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Old March 5th, 2007, 10:20 AM
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Default Staff Reductions?

I've been reading some stuff on various message boards recently about staff cut-backs on HAL.

Have you noticed a decline in service due to apparent staff reductions?

I've heard complaints regarding cruise staff primarily, followed by overwhelmed waiters in the dining room.

What's your take on this? Notice any changes?

For my part, I can honestly say that on my last cruise ... a 13-day Panama Canal Sunfarer cruise in October ... the kitchen was very understaffed. Dinner took an inordinate amount of time just about every night, and several times the head waiter came around to the tables to apologize. We could readily see there were plenty of waiters. They were standing around. It was the kitchen that was causing the problem and we were told that they were very short-staffed.

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Old March 5th, 2007, 10:32 AM
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Most certainly. There was a noticeable staffing difference between our Rotterdam cruise in June, 2002, and our Zuiderdam cruise in February, 2003. There was much less interaction with our waitstaff because they were so, so busy. They definitely had more tables to service.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 11:42 AM
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I thought the service was, for the most part very good. We did have a dining room problem, but we felt it had more to do with the situation. Eight of us were mis fits; all changed our table after the first night. Obviously our wait staff didn't expect to have anyone at the table and didn't seem to thrilled to see us. They were much more attentive and much friendlier to their other couple of tables than to us.

We have found overall service on all ships slipping a little. As has been said over and over, cruising is a little different in the year 2006-07 than the year 1996-97. Ships are larger, more families can afford to cruise, some lines have added every possible acitity: golf, ice skating, bowling, and with this they have cut back on food quality and personal service.

This isn't meant to be a direct complaint, more of a realization that the cruise world is changing. In order to get what we were accustom to many years ago we would need to move to the luxury class. Many of us don't feel we can afford that or simply prefer to continue the way we are. NMnita
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Old March 5th, 2007, 12:35 PM
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Maybe DH and I are just plain lucky but it must be amazing good luck if so.

We have such wonderful service in the dining rooms on all the ships that I have to call it consistent.

In the last two years when I've read some mumbling and grumbling, we have cruised on Maasdam (5 cruises at least), Volendam (2 cruises), Veendam, Noordam, Zuiderdam and Ryndam. Most would agree that is an excellent, Current, representation. I say excellent as it includes a number of ships, it includes two cruises on an "R" class ships, three "S" class ships and two Vista class ships.

We have not had a single evening of bad service let alone a whole cruise. I have to believe we are not the only ones who are being treated so well.

My answer to your question is NO......I do NOT think the service level as deteriorated. We receive friendly, genuine, excellent service in our cabin, in the Neptune Lounge, in the bars/lounges and in the dining room. On deck at the pool......all over the ship.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 02:53 PM
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I have not notice any reduction in service at the dining room ,lido,or when ordering drinks,I guess I have been lucky or i am a very patience
why not, I am on a cruise
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Old March 5th, 2007, 03:26 PM
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We were on an 11 night caribbean cruise on the Noordam last fall and found the service to be excellent. Everything we ordered arrived in a timely manner. We enjoy a relaxed dinner while on vacation and don't expect or want it to be rushed.
Our cabin steward was also great. By the time we returned from breakfast or dinner, our stateroom was ready for us.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 03:58 PM
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We have taken 4 cruises in the last year and have found the service to be its usual outstanding service. In the dining room, in the Lido, in the lounges and in the cabin. Of course, one will always come across some servers that are better than others, but I think that is more due to different personalities than anything else.

Rita, don't you think the service on the Hawaii/Tahiti cruise was outstanding?
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Old March 5th, 2007, 05:39 PM
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I have to agree with Sail, in actuality I have felt the that service has drastically improved over the past year. The worst service had was on the Westerdam back in March 2005 then there was a bit of slow service on our Ryndam cruise this past May but other than that the service has been excellent. We always have had great service on the Oosterdam so I have no doubt it will be that way in just 12 days. I can honestly say the our last cruise cruise on the Zaandam in November that every crew member out did themselves. I think the the service just keeps improving so I have just ogttne to the point of ignoring those that are trying to say they are short staffed or some other type of excuse. Personally I think it is the luck of the draw not Understaffing. Some crew are not as experience hence giving maybe what we see as slow service.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 07:08 PM
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As some of you know, I am proud to say I have not had a bad cruise or experience while sailing. It is impossible for service to be uniformly poor throughout the entire ship and I can't and don't take serious those threads from pax who claim otherwise.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 09:26 PM
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For clarification, I never said that service was lousy or gone to pot. I simply stated that I saw staffing levels drop, causing a decline in service. Less interaction with the servers. Waiting longer to get drink refills. And so forth.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 02:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crusin' fool
Rita, don't you think the service on the Hawaii/Tahiti cruise was outstanding?
Absolutely, couldn't have been better.

The only service decline I noticed ... and it could have been just a temporary thing for that cruise ... was on my cruise this past October. The kitchen was very short-staffed and it affected service in the dining room. There were considerable waits in between courses, and it was clear that it wasn't the fault of the waiters. They were standing around, chatting with people at their tables, etc. The head waiter came around on a couple of the nights to apologize individually to each table and explained that there was a staffing problem in the kitchen. I'm guessing that it could be that a bunch of folks' contracts expired when the ship got to New York, and maybe new people were being taken on in Fort Lauderdale.

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Old March 6th, 2007, 10:40 AM
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For the most part, I feel the service on HAL is been consistent in the last 12 years. In fact, I would even be inclined to say its improved overall. The only few places where I feel the service has declined is in the Pinnacle Grill, the wine stewards and drink (alcoholic) service in the dining rooms. Sometimes it can be quite difficult to get the attention of a sommelier and you can just forget about getting a cocktail with dinner.

I've read complaints about slow service in the dining rooms. If anything, I think the service has become a bit rushed. We're not real big on going to the shows, so we're in no hurry at dinner and prefer to eat dinner at a very relaxed and social pace. A two to three hour dinner at a restaurant is not uncommon for us. In the HAL dining rooms, it seems the next course is coming before I'm half done with the current course. We always get the last seating and have actually asked the wait staff to slow things down just a bit. Sometimes they are accomodating, sometimes not.

Tim
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Old March 6th, 2007, 04:04 PM
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Back when Hal was rapidly expanding, up until about 2003, I noticed service got really sadly slow, especially in the dining room. but since they have slowed down in adding new ships to the fleet they are not spread so thin and I thought my recent service was great.

Anything can happen at any time. Even a few new people in key positions can create a problem. But a new ship is the biggest drain there is, you take experienced crew from the older ships, and add inexperienced crew throughout the fleet, it's inevitable. At least HAL put signature of excellence in place to rectify the problem.

On my recent Westie cruise, I asked a staffer what the average time any crewmember had been with the company. She said 5 years! Experience makes a huge difference. She said that these days if you want a job on HAL you have to get a recommendation from someone who already works there.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
Back when Hal was rapidly expanding, up until about 2003, I noticed service got really sadly slow, especially in the dining room. but since they have slowed down in adding new ships to the fleet they are not spread so thin and I thought my recent service was great.
Then I'm gonna assume that the service issues in the kitchen on my last cruise were an isolated incident. Maybe kitchen staff "turned around" on that voyage.

Blue skies ...

--rita
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