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Crystal Announces a Change to Specialty Restaurants


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Since this repeat reservation fee was instituted last week PRIOR to Ms. Bornstein's arrival at the helm, perhaps she would like to begin her tenure on a high note, by reversing it and chastising those who instituted it. She would begin her term as a "hero" and receive all kinds of accolades and good will from all of us loyal Crystal cruisers.;)

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If $30 is a problem then sail with Oceania. The food is as good and all restaurants are free.

 

On the Crystal or Oceania thread you said your first Crystal cruise will be next year. If that is so, how can you say that Oceania's food is as good as Crystal"s?

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Since this repeat reservation fee was instituted last week PRIOR to Ms. Bornstein's arrival at the helm, perhaps she would like to begin her tenure on a high note, by reversing it and chastising those who instituted it. She would begin her term as a "hero" and receive all kinds of accolades and good will from all of us loyal Crystal cruisers.;)

 

Wouldn't that be nice (but don't hold your breath).

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I find all this talk of fairness interesting. I'll first digress a bit with a story. I sailed the Celebrity Solstice on a transatlantic 18 months ago. I was truly not impressed for several reasons but one that stands our was a feeling of being discriminated against as a first time Celebrity Cruiser. If you have followed my cruise reports you know I enjoy sunrises and will usually be out on deck to photograph them. Sometimes if it's windy or the like I will want to watch from inside. On the Solstice the equivalent of Palm Court was closed to all but Elites nearly all morning for their breakfast. That left a taste in my mouth that has forever soured me on the brand.

 

One of the things I have always loved about Crystal is that everyone, form a first time cruiser in an E cabin to a regular in the Crystal Penthouse is treated like royalty. It isn't perfectly so (Things like butlers and room service from Prego/Silk Road) but the experience is still very uniform. Even though I now have many Crystal cruises behind me, that's still one of the things I love about Crystal.

 

 

In reading the comments by LAFFNVEGAS and others I was beginning to get the impression that a significant distinction was beginning to develop here--- not from action by Crystal, but from the de-facto distinction that those with a number of Crystal cruises (like most who post here) know how to work the system to their advantage while those on their first few Crystal cruises don't and are likely to have difficulty getting reservations. Crystal didn't intentionally create this distinction, but I think it's real, and may detract from the experience of the relatively new Crystal cruiser. While the new proposal has some issues, I think it could be a good starting point in reversing this trend.

 

With regard to the latest changes, I have mixed reactions. I think at the 50-cruise level, the number of people who will be exempt from the new fee will be small enough that it will have little impact on the rest of us. I am a bit concerned about the World Cruise exception; I hope that doesn't reignite the full WC vs segmenter debate. I think there should be some additional modification, especially for people on multiple segments.

 

I would also like to see a more gradual implementation of any fee, perhaps $10 for the second reservation, $20 for the 3rd, and $30 for any additional.

 

I hope I make at least a little sense here.

 

Roy

 

Roy I have been following this discussion and after reading your post felt a need to reply

I so agree with everything you stated. As avid cruisers my husband and I took our first Crystal cruise last month. Absolutely fell in love with Crystal! Love the fact at no time did we feel a class system was in place. We are Elite on Celebrity and there is a definite class system as you stated. I found all passengers on the Symphony down to earth and super friendly. Everyone was treated equally. As new Crystal cruisers we were never made to feel out of place.

 

While my husband and I do not drink, we really liked the all inclusive. While waiter after waiter tried to serve us wine at dinner we were content with ice water, our choice. We loved Prego and managed to dine there three times and it was actually one of the highlights of our cruise. Charging for Prego means Crystal is no longer all inclusive. I agree it is not about the thirty dollars but the fact that it is now not AI. The 30 dollar charge seems petty. Not a deal breaker as Crystal is my new favourite cruise line. As I said, I TRULY love Crystal.

 

Other cruise lines seem to charge for everything. Please Crystal maintain what sets you apart from all the others, best staff on the high seas and your all inclusive policy.

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It seems like a lot of posters missed the part about REPEAT visits to Prego and Silk Road. The $30 is for a REPEAT reservation.

This is not an endorsement by any stretch of the imagination! I don't like it either but it sounds, by the posts, that several people think there is now a charge for Prego and SR and that is not the case.

Edited by suzeluvscruz
fat flying fingers
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It seems like a lot of posters missed the part about REPEAT visits to Prego and Silk Road. The $30 is for a REPEAT reservation.

 

I understand the charge is for repeat reservations. However where it was included before now it is an extra charge. So in my eyes it is no longer an all inclusive policy.

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Since this repeat reservation fee was instituted last week PRIOR to Ms. Bornstein's arrival at the helm, perhaps she would like to begin her tenure on a high note, by reversing it and chastising those who instituted it. She would begin her term as a "hero" and receive all kinds of accolades and good will from all of us loyal Crystal cruisers.;)

 

Time is the teller of all truths. I hope she is the angel as this policy is an absolute disaster for Crystal. Crystal has some time on its side to make things right for itself as an "AI" cruise line and also for the loyal passengers who really support Crystal and want the cruise line to thrive.:rolleyes:

The "AI" image problem is more significant to them on this as they truly have limited options for dining and especially on Symphony.

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Try booking a table for four via the PCPC listing your own name and booking number in all four name slots? Or is their software sophisticated enough to know you're trying to scam the system! ?? !!

 

 

Brian, you can't do it.

 

And the booking numbers must match up correctly to the names you put in. And the only reason I know is because for a change I had typos putting in the booking number for Anne Marie a couple of times and our son and daughter in law on another booking.

 

Keith

 

I didn't suspect it would work. The only thing "working" was my devious mind trying to figure out a work-around! :eek:

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I understand the charge is for repeat reservations. However where it was included before now it is an extra charge. So in my eyes it is no longer an all inclusive policy.

 

I don't like the policy, either, but am encouraged by Crystal's seeming willingness to reevaluate and refine as time goes on. The policy doesn't go into effect for quite some time so there is time.

 

I don't, however, understand the angst that "Crystal is no longer AI." No cruise line that I know of is truly "AI" as long as some things, like spa treatments, supersuper premiun spirits, caviar, cigars, etc. Require an extra charge. As for "taking away," this isn't the first time . . .. For example, initially caviar on request was included, but now is an extra charge. How many threatened to cancel their cruise over that? Many here have said its not the money, its the principle, yet isnt the "principle" the same?

 

Finally, a suggestion: why not assign two included reservations per guest and let them "spend" then as they wish? Perhaps twice in Prego and none in SR, or vice versa? The biggest impedipent I see, other than the money, is the difficulty now imposed on those who wish to combine reservations with newly-met friends so they can dine together. My guess is the MD could facilitate even this within the confines of the new protocol?

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Time is the teller of all truths. I hope she is the angel as this policy is an absolute disaster for Crystal. Crystal has some time on its side to make things right for itself as an "AI" cruise line and also for the loyal passengers who really support Crystal and want the cruise line to thrive.:rolleyes:

The "AI" image problem is more significant to them on this as they truly have limited options for dining and especially on Symphony.

 

I agree that we need to see what the policy will be, and how it affects us onboard. We can provide input to Crystal as to how the policy has affected a cruise by using the Quality Assessment questionaire. There are many questions on that form that could be pertinent to our enjoyment of the onboard experience and whether we are likely to book another Crystal cruise or recommend Crystal to others.That, it seems to me, will be a useful instrument to provide guidance to Crystal, one way or the other. I think they do listen to loyal Crystal cruisers. They would be foolish not to.

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I didn't suspect it would work. The only thing "working" was my devious mind trying to figure out a work-around! :eek:

 

So glad that you use your superior intelligence for good and not evil!:D:D:D

 

Ricki

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It seems like a lot of posters missed the part about REPEAT visits to Prego and Silk Road. The $30 is for a REPEAT reservation.

This is not an endorsement by any stretch of the imagination! I don't like it either but it sounds, by the posts, that several people think there is now a charge for Prego and SR and that is not the case.

 

No one missed it, but what was included (multiple dining opportunities, if not reservations) is now charged for.

 

For instance, the sushi bar must now be reserved and charged for, even though the atmosphere is far from elegant, the service is minimal, and the menu is a small fraction of the other specialty restaurants. I wonder if with the new charge I'll get more attentive service at the sushi bar?

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Finally, a suggestion: why not assign two included reservations per guest and let them "spend" then as they wish? Perhaps twice in Prego and none in SR, or vice versa? The biggest impedipent I see, other than the money, is the difficulty now imposed on those who wish to combine reservations with newly-met friends so they can dine together. My guess is the MD could facilitate even this within the confines of the new protocol?

 

This makes great sense - if I want to use the PCPC to reserve a table for two in Silk Road but no table in Prego, that should be possible. I may regret that later (should I have no dining partner), but that would be my choice.

 

Actually, the difficulty for passengers in odd-numbered groups (especially solos) is ridiculous - that we can't use the extra chair at the table for someone is bizarre. Do they intend to sit some stranger there who wants to make a reservation that night?

 

Really, this cruise line is a part of one of the largest shipping companies in the world - a company that makes their living from using logistics (not financial penalties) to manage timing and access. It shouldn't be such a head-scratcher.

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For instance, the sushi bar must now be reserved and charged for, even though the atmosphere is far from elegant, the service is minimal, and the menu is a small fraction of the other specialty restaurants. I wonder if with the new charge I'll get more attentive service at the sushi bar?

 

If that is how you feel about the sushi bar, why would you care? You obviously don't like it anyway :)

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If that is how you feel about the sushi bar, why would you care? You obviously don't like it anyway :)

 

Actually I love the sushi bar - but it is a sushi bar, not an elegant restaurant. In the same way I love The Bistro for what it is, but I expect The Bistro to be totally different from Tastes, or Prego. The new policy places the sushi bar on par with Prego and Silk Road, when in fact it's a totally different type of dining experience both in atmosphere, service, and food. I don't mind not getting a refill of tea right away at the sushi bar, because I know a) it's counter service, not full table service and b) it's difficult for the wait staff to really see my empty cup or plate (see a) above). I ate at the sushi bar multiple times on my last cruise, but they were appetizers or desserts, not my main meal.

 

Reservations are a limited commodity - will I be willing to use one on a sushi bar, when it could instead be used on an elegant full-service meal with a full menu? Only if I can't get in to Silk Road and I can't sell my reservation on the black market ;)

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No one missed it, but what was included (multiple dining opportunities, if not reservations) is now charged for.

 

Hence the issue of just walking in and getting a table it if it is available. The policy has always been 1 reservation but if they weren't busy one could get an additional visit without penalty, not exactly included but just bypassed. The problem is that there was never a penalty for a repeat visit and I think that's what ticks people off, myself included. To add insult to injury is the new policy to allow certain people to repeat ahead of others even if it prevents some people a single reservation. All should be treated equally, WCers have many special events for them only and that's fine, but to allow them to lock me out of my one reservation is simply wrong. As for the sushi bar, charging for repeating that is more than outrageous.

Edited by suzeluvscruz
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Actually I love the sushi bar - but it is a sushi bar, not an elegant restaurant. In the same way I love The Bistro for what it is, but I expect The Bistro to be totally different from Tastes, or Prego. The new policy places the sushi bar on par with Prego and Silk Road, when in fact it's a totally different type of dining experience both in atmosphere, service, and food. I don't mind not getting a refill of tea right away at the sushi bar, because I know a) it's counter service, not full table service and b) it's difficult for the wait staff to really see my empty cup or plate (see a) above). I ate at the sushi bar multiple times on my last cruise, but they were appetizers or desserts, not my main meal.

 

Reservations are a limited commodity - will I be willing to use one on a sushi bar, when it could instead be used on an elegant full-service meal with a full menu? Only if I can't get in to Silk Road and I can't sell my reservation on the black market ;)

 

The problem with the sushi bar to date is merely an exacerbation of the problem in the two spec restaurants . . . Capacity doesn't meet demand. On 9 cruises now we have never been able to enjoy the sushi bar. I have walked by an hour before opening to find people in line . . . Often one person holding four places. Not complaining, i get it, but you can only fit so many feet in a shoe! I dont want that elsewhere, and will take my one, thank you, and hope for the best. Some people are just manic about SR. i mean, if you have to eat there every night on a cruise, why go at all? Just get a hotel room next to a Nobu's :)

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To add insult to injury is the new policy to allow certain people to repeat ahead of others even if it prevents some people a single reservation. All should be treated equally, WCers have many special events for them only and that's fine, but to allow them to lock me out of my one reservation is simply wrong.

 

I must be missing something here as I don't understand how WCers get to repeat ahead of others. The policy states they get 1 reservation ahead of time just like everyone else and have the same rights as everyone else to book subsequent reservations once on board. Should they get any of those subsequent reservations, they just don't have to pay for them.

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I must be missing something here as I don't understand how WCers get to repeat ahead of others. The policy states they get 1 reservation ahead of time just like everyone else and have the same rights as everyone else to book subsequent reservations once on board. Should they get any of those subsequent reservations, they just don't have to pay for them.

 

That's my interpretation, Tracie.

 

Nancy

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I must be missing something here as I don't understand how WCers get to repeat ahead of others. The policy states they get 1 reservation ahead of time just like everyone else and have the same rights as everyone else to book subsequent reservations once on board. Should they get any of those subsequent reservations, they just don't have to pay for them.

 

If one of the protected class gets there before someone else, they get the reservation and they don't have to pay for it. Subsequent reservations are $30 per person except, now, for WCers and cruisers with over 50 cruises. It doesn't say WHEN they can make the reservations so conceivable they could shut out people who wait till they are on board to make their one reservation.

 

My TA sent me this:

Specialty Restaurant Policy Update

 

Crystal Cruises provides alternative specialty restaurants to enhance the evening dining options and provide the opportunity to enjoy a variety of culinary environments. In order to ensure that each Crystal guest has the opportunity to experience every dining venue on board our ships, beginning in January 2014 a maximum of one reservation per specialty restaurant (one for Prego and one Silk Road) will be confirmed per booking via our Guest Check-in, Priority Check-in and Planning Center (PCPC). All additional reservations will be confirmed on board on a space available basis for a nominal fee of $30 per person. For more information, click here.

 

In an effort to clarify the new Specialty Restaurant policy, please take a moment to review the details below.

 

Clarification:

 

1) Guest Check-in, Priority Check-in and Planning Center (PCPC) will only allow ONE reservation in each specialty restaurant, per booking, per guest, prior to the voyage. Additional reservations will be confirmed on board for a nominal $30 reservation fee, may only be confirmed on board and are subject to availability.

 

2) Back-to-back Cruises – Clarification, guests sailing on multiple voyages will receive a complimentary reservation on each voyage. For example, a guest sailing on a 27-day back-to-back cruise of 3 segments (7 days + 9 days +11 days) will receive 1 (one) complimentary reservation in each restaurant on each voyage, for a total of 3 complimentary reservations (i.e. 6 dining experiences: 3 in Prego and 3 in Silk Road/The Sushi Bar) per booking, per guest.

 

3) Cruises 14 days or longer: Guests will be extended 2 (two) complimentary reservations in each Specialty Restaurant. 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.

 

New:

 

4) 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.

 

5) 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.

 

We hope the above information helps clarify the recent changes to our Specialty Restaurant Policy. Thank you for your continued support.

 

- your friends at Crystal Cruises

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It doesn't say WHEN they can make the reservations so conceivable they could shut out people who wait till they are on board to make their one reservation.

 

4) 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.

 

Yes, it does say WHEN, see above. It is the same time as anyone else.

Edited by TER777
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Submission of a secondary request for a PR/SR time, the M'd is the "time keeper" and has the thankless task of organizing and prioritizing the requests.

 

The first 2-3 days of the sailing is when folks drop by with their requests. A written note with the confirmation is given to the guests shortly afterwards. The PCPC pre-boarding requests should be inputted into the time slot grid and the subsequent requests would be slotted in.

 

The tricky part is how many openings will there be for the secondary requests.

Still will have folks not being able to get a time in the specialty restaurants.

Regrettably, there will be "nos" to requestors.

 

There probably is a way to flag multiple requests versus first timers.

 

Yes, there has always been a queue to meet the M'd, that is why there is a line of chairs in the hallway to accomodate the crowd. With folks boarding at different times, the number of people waiting will vary per my experience. With AI, we have had less luck with just on board requests getting the initial PR/SR reservations. We will be doing early pay and PCPC bookings from now on.

Edited by 8dimsum
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