Your waiter, your principal server, is probably the person you spend as much time with during a cruise with the exception of your traveling companion. You may see him as many as 3 or 4 times a day at meals and buffets etc.
I've experienced 5 great ones and 3 ok ones. Never had a bad one
so I can't start off the griping. I might say that I have gotten
a bit less service at an open seating meal, but never down right
I've seen comments indicating declines in service quality on Personal Choice and Freestyle cruises and in alternative dining
facilities but have no negative experiences I can relate.
What are your thoughts/experiences/gripes about your waiters?
In my case the great ones truly made the dining experience first rate.They were on Mercury, Zenith, Horizon, Crown Princess and
Just returned from the Triumph last month. Had a terrific waiter named Leonardo "Leo." We left that week feeling as though we made a true friend. In fact, we just received an e-mail from him last night telling us "Hi! How are you doing?" His assistant, "Tony," was great also. There is a picture of them in the photo gallery from our trip.
My view may be just a little bit biased. :-) As you say Bill, the waiter and his assistant can truly make or break the dining experience. I liked the service so much on my first cruise in 1995 that I ended up marrying the waiter!! (That's another story for another thread, but true!)
On our cruise last September on the Voyager we had a very competent but very distant waiter, and that really detracted from the dining experience for us. One of my very favorite cruise experiences is getting to know a variety of people, and his refusal to interact with us (not snobby or stand-off-ish, just detatched) really was noticed by all of us at the table. However, near the end of the cruise he let down his guard a little and told us that it had been a very difficult week for him because he had gotten word early in the week of a very ill relative, and his mind was back in his home country. He was just trying to make it through the week until we docked in Miami so that RCCl would let him disembark and fly home. Once he shared his saddness with us, he felt a lot better because he felt our very genuine compassion, and we understood why he had been so distant.
Our first cruise, on the Disney Magic in their inaugral season we had these amazing waiters, Atila and Zolt. What made them amazing was they made dining not only relaxing for the adults, but fun for the kids. We were a group of 8 sitting at a long table with the adults at one end and the kids, ages 4 to 9, at the other end. The first night, as we adults are enjoying our dinners we suddenly realize we aren't be bothered by the kids, we look down and Atila and Zolt are cutting their food and putting ketchup on their plates and rearranging the silverware, all the stuff parents do every meal for the little ones. It made the cruise a true vacation.
Since we have cruised twice on HAL. The waiters weren't memorable at all. The kids were much bigger, but from a parent's point of view, dining was more of a hassle. HAL waiters are not trained to make parent's life easier. And I'm sure they were confused when the parents would be annoyed that their children's orders were messed up, after all, they didn't mess up the more intricate adult orders. They didn't understand that if I get my appetizer in the wrong order I can deal with it. If they forget a 6 year old's dinner when they are hungry the kid tends to fall apart, making dining for everyone at the table miserable. They refused to bring the kid's main course when the rest of the table was having appetizers, even though the kid's appetizers did not appeal to our kids. So our children were waiting through soup, salad, and appetizer courses for their meals. If they had their meals earlier they could join the kids club on time, but that was not factored into the dinner serving. The waiters seemed truely confused when we wouldn't bring our six year old to dinner because she couldn't sit for 90 minutes waiting for food, and we would feed her first in the Lido. The Lido waiters were confused we were coming down and getting one meal, though the parent needed to come with the child, even if they are older and able to deal with it themselves. (Our 11 year old offered to take the younger one to dinner, but the rules were you had to be 13 to go to dinner without adult supervision in the Lido.) I think HAL is a bit confused on how to make a vacation a vacation with families. If I hadn't been on Disney first I would have assumed they were doing the best they could do, but I've seen it done better.
Destiny: Asked that my appetizer be taken away, very discreet request. Waiter stands there and says, "Why?" I'm trying to be polite but I'm thrown by what becomes an almost arguementative waiter who won't take the dish without explanation...finally, I'm forced to declare in front of my entire table that there is a big black curly hair floating in the oil of my mozzerella and tomatoes.
Grandeur, Zaandam and above all Maasdam waiters deserved standing ovations!