Posted May 1st, 2012, 07:17 PM
Last edited by hondorner; May 1st, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Jim and I (the best of friends) often have a friendly debate about tipping a maitre 'd. He's from New York and understands it's a normal procedure; I'm from rural Central Florida, and the closest thing we have to a maitre' d is a high school girl hired as a hostess.
So, we each use the technique to which we've become accustomed, and to date, I've never been seated at a "bad" table, and I get as many extra reservations as anyone. So, from my point of view, it has more to do with asking with a smile than asking with a sawbuck (or whatever). YMMV.
As for preferring the specialty restaurants over the GDR, that's something I've never understood. The menus in the specialtys rarely, if ever, change. After nearly 6 years of traveling on Oceania ships, I think we've tried every dish we want to try, and have settled on our favorites -- but that gets boring, and we're reminded that the menu in the GDR is always exciting, and changes every night (unless you're on board several weeks).
As for the Terrace, is the special grill worth the hustle and bustle, sometimes crowding, waiting in line, and the noise level? And, don't forget them clearing your table while you're waiting in line for dessert! Again, it's personal preference, but we much prefer the relaxed, elegant atmosphere of the GDR. We enjoy converstations with our table mates and have never noticed that service is slow -- sometimes we're the last to leave, because we're still talking! I've never noticed an excessive noise level; the Terrace is much buzzier and busier to me. Also, much of the food on the buffet is identical to the GDR. I do enjoy the made-to-order pasta at the Terrace.
To the point that we make every attempt to even have breakfast in the GDR except when we have an early tour, and then we might do breakfast in the room. I've made as many as four circuits of the Terrace buffet tryng to find a table, sometimes with no luck, and when I do find one, it seems best for one of us to "stake it out" while the other gets food -- which generally results in us not really eating together.
The only time I generally avoid the GDR is lunch, but that's because I really don't want a hot entree with lunch, and much prefer the casual offerings at Waves. Waves also has the Terrace beat on service, at least on Marina (and presumably Riviera), because you give your order to a staffer, along with your table number, and your food is delivered to your table when it's ready. The only line in which you might wait is the ice cream bar.