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Second Seating Pet Peeve


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The posters who find the HAL MDRs to be terrible are as entitled to their opinions as I am to have my opinion that Hal;s MDRs are - in my experience - far from the nightmare they are depicted by some others...

 

 

I couldn’t agree more with this statement. I think it was unfortunate that your comments in Post #94 did not reflect this.

 

In the previous post, it stated that a poster got “carried away with their assessment”. This to me implied that the poster was stretching the truth and being dishonest. When a post contains the statement alluding to a “predisposed negative attitude”, that is a personal attack against the poster.

 

Telling someone to leave HAL because they “hate HAL so much” is not only an overstatement of the post (the poster didn’t enjoy the MDR, but stated they did enjoy HAL’s specialty dining), it also displays a passive aggressive nature toward hostility that is only confirmed when a sarcastic smiley is added at the end of the sentence.

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On our Rotterdam cruise in the beginning of January, we were assigned a table for two (we requested a larger table, but that is a different issue). The first night, service was efficient.

 

The second night, we noticed that the empty seats and tables were being filled with anytime diners a half hour after the traditional seating had started.

 

That meant traditional dining service came to a screeching halt as the newcomers had to be given menus, drink and food orders taken, etc.

 

It especially affected the larger tables where any time diners were shown to the table and the passengers already in progress with their dinner ended up waiting for the latecomers to catch up in the courses being served.

 

We found that our meal time was 45 minutes longer than the first night.

 

Third night, the same thing happened, at which point we talked to the maitre d' about the disruption of service (we were not the only ones to do so).

 

He asked what was he suppose to do with the anytime dinners waiting for a table when there were tables and seats available in early seating. Our response was that the anytime diners needed to wait for an open table in the open dining section and that one of the advantages of traditional dining was the fact that table service flowed more efficiently because all the tables were on the same course schedule.

 

For the rest of the cruise, tables in sections where the passengers had voiced displeasure with the stopping of service because of back filling the seats with anytime diners remained empty.

 

Our waiter very quietly thanked us for speaking out. He said the late back filling the tables made it impossible for him to do his job efficiently and made the traditional diners upset with the slow down in table service.

It's a shame this happened to you and certainly a sign of poor dining room management.:(

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Sorry you interpreted my comments as carrying more emotion than was invested in their construction :confused:

What I felt when I read that (imho) negative assessment of virtually every aspect of the MDR was that if a new cruiser to HAL read that they would turn around and walk away from HAL. It was the poster's opinion but it wasn't the only opinion of the MDR on HAL.

Not everyone can afford to or wants to to eat in an extra$$ dining venue every night of a cruise.

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My husband and I also prefer a table for two. We'll be on Koningsdam this spring for two weeks and we wanted late seating with a table for two by a window. I emailed guest services and received an email confirmation two days later. I've printed this out to take with us, but I doubt if that would be necessary. Easy, peasy!

 

Hi Lady Arwen... I would like to try to reserve a 2-top, late fixed seating in the Westy MDR for an October cruise, 25 days.. Looking at the MDR PDF dining room layout, 2-tops are pretty rare, only 15 of them. So, I want to get my request in early. Would now be too early, and if not, what e-mail address did you use ? I checked the HAL website, and I cannot see a specific e-mail address for Guest Services. They do have a Guest Services option, but that is for complaints or comments from a past cruise. What address did you use ? Finally, we have booked through a TA, not directly with HAL. Can we request an MDR table assignment, or must my TA do it for me ?

Edited by TAD2005
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Hi Lady Arwen... I would like to try to reserve a 2-top, late fixed seating in the Westy MDR for an October cruise, 25 days.. Looking at the MDR PDF dining room layout, 2-tops are pretty rare, only 15 of them. So, I want to get my request in early. Would now be too early, and if not, what e-mail address did you use ? I checked the HAL website, and I cannot see a specific e-mail address for Guest Services. They do have a Guest Services option, but that is for complaints or comments from a past cruise. What address did you use ? Finally, we have booked through a TA, not directly with HAL. Can we request an MDR table assignment, or must my TA do it for me ?

 

 

Looking at the MDR PDF doesn't tell the whole story. In late fixed seating there is USUALLY a surplus of unassigned tables of all sizes. We requested a table for two and they assigned us a 4 - top just for the two of us. To put your mind at ease, I would recommend that you put in the request but see the maitre d' on the day you board (he is usually available in the afternoon) to confirm your table. The maitre d' generally responds well to a polite request with a smile.

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Always believe that it is only polite when you will not be there for your assigned dinner seating to inform the rest of the table in the event they would like to invite a guest and also to tell the wait staff so no one waits for us.

 

I agree :). It's just a matter of being polite and courteous of others. ;)

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Our friends from trivia had a table for four but just the two of them assigned to it fairly close to our table. They like traditional dining because of her special dietary requirements. At the late seating, there were several empty tables many nights. I figured they were eating at one the specialty restaurants that night.

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Hi Lady Arwen... I would like to try to reserve a 2-top, late fixed seating in the Westy MDR for an October cruise, 25 days.. Looking at the MDR PDF dining room layout, 2-tops are pretty rare, only 15 of them. So, I want to get my request in early. Would now be too early, and if not, what e-mail address did you use ? I checked the HAL website, and I cannot see a specific e-mail address for Guest Services. They do have a Guest Services option, but that is for complaints or comments from a past cruise. What address did you use ? Finally, we have booked through a TA, not directly with HAL. Can we request an MDR table assignment, or must my TA do it for me ?
You can e-mail HAL Guest Services right from their contact page on the website "How to contact us". I made this request in November and our cruise is not until April, so I would do it right away. We chose late seating and a table for two by a window. Took only a couple of days to get a response. I'm not sure if you can do this yourself or if you need your TA to do it. Ask your TA, they will know.
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Always believe that it is only polite when you will not be there for your assigned dinner seating to inform the rest of the table in the event they would like to invite a guest and also to tell the wait staff so no one waits for us.

 

 

We book a 2-top most cruises unless we are cruising with friends. Plans change during the day, and on the first night we always inform our servers that if we are not there within 5 minutes of the doors opening, we will not be there at all. I am pretty sure that if we were at a large table we would do the same.

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:cool: what is a two, four, six top? Do you mean two seat, four seat, etc? That term is not used in the west at all.

 

 

Actually you're close. The term is commonly used in most restaurants and refers to the maximum number of place settings at a table, not seats. For example, a 4 top may need just 2 seats if there's a party of two.

 

The term is not normally used when discussing counter seating or booth seating.

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Actually you're close. The term is commonly used in most restaurants and refers to the maximum number of place settings at a table, not seats. For example, a 4 top may need just 2 seats if there's a party of two.

 

The term is not normally used when discussing counter seating or booth seating.

 

 

Thanks Walt. I too was wondering (and I live in the west). I never heard the term before joining CC!

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I have found this thread quite helpful. We have experienced many of the same frustrations.

 

We have an upcoming cruise on the Koningsdam and had initally asked for a table for eight in main fixed. Today I called HAL and requested a table for two instead. They were most happy to make the change.

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I have booked open dining for a transatlantic cruise in May, and had wondered if it might be more interesting to sit with the same people each night as opposed to sharing with new people most nights - however I hadn't considered the fact that this may leave me sat at a large table alone. Maybe I should stick with open dining, with the option that in table partners are compatible we can arrange to meet in the foyer to be seated together again in open dining.

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I have booked open dining for a transatlantic cruise in May, and had wondered if it might be more interesting to sit with the same people each night as opposed to sharing with new people most nights - however I hadn't considered the fact that this may leave me sat at a large table alone. Maybe I should stick with open dining, with the option that in table partners are compatible we can arrange to meet in the foyer to be seated together again in open dining.

You can also go with the fixed table for 8 .... and if it doesn't work out satisfactorily go to the person in charge of the dining room and ask for a change to another fixed table or open dining,:)

 

On all but 2 of our cruises we had a great blend of table mates for late fixed seating ... and on those 2 - one had folks who ate at often at specialty restaurants and the with the other one the lady had stomach issues and they only came on formal night because she liked to dress up ;)

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You can also go with the fixed table for 8 .... and if it doesn't work out satisfactorily go to the person in charge of the dining room and ask for a change to another fixed table or open dining,

 

Of course, if I follow the wishes of some on this thread, I would have to return to the original table the next night to inform the others I wouldn't be returning, right?

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Of course, if I follow the wishes of some on this thread, I would have to return to the original table the next night to inform the others I wouldn't be returning, right?

NO, if you are not returning, obviously for reasons of incompatabiity, then the Maitre D'/aka Asst Dining room manager will cover this.

 

Let's not put this to the exteme.

 

the politeness simply goes to the table you intend and want to dine with for the next x days.

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I have booked open dining for a transatlantic cruise in May, and had wondered if it might be more interesting to sit with the same people each night as opposed to sharing with new people most nights - however I hadn't considered the fact that this may leave me sat at a large table alone. Maybe I should stick with open dining, with the option that in table partners are compatible we can arrange to meet in the foyer to be seated together again in open dining.

 

As long as you are happy. I don't want to do the "how many cruises have you had", "where are you from" and all the intro stuff for 30 nights. some of the opening lines are so predictive. In fixed seating you move past that very quickly. but that's JME (just my experience).

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Well my wife and I are new to cruising. We picked the anytime dining which was recommended to us. We have no idea as to early or late seating times and what it means. I was told that we could make reservations ahead of time while on the cruise for an early or later time to eat. As far as sitting at your table on the last night we can sit and enjoy conversing with other passengers or just that simple we can sit with each other. We do not know what the RULES are pertaining to dinning on a cruise but the person original poster is a person that I would not need to sit with. I really don't know what all the fuss is all about.

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We do not know what the RULES are pertaining to dinning on a cruise but the person original poster is a person that I would not need to sit with. I really don't know what all the fuss is all about.

 

First of all, welcome to cruising. Secondly, there are a lot of OPINIONS being put forth as "rules" in this thread. Don't let that scare you off. It's YOUR vacation and you are entitled to enjoy it as you see fit. :)

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Well my wife and I are new to cruising. We picked the anytime dining which was recommended to us. We have no idea as to early or late seating times and what it means. I was told that we could make reservations ahead of time while on the cruise for an early or later time to eat. As far as sitting at your table on the last night we can sit and enjoy conversing with other passengers or just that simple we can sit with each other. We do not know what the RULES are pertaining to dinning on a cruise but the person original poster is a person that I would not need to sit with. I really don't know what all the fuss is all about.

 

 

If you want to enjoy your cruise and wish to sit most nights at a table for two....just you and your wife....here is the secret. Book anytime dining and show up at the MDR at 8 pm or later. No need to make a reservation. This defeats the purpose of anytime dining.When we ate in the MDR, we always requested and received a table for two after 8 pm. This way you don't need to involve yourself with introducing yourselves every night and ensures that you will not be sitting with people you do not like. Not that sitting with different people each night is not interesting, but it does get old after awhile and most nights my wife and I wanted to be alone.

 

 

Yes.....8 pm is later than you probably eat dinner at home but my wife and I would order snacks from room service around 5pm and have a few cocktails with some food on our veranda. This worked out well as this was the time we would usually be leaving a port and we captured some beautiful sunsets.

 

The MDR will be packed between 5:30 and 7:30 pm. This is because many people will want to eat the same time they eat at home and they want to make the 8 pm show. Again, have a snack late in the afternoon, relax, enjoy the pool as this will also empty out after 5 pm. Plus if you go at 8pm, the service is far better (quicker) and you will have plenty of time to make the 10pm show.

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NO, if you are not returning, obviously for reasons of incompatabiity, then the Maitre D'/aka Asst Dining room manager will cover this.

 

Let's not put this to the exteme.

 

the politeness simply goes to the table you intend and want to dine with for the next x days.

 

 

The one time people were reassigned from a large table I was assigned to, no one from the MDR staff indicated anything about their whereabouts. I saw them elsewhere on the ship and they told me they had changed tables.

 

Also not sure we'd want poiteness only for those we like and would break bread with. ;)

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Well my wife and I are new to cruising. ... I really don't know what all the fuss is all about.

If you're new to cruising there's no reason you would know "what all the fuss is about".

But once you've cruised a few times, under different dining arrangements, you will understand why different people have different opinions on what is best for them.

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As long as you are happy. I don't want to do the "how many cruises have you had", "where are you from" and all the intro stuff for 30 nights. some of the opening lines are so predictive. In fixed seating you move past that very quickly. but that's JME (just my experience).

Well said :D It neatly explains why many of us prefer fixed MDR seating.

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Another advantage we really enjoy with a fixed table and time in the MDR is that your waiter and assistant get to know your likes and dislikes, your beverages, your favorite type of dinner roll, if you like extra helpings of certain entrees, etc. This is a nice thing to experience, especially on a longer cruise. In open seating at the busiest times, you usually get a different wait staff each night.

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