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Crystal Announces a Change to Specialty Restaurants


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I think this makes sense. Lately there have been many disappointed people trying to get a reservation at both Silk and Prego. I suspect it may vary by cruise and how full it is. Also, in my opinion, I SUSPECT, that a world cruiser would have special consideration. Before you panic I'd contact your travel agent and have them check with the Crystal Society office in LA.

 

Please be aware whether one likes or does not like the new change that it does apply to everyone, regardless of how long your are on the ship or what type of accommodation you are in. I only mention this because it applies to everyone and do not want folks to misunderstand that. :)

 

Keith

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I'm chiming in with Scott. This will NOT apply to everyone. It will apply only to the ones on the ship who have lots of extra $30 to "buy" their way in and for those who cruise on any kind of budget , it will be a deal breaker. No explanation can spin the facts to make it seem fair....period...joy

Please be aware whether one likes or does not like the new change that it does apply to everyone, regardless of how long your are on the ship or what type of accommodation you are in. I only mention this because it applies to everyone and do not want folks to misunderstand that. :)

 

Keith

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We have dined in Prego when it was half empty. Both spec restaurants on Symphony have always been, "by reservation only." So, if we stop by one evening and notice Prego is half empty, and ask Paolo to seat us, will we be charged? We would not have made a reservation and, as Crystal emphasizes, there is no charge for the food and beverages. Will there be end-of-the-meal disputes when someone is presented a bill and they object that they were walk-ins without reservations so shouldn't be charged?

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We have dined in Prego when it was half empty. Both spec restaurants on Symphony have always been, "by reservation only." So, if we stop by one evening and notice Prego is half empty, and ask Paolo to seat us, will we be charged? We would not have made a reservation and, as Crystal emphasizes, there is no charge for the food and beverages. Will there be end-of-the-meal disputes when someone is presented a bill and they object that they were walk-ins without reservations so shouldn't be charged?

 

Precisely.

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A few random thoughts/questions to ponder.....

 

1. Will employees such as Officers, Sales/Crystal Society, etc still dine on a complimentary "space available" reservation basis while the paying customer is charged $30 for a "space available" reservation?

 

2. If I make an advance reservation in Prego via the PCPC for night #5 of our voyage, but on embarkation day am able to secure a reservation onboard for thatnight, will their system be sophisticated enough to switch my complimentary visit to night #1 and now charge me for night #5 which was originally set up to be at no charge? :eek::D:eek:

 

3. I agree with TER777's security concerns with regard to sharing booking numbers with other passengers. Even though you may be good friends with others you plan to dine with at a specialty restaurant, having access to someone else's PCPC is crossing the line IMO. You don't even need someone's booking number to sponsor them for STEX! To tighten security, I would think access to the PCPC would need to be changed to require a username and password instead of just a booking number and last name.

 

4. If I show up at Silk Road at 8:45pm without a reservation, with the restaurant seemingly winding down for night with many open tables in view, I don't think I'm going to swallow paying $30 for what Crystal has deemed as a "reservation fee".

 

We'll be aboard in January 2014, so it'll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

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We have never had trouble getting into Prego more than once each cruise. Make one res and then just stop in and see when there is another opening. Have rarely seen it full even when the ship was. Cannot eat in the Asian restaurants because of allergies. Can't tell you about that. This isn't really about providing equal opportunity to dine!! It's about making money and doing away with all inclusive while continuiing to use AI in their advertising. joyous

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We have dined in Prego when it was half empty. Both spec restaurants on Symphony have always been, "by reservation only." So, if we stop by one evening and notice Prego is half empty, and ask Paolo to seat us, will we be charged? We would not have made a reservation and, as Crystal emphasizes, there is no charge for the food and beverages. Will there be end-of-the-meal disputes when someone is presented a bill and they object that they were walk-ins without reservations so shouldn't be charged?

 

I'm right there with you, Mike, as I was composing basically the same theory simultaneously in my own post! ;)

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Where were all those disappointed people on the nights we ate in either restaurant and it was half empty?

 

Probably in the main dining room eating their , at the moment "free" ," special order dinner".

 

Rich

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Where were all those disappointed people on the nights we ate in either restaurant and it was half empty?

I have often wondered this myself. I typically make specialty reservations at the 6 months before cruise point when I pay in full to save a little extra money. Seven and seven thirty reservations are never available, this makes sense since seating people at this time means they can only use the table once that evening. I always assumed these "prime" times were put aside for big spenders with lots of nights on Crystal. I can only assume those that "can't get a reservation" passengers adopt a policy of 7:30 or I won't eat there! I have also never had a problem getting a second or third reservation for either restaurant by being just a little flexible.

 

I am also anxiously awaiting Crystal's spin on how they are NOT charging for food, only the reservation but then charge for the Sushi Bar where there are NO reservations. Should be very entertaining.

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I agree that all passengers should be afforded equal access to the specialty restaurants, but I am disappointed that Crystal would choose this method for controlling access. Surelyntheremust be other methods to ensure everyone is able to enjoy the specialty venues while taking into account variables including the length of a cruise. As one poster mentioned, something as simple as setting a deadline for making initial reservations by the end of day one before accepting additional reservations might be an option. Surely smarter people than me have worked on this. What is most disturbing is that Crystal has chosen this option as a means of controlling reservations, essentially employing a monetary penalty. I certainly expected more thoughtful and classier decision making from a cruise line with Crystal' s reputation.

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. I am also anxiously awaiting Crystal's spin on how they are NOT charging for food, only the reservation but then charge for the Sushi Bar where there are NO reservations. Should be very entertaining.

 

Good point. Is it a "reservation charge" or not?

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Well, this explains a lot. We are booked on WC 2014. On Monday I started to book my reservations for each segment on PCPC. I was successful for the first segment though I was surprised that the system required a name and booking number for the second guest. Then I moved on to segment 2. I got a message"booking number and guest name do not match" or something like that. The system would not take the reservation. I called Crystal yesterday and the agent told me that they were aware of the problem and were working on it. She even tried it for me - no,luck. Now I get it. The segments are all under the same booking number and the program design permits only 2 reservations. Oops. Someone didn't think this through. Haven't tried this AM, but if it's not fixed, there are going to be more than a few unhappy World Cruisers.

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I'm chiming in with Scott. This will NOT apply to everyone. It will apply only to the ones on the ship who have lots of extra $30 to "buy" their way in and for those who cruise on any kind of budget , it will be a deal breaker. No explanation can spin the facts to make it seem fair....period...joy

 

Joy, my post was in response to hubbards post that seemed to imply that if you are a world cruiser you will get special consideration. My point was you will not get special consideration meaning that everyone regardless of how long they are on the ship or what their accommodation is will not be able to make reservations in PCPC that bypass the rules set up in PCPC and that no one will be able to get additional reservations without paying. That is all I said. And trust me this and none of my posts on this thread have had any spin.

 

I agree some won't care about $30.00 more per person and others will. My post was not about that.

 

Keith

Edited by Keith1010
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I am also anxiously awaiting Crystal's spin on how they are NOT charging for food, only the reservation but then charge for the Sushi Bar where there are NO reservations. Should be very entertaining.

 

 

Good point. Is it a "reservation charge" or not?

 

Exactly. And why would a reservation charge be per person instead of per table? I'm sure many are familiar with the universal restaurant reservation website called OpenTable. We've come across a few high-end restaurants in San Francisco that charge a "reservation fee", especially on high-traffic nights and peak times. The fee is not per person, but rather per table when making the reservation.

 

To me it's all very clear this $30 per person charge is simply a revenue stream under disguise.

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Well, this explains a lot. We are booked on WC 2014. On Monday I started to book my reservations for each segment on PCPC. I was successful for the first segment though I was surprised that the system required a name and booking number for the second guest. Then I moved on to segment 2. I got a message"booking number and guest name do not match" or something like that. The system would not take the reservation. I called Crystal yesterday and the agent told me that they were aware of the problem and were working on it. She even tried it for me - no,luck. Now I get it. The segments are all under the same booking number and the program design permits only 2 reservations. Oops. Someone didn't think this through. Haven't tried this AM, but if it's not fixed, there are going to be more than a few unhappy World Cruisers.

 

It should be working now.

 

Last night I went into some of our existing reservations and cancelled them and then rebooked and it worked fine. I was able to make new reservations on each of the World Cruise segments (one per restaurant per segment) without a problem. I didn't get any error messages. I tried early last evening.

 

Keith

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I am also anxiously awaiting Crystal's spin on how they are NOT charging for food, only the reservation but then charge for the Sushi Bar where there are NO reservations. Should be very entertaining.

 

I think that they will have to start a reservation system for the Sushi Bar in order to track passengers so that they can charge the $30 fee for additional visits.

 

Kay

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Part of the allure of dining in the speciality restaurants was the intimate atmosphere that exists. There would be empty tables and service was

exemplary. Food phenomenal.

 

Forward 2013, the restaurants are jammed packed with tables turning over every 45 minutes. Service is tested to the limit and the excellent wait staff feeling the agony of not being able to take care of you like in the past.

 

I learned that this was coming back in February when I cruised Symphony. There was a huge failure to communicate reservations. No longer could you count on getting the phone message from the Maitre'd confirming your reservation. Getting additional reservations was virtually impossible. To my surprise, we were giving an additional reservation but, the Maitre'd was too busy to confirm it. We learned about it while having breakfast in the Lido when asked why we didn't show? We simply didn't know. Our cabin neighbors had a reservation for 4 and invited us to join. With their confirmation card in hand, we went to Silk Road to find out there reservation had been altered to a party of 2. They could not accommodate 4 so we went elsewhere. It was humiliating for all of us.

 

I don't have a problem paying a $30 per person fee, if it once again returns to the intimate dining experience it once was.

 

Prior to All Inclusive, Shore Excursions were not only reasonably priced, they had limited capacity to ensure a quality experience. Now, the excursions are cash cows, jammed packed with guests.

 

Members of Cruise Critic worked diligently to assemble a guide to the best limited / obstructed view state rooms. This was probably used as a template when Crystal decided to change the category designations. Another example of squeezing the passenger.

 

We were told repeatedly on this board that the staff was compensated for AI.

Then recently, I read on this board that the administration based their increase on the assumption that there would still be guests who would continue to tip.

This made me ill. In essence, we should pay higher fares, still tip and now pay for things that used to be included. A huge loss is the employee morale that I have witnessed as largely diminished.

 

I think I'll continue to invest my vacation funds in lines that were inclusive from day one. Enough of this experimentation.

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In the grand scheme of things the additional cost for a couple of extra dinners in these restaurants do not seem too much to me. There are always extras to pay for (spa/shops/casino/special drinks/excursions) on a cruise and no line is fully all inclusive.

 

There is merit in the argument that this may be the beginning of the end in terms of additional charges and the whole issue is a money grab.

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We are on the first segment of WC 2014. We booked our two reservations for a table for 6. We know two people who will be joining us, but not sure about the other two. We have many friends on this cruise. I would not be able to give the booking/name of our invited guest until we get on board. In my opinion, I feel the surcharge should be for the people making the reservation and not the invited guests. We will not be dining in either of these restaurants beyond our booking. Sad.

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i was absolutely amazed to read that Crystal is going to impose a 30$ 'reservation fee' for their speciality restaurants to give a "fairer system: for booking. I returned from Serenity in September after a 14 day cruise. On embarkation day I made a reservation for Prego - no problem. Then about a week later we decided to go again. I tried for a reservation for my first choice day and was advised that only 9pm was available, this was too late, so we went on the next day at 8pm. As we were on holiday it didn't make that much difference to us which day we went. We have been on five Crystal cruises and have never had a problem making a reservation. We do not use Silk Road.

 

I frequently dine out at top restaurants in London's West End, some are extremely popular even in these days of recession, and it's not always possible to secure ones first choice day. On making a reservation all that is required in your name and 'phone number. A charge to make a reservation would be ridiculous and is unheard of.

 

As far as I can see some idiot at Crystal has come up with the crackpot idea to raise extra revenue. With computers it is very simple to see who is trying to make multiple reservations and they could be told that the restaurant is full but if there are any cancellations we will ring your stateroom and leave a message - simple.

 

I wasn't a fan of the all inclusive change but now it's in operation I have got used to it. I really think that if Crystal persist with making a charge then this will be the thin edge of the wedge and they will be scratching their heads to think of other ways to make a charge. They should reverse this decision immediately.

 

We are booked for 2015 and just hope that nothing else untoward is going to happen. David

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I have no doubt there is more to come. Think of the airlines how they evolved from a baggage fee to whatever now. We booked Crystal because they went all inclusive.That didn't last long. We will be taking our first and probably last Crystal cruise. It is not the small fee but the fact they fixed a problem with money from us. That is not the way to solve a problem when you advertise yourself as all inclusive.

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