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  #31 (permalink)  
Old October 26th, 2008, 07:56 PM
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Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, which makes this a very cool board to be on, so please let's try and respect each other's own view without judging someone for not seeing things the way "you" or "I" do.

And as far as Parrot Mom and Pop not being "spring chickens", you guys rock! I would rather hang out with you guys, than my own age group...which by the way is 44 today! -

There were a few times when we were going through the buffet line and my partner and I were carrying backpacks, video camera bag, and / or shopping bags (just in from an excursion or whatever) and we didn't even have to ask for help...especially if your evening waiter sees you in the casual / buffet area, he most likely will walk up to assist...so for us, it wasn't even about age, it was about kindness, and good customer service.

There have been times when I've said, "no thank you" also, and the staff is friendly and kind, not easily offended.

Some passengers expect this type of service, while others don't but enjoy a helping hand if needed, just as not everyone appreciates or expects a door to be held open for them first. It's all good that we are each different! 8)

Point is, the service is there (as Irish Girl, Parrot Mom and others remark) if you want it, but don't feel like you have to accept their help.

I work for an international hospitality firm and have to share with you all, that that type of customer service is expected from our staff. Nobody should feel odd or out of place for not accepting the service, though.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old October 27th, 2008, 11:42 AM
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Default Re: Age of Cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parrot Mom
On a trans-atlantic which we prefer we find cruisers of all ages..If the fact that a cruise line doesnt have waiters at buffets at your beckon call to carry your tray is a criteria for going on Celebrity. well, then.. perhaps you should look upwards to a more high end luxury ship(Oceania, Azamaria, Regent, etc). Service on the three fourteen day plus Celebrity cruises we have taken have been in almost every instance outstanding (Century, Galaxy, Constitution)..On each of these ships I can write about a particular person or persons who has gone out of their way to make our cruise memorable. Parrot Pop does walk with a cane and there is always somebody at his elbow wanting to take his tray.. Being 55 has nothing to do with age..it's your attitude and how you treat the staff and your fellow cruisers.. Personally, I dont like hanging around with OLD people and as Triton may tell you we are not spring chickens..
I don't think anyone has suggested that they would skip Celebrity solely because they don't carry trays anymore and believe me with all my years on various boards I have seen some pretty stupid reasons for not going on a cruise line.

As I said earlier, this is something that made Celebrity special. Along with the other services that have been cut back some do not know what they are missing. Some get it, some don't and again it has nothing to do with ability..
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Old October 27th, 2008, 12:12 PM
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In my than 30 years of traveling (cruise and land).. I find that I can be at the same resort at the exact same week as another guest and see something entirely different. One year in particular a guest complained of a dirty pool with broken toys..I sat by the same pool and it was clean..not a toy in there.. On cruises I hear people complaining of the art work, and I swear to y ou... a girl complaining there werent chocolate jimmmies for her ice cream...One woman complaining that they ran out of butter on the last day on the ship.. On our first cruise..over 20 years ago there was white glove french service in the dining room.. and this was an NCL ship.. Those days are gone forever.. People dont dress whether flying or on cruise ships.. the companies are out to attract the masses. How many more 3,000 plus passengers can be built in this economy without lowering service or having empty cabins or heaven forbid selling cabins off at fire sales..My expectation of Celebrity over RC is that the quality of the food be a step up, excellent service in the dining room and a clean ship. Oh yes.. a friendly helpful staff.
Yes, I was a bit disappointed in the new menu of the Constellation and I thought the special brunch was a dud.. Wonder what the new Soltice and Equinox will be like...do I want a lawn, NO, do I want glass blowing..NO (although Ill be there to see)..what I want is service and decent food and a friendly staff is a plus..The Celebrity Constellation except for the esoteric food combinations..lol.. fit the bill for us. Of course... the most important part of our cuise is the itinerary...the ports, the ports, the ports and days at sea..
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Old October 27th, 2008, 12:28 PM
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Default Re: Expectations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parrot Mom
In my than 30 years of traveling (cruise and land).. I find that I can be at the same resort at the exact same week as another guest and see something entirely different. One year in particular a guest complained of a dirty pool with broken toys..I sat by the same pool and it was clean..not a toy in there.. On cruises I hear people complaining of the art work, and I swear to y ou... a girl complaining there werent chocolate jimmmies for her ice cream...One woman complaining that they ran out of butter on the last day on the ship.. On our first cruise..over 20 years ago there was white glove french service in the dining room.. and this was an NCL ship.. Those days are gone forever.. People dont dress whether flying or on cruise ships.. the companies are out to attract the masses. How many more 3,000 plus passengers can be built in this economy without lowering service or having empty cabins or heaven forbid selling cabins off at fire sales..My expectation of Celebrity over RC is that the quality of the food be a step up, excellent service in the dining room and a clean ship. Oh yes.. a friendly helpful staff.
Yes, I was a bit disappointed in the new menu of the Constellation and I thought the special brunch was a dud.. Wonder what the new Soltice and Equinox will be like...do I want a lawn, NO, do I want glass blowing..NO (although Ill be there to see)..what I want is service and decent food and a friendly staff is a plus..The Celebrity Constellation except for the esoteric food combinations..lol.. fit the bill for us. Of course... the most important part of our cuise is the itinerary...the ports, the ports, the ports and days at sea..
I agree with you completely, it just shows how people are different. For example, from all my reading of reviews, you are the first person I have seen with negative reviews ofthe new buffets. Everyone else I have read has had glowing reviews of the new buffet. Each to his own and that is why it is important to read more than one review.

Funniest complaint I ever heard of was woman who actually cancelled her upcoming cruise because they served Coke and not Pepsi or vice versa.

Don
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Old October 27th, 2008, 01:19 PM
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Default Buffets

Sorry, I miswrote.. I LOVED the buffets (breafast and lunch).. it was the brunch that I thought was a dud..Really,between breakfast and lunch...did they need I did speak to the Food and B everage Director (complimenting him on his staff upstairs) and he said the reviews were mixed..Frankly I thought it was a waste of food and staff..and poorly attended
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old October 27th, 2008, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: Buffets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parrot Mom
Sorry, I miswrote.. I LOVED the buffets (breafast and lunch).. it was the brunch that I thought was a dud..Really,between breakfast and lunch...did they need I did speak to the Food and B everage Director (complimenting him on his staff upstairs) and he said the reviews were mixed..Frankly I thought it was a waste of food and staff..and poorly attended
That's what I thought you meant, the new brunch. As I said your the first person I've seen complain about it. Oh well....

Don
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Old October 27th, 2008, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pattizoo
We just got home from 14 days on the Millennium, Alaska to San Diego. We had a lovely time; the weather was exceptionally fine for all but one port of call. No complaints there at all.

This was our first cruise with Celebrity. Whatever used to be premium about Celebrity must have gone by the wayside. Don't get me wrong. It wasn't BAD- but it was certainly nothing exceptional either.

No one ever offered to carry a tray or help us find a table in the overcrowded Lido deck at breakfast and lunchtime.
Service in the dining room was acceptable, but a little slow. The food was good to very good, but again, not exceptional.
We were very disappointed at the lack of choices available in the Ocean Grill. Same choices every day- pasta, sushi, pizza and stir-fry. Same sandwiches, same pizza. The lines were a problem there as well. If you did not choose to eat in the dining room, it got old fast.
There was a big brunch buffet the last sea day, a fruit and ice cream/sorbet buffet one night and a Gala Buffet another. I believe there was also a choclate lover's special one night. The brunch was lovely, but certainly not something that would replace a Gala Buffet in most people's minds. The fruit and sorbet event was nice but limited in it's offerings. I had to pass on the Gala Buffet and the Chocolate one- I was just too tired to stay up that late!
The one very bright spot was the outstanding service and food in the Olympic Restaurant. Wow! THAT was exceptional all the way around!

We spoke with a number of people who had sailed with Celebrity in the past who said it was very different from their previous experiences. They were also rather let down by their experience on this cruise. More than a few said they were going to shop elsewhere for their next cruise. I am afraid I wasn't impressed enough to choose Celebrity for any future cruises I may take, at least not at a premium price.
Hi Pattizoo:

Your post is right on the money as to what has happened with Celebrity. As you said there certainly is nothing premium about Celebrity anymore. In the past Celebrity did have a leg up on the competition, but now they are trailing most mainstream cruise lines.

In my opinion, it is not just one or two things but it is the over all downturn in so many areas such as food quality, ship maintenance, no interest in providing a good past passenger program, poor customer service when there is a problem and even ship relaibility issues on some Celebrity ships, that was allowed to go on for at least seven years.

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Old October 28th, 2008, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nurse Debra
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pattizoo
We just got home from 14 days on the Millennium, Alaska to San Diego. We had a lovely time; the weather was exceptionally fine for all but one port of call. No complaints there at all.

This was our first cruise with Celebrity. Whatever used to be premium about Celebrity must have gone by the wayside. Don't get me wrong. It wasn't BAD- but it was certainly nothing exceptional either.

No one ever offered to carry a tray or help us find a table in the overcrowded Lido deck at breakfast and lunchtime.
Service in the dining room was acceptable, but a little slow. The food was good to very good, but again, not exceptional.
We were very disappointed at the lack of choices available in the Ocean Grill. Same choices every day- pasta, sushi, pizza and stir-fry. Same sandwiches, same pizza. The lines were a problem there as well. If you did not choose to eat in the dining room, it got old fast.
There was a big brunch buffet the last sea day, a fruit and ice cream/sorbet buffet one night and a Gala Buffet another. I believe there was also a choclate lover's special one night. The brunch was lovely, but certainly not something that would replace a Gala Buffet in most people's minds. The fruit and sorbet event was nice but limited in it's offerings. I had to pass on the Gala Buffet and the Chocolate one- I was just too tired to stay up that late!
The one very bright spot was the outstanding service and food in the Olympic Restaurant. Wow! THAT was exceptional all the way around!

We spoke with a number of people who had sailed with Celebrity in the past who said it was very different from their previous experiences. They were also rather let down by their experience on this cruise. More than a few said they were going to shop elsewhere for their next cruise. I am afraid I wasn't impressed enough to choose Celebrity for any future cruises I may take, at least not at a premium price.
Hi Pattizoo:

Your post is right on the money as to what has happened with Celebrity. As you said there certainly is nothing premium about Celebrity anymore. In the past Celebrity did have a leg up on the competition, but now they are trailing most mainstream cruise lines.

In my opinion, it is not just one or two things but it is the over all downturn in so many areas such as food quality, ship maintenance, no interest in providing a good past passenger program, poor customer service when there is a problem and even ship relaibility issues on some Celebrity ships, that was allowed to go on for at least seven years.

Debra
Just curious, Nurse Debra, when was your last Celebrity cruise? What have you experienced on Celebrity in the past year or so that is different?
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old October 31st, 2008, 03:04 PM
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I think so much of the service stuff really varies from ship to ship and cruise to cruise. That said, as an Elite member who has cruised Celebrity for at least 15 years, I do see an overall decline in service since the line was bought by Royal Carribbean. I do, however, also see a more competitive pricing on many cruises than before. I personally would prefer a tad more service and would accept a tad more price. Celebrity used to the the closest you could get to a premier cruise at a price middle class customers could afford.

I do, however, still believe the Celebrity experience is more 'classic cruising' and more 'sophisticated' (whatever that means, right!) than Royal or Princess. I just hope they don't drop service levels any further
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 03:37 AM
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Just back from 10 nights on Celebrity galaxy (our third cruise with Celebrity, after Millennium and Summit) and we were very impressed.

Tray carrying by staff is alive and well in the self-service buffet on Galaxy, in fact I had to shoo them away several times when I wasn't ready to find a table!

The standards of food and service on Galaxy were also considerably better than we'd found on Summit, the staff friendlier (though still very professional) and we were thrilled to see the vast majority of fellow guests dressing very smartly on ordinary 'smart casual' nights and really making an effort on formal nights. This is perhaps down to the time of year we cruised - there were few children on board, it being school term time and the average age of cruisers was therefore a bit older than it is in the school holidays.

I'll be very sorry to see Galaxy leave Celebrity's fleet at the end of their Caribbean season - she's a beautiful ship and a class act.
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 07:07 PM
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I just got off the Celebrity Solstice and they have eliminated trays completely. You will not find a single tray in any of the casual dining facilities. The elimination of the trays was one of the smartest things that have done. By removing the trays it saves the company a lot of money and also gives the entire dining area a more classy feel.

Without trays people are inclined to take less instead of stuffing their trays with food they will probably not eat. They also do not have to wash all those trays and have two people working there (one wiping them done and the other putting the silverware on them.)

The instead opted to put the silverware at each table in rolled in napkins and then when people sit down there are not any bulky trays but instead you see nice places (very nice plates) and beautiful furniture.

I would not be surprised if they eliminate trays from all of the ships.
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 04:26 AM
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So do you just pick up a plate, get what you want and then carry that to your chosen seat?
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HelenF
So do you just pick up a plate, get what you want and then carry that to your chosen seat?
Yes, the plates are a good size. You can fit alot of food on the big one. They also have a smaller plate.
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanfordboy
I just got off the Celebrity Solstice and they have eliminated trays completely. You will not find a single tray in any of the casual dining facilities. The elimination of the trays was one of the smartest things that have done. By removing the trays it saves the company a lot of money and also gives the entire dining area a more classy feel.

Without trays people are inclined to take less instead of stuffing their trays with food they will probably not eat. They also do not have to wash all those trays and have two people working there (one wiping them done and the other putting the silverware on them.)

The instead opted to put the silverware at each table in rolled in napkins and then when people sit down there are not any bulky trays but instead you see nice places (very nice plates) and beautiful furniture.

I would not be surprised if they eliminate trays from all of the ships.
We like to have breakfast and lunch outdoors. Are those tables set with silverware as well?
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 02:05 PM
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yes. they put silverware anywhere where a person can sit for food. so they put it at the outdoor tables and also with the outdoor sofa and chair furniture. the setting is a napkin roll with a knife, spoon and fork so they are not going to fly away. this goes for the areas surrounding the oceanview cafe (buffet), mast grill (BBQ), and aquaspa cafe.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 12:47 AM
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We were on the Heart 'n Sol cruise on the Solstice Nov 30-Dec 7 and did not see any trays in the Oceanview Cafe. On several occasions I noticed a passenger asking for assistance with their plate(s) and/or to find a table. There were usually two staff members eager to assist.


In the Oceanview Cafe the plates, bowls and mugs all have the same colorful circle pattern. The small saucers are assorted solid colors. The napkins and water/juice glasses are navy blue.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 03:57 AM
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Sorry to sound stupid and labour what must be an obvious point, but how do you manage your beverage, dessert, etc if you only get a plate and no tray?
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Old December 12th, 2008, 10:31 AM
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Dear HelenF:

This was our first Celebrity cruise so I can't compare the Solstice to what was the "norm" on other Celebrity ships. We only ate breakfast, lunch and snacks in the Oceanview Cafe. We ate all dinners in the Grand Epernay (main dining room, late seating).

My husband and I would normally select items from different stations and the first one done would find a table, often joining acquaintances or strangers. Then one of us would get coffee, water or juice and bring it to the table. The wait staff were very helpful if a passenger needed additional "hands" to get things to the table in one trip if desired.

I would make a second trip around the buffet to see if I missed anything interesting. So, if I wanted dessert, I would get that on my second trip.

The wait staff refilled beverages and cleared plates very quickly.

Prior to this cruise, I read posts about buffet trays on Celebrity and was wondering what we would encounter. In my opnion, though trays are useful, they can be cumbersome looking and make the dining table feel crowded.

I hope this answers your question.


Oceanview Cafe -- Square dinner-sized and lunch-sized plates stacked on the ends of each island.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 11:14 AM
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I, for one, will miss both the trays and the tray-carriers.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 07:49 PM
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Jan...

I LOVE that breakfast picture. (I happen to be hungry right now) but it just captures the mood of that buffet restaurant so well.

ACTUALLY -- by elimibating the trays and putting plates iin several stations throughout the buffet area you really speed up the lines.

Having trays in a long buffet line with salads, entrees and desserts all together is old school. Having stations, where people can get a serving and go sit, and then get up and get HOT food for an entree, is the NEW way of handling buffets and is much more efficient.

The fact they used to carry trays was a nice touch - when the ships were much smaller. BTW: I did see w2aiters on Solstice carrying plates for people who looked like they needed it, but admittedly, most were not.

You have to make choices - you only have so many workers. Would you rather have efficiency in cleaning tables or people carrying trays for people who don't need it?

After all - they probably allow more waiters to take an afternoon off because they don't have to be there to carry trays,
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Old December 17th, 2008, 04:54 AM
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Doesn't it mean, though, that every time you get up to go and get your hot entree, then your dessert and coffee, that they clear your place and - possibly - you then have to find another?
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Old December 17th, 2008, 05:31 PM
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Good point, Helen. I have certainly seen that happen, even with trays. When we eat in the buffet area, I get a table while DH gets his food. Then I go and get mine while he eats. Not the best scenario, but if we choose to eat outdoors, that's the only way.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 03:50 AM
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I'd also be interested to know from those who've cruised on any Celebrity ship recently how often they were offered the chance to eat in the main dining room at lunchtime.

We thoroughly enjoyed our recent trip on Galaxy, but were offered a formal lunch only twice on the ten day cruise - and one of those was because we got an extra sea day due to rough seas! On the other scheduled sea day, there was a brunch in the main dining room - still self-service.

I ask because I expect to be able to have a formal lunch on a cruise. And given the issues above with self-service dining - I don't like having to get a meal and then wait for my partner before eating, because that usually leads to cold food - I don't think it's asking too much to have the formal lunch option.

Many people criticise MSC cruises, but in the four we've done with them the formal dining room has always been open for lunch, even in port. Italians wouldn't accept any less!
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Old December 18th, 2008, 01:09 PM
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It is possible that your plate will be cleared, but in general we do NOT see that happening. There are signals you can leave that you are coming back - replace the silverwear OFF the plates (like you do not want it picked up with the dirty plates) and fold your napkin and place it directly in front of your seat. Leave your chair squarely in front of your seating place but back a few inches.

Generally, an unfolded napkin, an askew chair and silverware on your plate at the 4:00 position signals you have left the table for good.

Sorry, I just never eat lunch in the dining room so I cannot say how often it was open formally on Solstice. I know they only announced a buffet for lunch in the main dining room one time on our 7-day cruise.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 02:59 AM
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About six months ago, Celebrity stopped serving a "formal" lunch in the main dining room when in port. So now they only serve lunch on sea days. After talking to the Restaurant Manager on the C. Solstice he said it was because when in port the number of people who come to lunch always varies and sometimes it is as low at 15. He said that in Europe usually it is really low because most passengers are out exploring the city. So they do not want to have a fully staffed kitchen to make food for that few people. It is not a smart decision to have the dining room open so instead they focus their efforts more on the buffet. [/i]
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Old December 19th, 2008, 04:37 AM
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Hmmm. Sounds cheap to me. On our Med cruise we found many people were back on board by lunchtime; in some ports, people went on board for lunch and then back ashore. And I have to say that the number of people in the buffet on those days was staggering, leading to over-crowding and us becoming more and more frustrated as we wandered round and round, looking for an empty table. Some days it was an unpleasant experience.

I'd believe it wasn't just cost-cutting if they hadn't, on one of our two scheduled sea days, simply offered a self-serve brunch in the main dining room.

I go back to what I said before about MSC. On some port days there were not a lot of us in the dining room, but we were offered a full lunch menu and excellent service. I believe that if a particular itinerary leads to not a lot of takers for lunch, the simple answer is to cut the number of staff and use only a section of the dining room, not cut a service that really ought to be offered on a decent ship.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 01:57 PM
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This is disturbing news! We haven't been on Celebrity for a few years, but we have not seen the departure from lunch being served in the main dining room on HAL (last April) or NCL (2 months ago). On NCL, they not only served lunch every day in the main dining room, but their Blue Lagoon restaurant was available for sit down dining 24 hrs. a day!

We usually prefer dining room meals because we don't have to search for a table, the food is served hot (or sent back if it isn't), we sit together and (unless there's a problem with one of our meals) have our meals served at the same time. All of these are "iffy" at a buffet, although that's nice to have as an alternative.

As for the original topic of this thread, we were on the NCL Jewel in October and, in the interest of disease prevention, trays had disappeared from the buffet...but so had any condiments on the tables! "Sanitization" was rampant...before entering any public room, guests were encouraged to use the antibacterial spray dispensers. Before entering the theater or dining area, staff was at the door with additional spray bottles. This irked some guests, but, if it keeps us healthy, that's fine with us!

We will be on the Galaxy on the 29th of this month with only two sea days on the 11 day cruise. Will the buffet be our only lunch option when in port?
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 04:06 AM
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Yes, I think so, unfortunately. I do think it's a poor show, for exactly the same reasons as you. We were very disappointed not to be able to get a formal lunch on most of the 10 days of our recent cruise on Galaxy as we do not enjoy the scrum conditions in the buffet and find we bolt our food in order to have a fighting chance of it being warm enough, once we've hunted out a table.

Celebrity still offer a good product in the main, but they reduce their already threatened five star credentials further by offering only the buffet at lunchtime.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 04:09 PM
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Returned from a New Year's cruise aboard the Galaxy and, yes, they still have trays in the casual dining area...and, yes, they will carry them to your table if you wish - either by the pool or in the dining area. The confirmed truth about lunch, however, is that they do close the dining room when in port, so the only option is burgers, hot dogs, etc., or the buffet.
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Cruise Lines: Paquet, Admiral, Commodore, Renaissance, RCCL, Celebrity, Princess, HAL, NCL
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