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Crystal Announces a Change to Specialty Restaurants


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I see where this could go and let me stop any further conversation in this direction by saying that this $30.00 "reservation fee" is the hill I choose to die on.

 

We all have our limits.

 

RIP :(. We look forward to posthumus videos :)

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Firstly I am not a cheapskate, but I am on a budget. $60.00 for a meal is not cheap for us.

 

Secondly, I really (well up until now anyway) don't care what OTHER lines charge or don't charge. I care that Crystal did, in my eyes, what amounts to a bait and switch.

 

Had the 30 dollar charge been in place from the beginning it would be a different story. Crystal said, in essence, here is your plate of food... oh wait... give me back the potatoes.. those are extra.

 

You don't announce "ALL INCLUSIVE" lay out the rules of that "ALL INCLUSIVE", have people BOOK cruises under that "ALL INCLUSIVE" agreement and then renege.

 

That is BAD business and breaching of an agreement if not a contract.

 

Scott

 

 

Bravo Scott! There are things that are just about right and wrong. What you say here is absolutely right! Thank you for your support in having this policy rescinded. Also again Thank you for your excellent videos of your Crystal vacation. I really enjoyed them and look forward to seeing more.

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The $30 fee will not only discourage me from booking in the alternative restaurants, it will discourage me from booking with Crystal. There are just too many other good choices out there where all inclusive actually means all inclusive (at least for the major items). And to think that Crystal used to be my favourite cruise line. No more.

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Bravo Scott! There are things that are just about right and wrong. What you say here is absolutely right! Thank you for your support in having this policy rescinded. Also again Thank you for your excellent videos of your Crystal vacation. I really enjoyed them and look forward to seeing more.

 

Thank YOU. I am editing our latest trip, but I have to say with much less enthusiasm than I did the first trip. This whole thing has somewhat taken the wind out of my sails.

 

I truly hope Crystal is still reading and will truly re-think and rescind this ludicrous idea.

 

Scott

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Thank YOU. I am editing our latest trip, but I have to say with much less enthusiasm than I did the first trip. This whole thing has somewhat taken the wind out of my sails.

 

I truly hope Crystal is still reading and will truly re-think and rescind this ludicrous idea.

 

Scott

 

I suppose I could understand this level of frustration if Crystal had implemented a $30.00/person fee on each and every reservation, but that is not what they have done. What they have done, by means of this fee, is to place limits on access to what is, when you get right down to it, a very limited resource.

 

I don't know the exact capacity of Prego or SR, but for arguments sake, call it 75 people/resturant at any one time at two "uses" per night, or 150 "seats" each night in each restaurant. There have been comments here (for example, by BWI Vince, who I think works in the hospitality industry) that neither restaurant can be "served" at full capacity, so let's be arbitrary and call it 120 "seats" per night. Math says on a 7 night cruise you can possibly fit everyone in each restaurant once, but if even one person goes a second time, then someone, somewhere, loses their turn. While admittedly somewhat (actually VERY) simplistic, that is my definition of a "finite resource".

 

It is pretty much accepted that the problem of overcrowding was caused by the elimination of the $7.00/person fee (as weird as that seems!) with the implementation of AI. If implementing reasonable limits to access solves the problem, and personally I think one free reservation in each is reasonable, then good for Crystal. Where I DO think they have made a mistake is with the $30.00/person fee. If $7.00/person did the job in the past, then $30.00/person is simply excessive!

 

Obviously passions are high on this issue and I am not trying (not that I could) to change anyone's mind. I'm just trying to present a slightly different way of looking at the "why".

Edited by Roland4
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Thank YOU. I am editing our latest trip, but I have to say with much less enthusiasm than I did the first trip. This whole thing has somewhat taken the wind out of my sails.

 

I truly hope Crystal is still reading and will truly re-think and rescind this ludicrous idea.

 

Scott

 

 

Scott, We have a couple of upcoming cruises booked and paid for (our 9th and 10th). They are watching this thread and are re-thinking as we continue to write these complaints. We are not planning on cancelling. If this policy does go into effect (hope not) then it will be interesting to see how this will be managed in real time by the on board maître d and officer staff in charge of Food and Beverage. The on board staff as you know have excellent customer service skills and will do their very best under duress. This policy can't be good for their morale when guests are grumbling continuously about this to them. So we will wait and see and in the mean time keep voicing our opposition to this very "wrong" policy.

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Roland

IMHO no fee is needed for capacity control. You could set a limit of 2 advanced reservation for each restaurant (or 1 for that matter), and any remaining inventory per night can be allocated on a first come/first served basis. There are undoubtedly other ways of doing this, but I wonder for the Crystal crowd how much of a deterent $30 per person will be.

I think there is agreement that a fairer reservation system should be implented, but I and others do not believe the $30 fee need be part of that.

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I suppose I could understand this level of frustration if Crystal had implemented a $30.00/person fee on each and every reservation, but that is not what they have done. What they have done, by means of this fee, is to place limits on access to what is, when you get right down to it, a very limited resource.

 

I don't know the exact capacity of Prego or SR, but for arguments sake, call it 75 people/resturant at any one time at two "uses" per night, or 150 "seats" each night in each restaurant. There have been comments here (for example, by BWI Vince, who I think works in the hospitality industry) that neither restaurant can be "served" at full capacity, so let's be arbitrary and call it 120 "seats" per night. Math says on a 7 night cruise you can possibly fit everyone in each restaurant once, but if even one person goes a second time, then someone, somewhere, loses their turn. While admittedly somewhat (actually VERY) simplistic, that is my definition of a "finite resource".

 

It is pretty much accepted that the problem of overcrowding was caused by the elimination of the $7.00/person fee (as weird as that seems!) with the implementation of AI. If implementing reasonable limits to access solves the problem, and personally I think one free reservation in each is reasonable, then good for Crystal. Where I DO think they have made a mistake is with the $30.00/person fee. If $7.00/person did the job in the past, then $30.00/person is simply excessive!

 

Obviously passions are high on this issue and I am not trying (not that I could) to change anyone's mind. I'm just trying to present a slightly different way of looking at the "why".

 

What sticks in my craw is the free pass to WCers and 50+cruisers. We have occasionally but rarely gone a second time to the specialty restaurants during one segment, but once in a while we have been invited. The capacity for each restaurant is indeed limited, but even with your calculations there should be extra space because every guest doesn't choose to go to either Prego or SR. We have met many people who do not care for Asian food so there would conceivably be room at SR for someone who really loves it to go a second time. As for capacity, we all know there are more seats than can be served, so why not remove those seats????? That way people won't feel they were turned away when there were empty tables.

 

If capacity control is indeed the motivation for the $30/PP fee, then a free pass to some cruisers defeats that purpose. WCers have many special events and special dinners - maybe those are the nights people might want to go - and the Society benefits for ANY guest should not infringe on other guests, and they haven't, until now. So everybody who wants a crack at that second meal has to pay unless they are "privileged" and that is what irks me the most. If I was really hankering to go to Prego or SR a second time, I would grit my teeth and pay, but it galls me to have to pay when others don't have to.

 

Then the question arises as to guests. We occasionally invite a lecturer and spouse or an entertainer we know to dine with us. Will they be allowed to dine at all in these restaurants?

 

A final note - Scott PLEASE don't cancel 4225! We are on that one too!

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:)Two points come to mind:

Specialty Restaurants were always intended to be 1 reservation per person per restaurant until everyone got a reservation. It was that way in the mid 90's and it was intended to be that way now. If people found a way to get 4 per person per restaurant then I hope they are very proud of themselves because they've caused the rest of us a world of hurt!

When Crystal finally changed their indoor smoking policy, (I do NOT have a dog in that battle, I no longer smoke but don't find it as irritating as perfume) they claimed it was going to take if I remember correctly about 18 months to get it all done. The reason given was that customers who had already booked their cruise ware entitled to the terms and conditions in place when they made the reservation. Why are they entitled to that consideration but we only get 10 weeks notice?

Crystal could have avoided all of this by instituting the 1 reservation per person per restaurant until day 3 and then opened it up.Friends who wanted to dine together could simply make reservations for the same day and then contact the head waiter to request the necessary table size once they were on ship. At the same time they could have said that if this didn't solve the problem over the course of the next 6, 12, 18 months, there would have to be a charge to achieve crowd control. I think there are remarkably few DYKWIA's on Crystal. Mostly nice folks who would never think to make a 2nd reservation at the expense of a fellow passenger being deprived of the experience.:)

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:)Two points come to mind:

Specialty Restaurants were always intended to be 1 reservation per person per restaurant until everyone got a reservation. It was that way in the mid 90's and it was intended to be that way now. If people found a way to get 4 per person per restaurant then I hope they are very proud of themselves because they've caused the rest of us a world of hurt!

When Crystal finally changed their indoor smoking policy, (I do NOT have a dog in that battle, I no longer smoke but don't find it as irritating as perfume) they claimed it was going to take if I remember correctly about 18 months to get it all done. The reason given was that customers who had already booked their cruise ware entitled to the terms and conditions in place when they made the reservation. Why are they entitled to that consideration but we only get 10 weeks notice?

Crystal could have avoided all of this by instituting the 1 reservation per person per restaurant until day 3 and then opened it up.Friends who wanted to dine together could simply make reservations for the same day and then contact the head waiter to request the necessary table size once they were on ship. At the same time they could have said that if this didn't solve the problem over the course of the next 6, 12, 18 months, there would have to be a charge to achieve crowd control. I think there are remarkably few DYKWIA's on Crystal. Mostly nice folks who would never think to make a 2nd reservation at the expense of a fellow passenger being deprived of the experience.:)

 

 

 

I should add that any 2nd visit we have done has been on a non-reservation basis, just a walk in asking if there is anything available. And the ship wasn't at all full, maybe 600.

Edited by suzeluvscruz
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I doubt Crystal is doing it BECAUSE Silversea does it, but I believe it is for the same reason, to control demand. As I recall from our cruise on Silver Spirit, Le Champagne is a much smaller venue, so controlling demand is a bigger concern. What I find interesting is that they charge the same and more, yet it doesn't seem to be the issue it is here. Does that mean the average Crystal guest is a cheapskate?

 

Have followed with interest this comprehensive "debate" on Crystal's rather strange and confusing "marketing mix-up" by trying to be "all inclusive" and then adding an extra $30 a person charge for speciality dining locations. Seems in conflict!!

 

We super enjoyed our late July 2008 Crystal Symphony Baltics/Russia, Dover to Stockholm sailing. Did Prego twice and the Asian dining once. Loved those speciality experiences. Have also done Seabourn for the Greek Isles/Turkish Coast and Silver Seas for the North Coast to the top of Europe. Silversea has an Italian speciality dining location/opportunity without added cost that worked very well on the Silver Cloud, while the Le Champagne dining area is very, very small and unique its setting, style. Enjoyed that, also.

 

We are getting ready for our first “down under” visit, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Celebrity Solstice sailing, departing Sydney to Auckland/NZ doing 14 days on this ship. Yes, Celebrity charges extra for its three speciality dining locations, BUT, the overall cruise cost was dramatically lower with Celebrity on this nice ship. This 2850-ppassenger ship is much larger than the Symphony, but the Solstice did not seem that crowded from our June 2011 experience on it. On our Aussie-NZ cruise, we will have a larger suite, with Butler, for a good bit less than the Crystal cost with only a smaller basic room with no balcony. . It's all "Economics 101". People look at the overall "value" and judge accordingly. Lots of options were considered as we evaluated in considering how to put together our potentials, including with friends and other traveling with us, for this Australia and New Zealand adventure trip.

 

My view is that Crystal is making a confusing marketing error by giving something with one hand and taking it away with the other hand behind their back. If they need to manage the crowds in these speciality dining places, there are better ways to do it than this approach.

 

As Keith has said many times, it is good that people have choices and options. We like it that way.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 121,036 views.

http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

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So everybody who wants a crack at that second meal has to pay unless they are "privileged" and that is what irks me the most. If I was really hankering to go to Prego or SR a second time, I would grit my teeth and pay, but it galls me to have to pay when others don't have to.

 

Yes, and I can see a situation where a I (or anyone) would be invited to join a couple met on board for dinner in Prego - the couple are 50+ cruisers and their new friend is not, so the new friend has to pay $30 for the privilege of joining them at the same table where they are able to dine for free.

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Yes, and I can see a situation where a I (or anyone) would be invited to join a couple met on board for dinner in Prego - the couple are 50+ cruisers and their new friend is not, so the new friend has to pay $30 for the privilege of joining them at the same table where they are able to dine for free.

 

Well, if I invite you to dinner the check is mine, no?

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Correct. I like to think that most Crystal/fellow cruisers are courteous and understanding of what the staff does. --- I, unfortunately, have observed a few self important DYKWIA cruisers who have been unpleasant/rude (adult tantrum/pout) when things are not going their way. Tough on staff and they remain gracious.

 

Apologies for my ignorance, but what does DYKWIA mean? Thanks. Janet

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:)Two points come to mind:

Specialty Restaurants were always intended to be 1 reservation per person per restaurant until everyone got a reservation. It was that way in the mid 90's and it was intended to be that way now. If people found a way to get 4 per person per restaurant then I hope they are very proud of themselves because they've caused the rest of us a world of hurt!

 

 

I wonder if it is true that it was only 1 reservation per person per restaurant UNTIL EVERYONE GOT A RESERVATION. I don't recall that was the case and I don't see how it could have been the case since some don't care to go to the specialty restaurants.

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It means "Don't you know who I am"!!

 

Ahhhhh --- yes, I do know who they are!! Not too many on Crystal (so far, anyway), but I've been places where it seemed as if everyone was a "DYKWIA" (can that be a noun) or at the very least, a DYKWIA wannabe! Thanks!! Janet

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We have always made a res in Prego for 4. The PCPC takes the res. The maitre d takes a res and we were not trying to work the system. We have seldom gone there as a twosome. Crystal could have instituted a res system that limited each booking to one res but they never have. We have many times stopped by to ask if there were another opening to be offered several on any given cruise. We make ours on PCPC and before that onboard and asked about additional ones after a couple of days. Only once has there not been space. Granted we have gone at times that were open and not times of our choosing. We have met so many people with 50+ cruises that I can't believe it. Since 1992 we only have 29 and we thought we were frequent cruisers. Ha! You'll be surprised how many have 75+ cruises.We'll give it a try on 4210 and see how it goes. Next cruise for us is outside the new regulations. joyous

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That was a no brainer when the gratuity charge was $7 but I don't think too many people want to treat friends to a $60 extra. :(

 

No I know ho much you value our friendship :). ROTFLMAO

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