 and everyone (some were Diamond on RCCL, others this was a first cruise) commented on the great service.

That being said, the quality of the food and the selection of items was about a 5 on a 1-10 scale. It was good but not great. And I think it is a reflection of the overall status of dining room food on cruises these days. At least on what I consider the “mass market” lines.

That being said, I really think it may be a bit unfair to compare the two vessels. After all, the Dream is 130,000Gt with 4000+ passengers and the Vision is 78,491GT with 2435 passengers. The Dream has one sitting in the 2 dining rooms while the Vision has 2 sittings in 1 dining room. Could it be that the galley is over taxed on the Dream to get all of say 3,200 (not all folks eat in the dining room) meals served at the same time? Is it easier on the Vision to feed 2,000 in 2 sittings rather than all 2,000 in one? And for what it is worth, rather than carrying large trays of food as was done on the Dream, food was brought from the galley in 2 tier wheeled carts thus allowing for more food to arrive at one time making service a little quicker.

As for the rest of the cruise, it was good one. We visited places we had not been to before (Dominica and a day trip to Nevis from St. Kitts). Weather was wonderful except for the last 2 sea days on the return to Port Lauderdale. We were in the aftermath of a Northeaster and it was rocking and rolling.

And lucky me, I hit a $1,000 jackpot in the casino.

Conclusions: after 3 cruises on the Dream we have decided that the larger vessels are not our cup of tea. The smaller ones (if you can call 2,500 passengers small) are better suited for us and we will continue to look for cruises on the smaller ones.

And oh yes, for what it is worth, the demographics of age on the Vision I would say was an average of 60 years old and very, very few children.

So there you have it. I know some will disagree with me on some points but hey, that’s what life is all about.

Fair winds and following seas!

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