Posted January 18th, 2009, 07:50 AM
I'm glad to read this and other really positive experiences iwth maitre d's...thanks for sharing! I also agree with the lack of food knowledge in the dining room "team" -- it's a joke, really, if you ask your waiter "what's the best thing on the menu" or what's special tonight? We had a nice waiter on Fantasia, he was great, but basically run off his feet (though the section wasn't crowded) and when we'd ask about what's good tonight, we get a Gallic-style shrug.
It's not a big deal but it makes me furious when cruise lines market their main restaurants as gourmet experiences. Whowever said "hotel reception room" was right-on. And that's fine, but call it what it is.
We have had a number of great maitre d's.
When our 20 year old daughter was in her vegetarian stage, the maitre d' on the Celebrity Century came over every night and discussed what she would have the next night. Sometimes, the offering sounded so good that others at our table asked if they could have it too. He was very gracious and attentive.
On one cruise (another Celebrity), we were at a table for 8. One of the couples was not very pleasant but the rest of us had a good time discussing everything from where we lived, where we visited, wine, food, and good times. On the third night the unpleasant man became very loud, and was banging his hands on the table and demanding that we stop talking about the food and wine. He seemed ready to explode. I immediately went to the maitre d' and explained that we needed to be moved to another table. I explained that I was scared of one of the diners at our table and could not sit with him any more. The maitre d' had one of the head waiters pick up my food and my husband's food and took us to a table where there were only four people. The next night, and the rest of the cruise, our original table only had the unpleasant couple sitting at it, and they weren't there on the last night. I was impressed by the speed that the maitre d' got us to another table, without any questions or hesitation.
On several occasions, we have had to ask the maitre d' to change our dining arrangement for one night, especially when we are in port during the evening and an excursion we purchased was going to be late getting back, or leaving early. We have always had very helpful maitre d's.
There have been other occasions where I was not aware of the maitre d', except to see him going from table to table asking everyone if they were enjoying the food, service, cruise, etc. Some people comment that they do that so they get a tip. I like to think they do it so they can see how the food and service are all over the dining room without just standing and staring.