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milepig

Horrific service on the Legend

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A bit of a rant.

 

We’re into our third day out of Yokohama in the legend and service in in the dining rooms is hands down the worst we’ve ever had on WS. There seem to be very few staff and they don’t know what they’re doing. Just a couple examples. This morning at breakfast it was impossible to get coffee. Yes, coffee at breakfast, seems pretty basic We’d ask (three times) and the server would say “yes” and then start to clear and set tables. No coffee served. Repeatedly. I finally got up and served coffee myself to half the dining room to a bunch of happy pax. If the staff even noticed, no one took over for me!!!

 

Tonight at dinner it was impossible to get drinks ordered. When our food started to come with no chance to order drinks I spoke to the matre’d which prompted the appearance of someone to take orders, but then they didn’t come until we were well into our entrees. Some at our table got their salad course twice. At another level, the table cloths that have always been starched and ironed are just wrinkled messes.

 

There is, however, a worthless sommelier who mainly hawks overpriced wine tastings. There are table tents on the tables advertising such tastings - AT DINNER!!!

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Wow. Pretty unusual. Who is the captain? I would start there as the Hotel Manager is obviously not doing his/her job. The new sommelier thing is something we experienced on last two sailings. The guy on the Surf was okay but disinterested in us when he realized we know what wine we like. The one on the Breeze was the waste of a salary. Hope it improves. How is the rest? Curious about the itinerary.

 

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Sorry to hear about this. We have never had bad service on the 5 Windstar cruises we have taken.

 

Also interested in hearing about this itinerary...

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Agree, we are 22 cruises service always superb. Something is askew. I hope they figure it out for Alaska, seems like a lot of planning and marketing has gone into these new itineraries. I hope it gets better for you. Happy and safe passage.

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Dining room service was amiss on our Star Legend Reykjavik to Copenhagen cruise a few years ago. I attributed it to a nearly all-new staff. They were not adequately trained. Having all of the meals in Amphora seemed to make it even more challenging for them (especially coffee!). They did, however, keep smiles on their faces, as always!

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Were the seas calm? I have sailed on the Legend. Service was excellent except on one morning when the seas were very rough. We had breakfast in Aamphora. Not many people came to breakfast. Walking around was tough.

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In the case of our Iceland voyage, the seas were calm. The Star Legend was newly launched and they seemed understaffed and undertrained. Waiting 30 minutes for a cup of coffee with breakfast is difficult to accept gracefully. I, too, started pouring my own.

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...The new sommelier thing is something we experienced on last two sailings. The guy on the Surf was okay but disinterested in us when he realized we know what wine we like...

 

Reminiscent of our experience when Princess took over from Sitmar back in the 1980's. Princess kept the "Sommelier" position from Sitmar but as we discovered the title did not represent the job. To me a Sommelier is a highly trained oenophile who knows wines and pairings and can help a customer decide on a satisfactory wine to accompany his/her meal. Then I have two lesser categories; a "wine steward" and a "wine guy or gal." A wine steward knows there's a difference between red, rose, white and sparkling wines and where the wines are stored. A good wine steward also knows how to "push" the more profitable wines and works hard to keep his employer happy. On most large ships this is a full time job that also involves delivering drink orders. The wine guy/gal is simply a waiter who delivers wine when ordered.

 

Our experience on Windstar was that they weren't big enough to have full fledged Sommeliers but their wine stewards were terrific and had great memories so that they would anticipate what we would order.

 

It sounds like, with the expansion of the fleet, they have had to compromise and go with "wine guys/gals" until they learn enough on the job to become qualified wine stewards.

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For the price people pays on Windstar (or other mid-high end cruise line), the sommelier should be doing exactly that - be knowledgeable and offer good wine with your meal - not push ancillary revenues by pushing sales. Not enough passengers for that.

 

https://www.travelpulse.com/news/cruise/windstar-s-winning-wine-approach-with-new-sommelier.html

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Reminiscent of our experience when Princess took over from Sitmar back in the 1980's. Princess kept the "Sommelier" position from Sitmar but as we discovered the title did not represent the job. To me a Sommelier is a highly trained oenophile who knows wines and pairings and can help a customer decide on a satisfactory wine to accompany his/her meal. Then I have two lesser categories; a "wine steward" and a "wine guy or gal." A wine steward knows there's a difference between red, rose, white and sparkling wines and where the wines are stored. A good wine steward also knows how to "push" the more profitable wines and works hard to keep his employer happy. On most large ships this is a full time job that also involves delivering drink orders. The wine guy/gal is simply a waiter who delivers wine when ordered.

 

Our experience on Windstar was that they weren't big enough to have full fledged Sommeliers but their wine stewards were terrific and had great memories so that they would anticipate what we would order.

 

It sounds like, with the expansion of the fleet, they have had to compromise and go with "wine guys/gals" until they learn enough on the job to become qualified wine stewards.

 

The fleet expansion was years ago now. Way too late for that old chestnut of an excuse.

 

The sommelier is actually a sommelier, complete with the cup around his neck.

 

We had heavy seas earlier but that was past before these experiences began but keep reading, good news is ahead.

 

We had one more bad experience at breakfast yesterday. No menus on the table, no one taking orders. Mrs. Milepig finally flagged someone down with coffee who the filled her cup and left mine sitting there empty. Just turned and walked away.

 

But, WS must read this board as at dinner last night it was nothing but a sea of shining faces and staff almost hovering. Water refilled wine poured, smiling service. No upsell on booze tastings. It was like the entire staff had gone to charm school in the afternoon. You could feel the energy in the room. I had a nice chat with the dining head who’s only in his second week with WS.

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As a Certified Sommelier who cruises, I am happy to see a real Somm on the Windstar cruise line ships. I am looking forward to interacting with whoever it might be.

 

On a past cruise the wine sale rep was on the ship doing classes with the staff and invited me to join in. It was a great experience.

 

The SOMM's role it to pair wines with meals, if asked, and suggest wine on the list that might satisfy the customers pallet.

 

Most customers can not describe what kind of wine they like, so a lot of times it is a guessing game for the Somm.

 

"Red and Dry... doesn't always cut it. Knowing what different kinds of wines (varietals) and wine regions you like really helps in narrowing down the selection process.

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As a Certified Sommelier who cruises, I am happy to see a real Somm on the Windstar cruise line ships. I am looking forward to interacting with whoever it might be.

 

On a past cruise the wine sale rep was on the ship doing classes with the staff and invited me to join in. It was a great experience.

 

The SOMM's role it to pair wines with meals, if asked, and suggest wine on the list that might satisfy the customers pallet.

 

Most customers can not describe what kind of wine they like, so a lot of times it is a guessing game for the Somm.

 

"Red and Dry... doesn't always cut it. Knowing what different kinds of wines (varietals) and wine regions you like really helps in narrowing down the selection process.

 

I know what a SOMM is there to do. I don’t see “hawking paid tastings” among your list. I found it really unnecessary and intrusive.

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We were on the same cruise and noticed that a lot of little Windstar touches were missing and service in the dining rooms lacked attention to detail, e.g. server walked back to his station without giving the “extra” menu in his hands to my husband who wasn’t provided one; filling my glass with water and walking away without filling my husband’s glass with no communication/explanation; waiting for 20 minutes to be offered tea or coffee in Candles despite only a few tables being occupied; the one professional server we had in Amphora was run off her feet trying to look after her own tables and refill water glasses on other servers’ tables. The change in the level of service (this was our 5th WS cruise and 2nd on the Legend) led us to think that the changes made by the corporate head office included a reduction in crew levels. We surprised to learn from the hotel manager that they had actually increased the staff numbers for this cruise. For us though the main point that sticks in our memory was the black mould in the caulking around the bath and sink in our cabin on embarkation. How this was missed by both the stateroom attendants and their manager we do not know. The caulking was immediately replaced when we reported it, but seriously should it really be the customer who points this out to the crew? Other WS touches that were missing at the start of the cruise (such as wet towels on your return to the ship; being asked if you wanted still or sparking water; being offered freshly ground pepper instead of being left with salt and pepper shakers; and the band playing in the lounge before the daily destination talk) began to reappear once feedback was provided to the hotel manager. It’s these little touches that made WIndstar Cruises 180 degrees from ordinary and different from the big lines. It would be a shame if they are lost and they become yet another company where the “bean counters” at head office are so focused on the bottom line that they lose sight of what attracted and retained their clientele.

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That is great to hear, new_cruiser. We will be on the Star Legend in July in Alaska, and we look forward to the impeccable and warm service we are accustomed to on Windstar. I hope you are enjoying the crossing.

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I'm on Star Legend now and service has been prompt and attentive.

 

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Glad to hear that! As I mentioned, things did improve during our cruise in response to feedback provided and of course WS has since received the surveys. Your captain though is different from the one we had....wonder if that has an impact too? Enjoy the rest of your cruise!

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I'm so sorry to hear this.

We have cruised 7 times with Windstar and felt like we'd found our cruise line and that was it for us (except for the occasional river cruise). Although the service was great on our cruise last year, (Windstar - Rome to Athens) I have noticed small changes that are definitely penny pinching moves: It used to be that you were greeted with a choice of a glass of champagne or Mimosa when embarking on the ship. They would top off your glass as you were filling out your forms. Such a lovely way to fill out your paperwork! Now you are given one glass of Mimosa (which I don't like) and that's it. They used to have these wonderful chocolates - looked handmade - that they would leave on your pillow at night. I looked forward to them every night - sometimes I was too full for dessert, but looked forward to those 2 luscious little treats. Now they leave an Andes chocolate mint - the kind you get in the drugstore - not sure if it's even chocolate - they go untouched in our room

 

I am really sad to hear that they are eliminating some or all of the special events. We loved the wine tasting on Mt. Etna on our last trip and have enjoyed many beach bbqs in the Caribbean. It's one of those special items that makes Windstar unique. On our trip the year before - Barcelona to Lisbon - we got to know the Exec Chef who was on board temporarily to up the game on the menu offerings and teach the kitchen staff. He mentioned to us that previously he had a budget to use for local foods to enhance the offerings at the on deck BBQ. He took a small group of us with him on the shopping experience. He told us later that this might be one of the last times they would offer this, since his local foods budget was getting cut for subsequent trips.

 

I recommended that Spain cruise to some friends who took it a year later. They came back with tepid reviews on it. One couple had been on several Windstar cruises already, but it was a first time for the other couple - they won't be back. They found the ship cabins (one of the yachts - Breeze or Legend) looking very tired and the staff a little lacking in service. In fairness the ship was about to go into dry dock to maybe these items were repaired and the ship's crew could have been quite anxious for their vacations. but still...

 

Although I really want to return to another Windstar cruise, and probably will, I am starting to look at other small cruise lines.

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We are supposed to be on Legend in Sept, Anchorage to Japan. We just got off Breeze where we had exhaust fumes in our room from time to time. Was that an issue with Legend as well? Captain said it was common when the ship was rocking. I thought it rocked a lot more than I expected. Been to Antarctic in a similar size ship and that was real rocking.

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We've been on all three of the motor ships. Never had fumes.

 

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We've been on all three of the motor ships. Never had fumes.

 

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

 

Same here. This is the first I’ve heard of it. Choppy implies windy so I’d think that’s the time any fumes would be blown away. At least 6 trips on the yachts and have never smelled such fumes in the cabins. On deck?, yes a but not in the cabins. We do tend to keep our a/c fairly cold. So that might help.

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