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Suggestions for reducing demand in the specialty restaurants...


haikou
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I understand the desire for a casual (in the sense of no reservations, less extended dining experience) venue, and I might use it some times e.g. if very tired after an intensive shore excursion. Luckily we will be Serenity, which has Tastes (but on a 7 night cruise it sounds like Tastes is closed half the time...).

 

However, it seems most likely that staffing for a new dining venue would be taken out the main dining room - and that would cut at the heart of what makes Crystal special. I remember a discussion here when AI was starting about how the sommeliers would now be too busy to provide good wine service. Do we want to make that even worse?

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I remember a discussion here when AI was starting about how the sommeliers would now be too busy to provide good wine service. Do we want to make that even worse?

 

Has that turned out to be true? Is the service worse since they went to AI? The things I've read says that's proven not to be the case, however it's only a small sampling of what's happened.

 

I'm making my suggestions without offering a staffing solution because I truly don't know anything about their staffing situation, so it would be ridiculous for me to try to offer a "solution" to any problem as I don't know what their problems are or might be. It's like friends trying to offer marriage advice when you don't really know what their friends' marriage is like - even though they see that couple often and are good friends, they still never really know what's going on behind closed doors. No one really "knows" Crystal in terms of running the ships, whether they've sailed frequently or rarely with them. Frequent, long term clients would like to think so (just as we like to think we know the state of our good friends' marriage), but that's hubris or fantasy.

 

I'm offering ideas for consideration nonetheless; it could be that the company considers them for 3.5 minutes and decides they are unworkable, but that's not for me (or any passenger) to say. Just because I can't run the company doesn't mean that I shouldn't muse about what I'd like to see happen......my heart won't be broken should the hotel manager decide my idea is a non-starter. But it's not going to stop me from thinking here about ideas that might be outside the box (of typical expectations).

Edited by calliopecruiser
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That was my feeling too but I deleted my post asking that as being snarky. Thank you for asking. Seems like someone who thinks they know Crystal after only sailing mass market lines.

 

If you are referring to my most recent post, I wasn't trying to be snarky at all. Just asked a question. I dont think one needs to a Crystal "expert" to voice an opinion, I just like to have some context when possible.

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Actually frequent Crystal Cruisers as first time Crystal cruisers do not know it all. I don't think anyone has said they do.

 

But many of the frequent Crystal Cruisers ask questions while on board their cruises such as one that I asked on board the Symphony about whether casual dining could be offered on most nights similar to what they do on the Crystal Serenity. In my case I am only sharing what I was told. I certainly could not give my own opinion on this because I would have no idea which is why I asked the question in the first place.

 

My advice to anyone who doesn't think that is the case is to just ask it themselves on their next Crystal Cruise.

 

Keith

Edited by Keith1010
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Having shuttled back and forth between threads about the specialty restaurants...

 

With the start of $30/ charges and the WC & 50+ cruisers are exempt: what if they are no-shows for their reservations? Shouldn't they then be charged the $30/ ?

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Having shuttled back and forth between threads about the specialty restaurants...

 

With the start of $30/ charges and the WC & 50+ cruisers are exempt: what if they are no-shows for their reservations? Shouldn't they then be charged the $30/ ?

 

No, they should sit in Starlite and chuckle about how much an empty Silk Road must frustrate "first timers" :)

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Looking at your signature, it sppears you have never sailed Crystal. Is that correct?

 

Yes, however as you have already seen I have spent lots of days on a cruise ship, and at my age many were when a cruise was really a cruise. In a talk about how things might be done better thinking out of the box is not uncommon, IMHO thinking how things were/are done is of no value. We will take our first Crystal trip in June and see how it goes.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I agree, I am sure to do it would involve lots however as far as the crew goes, Symphony has a crew/pass ratio of 1.7. Three other lines that offer great lido dinner are Azamara @1.7, Oceania @ 1.8 and Seabourn @ 1.4. Any person trying crystal is used to that dinning option and to find out Crystal does not have it is rather shocking.

 

We are also very surprised that there is not an alternative dining option to the main dining room. :( . Of course there are the two specialty restaurants but today I was reading that 1) they are extremely hard to get in and 2) they are not part of the all inclusive experience anymore because if you want to eat there more than once you will have to pay.

My husband and me cruise several times per year with different cruiselines. We are not very keen on having to eat at the main restaurant every evening, because our main meal is actually lunch (for us healthier). Some nights we would go to the the restaurant but many evenings we would like to have something simple like a small salad and a piece of grilled fish or chicken. Is this possible somewhere on board the Symphony without having to go to the MDR?

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If you wish to "eat light" in the main dining room, it is absolutely possible. Just ask your waiter for a salad and chicken or fish...I have done that on many occasions! Their aim is not to "stuff" you but rather to "wow" you.

 

Yes, it's possible to eat light, but it's still a big production dinner (especially if you are waiting while table mates go through courses that you don't want). I think that's why the question was whether it's possible "without having to go to the MDR". I echo the sentiment of not just wanting to eat light some evenings but also wanting to dine light.

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The temptation to request a table for two has crossed my mind. We can then dine at our own pace and not have much chit chat between us.

 

The full menu offers so many choices: chef's reco, lighter fare, apps, soups, salads, dinner salad, pastas, entrees, steak/chix/fish, vegetable sides AND then there are the desserts and cheese offerings. I have asked for half portions and DH says 3 halfs = more than ONE!!!

 

Seriously, I need to edit what is on the menu and enjoy my choices, mmmh.

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We are also very surprised that there is not an alternative dining option to the main dining room. :( . Of course there are the two specialty restaurants but today I was reading that 1) they are extremely hard to get in and 2) they are not part of the all inclusive experience anymore because if you want to eat there more than once you will have to pay.

My husband and me cruise several times per year with different cruiselines. We are not very keen on having to eat at the main restaurant every evening, because our main meal is actually lunch (for us healthier). Some nights we would go to the the restaurant but many evenings we would like to have something simple like a small salad and a piece of grilled fish or chicken. Is this possible somewhere on board the Symphony without having to go to the MDR?

 

Your first reservation in each of the two specialty restaurants will not include a fee on cruises of 13 days or less and on voyages of 14 days or longer there will not be a fee for the first two two reservations at each of the two specialty restaurants.

 

Yes, the two restaurant offer an alternative to the Crystal Dining Room. Like the specialty restaurants on many of the other luxury lines they were not sized to accommodate guests eating there frequently on most voyages with high occupancy rates.

 

If you want to eat light then I would not have recommended the two specialty restaurants.

 

Instead, you can easily eat light at the Crystal Dining Room. For dinner on each and every evening there is a salad entree. If you do not care for that specific salad entree you could order a different one. Just let your senior waiter know what you would like. You can also order half portions from the menu or just some of the simpler foods. You could get salmon on any evening or a piece of chicken and there is also a vegetarian item on the menu each evening. There are lots of choices for cooked vegetables. In short, the dining room is very accommodating and my own experience is that it is very easy to eat light in the dining room for dinner for those who want to do that. Personally, I think that is the best venue for eating light because you can change things up.

 

You asked about the Symphony and a few nights each cruise there will be a casual dinner up at the Lido Cafe area as another alternative for those who want to change things up. Some people also visit the Bistro at night for more of a light snack and there is room service.

 

Back to the dining room, if there is also something you would like that would not be on the menu just ask your head waiter about this the night before and he will order it for you as long as the ingredients are on the ship. And that applies to light items as well as items that are not considered light. The head waiter is the person who is responsible for a section of the Crystal Dining Room which will included senior waiters and waiters.

 

I hope that you enjoy your dining experience on board the Symphony.

 

Keith

Edited by Keith1010
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Yes, it's possible to eat light, but it's still a big production dinner (especially if you are waiting while table mates go through courses that you don't want). I think that's why the question was whether it's possible "without having to go to the MDR". I echo the sentiment of not just wanting to eat light some evenings but also wanting to dine light.

 

Yes, this is the problem we had, we like to just wander around some nights, especially after a long port day, and eat when we feel like it unplanned. Expect for room service this seems impossible on Crystal. On the one ship that has casual dinning you now have to make a reservation, so that takes away the spontaneous reaction. That's OK because we will just stick to the lines that offer what we like.

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Yes, this is the problem we had, we like to just wander around some nights, especially after a long port day, and eat when we feel like it unplanned. Expect for room service this seems impossible on Crystal. On the one ship that has casual dinning you now have to make a reservation, so that takes away the spontaneous reaction. That's OK because we will just stick to the lines that offer what we like.

 

I would agree that it's just not Crystal's "thing"... They have understood the need more over the years, and SOME more options have been added over the years (Tastes on Serenity, the casual Lido dinners (on casual nights), etc.), but the evolution in that direction has been MUCH slower for Crystal than for other lines. For the most part, that has been at the request of Crystal's passengers, who kind of like things the way they are and don't much enjoy change (on balance). Using one example, the casual Lido dinners are only on casual nights -- one passenger related to me when they were introduced that she gave management an earful to make sure that the casual dinners weren't offered on formal nights so that people weren't seen in public under-dressed for the dress code of the night. Now, on other cruise lines, casual dinners are offered "upstairs" on formal nights to give people an out -- but again, Crystal is different. Another example is the dining by reservation system that still works in the shadows of the classic fixed-seating system.

 

I think we'll see all this change in the future if/when Crystal orders new ships, but in the recent past Crystal has been careful not to introduce new options if there is a consequence to the classic options.

 

In the meantime though, it's ok to say that Crystal isn't for you. Not everyone wants a structured vacation, and I think we can all respect that.

 

Vince

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In the meantime though, it's ok to say that Crystal isn't for you. Not everyone wants a structured vacation, and I think we can all respect that.

 

Vince

 

It's also OK - or should be OK - to say that you like Crystal in general but still don't like certain things about it. It shouldn't have to be an all-or-nothing sort of thing (though some on this board seem to think so) and it should be OK to express disappointment with some things while still feeling it's the best choice for you on balance.

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I would agree that it's just not Crystal's "thing"... They have understood the need more over the years, and SOME more options have been added over the years (Tastes on Serenity, the casual Lido dinners (on casual nights), etc.), but the evolution in that direction has been MUCH slower for Crystal than for other lines. For the most part, that has been at the request of Crystal's passengers, who kind of like things the way they are and don't much enjoy change (on balance). Using one example, the casual Lido dinners are only on casual nights -- one passenger related to me when they were introduced that she gave management an earful to make sure that the casual dinners weren't offered on formal nights so that people weren't seen in public under-dressed for the dress code of the night. Now, on other cruise lines, casual dinners are offered "upstairs" on formal nights to give people an out -- but again, Crystal is different. Another example is the dining by reservation system that still works in the shadows of the classic fixed-seating system.

 

I think we'll see all this change in the future if/when Crystal orders new ships, but in the recent past Crystal has been careful not to introduce new options if there is a consequence to the classic options.

 

In the meantime though, it's ok to say that Crystal isn't for you. Not everyone wants a structured vacation, and I think we can all respect that.

 

Vince

 

 

 

 

Vince, you have a very nice way to support you line of choice without seeming like a spin doctor or cheerleader, I hope we can meet some day. I really like the layout of the Crystal ships as I prefer more public space rather than a big stateroom or lots of dinning rooms, this dinner thing is all that puts me off, who knows what lies ahead, in any case we will be abroad Crystal in June and am sure it will be good as my wife loves Iceland.

 

Tom

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Hey, does anyone know why the 'sister' thread on specialty restaurants ... the one with over 55,000 views ... is now closed to responses?

 

At Vatican II in the 1960s, after many hours of debate on some topic a Bishop got up to speak and said: "Everything that needs to be said on this topic has already been said, BUT NOT BY ME…"

 

That's where that thread had gotten (several pages ago…)

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It's also OK - or should be OK - to say that you like Crystal in general but still don't like certain things about it. It shouldn't have to be an all-or-nothing sort of thing (though some on this board seem to think so) and it should be OK to express disappointment with some things while still feeling it's the best choice for you on balance.

 

Absolutely! I don't think there is any service company in the world that I just blindly love 100% everything they do without any desire for adjustment. There are plenty of things I would change about Crystal, but I'm just one customer and in most cases I can name 10 people who would argue against any change I suggested, so I respect Crystal's management for balancing all of the feedback that they receive and creating a product that hits on so many people's wants (warts and all). I do give Crystal mad props for being good at continuous improvement -- they may not make swift and dramatic changes, but when I look at Crystal's product over the years, I think they have done a good job at moving the brand forward, whether I love everything they do or not.

 

You're perfectly right -- at the end of the day we pick the product that best fits our needs. If we had to pick only products that are perfect fits for every wish we had, most of us would still be dreaming.

 

Vince, you have a very nice way to support you line of choice without seeming like a spin doctor or cheerleader, I hope we can meet some day. I really like the layout of the Crystal ships as I prefer more public space rather than a big stateroom or lots of dinning rooms, this dinner thing is all that puts me off, who knows what lies ahead, in any case we will be abroad Crystal in June and am sure it will be good as my wife loves Iceland.

 

Tom

 

Thanks, Tom... I hope we do as well! I'm under no delusion that Crystal is perfect, but like most people here, it's a good product that really suits my preferences well, and for every aspect that I don't like about Crystal, there are 10 people who cite that as the reason they sail with them.

 

I hope you enjoy the cruise in June... Crystal's staff is nothing if not accommodating, so I would share your concerns with the maître d' for two reasons... One, they need to hear people's expectations these days. I know they get an earful now, but I don't think it hurts for everyone to be honest (in a constructive way). Also two, they usually try to help you find the options that might be a little closer to your preferences, or work within the rigid structure that they have to give you some flexibility.

 

Vince

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Hey, does anyone know why the 'sister' thread on specialty restaurants ... the one with over 55,000 views ... is now closed to responses?

 

I'm glad it remains there for everyone to read through all of the responses, but in the last week or so it had turned into a personal discussion and no new thoughts were being contributed. To say we had already captured everyone's thoughts and opinions is an understatement, and it had taken an unfortunate turn in the past week.

 

Jazzbeau -- VERY well said!

 

Vince

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