Lot's of places to go here as this seems to be the one area people gripe about the most.Let's begin with the Maitre'D. Many people have no contact at all with this person unless they have a table change. I'll open up threads for waiter, assistant, head waiter and wine stewards as well. For now let's hear about the guy that supposedley runs the dining room. How do you feel about tipping him? What types of things have you requested and had problems getting? Does his role change under Personal Choice or FreeStyle Cruising? Is he just a guy who says "good evening" on your way in and out of the dining room?ETC ETC.Let's hear it on the subject of Maitre'd's.
This is a good question. As a rule I usually don't tip the Maitre'D unless he's done something for us, it also helps stoping by the table a few times just to check and make sure things are going the way they are supposed to or to make a special request, then I believe a tip is in order, but for just a "good evening" when you walk in, no, I don't believe a tip is necessary, but thats just my opinion. I think there was one or two instances where I thought he deserved a tip and got one.
We had a great Maitre'D on the Independence this last June. He did get our table changed when we objected to the first assignment. It was shoe horned into a space between two other tables. Also, he stopped by the table every night to chat and see that all was well. We saw him up on deck one day and he came by to talk for a bit.
On our other cruises about the only time we saw the Maitre'D was on the first night and the last night.
This is the one area where I've had the most cruise gripes...and I have had very few! I am a teacher and tend to travel solo, so the first thing I do upon boarding is check with the maitre d' to make sure I received my requested late seating-large table-no children. He would reassure me that all was as I wanted. But when I'd get to the dining room, well, let's just say two out of three <IS> bad. Kids! One time five of them!! Of course I asked for a table change and the maitre d' would comply but he was grumbling and questioning why I wanted another table. This has happened at least four times; different ships and cruise lines. Suffice to say, NO tip for you!
We had an excellent Maitre'D on our cruise in '93 on the Ecstasy. His name was "George the Greek." My mother had a terrible cold & he brought her a hot toddy. (Our waiter was a nervous wreck when he saw him at our table for a few moments. He thought he'd done something wrong.) George checked on us every night. He was the best. I wonder if he's still with Carnival.
Ok, I know that these are the guys who control the atmosphere of the dining room and that's one of the highlights of my cruise experience, so I'll try to cut some slack.
They say that these fellows are the ones who train the staff. Still, I would think that most of the training is hands-on and learned from the head-waiter or waiter that you work along side.
I guess you'd really have to take this on a person-by-person basis.
Our first cruise we were supposed to have late seating but they gave us early. The Maitre'd could not accomodate the correction and simply oozed with apathy as he wrote down our names on his list. We never saw him again until tip night, when he came over to shake hands...didn't even converse, just "hi, hi, hello" as he stuck his hand out for the envelope. I was really furious and said we should have handed him an empty envelope.
On our second and fourth cruise, the Maitre'D was great...really made an effort to take care of a bunch of unescorted ladies, joked with us, got us anything we needed, one even observed us glancing at the sommolier and asked us if we needed him...that was impressive!