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Crystal Announces a Change to Specialty Restaurants


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Vince

That's sort of like Royal Caribbean charging $4.95 for a steak delivered by room service.

Gosh I can see how many things Crystal could add to the room service menu and charge for (actually caviar is one item such already)

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While I very much appreciate Vince's effort at finding a solution to this problem, I feel that many people go to the specialty restaurants for the atmosphere as much as for the food. Although I enjoy my stateroom, the ambiance of the elegant Prego can't be achieved in my room (even if I switch out of my pajamas and turn off the TV).

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How would this $30 charge help increase bookings? It may be that it will not in the long run "enhance" revenue. What is sure is that it has angered many loyal Crystal cruisers.

 

i disapprove this extra charge as much as i disapproved most of all the changes introduced by the actual executive vice president! :mad:

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If a $7 gratuity really impacted the number of people dining in the specialty restaurants (which I find incredulous), why not simply reinstitute it so staff would benefit from the gratuity? Why $30, which represents a tipping point for me. I would not hesitate to spend $7 as a gratuity but $30 is real $ and would discourage me from dining in a specialty venue when there are so many other options available at no additional costs.

 

If it wasn't the seven dollars, what was it? I agree it seems weird, but alcohol seems an even weirder answer; after all, one doesn't need to go to spec restaurants for booze.

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If it wasn't the seven dollars, what was it? I agree it seems weird, but alcohol seems an even weirder answer; after all, one doesn't need to go to spec restaurants for booze.

 

I just have a difficult time wrapping my head around a reluctance to pay a $7 gratuity. It just doesn't seem logical that customers would be deterred from dining in a specialty restaurant because of a $7 gratuity, and that removal of this suddenly opened the flood gates. Again, if that's all it takes then why not go back to the $7? I am guessing that Crystal did some serious research and determined that $30 would be a price point that would impact the number of people making the choice.

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Vince has a valid point re the PCPC. Allow everyone to book one reservation online. Once onboard, those that haven't booked online will have one or two days to make their first reservations. On day three open it up to repeaters. This gives everyone a fair chance to reserve their tables.

As a top tier (Titanium) cruiser on Regent, they also had issues with overbooking in Prime 7. They managed to track reservations without charging. Perhaps management should consult them as to how to make it work. The other thing that really bothers me is being an invited guest and having to pay. That would mean diners would have to look for strangers who haven't used their reservation or else pay for entire table. There is a solution here somewhere.

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I would suspect that Crystal is quite familiar with Regent's policies [You may book 1 resv. in each specialty restaurant pre-sailing...then the first day or two Regent gathers those who have not done so yet ....then the availability bookings and waitlists begin] I believe that Crystal did this as a revenue generator and that you are paying for the meal rather than the literal reservation.

 

Since there is no dedicated room service staff, I cannot even imagine the cabin staff serving meals from Prego& Silk Road.

 

Crystal offers an excellent onboard product but I regret that they are cutting back on so many of the features that added that extra sparkle for many. One will see if this works for them. Apparently the 5 and 7 day cruisers were enthusiastic. Still Crystal needs to exercise caution in doing this because they cannot compete with other luxury lines which offer more spacious cabins, open seating and after [2nd] dinner shows.

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I want to make sure I make myself very clear. Just like voting, choosing a cruise line is about many things. We actually love the main dining room and we love placing special orders which we do in advance with our head waiter. I truly believe this new $30.00 fee is really only the straw that is starting to "break our backs". I also think this applies to many fellow cruisers who are posting to this thread right now. Our going on another line in Febuary will help us to decide whether we choose to live with the straw on our back or can be happy elsewhere. We haven't looked at another line in over 7 years so maybe we just need a comparision. It certainly is not the stateroom that keeps us returning to Crystal. While we love the food that isn't really the reason we keep returning. It isn't the "AI" as I don't drink any alcohol and my hubby can't "hold" much and we continue to take care of the Lido Boys and Deck Stewards even though "tips" are included. It has always been about the "crew" and the "Crystal Experience". That feeling of coming home when you get on board. Our real problem is that "home" doesn't feel as much like "home" as it used to. :(

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Vince has a valid point re the PCPC. Allow everyone to book one reservation online. Once onboard, those that haven't booked online will have one or two days to make their first reservations. On day three open it up to repeaters. This gives everyone a fair chance to reserve their tables.

As a top tier (Titanium) cruiser on Regent, they also had issues with overbooking in Prime 7. They managed to track reservations without charging. Perhaps management should consult them as to how to make it work. The other thing that really bothers me is being an invited guest and having to pay. That would mean diners would have to look for strangers who haven't used their reservation or else pay for entire table. There is a solution here somewhere.

 

I agree that Vince's point be something Crystal should seriously try to integrate into a solution to the specialty restaurant problem of over crowding. Of course they will first need to reverse course on this nasty additional $$ policy as it truly runs counter to the concept and advertising as an AI cruise line.

Regent truly is more authentic as an All Inclusive cruise line. More comfortable beds too! I believe shore excursions and internet usage is included. Unless someone knows better there are no additional fees at their specialty restaurants either! I still personally prefer Crystal but am really getting turned off fast. I'm glad I am not the one who has earned close to 10 cruises and is no longer eligible for the Cat upgrade reward...now only $200 shipboard credit? WOW what a bite.

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O&R I am not aware of many instances where family members are in higher priced cabins. I am on the deck with those higher price staterooms.

 

You stay on the Penthouse Deck, if I am not mistaken. I stated that the officer/guest(s) get the best "non-suite" stateroom available, "i.e. a balcony."

This does not affect you. It affects the vast rest of us who book lower-category stateroom categories and who would love to have the opportunity to move out of obstructed view (on Symphony) or other ocean view category cabins to a balcony stateroom at a discounted price, space available, of course. (Computers via yield management software can and do handle this).

 

If all the lower priced cabins are already booked, Crystal cannot advertise a "from" price of whatever the lower price cabins were, since those are no longer available (because they are SOLD OUT of that category) and the cruise line would be lying in their advertising. The lowest price actually available for booking is the lowest price that a cruise line can advertise as their "from" price.

 

So, if Crystal wants to appeal to a new (perhaps younger) demographic who will try out the line only at the lower price of an ocean view cabin, then they need to have lower-priced cabins (ocean view cabins in the case of Crystal) available to sell.

Edited by Oceans&Rivers
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You stay on the Penthouse Deck, if I am not mistaken. I stated that the officer/guest(s) get the best "non-suite" stateroom available, "i.e. a balcony."

This does not affect you. It affects the vast rest of us who book lower-category stateroom categories and who would love to have the opportunity to move out of obstructed view (on Symphony) or other ocean view category cabins to a balcony stateroom at a discounted price, space available, of course. (Computers via yield management software can and do handle this).

 

If all the lower priced cabins are already booked, Crystal cannot advertise a "from" price of whatever the lower price cabins were, since those are no longer available (because they are SOLD OUT of that category) and the cruise line would be lying in their advertising. The lowest price actually available for booking is the lowest price that a cruise line can advertise as their "from" price.

 

So, if Crystal wants to appeal to a new (perhaps younger) demographic who will try out the line only at the lower price of an ocean view cabin, then they need to have ocean view cabins available to sell.

 

Yes, i stay on Deck 10 on the Serenity and that is where the best of the non suite staterooms is located which is why I said what I did.

 

I am quite familiar with those rooms and pretty much have a good idea of who stays there and I see very few family members staying there and that includes both cruises that were not heavily booked and those that are.

 

Personally, I think you are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

 

Keith

Edited by Keith1010
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Yes, i stay on Deck 10 on the Serenity and that is where the best of the non suite staterooms is located which is why I said what I did.

 

I am quite familiar with those rooms and pretty much have a good idea of who stays there and I see very few family members staying there and that includes both cruises that were not heavily booked and those that are.

 

Personally, I think you are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

 

Keith

 

I have not cruised on Serenity, but if the staterooms on that deck are sold out (AA ocean balcony staterooms), then you would not see officers & guests there, as they would be on one of the two decks below, i.e. Seebreeze (9) where there are "A" balcony staterooms or Horizon (8) where there are "B" balcony staterooms. That would make sense, too, since it is "A" and "B" cabins on Symphony that most often go to officers/guests on Symphony, so for uniformity (meaning that officers/guests on Symphony and Serenity both get "A" and "B" staterooms, perhaps the "AA" cabins are not often offered to officers and their guests on Serenity).

 

However, you have on occasion (not frequently) seen them even on Penthouse Deck. You told us that already.

 

Personally, I think it might have been more productive to the discussion about changes at Crystal if you had addressed the comments I made regarding yield management software or about Crystal having the opportunity to advertise and sell more lower priced staterooms (if they upgrade those in lower-priced staterooms) than to accuse me of "making a mountain out of a mole hill".

Edited by Oceans&Rivers
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After calming down from being really angry I think I have finally figured out why I reacted so violently to this announcement: 1) Crystal must think their clientele are stupid and I get very angry when someone treats me as though I am stupid! 2) It is inherently unfair.

First we were told that it was to enhance our cruising experience by facilitating reservations for all, implying those who got extra reservations were doing so at the expense of their fellow cruisers' vacation. Everyone concurs that Crystal could have easily solved this problem if it ever was a problem. Allow only 2 reservations pre cruise (for normal length cruises, shorty cruise 5- 7 days should get ONLY 1), then second day, on board open the book to extras, limiting the total number of reservations however they see fit. A cooked to order restaurant cannot have every table occupied every minute. If management wanted to, they could even set up automated calls the first day reminding folks to make reservations. People would probably be a lot less likely to complain about not getting reservations if they had received a reminder and not acted on it.

After the "for the convenience of our guests" lie was exposed, Crystal then suggested (in their response to my post on FaceBook) that it was a surcharge to defray the extra cost. OK, Nobu is expensive, I know that, that is part of what I figure into the overall cost of my vacation. Crystal sold me a ticket under one set of conditions and then changed the conditions after I had no alternative but to accept them. That is inherently unfair. I go back to the days when crude oil prices were sky rocketing, Crystal and most (all)other cruise lines were applying surcharges to fares to cover these unforeseen costs. Crystal however contacted all of their booked passengers and gave them the option to pay for their cruise immediately and guarantee the price or roll the dice on what the fuel surcharge would be when the did pay. That is class, it's fair, it treats their customers like rational, thinking people.

On another fairness driven topic, whether the surcharge is for crowd control or revenue enhancement, it MUST be applied fairly. If you pay for a 5 day cruise your are not entitled to the same number of reservations as someone on a 21 day segment. It must be driven by a per day of cruise length basis in fairness to all.

I really hope Crystal will listen, and I am relieved to see signs that they are paying attention. When I wrote to them the first day someone (unsigned Email) responded by cutting and pasting the original announcement, now I see that people are getting responses that their concerns will be forwarded to the proper people and considered. This is a far more positive response.

 

Caryll

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I have been watching this thread grow for several days, having weighed in at the outset.

 

I know nothing about accommodation for officer families.

 

However, on my most recent Crystal cruise I did have experience regarding both Prego and Silk Road.

 

My partner and I had reserved tables for two in each restaurant in advance. A day or two before each reservation, I asked if the table could be a four-top in order that another couple could join us. In each case, I was told that the restaurant was fully booked. We had asked to be notified if there were cancellations, etc., so that our new friends could join us. The maitre d' promised to do so. We received no such notification.

 

Each evening, my partner and I went to the venue. We were seated, etc. However, we also noticed that several four-top tables were occupied by officers (dining alone, not hosting guests) and entertainers (again, having a jolly time by themselves).

 

We were mildly angry. Apparently staff get priority over paying passengers.

 

BTW: If there is to be a charge for repeat visits, why not direct the revenue to the crew welfare fund instead of the Crystal coffers?

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On another fairness driven topic, whether the surcharge is for crowd control or revenue enhancement, it MUST be applied fairly. If you pay for a 5 day cruise your are not entitled to the same number of reservations as someone on a 21 day segment. It must be driven by a per day of cruise length basis in fairness to all.

 

I think I agree with you for the most part; however, the segment cruisers should also get to dine at least once in each of the specialty restaurants, it seems to me, even if you are on for 21 days to their 5 (or 7) and even if you have booked and/or paid for your vacation months in advance.

 

Part of Crystal's reason for offering these shorter segments is not just for the additional revenue (including gratuities for the staff), but for vacationers who have less time available or less money available for the longer voyages. This might mean younger, which is a demographic all cruise lines are hoping to reach. If they do not get to experience the specialty restaurants at all, or get to experience just one or the other of them, then they are less likely to be "wowed" by their experience and to return to Crystal in the future, in my opinion.

 

So, while I think the 21-night cruiser should have more opportunities to dine in the SR's, I think the people on shorter segments should have at least 1 reservation in each SR.

Edited by Oceans&Rivers
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I received the following reply from Thomas Mazloum this afternoon:

 

Dear Mrs. Jeffries

 

Thank you so much for your e-mail. I’m sure you know how important your feedback is to all of us thus I wanted to make sure that I get back to you as soon as possible.

 

First, please allow me to clarify one point which may have not been communicated properly or was misunderstood initially: On Cruises 14 days or longer all Guests will be extended 2 (two) complimentary reservations in each Specialty Restaurant. Thus you will be able to enjoy it 4 times without incurring an additional charge. The second reservation will need to be made and confirmed on board the ship, once the sailing begins and is on a space available basis. Looking at your future bookings this essentially applies to some of your future sailings since they are longer than 14 days to begin with. Additionally, we are also looking at introducing some additional benefits to our long term Society Members and you will hear about them soon.

 

 

Again, thank you so much for your feedback and I look forward to seeing you one day onboard

 

Warm Regards

 

 

Thomas Mazloum

Executive Vice President

Operations

Tel: 310 203-4347

Web: crystalcruises.com

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How about keeping this thread ON TOPIC so that if the good people at Crystal really DO read it, they won't see a bunch of petty squabbles, but instead a coalesced group of people TRULY upset by a policy change they've made?

 

This is about the $30.00 "reservation fee" for second time dining in specialty restaurants. A ridiculous and absurd proposition.

 

Thanks,

Scott

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I received the following reply from Thomas Mazloum this afternoon:

 

Dear Mrs. Jeffries

 

Thank you so much for your e-mail. I’m sure you know how important your feedback is to all of us thus I wanted to make sure that I get back to you as soon as possible.

 

First, please allow me to clarify one point which may have not been communicated properly or was misunderstood initially: On Cruises 14 days or longer all Guests will be extended 2 (two) complimentary reservations in each Specialty Restaurant. Thus you will be able to enjoy it 4 times without incurring an additional charge. The second reservation will need to be made and confirmed on board the ship, once the sailing begins and is on a space available basis. Looking at your future bookings this essentially applies to some of your future sailings since they are longer than 14 days to begin with. Additionally, we are also looking at introducing some additional benefits to our long term Society Members and you will hear about them soon.

 

 

Again, thank you so much for your feedback and I look forward to seeing you one day onboard

 

Warm Regards

 

 

Thomas Mazloum

Executive Vice President

Operations

Tel: 310 203-4347

Web: crystalcruises.com

 

Ok so they are backing down hooray!!! Nowhere in the original announcement did it say anything about extras for over 14 days but it's a step in the right direction for sure.

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They have not backed down from the $30 charge, but have tweaked the policy in a good way. IMHO they should eliminate the $30 charge, and give the Maitre D' direction as to how to deal with individuals who want more than is permitted by this new policy.

I think we should give Crystal some breathing space to further "clarify" the new policy. They are listening, and we should keep watch.

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As I suspected back in my earlier reply to this thread....from Crystal to TA's....I think this is definitely fair.

 

Full World Cruise Guests: All Specialty Restaurant reservation fees will be waived. One reservation per Specialty Restaurant, per World Cruise segment may be booked via PCPC prior to the voyage. Additional reservations will need to be confirmed on board the ship after the voyage begins.

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They have not backed down from the $30 charge, but have tweaked the policy in a good way. IMHO they should eliminate the $30 charge, and give the Maitre D' direction as to how to deal with individuals who want more than is permitted by this new policy.

I think we should give Crystal some breathing space to further "clarify" the new policy. They are listening, and we should keep watch.

 

Agreed!!! Glad that Kay posted the email response she received from Thomas Mazloum.

 

Nancy

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And this one too. Sorry for the two separate emails...

 

50+ Milestone Crystal Society Benefit: All Specialty Restaurant reservation fees will be waived for all guests who have achieved their 50th Crystal Society Milestone. This is a NEW Crystal Society benefit. Again, 1 (one) reservation per Specialty Restaurant, per segment may be booked via PCPC prior to the beginning of each voyage. Additional reservations may be confirmed when on board the ship, on a space available basis.

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First, please allow me to clarify one point which may have not been communicated properly or was misunderstood initially: On Cruises 14 days or longer all Guests will be extended 2 (two) complimentary reservations in each Specialty Restaurant.

 

It's nice to see a reasonable adjustment of the policy.

 

However, do they think that passengers are stupid or cannot read? They suggest that we simply misunderstood the policy -- that there was always this provision for 14+ day cruises. The announced policy was clear -- and Keith, whom we trust on all matters Crystal! -- confirmed that the policy applied per segment, regardless of the length.

 

Why not be honest and say that the policy has been changed rather than that we were too dull to misunderstand.

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Frankly, as much as I do worry about the slippery slope boogeyman, if they made it two-per for cruises of 10 days or more I'd be perfectly happy with the policy. (I'm getting hard pressed to find too many single 14-day segments in Crystal's catalog anymore.)

 

If you're spending 40% or more of your time dining in the alternative restaurants then you need to slow your roll a little so others can share the experience.

 

Vince

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It's nice to see a reasonable adjustment of the policy.

 

However, do they think that passengers are stupid or cannot read? They suggest that we simply misunderstood the policy -- that there was always this provision for 14+ day cruises. The announced policy was clear -- and Keith, whom we trust on all matters Crystal! -- confirmed that the policy applied per segment, regardless of the length.

 

Why not be honest and say that the policy has been changed rather than that we were too dull to misunderstand.

 

In fairness, how do I know what the actual policy ever was? I never received a copy of it. All I ever read was an outline of the policy in a press release. For all I know it could very well have been in the actual policy all along.

 

Vince

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