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Grandeur - Has MDR service collapsed?

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Just back from Dec 1 12-day on GoS.  Is it just us, or has the quality of service in MDR, especially 1st-seating dinner, collapsed?  We've always expected breakfast and lunch to be sedate; breakfast is becoming glacial.  Our experience with dinner service until now has been excellent - capable and efficient without feeling rushed; even a late return ship's tour did not prevent us from making the 7PM show (yes I know that is for 2nd seating but we like having our dinner, show, and evening free).  

 

This sailing was totally different (not in a good way).  MDR service felt haphazard, overall slow, with a lot of extra effort and a dinning room captain pitching in required to get back to something tolerable.  We (us and 2 other cruise-experienced couples)  thought MDR seemed understaffed.  I wonder if more experienced and capable staff are now in My Time.  Typical errors - long delays between ordering and meals arriving, incomplete orders (when ordering 2 appetizers or a 2nd dinner as a side), long delays for expected/requested condiments, beef consistently under-cooked (did I hear a "moo" just now!).  And the coffee at dinner sucked (WJ or Park Cafe were always better).    The dinner menu continues to shrink, but we expected that. On paper it wasn't bad (kitchen had a problem with poor-quality sole and switched fish dinners after the 1st time).  Execution was where they had problems.  We discussed the service with dinning room management and we saw some incremental improvement on last few nights, but it remained sub-par compared to prior experience.

 

Specialty (Chops, Giovanni's, Izumi) had EXCELLENT selection, food quality, and service.  Get a steak in Chops, lamb chops or veal in Giovann's, and the "rolls" and sashimi in Izumi.  Come hungry. Worth the up-charge?  Maybe. YMMV.

 

I'd appreciate hearing from recent repeat GoS cruisers in particular if they also think MDR service has deteriorated unacceptably, or if we just had an earnest (they worked their tails off) wait staff who would benefit from more experience and mentoring.  Also wondering if My Time is now preferable.  We have another GoS cruise booked in late January so we'll get to see if any improvements made.  

 

Other than the MDR dinner service, the cruise was excellent and we had a great time!

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We felt similarly when on the Granduer in January. Service was friendly but slow as it looked as though the waitpersons were each handling too many tables.

 

After a couple of dinners in the MDR, we opted for the Windjammer for the rest of the cruise. With its better selection, quiet ambience and casual dining, we were happy not to go to the MDR.

 

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It collapsed in the mid 1990s. You just hadn’t realized that you’ve been eating in the ruins all this time. 

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16 minutes ago, Andy C said:

It collapsed in the mid 1990s. You just hadn’t realized that you’ve been eating in the ruins all this time. 

It's gone down, hit and miss now after it peaked 20-30yrs ago. Back then was better quality was a 5 course meal that took 90min plus to complete. BUT cost of a cruise when I started dollar for dollar was double and more what is now. At least WindJammer for Dinner is now better then before, Quality and quantity of choice

Edited by ONECRUISER

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We were on Grandeur’s Thanksgiving Day cruise. We had My Time Dining. It was the most efficient service, but without feeling rushed, that we’ve had on any ship.

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We have not eaten in the main dining room on any ship for several years.  We hate giving up all the time that it requires, and we travel very light (carry on only) so formal ware has been discarded. 

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3 hours ago, do_not_spindle said:

Just back from Dec 1 12-day on GoS.  Is it just us, or has the quality of service in MDR, especially 1st-seating dinner, collapsed?  We've always expected breakfast and lunch to be sedate; breakfast is becoming glacial.  Our experience with dinner service until now has been excellent - capable and efficient without feeling rushed; even a late return ship's tour did not prevent us from making the 7PM show (yes I know that is for 2nd seating but we like having our dinner, show, and evening free).  

 

This sailing was totally different (not in a good way).  MDR service felt haphazard, overall slow, with a lot of extra effort and a dinning room captain pitching in required to get back to something tolerable.  We (us and 2 other cruise-experienced couples)  thought MDR seemed understaffed.  I wonder if more experienced and capable staff are now in My Time.  Typical errors - long delays between ordering and meals arriving, incomplete orders (when ordering 2 appetizers or a 2nd dinner as a side), long delays for expected/requested condiments, beef consistently under-cooked (did I hear a "moo" just now!).  And the coffee at dinner sucked (WJ or Park Cafe were always better).    The dinner menu continues to shrink, but we expected that. On paper it wasn't bad (kitchen had a problem with poor-quality sole and switched fish dinners after the 1st time).  Execution was where they had problems.  We discussed the service with dinning room management and we saw some incremental improvement on last few nights, but it remained sub-par compared to prior experience.

 

Specialty (Chops, Giovanni's, Izumi) had EXCELLENT selection, food quality, and service.  Get a steak in Chops, lamb chops or veal in Giovann's, and the "rolls" and sashimi in Izumi.  Come hungry. Worth the up-charge?  Maybe. YMMV.

 

I'd appreciate hearing from recent repeat GoS cruisers in particular if they also think MDR service has deteriorated unacceptably, or if we just had an earnest (they worked their tails off) wait staff who would benefit from more experience and mentoring.  Also wondering if My Time is now preferable.  We have another GoS cruise booked in late January so we'll get to see if any improvements made.  

 

Other than the MDR dinner service, the cruise was excellent and we had a great time!

 

 

Do you know who the Hotel  Director is with Adriana not there?  These things depend on good leadership.

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Friends on board say John Denton replaced Adriana as hotel director 

Edited by pjlee3333

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3 hours ago, Bookish Angel said:

We felt similarly when on the Granduer in January. Service was friendly but slow as it looked as though the waitpersons were each handling too many tables.

 

After a couple of dinners in the MDR, we opted for the Windjammer for the rest of the cruise. With its better selection, quiet ambience and casual dining, we were happy not to go to the MDR.

 

Completely agree...

 

We also were on Grandeur in January and did exactly what you did. After the first two nights we ended up going to th WJ for the duration of the cruise.  We enjoyed it a great deal, quiet, relaxing and very friendly staff.  

 

It seemed to us the  MDR staff had too many tables to do their job well. It was hectic.  We were ok with food quality but service was bad.  No beverages , slow service, getting order wrong, not offering coffee at desert or forgetting to bring it, etc.  it felt rushed and sloppy and wasn’t worth the bother of getting dressed up 

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We always do WJ, their MDR poor service will not drive us to the specialty restaurants.  Some live to eat, we eat to live.

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We were on Grandeur in April and had MTD. We had exceptional service making it the the best service in the MDR out of our 25 cruises on RCL.

We also were on this most recent Dec. 1-12 sailing on Grandeur. We had very good MTD service in the MDR overall, although not at the exceptional level we had in April - which would be hard to match. There was a section next to our normal seating that we were seated in one night whose service was only fair.

Edited by WeatherFx

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We were on Grandeur last Aug and the Aug before.

 

We were MTD and only ate in MDR twice each cruise.  Both times, the service was fine.

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Thanks all for the feedback.  Points:

- I think we started cruising RCL approx late 1990s, so we missed the "glory days" while experiencing the economizations of the last decade or so.  Comparing Dec '18 to Dec '17 and earlier was night vs day, sadly. 

- Our table did escalate to the (Acting?) HD and we got some resolution.

- WeatherFix - nice to know some of the MDR issues remains dependent on who's working your table (we saw some of that too esp. with the different staff you get at lunch over the week).  

 

Now considering MyTime for Jan cruise.  Maybe a few specialty nights (helps RCCL's plan to separate us from a few more shekels and shillings).  

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2 hours ago, do_not_spindle said:

Thanks all for the feedback.  Points:

 

- Our table did escalate to the (Acting?) HD and we got some resolution.

 

 

You did the right thing. JD will get to the bottom of it!

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My wife & I were also on the 12-1-18 cruise & had my time dining & one meal we were finished in 45 minutes && several other times less than 1 hour,.

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On 12/15/2018 at 7:47 PM, mugtech said:

We always do WJ, their MDR poor service will not drive us to the specialty restaurants.  Some live to eat, we eat to live.

 

We now always eat in the MDR except for formal nights. We like to dress up so that's  why we eat there. We also refuse to eat in speciality restaurants. I think they are having the MDR intentionally go down hill to get passengers to spend $$$ in them. If I want to have a good meal I will spend my money on land. As long as people are spending money in the restaurants the MDR will continue to go down.

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We will be on Grandeur in February our first RC since 2012. Sad that MDR’s have been sliding across the board. Cunard, Celebrity, HAL and Princess have all slid. Have not been on Carnival since 2004;  NCL has really plummeted, cold food badly served by disinterested waiters.  Sadly, such cuts have been adopted by all lines to enable them to hold fares down -shipboard specialty restaurants are better, but when we want really good food we eat at really good restaurants.

 

I tired of cafeteria eating in school, so WJ is not a desirable option.  The bottom line is that pleasant, well served dinners which used to be an enjoyable part of cruising just do not happen any more.  Just one other aspect of cruising that has suffered due to the “success” of the industry.  Now we just sail for a quick, brief escape from winter and as a good way of coming home from a trip to Europe.

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In April, the service in the MDR was fine. It took a little longer than usual, but we never had an issue with it. Also, please be careful when bringing up under-cooked beef. Your definition and others may be different. Having gone years ordering medium rare and having it come out with very little pink, it is actually medium rare now. Otherwise, we typically eat in the MDR, traditional seating nightly, aside from the occasional WJ or Izumi. 

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I was on the same Dec 1 cruise. We had an excellent waiter but a less than stellar asst waiter. The food delivery was timely. My issue was the quality of the MDR food. Average at best most nights.  Ate at Chops and Giovannis once each and was well worth the cost.    Lukewarm food in Windjammer for both breakfast and lunch did not entice us to try dinner there. Really slooooow service the 3 times we went to MDR for lunch.  This being my 7th cruise on RC, by far the worst food. It was never an issue before. Sailed on Celebrity earlier this year and the food was excellent. Sailed Norwegian earlier this year also and the food was good.  Wife and I started at 5:30 dinner but switched to 8:00 after a few days.  Too early for us to eat at 5:30. We had same waiter which was fine. On all future cruises we will opt for Anytime dining. 

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I think that partly it is luck. Last year we did a back to back on Navigator, same table but different waiters for both cruises, first cruise excellent service , second cruise not so much, our waiter really seemed to be struggling, his assistant that we hardly ever interacted with was at a different station further away, there seemed to be no communication between the two. I know that the waiters used to have more time to interact with you. Now it seems they are covering more tables and very rushed.  We talked to our head waiter on Serenade and he said that they are constantly cherry picking the best people off the older ships for the new ships as they come out.    

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Just got off the GoS  9 day Dec 13-22 cruise, we had 1st seating at a 6 top table.  Our waiter and asst. waiter were excellent, average dinning time was 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Two of our table mates were D+, several nights they told our waiter they wanted to make the early show and we were done by 6:45.  As this was only our second cruise we have little to compare, good dinner conversation helped the time pass quickly.  Once the asst. waiter forget the after dinner coffee for the one D+ passenger and a couple times there was a slight waiting period between the entrée and the desert.  Overall we were very pleased and the food we selected was very good.  Did not do any specialty dinning on our first cruise (Oasis) but did the Chops Lobster Brunch on day 2 of this one.  With the exception of having an abundance of shrimp and a lobster tail (same lobster tail as second formal night) nothing we ate there was any different that what we could had gotten in either the MDR or Windjammer.  We were a bit underwhelmed by the whole thing. 

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We have been on Grandeur 8 times. The November cruise was the first time we had a negative MDR experience. The servers were very nice but the service was slow. I had a glass of water spilled on me the first night and was served frozen Shrimp  Cocktail. I believe the change is due to the more experienced staff being transfered to the larger new ships leaving the first and second contract staff to serve on the older smaller ships.

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we were speaking with a head waiter on our recent GOTS cruise, and they were talking about the rotation of staff from the smaller ships to the new ships.  New crew; new to the company, new to cruising; were so overwhelmed with first contracts to the newer ships, now they start on the smaller ships, and once they get some experience, they are moved.

It seems the newer ships have all the bells and whistles, and most of the experienced crew.

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We have sailed GoS many times and have always had a great expreience with MTD. Maybe there is a difference with service in the MDR between general seating and MTD (My Time Dining) . As for smaller ships using inexperienced crews, Im not sure how true that is. Last summer we cruised on RCCL's smallest ship, Empress of the Seas, to Cuba. As always, we chose MTD, and the service and food quality was outstanding. 

 

I have found that if you do have an issue, talk to the Head Waiter. A friendly smile and a little patience go's a long way. The staff work their butts off, and new waiters on a first contract are easy to recognize. They will usually be paired with an experience waiter. Try to learn their names and show them kindness and respect. They'll respond much better to your needs, than if you come off as impatient and grumpy. I hate to say this, but I have seen too many people who are demanding and rude to ship staff, especially in the dinning room.  Sadly some people on cruises seem to think they are something special and "above" other people. 

 

You do have the right to expect good food and service, and in all our previous cruises, I have never had any true problems with staff that would warrant any special action or complaint. I never forget how lucky we are to be able to vacation on cruise ships, and especially how hard the crew work to make your cruise a success. Be patient, smile, keep your sense of humor, and make an effort to get to know the crew members that serve you on your cruise. 

Edited by runningtide

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