We returned yesterday from a 5 day cruise on the Diamond (Our 4th cruise on her.) Alas, the good old days are gone. Radisson, in its infinate wisdom, decided to replace all the female wait staff in the restaurant with a group of new-hires from the Phillapeans. This was a cost cutting measure as the are paying the new group less and have fewer of them. The bad news is that the new waiters not only don't know what they are doing, but they are spread so thin that all the service is poor. Our waiter had a table of 9, a table of 6, a table of 4, and 2 tables of 2. It took about a half hour to get your order taken after you had been seated, and then 2 to 2 and a half hours to get the meal delivered. The poor waiters were on a dead run all night, but there was no way that they could catch up.
The sad thing is that the young women from Europe who were replaced were the "heart" of the ship and interacted wonderfully with the passengers. They were responsible for most of the repeaters. On New Years Eve, they would go off duty a half hour before midnight and join the passengers in the party. On each of our cruises, we would unofficially "adopt" a couple of them. They took it in good fun and when we came down for breakfast, we were greated with "Good Morning, Mommie and Poppie". It's a great loss and without them, I can say the the Diamond is no longer a 6-star ship. (More like 3-stars). The food is still excellent, but you can see cutbacks everywhere, especially during afternoon snack time.
There was no enrichment program or any lectures during the wee. Entertainment consisted of videos from the library or the 4 young kids doing 2 shows about "Broadway".
Cabin maintenance is suffering also. There was a water hammer throughout deck 7 for the entire cruise whenever we or our neighbors used the shower. No repairs were attempted.
It seems as if the corporate "bean counters" are about to destroy a perfectly good cruise line. We saw this startin on the Mariner when they took her from the shipyard a month prior to her being finished. (I understand that she is still not completed despite some shipyard workers being on board for over a year now.)
I just re-read my post and I want to make sure that everyone knows that I don't have anything against the Filipinos. They were very nice and industruous workers. The problem was that they were not trained waiters and that they were woefully undermanned. On our last night, after waiting 25 minutes for my desert, I just gave up.
I found your posting most interesting. Your honesty belies some of the ravings by certain dilettantes on these boards who place the Radisson organization in such high esteem. For the prices you pay for Radisson exclusivity, you should certainly not have experienced the poor service that you claim. Could the Paul Gauguin be next? Stay tuned. The "unwashed" are listening and gloating, I'm sure!
I was one of the Radisson "Cherleaders". Our first 3 cruises on the Diamond were wonderful! They were the best of 85+ cruises that we have been fortunate enough to have taken. Then, last February, we sailed on the Mariner and were extremely disappointed. Our complaints ranged from indifferent service in the Compass Rose (Main) dining room to arrogance of the Maitre D', outright rudeness of the waiter, to lousy food in Signatures dining room. (We found out that the Maitre D' has since been fired due to many complaints.)
The difference in the Diamond on this last trip was amazing. The food was still excellent, but the passenger service was the worst we have seen. I suspect that unless a massive turnaround is undertaken at the corporate level, Radisson will cease to exist soon.
Please don't lose faith. We just returned from the Diamond and I can tell you, what a difference a week makes. I had NO idea that the waitstaff was new. Our server was exceptional, he really made our dining experience great. There was no wait to place our dinner order, our waiter stood off in the distance just waiting for our signal that we were ready. The courses came one after another, with no big lag in between. I cannot compare the service to the old staff on the Diamond, as this was my first trip on her. I can compare the service to the Mariner, Song of Flower and the Paul Gauguin and it was in all ways, comparable if not superior in some areas.
I think it is a quantum leap from a couple of bad waiters on a transitional 5 day cruise to the demise of a cruise line.
I was on the Mariner today in Fort Lauderdale for several hours and had lunch aboard in the Compass Rose. All seemed to be in order and functioning smoothly. A later post seems to have had a totally different view of the Diamond cruise product from yours.
I don't doubt your account of your experience, and there clearly is no excuse for less than perfect service at that level. I do suspect it is far from the norm and, dare I say it... anecdotal..
Thanks for the good word. We spoke at length with the Maitre D' who was very disturbed at the whole situation and at the corporate executives who had caused the situation. The Diamond has always been the waitstaff "training ship", but his entire staff of trained waiters had been fired and he was starting from scratch. As good as these waiters may become, they will never be able to provide the atmosphere that the women did.
You were getting off as I was getting on! (12/13/02)
This was my first Radisson experience, so I don't know what it was like before with the women. But the truth is, I didn't notice the same things you did. I felt the service was very good in the dining room. And the food...oh my! Put me back on!
What a wonderful experience the Diamond was for me! I traveled solo, and the small intimate size of the ship made it very comfortable and easy to meet people.
Did you go to Don Vito's? Now there's an experience I won't soon forget! (we had a very lively crowd that night).
I'm looking forward to many Radisson cruises and would go back on the Diamond in a heart beat!