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Upselling in the MDR? Really?


2chiefs
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We just got off a 14-day Southern Caribbean cruise on the Reflection out of Ft Lauderdale. I'm already annoyed by all the upselling of drink packages, specialty dining, spa etc. etc. You can't go anywhere on the ship anymore without being hawked all the time with the upsell pitch at every venue entrance.

 

This cruise beat all for the annoyance. I've never seen these two tactics before:

1. During the Elite event in the evening, the servers tried to sell specialty dining. I wonder if they get a commission?

 

2. While dining in the MDR during our late seating, the head waiter came up to our table of 8 with a chef from the galley. The two of them together pitched specialty dining while we were eating our dinner!!! Unbelievable! If it gets any worse, I wouldn't be surprized that they drive people away.

 

Has anyone else experienced this or worse?

 

T

 

 

 

Edited by 2chiefs
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I've not experienced this while dining in the MDR but have seen where there are staff selling the specialty dining, both with discounts for single dinners or for packages, throughout the ship.  I haven't really minded as oftentimes, I do want to go for at least one specialty lunch or dinner.  I think they only do go out and drum up business when there are a lot of openings for the specialty restaurants.  I've been on sailings when there was nothing available, even though I would have liked to go for a dinner or two.  

If they get to be too pushy, I'd probably be turned off by it but so far, the only sales pitches I've seen have been appropriate.  

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I have never experienced the two events you mention.  If I did, I would not be happy at all.  I don't particularly care for all the upselling around the ship, but overall it has not bothered me much (although I definitely don't like the whole concept of so much pay to play, but I know others like the 'menu' approach).  One good thing - when I see them trying to book specialty restaurants out and about the ship then I know they are not selling well and I will ask my maître d' to see if he/she can get us a good discount.  We usually go AQ, so this is usually the Blu maître d' I am asking.  We have had success on 14 night cruises getting discounts from 30% (the norm) to 50% or 2/1 (same difference).  

 

I've noticed that this upselling happened the most often on our 14 night Caribbean cruises.  I suspect it is no coincidence that they are not offering those anymore. :classic_sad:

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Have had exactly the same thing happen.  Pretty annoying to be having a conversation during the Elite cocktail hour with servers from Murano/Qsine/etc. standing next to you trying to hawk their overpriced dining.  One of the reasons we sail Celebrity less and less every year.

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2 minutes ago, bEwAbG said:

I have been pitched upsells while dining in Murano (several years ago), so it's nothing new.  They have targets to meet.  Complain in your survey that it's a turn-off.

Your survey will have ZERO effect on the situation.  But, as long as people keep putting up with it, they will continue to play the carnival barker games.

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So where on the survey do you actually have a place to discuss what you didn't like about a cruise?!?!  They did away with that section years ago.  Now they only want to know more about what you did like.  The one and only reason I ever fill them out now is to mention those staff members who have done an outstanding job.  Otherwise I would not bother, but I don't want to hurt them.

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We are recently off an Eclipse 14 night cruise and the only time we encountered the upsell was as we were entered the Oceanview. I gave that person our cabin number and the price we were willing to pay for LPC. Just before the last night we received a call saying they had space for us at the price we were asking. I was glad I took the time to listen to the sales pitch.

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We were on Oasis in CHOPS for a dress up family birthday dinner for my husband.  Our waiter actually  held up presentation of the special birthday cake I ordered, to pitch us a cookbook and wine aerators . So crass.

 

Everyone looked shocked and my dtr thought I would go nuts...but for the sake of the evening, I just glowered a bit  told him " NOT interested...we are having dinner" ..and reduced his extra tip accordingly.

 

Sorry to hear  another common aspect of Royal C  is now fully spread to Celebrity... we did notice that on our last few cruises and some of it was they won't take no for an answer,,,.That they push their staff to be crass and rude, does not require me to  accept or excuse it! " Hondeling " is not Modern Luxury....more like modern  flea market/bazaar!

Edited by hcat
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We also had the unpleasant experience of an attempted up sell to specialty dining while eating our entree in the MDR.  It was also on a 14 night cruise but on the Eclipse.  All in our group of eight politely but firmly stated no thank you and they did respect our answer and leave us alone.  We were approached another time on that cruise as well but it was not during dinner again at the MDR.

I read an article not too long ago where the topic was the increasing "nickel and diming" that is occurring on cruise ships over the last few years and the reverting back to more of a "class system."  It was an interesting article....sorry I cannot remember the name of it to pass on.

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Just got off the same cruise, and the up selling was annoying as heck! Granted it was horrible the first day and almost none after that for us. So I quickly forgot about it. I'd be super annoyed being pitched at dinner like that but we only did MDR once and they didn't up sell us at all. 

 

However, considering Reflection just got back today from a Western, I'm curious how you ended up on a Southern Itinerary! 

Edited by BNBR
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Can't say I've seen it go as far as the OP's experience.  On our last cruise (Silhouette, December 2018) we boarded with the anticipation that we could find a big discount on the first night.  We targeted Murano.  Sure enough, as soon as we boarded the ship we walked up to a table offering dining packages, and accepted 30% off.  Later in the cruise, we were approached as we were seated at the entrance to the OVC, and someone from the Lawn Club came up and offered a similar discount for the next to last evening.  We took that as well.  Overall, did not mind the upsells, but no one really pestered us.  If we weren't interested, we simply said so and they moved on.

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3 minutes ago, DENIE said:

Can't say I've seen it go as far as the OP's experience.  On our last cruise (Silhouette, December 2018) we boarded with the anticipation that we could find a big discount on the first night.  We targeted Murano.  Sure enough, as soon as we boarded the ship we walked up to a table offering dining packages, and accepted 30% off.  Later in the cruise, we were approached as we were seated at the entrance to the OVC, and someone from the Lawn Club came up and offered a similar discount for the next to last evening.  We took that as well.  Overall, did not mind the upsells, but no one really pestered us.  If we weren't interested, we simply said so and they moved on.

 

We were interrupted and offered drink package upgrades SIX times, literally, between stepping on the ship and sitting down in the buffet. No single person was rude or pestering, but at what point does the collective interruptions become absurd? 

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1 minute ago, BNBR said:

 

We were interrupted and offered drink package upgrades SIX times, literally, between stepping on the ship and sitting down in the buffet. No single person was rude or pestering, but at what point does the collective interruptions become absurd? 

BNBR - true!  SIX times is a lot in that short amount of time.  Fortunately this was not our experience...

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About halfway through our cruise we were asked by the Maitre d' in Luminae on Silhouette if we would like to consider specialty restaurant dining at a 30% discount.  At least he waited till we had finished dinner and were leaving to approach the subject.

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On the first day of our most recent cruise in December, we were asked by our Luminae server, Luminae Maitre d' and Michael's bartender as to whether we would like to consider dining in a specialty restaurant.  We said no and we were not asked again.  We had a problem with our bathroom and reported on the 2nd day of the cruise to the stateroom attendant.  Our butler and butler manager were all over it.  Subsequently we were surprised by our butler as to whether we would like to have complimentary dining in Tuscan Grill or Qsine.  I think it was offered because of the bathroom issue.  We accepted to dine at Qsine.  Qsine was less than 10% full when we were there, which explained why the "push" for selling specialty dining.  

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7 hours ago, 2chiefs said:

We just got off a 14-day Southern Caribbean cruise on the Reflection out of Ft Lauderdale. I'm already annoyed by all the upselling of drink packages, specialty dining, spa etc. etc. You can't go anywhere on the ship anymore without being hawked all the time with the upsell pitch at every venue entrance.

 

This cruise beat all for the annoyance. I've never seen these two tactics before:

1. During the Elite event in the evening, the servers tried to sell specialty dining. I wonder if they get a commission?

 

2. While dining in the MDR during our late seating, the head waiter came up to our table of 8 with a chef from the galley. The two of them together pitched specialty dining while we were eating our dinner!!! Unbelievable! If it gets any worse, I wouldn't be surprized that they drive people away.

 

Has anyone else experienced this or worse?

 

T

 

 

 

No, I haven’t experienced anything like this.  I can recall times when waiters asked if I wanted a dessert or a refill on my coffee. I can recall times when I was asked if I wanted the bed made up. I can recall times when I was asked if I wanted extra ice with my drink. I can recall times when I was asked if I wanted to try a specialty restaurant. I can recall times when the sommelier wondered if I wanted to try a wine tasting event. I can recall times when severs in the bar asked if I wanted another drink. I don’t find any of these requests to be unusual or offensive or intrusive in any way. As far as I am concerned, there are three ways to respond to such offers of service: a) Yes please. b) No thanks. or c) Tell me more. Getting all huffy seems a bit of an over reaction.

Stan

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I was on the Summit 12/8/18 sailing and the push for specialty dining bookings was downright aggressive!  They came through the MDR EVERY night (we took all dinners in the MDR this cruise), were in the boarding and debark area by the central elevators/security at each an every port blocking people trying to get off/on the ship, in the buffet, roaming the pool deck, in the lounges ....... simply EVERYWHERE.  I even had 2 VM from the Captains Club host offering to assist with Specialty Dining reservations and that he was authorized to give me an "exclusive" 10% discount as an Elite Captains Club Member. The only Captains Club event I attended was the helipad sailaway on the first day from St. croix, and they were there as well.  A couple I met who went to the Elite social hour said they were there as well........  From all reports the specialty venues were all consistently near empty.

 

For my Mother paying $45 to dine in Tuscan is steep as she can only eat a salad and maybe half an entree at most before she gets full.  Were the cover more reasonable than a mere 10% discount, or just lower in the first place, we probably would have dined there at least once, maybe twice as she enjoys the food.  Qsines menu is too "out there" for her and she doesn't eat Sushi or Indian food (they had an under-attended Indian night at Sushi on 5).  Even had they offered the LePetit Chef I don't think we would have ponied up the $50pp plus for that either.  At $20-30pp for specialty dining I'd do it almost every evening and forgo the MDR.  At $35 maybe once or twice in the cruise.  But at $45-50pp or higher ....... yeah, the MDR is where you will find me ......

 

Ultimately they need to rethink their pricing strategy for Specialty Dining, or the spaces will continue to be underutilized.  At present amounts they are driving away more business than they are generating.

Edited by AtlantaCruiser72
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Whilst having lunch on our last 14 night cruise on the Eclipse the Sommelier knew that we liked nice wine. She therefore decided to spend 15 minutes trying to persuade us to pay $50 or maybe a little more to attend a wine tasting event.

she could or would not grasp that we were not interested, she tried to tempt us again the next time we saw her and was politely told that we were having dinner and did not wish to be sold to, the events are advertised in the daily planner and if we choose to go to them we do not need to be harassed while we are eating. She got the message but it is this pushy attitude that is making us rethink our cruising choices.

 

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We have experience with being asked about specialty dinner(most times we already have it so they just go away) but our last cruise on the Constellation they did not have certain restaurants so we did not get it.  So I was interested when they came by and I got a 30% discount which was  great.  When I checked our account the next day they did not give us 30% but 20%. I called and they said they would correct it - they took it off but never billed me the right pricing.  So I got a very good discount - 100%.

 

Usually I just say no politely and they go away.  I imagine they don't enjoy bothering people either.

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7 hours ago, GottaKnowWhen said:

No, I haven’t experienced anything like this.  I can recall times when waiters asked if I wanted a dessert or a refill on my coffee. I can recall times when I was asked if I wanted the bed made up. I can recall times when I was asked if I wanted extra ice with my drink. I can recall times when I was asked if I wanted to try a specialty restaurant. I can recall times when the sommelier wondered if I wanted to try a wine tasting event. I can recall times when severs in the bar asked if I wanted another drink. I don’t find any of these requests to be unusual or offensive or intrusive in any way. As far as I am concerned, there are three ways to respond to such offers of service: a) Yes please. b) No thanks. or c) Tell me more. Getting all huffy seems a bit of an over reaction.

Stan

Gee Stan. You sound a little more "huffy" at me than I am about the upselling.

No need to attack me about an observation I have. 

T

Edited by 2chiefs
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It is the same as a robo call there is never ever ever really a good time.    

 

I am sure that some would compalain that they weren’t asked because they didn’t know that it was available or informed about any of the stuff they were selling.  Believe it or not but there are passengers sailing that think they  have to eat in buffet because they didn’t know that’s the MDR was included.    There are others that are in suites and AQ and dine in the MDR because they didn’t know that  Blu or  Luminae was their restaurant.   It is a shame that the host in the MDR didn’t inform them.   So to add more revenue  Celebrity wants to make sure that all passengers know about the extras or the special prices that just brings it down to what it should be.  

 

Upselling is part of doing business everywhere.  A friend was a manager at Office Depot and was fired becasue his store didn’t improve performance.  I asked how can you generate more business and he said by having the employees upsell or seek more.  Eg when someone purchases paper ask or suggest ink, pens,  and etc.

 

Fast food restaurants.  How many times have you been asked if want fries or larger drink to go with it?

 

 

 

happy cruising 🌊🚢🇺🇸🌅

 

 

 

 

 

 

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