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Should X keep the buffet self serve, staff serve or replace with a food hall?


Should X keep the buffet self serve, staff serve or replace with a food hall?  

135 members have voted

  1. 1. Should X keep the buffet self serve, staff serve or replace with a food hall?

    • Keep the buffet as is, self serve
      23
    • Keep the buffet but make it staff-serve
      83
    • Replace the buffet with a food court/food hall
      29


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The general thoughts are that staff-serve may cost a little bit more and cause more congestion especially at peak times.  A food hall/food court may cost the same as a buffet as the assumption is since food is made to order, far less waste.

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You might want to clarify your questions. By staff serve, do you mean passengers carrying their plate while staff handle the ladles and put the food on their plates, or do you mean that you would order your food and the staff would serve you at your table? Both of these options have been discussed on the existing buffet thread, and your poll doesn't differentiate between the two.

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20 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

You might want to clarify your questions. By staff serve, do you mean passengers carrying their plate while staff handle the ladles and put the food on their plates, or do you mean that you would order your food and the staff would serve you at your table? Both of these options have been discussed on the existing buffet thread, and your poll doesn't differentiate between the two.

 

Most questions/topics/polls are recycled, yet I haven't seen a post C19 buffet poll inclusive of food halls.  With staff serve, its too late to edit but I originally meant the staff handles the ladles, this would include either the pax handing the plate to the server or the server ladling food to a new plate and hand that plate to you.

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4 minutes ago, NutsAboutGolf said:

 

Most questions/topics/polls are recycled, yet I haven't seen a post C19 buffet poll inclusive of food halls.  With staff serve, its too late to edit but I originally meant the staff handles the ladles, this would include either the pax handing the plate to the server or the server ladling food to a new plate and hand that plate to you.

OK, thanks for the clarification.

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HAL's buffet was nearly 100% staff served and there were no long waits.  The staff had plates/bowls behind the counter and were quick to serve up your choices.  The salad bar was made to order, filled with fresh ingredients and dressings (the dressing bottles on Celebrity are dripping and disgusting!) There is no need for self-serve in a buffet!

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1 hour ago, julia said:

HAL's buffet was nearly 100% staff served and there were no long waits.  The staff had plates/bowls behind the counter and were quick to serve up your choices.  The salad bar was made to order, filled with fresh ingredients and dressings (the dressing bottles on Celebrity are dripping and disgusting!) There is no need for self-serve in a buffet!

 

But unless it has changed, you get the stare of death if you ask for a little more than they put on your plate (like, 2 scoops of broccoli rather than 1). I was NOT impressed with the way HAL handled it my one time on them.

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3 hours ago, julia said:

HAL's buffet was nearly 100% staff served and there were no long waits.  The staff had plates/bowls behind the counter and were quick to serve up your choices.  The salad bar was made to order, filled with fresh ingredients and dressings (the dressing bottles on Celebrity are dripping and disgusting!) There is no need for self-serve in a buffet!

 

2 hours ago, WrittenOnYourHeart said:

 

But unless it has changed, you get the stare of death if you ask for a little more than they put on your plate (like, 2 scoops of broccoli rather than 1). I was NOT impressed with the way HAL handled it my one time on them.

That's unfortunate, @WrittenOnYourHeart. We've had many cruises with HAL, on the smallest, oldest ships to the biggest, newest ships in the current fleet and we really do like their approach to service in the Lido. I'm surprised that you had an issue getting a 2nd scoop of anything, as I'm a big man with a healthy appetite and have never experienced any difficulty getting what I wanted with a smile. On the other hand, by far our favourite specialty restaurant was a real disappointment on our last HAL cruise as the food just wasn't up to its usual level of excellence, just proving that experiences can vary. 

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1 hour ago, Fouremco said:

 

That's unfortunate, @WrittenOnYourHeart. We've had many cruises with HAL, on the smallest, oldest ships to the biggest, newest ships in the current fleet and we really do like their approach to service in the Lido. I'm surprised that you had an issue getting a 2nd scoop of anything, as I'm a big man with a healthy appetite and have never experienced any difficulty getting what I wanted with a smile. On the other hand, by far our favourite specialty restaurant was a real disappointment on our last HAL cruise as the food just wasn't up to its usual level of excellence, just proving that experiences can vary. 

We had the opposite issue on HAL... so much food waste because even if we asked for a very small portion, we were always served way more than we wanted.  Not at all impressed with the HAL buffet!

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4 minutes ago, twincheryl said:

We had the opposite issue on HAL... so much food waste because even if we asked for a very small portion, we were always served way more than we wanted.  Not at all impressed with the HAL buffet!

LOL. This is starting to sound like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. For you too much, for @WrittenOnYourHeart too little, and for the serving was just right! :classic_biggrin:

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9 hours ago, NutsAboutGolf said:

The general thoughts are that staff-serve may cost a little bit more and cause more congestion especially at peak times.  A food hall/food court may cost the same as a buffet as the assumption is since food is made to order, far less waste.

During a norovirus outbreak, a coupla years back, staff served guests in the buffet. The Hotel Director told us that there was a 20% savings in food served as there was far less wastage. 

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Of the choices I prefer the staff-served buffet.  My true wish is that the main dining room were open for all meals.  I don’t like fighting for my table or my food.

 

I got the evil eye at the buffet a time or two.  I was traveling with my late Mom, who was mobility impaired.  Each meal I settled her at a table, went through the buffet fixing her plate, took it to the table, then went back for my food.  If I chose the same stations for both of us, the second time through I got some ugly looks and skimpy servings.

 

Oh, for the days when those were our biggest problems.

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14 hours ago, Fouremco said:

LOL. This is starting to sound like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. For you too much, for @WrittenOnYourHeart too little, and for the serving was just right! :classic_biggrin:

 

Yeah, it seems as just with everything, people have different experiences. 

 

Though let's be honest, a "staff served buffet" is NOT a buffet. It's a cafeteria.

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All Main Dining Rooms (MDR) need to be eliminated.  Not only are they packed too close for comfortable dining and conversation, but they are hot beds of virus (corona and noro) transmission.  The actual food is better in the buffets and they offer healthier choices.

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10 hours ago, auntjoy036 said:

Of the choices I prefer the staff-served buffet.  My true wish is that the main dining room were open for all meals.  I don’t like fighting for my table or my food.


 

That is one thing were HAL exceeds Celebrity.

 

First, staff handle the majority of the food and it doesn’t take longer than on Celebrity (and the salads they make are delicious).
 

Second, all the tables are set by staff (cutlery, glasses etc.) and cleaned again in a heartbeat. So you always see which tables are available. We never had to “hunt“ for a table.
 

We prefer Celebrity in general but had to say HAL won in terms of buffet and buffet restaurant service (not variety).

Edited by Miaminice
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3 hours ago, Ride-The-Waves said:

All Main Dining Rooms (MDR) need to be eliminated.  Not only are they packed too close for comfortable dining and conversation, but they are hot beds of virus (corona and noro) transmission.  The actual food is better in the buffets and they offer healthier choices.

Respectfully, the elimination of all MDR's will never happen, nor should it, IMO.  Tables can be reconfigured to offer more space if necessary, menus can be single use to eliminate the spread of germs, or encased in plastic so that they can be cleaned between each use.  They day that ships eliminate the MDR in order for crowd control (or to implement some version of social distancing) will be the final straw for many cruisers who may still want to cruise.  MDR is looked at by many as an opportunity to get a little dressed up, meet some new people, and enjoy some conversation over a nice meal.  I, for one, have not found the food options to be any healthier in the buffet vs. MDR.  Apparently, we have had vastly different experiences.

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On 4/6/2020 at 11:23 AM, julia said:

HAL's buffet was nearly 100% staff served and there were no long waits.  The staff had plates/bowls behind the counter and were quick to serve up your choices.  The salad bar was made to order, filled with fresh ingredients and dressings (the dressing bottles on Celebrity are dripping and disgusting!) There is no need for self-serve in a buffet!

I agree , it was a little slower but not much , I think the self serve will go away .

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We had our first HAL experience last year after cruising mostly with Celebrity and Princess for over 30 years.  I'll now find it difficult to go back to unstaffed buffets.   For the first couple of days I hated the HAL buffet - couldn't quite figure out where to enter lines, disliked telling someone what I wanted instead of just reaching for myself, etc.   However, I soon reversed my opinion and loved it.  

 

First of all we really appreciated knowing we weren't handling utensils that had been already handled by dozens of others, many with questionable manners and common sense.   The staff we had always honored any requests for 'more' or 'just a little', many got to recognize us and remember our choices.    The salad bar was amazing, and the always hot and fresh breakfast items much better than the usual fare on Celebrity and Princess.   It didn't seem to take much longer to get through the lines and our per diem cost was lower than on the Solstice several months later.   What Celebrity and Princess do with their buffets when (if?) they return to business will definitely influence my future bookings.  

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On 4/7/2020 at 1:36 PM, Kartgv said:

We had our first HAL experience last year after cruising mostly with Celebrity and Princess for over 30 years.  I'll now find it difficult to go back to unstaffed buffets.   For the first couple of days I hated the HAL buffet - couldn't quite figure out where to enter lines, disliked telling someone what I wanted instead of just reaching for myself, etc.   However, I soon reversed my opinion and loved it.  

 

First of all we really appreciated knowing we weren't handling utensils that had been already handled by dozens of others, many with questionable manners and common sense.   The staff we had always honored any requests for 'more' or 'just a little', many got to recognize us and remember our choices.    The salad bar was amazing, and the always hot and fresh breakfast items much better than the usual fare on Celebrity and Princess.   It didn't seem to take much longer to get through the lines and our per diem cost was lower than on the Solstice several months later.   What Celebrity and Princess do with their buffets when (if?) they return to business will definitely influence my future bookings.  

 

I agree completely.  We sailed on Celebrity for years and then recently did two years on HAL Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam and we loved the food and service in the buffet.  We never waited long to be served.  Perhaps it is more cafeteria than buffet but the food is fresher and having crew serve you is more sanitary.  The only downside is the extremely heavy, large chairs in the buffet that are difficult to move, and the buffet seating is quite crowded. But the quality of the food is superior to Celebrity in most respects. That said, we were back on Celebrity (Silhouette) this year and after making the adjustment to the differences in the buffet and food quality over a couple of days we still love the Solstice-class ships, and especially, Cafe al Bacio.

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