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Other cruise lines moving to Oceania's "buffet" service style


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One of the reasons many of us love Oceania is the "non self service" system in the Terrace Cafe. Interesting USA Today article regarding other cruise lines planning to move to service by staff in buffet areas in response to Covid.

 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2020/10/07/future-of-cruise-ship-buffets-carnival-norwegian-royal-caribbean/3585196001/

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The real test of the buffet is proving to be something other than self serve versus staff serve. The new challenge, for some, is now a four letter word. That would is line. As former military officers Dan and I fully understand the efficiencies and operations of a line.

 

At our two local major Buffet restaurants, one quite famous, the Buffet Line has now been established. Actually it’s lines because there are separate lines for different foods. There is now a large board as you enter telling all what is being served. One is no longer allowed to wander and browse along the serving area. To eat, one gets in the line at spaced intervals and proceeds through the line. One does not jump the line or skip the line, but stays in line to await his turn at the next station. If one is at Station 2 and doesn’t want anything until Station 6, they stay in the line and wait until they get to Station 6. If one is seated and only wants more of something from Station 6, they still must go to the back of the line and progress to that point.

 

One can only depart the line to return to their table. A very pleasant smiling young lady was there to maintain the order and flow of the line. If one choose to ignore the smiling young lady and buck the system, almost immediately Big Burly Gnarly Dude appeared from behind the counter and he didn’t smile. He gives you two choices and 2.2 seconds to choose or he does for you. 
 

Order and physical spacing are maintained. There are some patrons that really like the new Line. No more people cutting them off or trying to yell over their shoulders. They appreciate that a line is lateral not horizontal. Others really grapple with the concept of a LINE, and are put off by it. I should add, one wears their masks while in the Line.


So the question becomes, what will the buffet look like and how will it be operated once sailing resumes?

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Old news. This has been known for months and has been in place on the few river and ocean-going cruise lines that have already returned to service. Further the writer is clearly out of touch because the opening sentence of the article is :

"As the cruise industry's Nov. 1 restart date approaches..." . As we know both NCLH and Royal Caribbean announced the suspension of cruising would extend through November 30...and my guess is Carnival will do likewise.

 

NCL eliminated self service fleet wide in its buffets all the way back in January when COVID-19 was first identified as a potential serious threat. i know because I was cruising on an NCL ship at the time and the GM told me it wasn't just on our ship...it was ordered by the corporate office for the fleet.

 

Further no self  service in buffets has been standard operating procedure on cruise ships for years whenever there's a noro outbreak.

 

49 minutes ago, pinotlover said:


So the question becomes, what will the buffet look like and how will it be operated once sailing resumes?

There were absolutely no issues, other than some grumbling by a few cranks, when NCL eliminated self service In January. People waited in line without causing a problem.

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22 minutes ago, njhorseman said:

Old news. This has been known for months and has been in place on the few river and ocean-going cruise lines that have already returned to service. Further the writer is clearly out of touch because the opening sentence of the article is :

"As the cruise industry's Nov. 1 restart date approaches..." . As we know both NCLH and Royal Caribbean announced the suspension of cruising would extend through November 30...and my guess is Carnival will do likewise.

 

NCL eliminated self service fleet wide in its buffets all the way back in January when COVID-19 was first identified as a potential serious threat. i know because I was cruising on an NCL ship at the time and the GM told me it wasn't just on our ship...it was ordered by the corporate office for the fleet.

 

Further no self  service in buffets has been standard operating procedure on cruise ships for years whenever there's a noro outbreak.

 

There were absolutely no issues, other than some grumbling by a few cranks, when NCL eliminated self service In January. People waited in line without causing a problem.

Old news to you maybe and probably not a surprise to other experienced cruisers. I shared the article because I thought discussion of the matter and some of the specific responses from cruise lines would be of interest.

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20 minutes ago, edgee said:

Old news to you maybe and probably not a surprise to other experienced cruisers. I shared the article because I thought discussion of the matter and some of the specific responses from cruise lines would be of interest.

Perhaps I should have been clearer that my comments were really directed at lack of timeliness of the article...modulo some  details it could have been written months ago...hence my "old news" opener.

 

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8 hours ago, pinotlover said:

As former military officers Dan and I fully understand the efficiencies and operations of a line.

LOL. So non-officers can't understand such things??? 🙂 

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The  buffet situation is one that was sold to the public , much like the Las Vegas idea, of an over abundant cornucopia of food....without restriction..... First hog to the trough mentality.   

We all have experiences and seen what would be considered normal people turning into animals grabbing and  snarling to get every little bit.    People reduced to the lowest common denominator by greed.      The midnight buffet is another offering that enticed people to get out of control.  This is or was behavior that was fostered by many ship lines... More --more.. More and more of more ....if you take our cruise.

  I once saw people at a  reception that offered pastrami that was animistic   People in  fine suits and clothes grabbing at this pile of meat... pushing ..shoving ....stuffing greasy meat into $500 suit  pockets.....      The Germans would call that Fressing... eating like an animal.     

 On a HAL  cruise last year eating became a contest of how much and how often can I pig out.     People, like rats scurrying  to  hide food and bring it back to their cabin to horde

       

So it will have to be a new approach that doesn't appeal to  the inherent greed that  was sold to them as acceptable.

Manners can be fun......

Anyone can recognize problems of efficiencies to some extent,  However, officers, or those placed in positions of responsibility and trained in skills of management/ command are in a far better position to better assess and respond to a situation than the casual observer......  So ya' non officers are less than able to understand the big picture of a situation  and  tend to react to things more often than not.    Next time your on a flight do you consider going up and lecturing the flight crew on how you think they should fly the plane......  ????  You see my point.

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56 minutes ago, Hawaiidan said:

So ya' non officers are less than able to understand the big picture of a situation  and  tend to react to things more often than not. 

Where on earth do you get that idea? If I weren't amused by your clueless-ness, I'd be insulted.

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9 hours ago, Hawaiidan said:

Anyone can recognize problems of efficiencies to some extent,  However, officers, or those placed in positions of responsibility and trained in skills of management/ command are in a far better position to better assess and respond to a situation than the casual observer......  So ya' non officers are less than able to understand the big picture of a situation  and  tend to react to things more often than not.    Next time your on a flight do you consider going up and lecturing the flight crew on how you think they should fly the plane......  ????  You see my point.

With all due respect, you are so far off point.  As a former enlisted man " placed in positions of responsibility and trained in skills of management/ command" in combat and non combat situations I am insulted.  " So ya' non officers are less than able to understand the big picture of a situation  and  tend to react to things more often than not."  Give me a break.  Your  " Next time your on a flight do you consider going up and lecturing the flight crew on how you think they should fly the plane......  ???? "  is not relevant to your point.   In response to Pinotlover's statement military officers "fully understand the efficiencies and operations of a line" that may be true if you are running a mess hall in Germany but I would note that the US has not used a military infantry combat line tactic since the civil war. 

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On 10/7/2020 at 9:33 PM, Cruise Wonderland said:

Holland America also has the "non self service" buffet even before the pandemic.

Yes and HAL does it poorly by understaffing it. Consistently have to wait for poached eggs every morning while one guy is assigned to handle all freshly made eggs and toast in HAL buffet. Alternative is to accept inedible scrambled eggs made from a carton of mix..inedible.

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I wouldn’t be surprised, for at least the short term, to see all made to order items disappear from the buffet lines. If you want made to order, try the GDR or Waves, imo will probably be your new option.

 

This has already happened at our major buffet restaurants here.

Edited by pinotlover
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On 10/7/2020 at 8:47 PM, Hawaiidan said:

 

<snip> 

I once saw people at a  reception that offered pastrami that was animistic   People in  fine suits and clothes grabbing at this pile of meat... pushing ..shoving ....stuffing greasy meat into $500 suit  pockets.....      The Germans would call that Fressing... eating like an animal.     

 <snip

I'm not sure that you meant animistic:

 

1 : a doctrine that the vital principle of organic development is immaterial spirit. 2 : attribution of conscious life to objects in and phenomena of nature or to inanimate objects. 3 : belief in the existence of spirits separable from bodies.

 

gary

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We Brits adore a well maintained and orderly queue, lockdown and new covid procedures have allowed us to revel in the beauty of a well spaced and maintained queue that everyone understands and adheres to. This will be no problem on my May 12th Sailing on Sirena, the over abundance of Brits on that cruise will happily mentor and help others understand the intricacies of a good queue 🙂

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back to the subject at hand. FDR inferred a day or so ago that the Terrace will not be like it has been by walking around, picking out your food, and they serve it to you. What they will do initially is have you sit down, you'll be waited on and given a menu of items that is on the buffet, then they will go and get it and bring it to you. Almost negates the idea of looking at something before you select it, but it should help with social distancing. Of course with 50% occupancy it should come off easier. 

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55 minutes ago, ORV said:

Back to the subject at hand. FDR inferred a day or so ago that the Terrace will not be like it has been by walking around, picking out your food, and they serve it to you. What they will do initially is have you sit down, you'll be waited on and given a menu of items that is on the buffet, then they will go and get it and bring it to you. Almost negates the idea of looking at something before you select it, but it should help with social distancing. Of course with 50% occupancy it should come off easier. 

 Thats all... Theater......thats all.... not worth paying to be on a cruise for being herded like sheep.....

 

5abd6bf7b581b.image.jpg

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1 hour ago, ORV said:

Back to the subject at hand. FDR inferred a day or so ago that the Terrace will not be like it has been by walking around, picking out your food, and they serve it to you. What they will do initially is have you sit down, you'll be waited on and given a menu of items that is on the buffet, then they will go and get it and bring it to you. Almost negates the idea of looking at something before you select it, but it should help with social distancing. Of course with 50% occupancy it should come off easier. 

 

My mum uses a walker/wheelchair and was quite anxious about “getting in the way” while having someone carry her plate around the buffet to help her select what she wanted, so this sounds perfect for her - good news! 

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17 minutes ago, ToxM said:

 

My mum uses a walker/wheelchair and was quite anxious about “getting in the way” while having someone carry her plate around the buffet to help her select what she wanted, so this sounds perfect for her - good news! 

Keep in mind that this will only be initially, perhaps till there is a vaccine and things settle down. 

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5 minutes ago, ORV said:

Keep in mind that this will only be initially, perhaps till there is a vaccine and things settle down. 

 

We are on Sirena in May next year - this will be the last cruise my mum will be able to do most likely, so I am hoping this will still be in effect,. 

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