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How is the World Cafe operating now?


Richard2
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29 minutes ago, Richard2 said:

Can recent cruisers describe how the World Cafe is operating now? Have selections changed compared with the range of offerings before Covid? 

This past week with 350 pax on board all was normal. Both sides open. Unbelievable service. Great selection. Sushi, gelato, unbelievable deserts available every night. One interesting change is that the crew members insisted on carrying your dish to your table for you. Or delivering it when it was ready if they were making something special for you. We ate outside most nights and at times were the only ones out there. As you probably know, due to health protocols they dish up the food for you based on what and how much you request.

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1 hour ago, JM0115 said:

This past week with 350 pax on board all was normal. Both sides open. Unbelievable service. Great selection. Sushi, gelato, unbelievable deserts available every night. One interesting change is that the crew members insisted on carrying your dish to your table for you. Or delivering it when it was ready if they were making something special for you. We ate outside most nights and at times were the only ones out there. As you probably know, due to health protocols they dish up the food for you based on what and how much you request.

JM - what kind of dishes did you or others have them fix up special for you at the WC?  I had heard you could get a steak or seared/cooked shrimp, but perhaps there were other dishes?

 

I agree!  On our Bermuda cruise - the service was exceptional!!   And the view cannot be beat - especially if you eat outisde.

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7 minutes ago, CCWineLover said:

JM - what kind of dishes did you or others have them fix up special for you at the WC?  I had heard you could get a steak or seared/cooked shrimp, but perhaps there were other dishes?

 

I agree!  On our Bermuda cruise - the service was exceptional!!   And the view cannot be beat - especially if you eat outisde.

We typically did not get anything special except for breakfast with eggs made our way like “over easy”. We also got eggs Benedict with no ham but with smoked salmon.  I do not think there is much that they would not make for you if you asked as long as they had the ingredients.  When I was was saying that they would bring it to you when it was done referred to ordering the over easy or special eggs Benedict or one of the pasta dishes that they had on offer- they had to prep it and then bring it over. They would find us whether inside or outside. 

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On the July 17 Iceland cruise there were 860 passengers. We carried our own plates to the tables although one morning my wife asked for gluten-free toast and it was brought to the table. Noticed the usual passengers occasionally breaking the queue at the stations to get one item. First time on Viking so no reference to whether or not there was increased spacing. I realize that you are asking about World Cafe but our dinner in Manfredi's felt very uncomfortable with the closeness to the couples on either side. Also the queueing for The Restaurant between 6:45-7:15 stretched branching to the stairway or through the Security station.

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Ate breakfast and many lunches from World Cafe in July on the Orion in Bermuda.

Tables were the same but some had signs on them to not sit,  to space out the occupied table. We ate many days  outside along the sides of World cafe. One side always in the shade.  Or we ate near Aquavit  bar if it was too hot. 

Staff plates your food and then you take it to a table, unless a special request. 

 

BTW, when we ate in Manfred's at 8 :pm we had no one  near us.  we and one other table closed the place down. When I cruise , I usually eat dinner at 8pm. It is an old throw back to late fixed  seating on Celebrity. 

Edited by Azulann
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1 hour ago, Richard2 said:

JM: Thanks for the information. Were only 350 onboard because Viking is limiting capacity? Have they removed any tables to increase spacing between them?

I believe that there were only 350 on board because that is how many booked the cruise. I think they were trying for around 400 or 450 (50%) capacity. We had many travel advisors on our cruise, I am guessing between 50-75% of the people were travel advisors. Some seats in World Cafe were blocked off with the do not sit sign but it was not an issue because we tended to eat late around 8pm and it was almost empty when we ate there and we almost always ate outside which was very empty too. The seats behind the hot tub (between the hot tub and the Aquavit bar) were often all full at lunch and there was no blocked seating outside but I was not concerned as it was outside anyway. Often we sat on the outside tables to the right or left of the world cafe along the edge of the ship where there was shade a a breeze and it was really nice to look out on the ocean. On sea days there was too much "breeze" there though.

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37 minutes ago, Heartgrove said:

On the July 17 Iceland cruise there were 860 passengers. We carried our own plates to the tables although one morning my wife asked for gluten-free toast and it was brought to the table. Noticed the usual passengers occasionally breaking the queue at the stations to get one item. First time on Viking so no reference to whether or not there was increased spacing. I realize that you are asking about World Cafe but our dinner in Manfredi's felt very uncomfortable with the closeness to the couples on either side. Also the queueing for The Restaurant between 6:45-7:15 stretched branching to the stairway or through the Security station.

Agreed Heartgrove about the uncomfortable closeness for dining. It seems like our cruise was the highest capacity - 860 passengers is only 70 below fully booked.  Lucky people who have half or less capacity on their cruises.  As far as spacing in the World Cafe, all the tables along the windows usually set for 4 were set for 2.  Loved that.  However the 2 person tables along the half wall had the same very close spacing.  As far as food choice, I thought the breakfasts offered the same but that the lunches and dinners has less hot entree choices.  Never had anyone offer to bring plates to table.  The sushi counter at dinner was bigger and better then ever as was the cold shellfish counter on the other side.  I hope our next cruise is booked to half capacity!

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Lorna - we knew we were spoiled with just 377 on our Bermuda cruise.  Strangely, the WC was nearly empty at dinner time. Almost sad - the waiters couldn't understand it.  Manfredi's was always packed they said, and so was the Restaurant - so why wasn't anyone coming to the WC?   Their theories were that people wanted to sit and be served, and the perception of the WC as a buffet was hurting it.

The food was indeed excellent!  I also thought the sushi section was much better and much nicer!

 

I doubt we will have this luxury in the future as people start filling up the ships!

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31 minutes ago, CCWineLover said:

Lorna - we knew we were spoiled with just 377 on our Bermuda cruise.  Strangely, the WC was nearly empty at dinner time. Almost sad - the waiters couldn't understand it.  Manfredi's was always packed they said, and so was the Restaurant - so why wasn't anyone coming to the WC?   Their theories were that people wanted to sit and be served, and the perception of the WC as a buffet was hurting it.

The food was indeed excellent!  I also thought the sushi section was much better and much nicer!

 

I doubt we will have this luxury in the future as people start filling up the ships!

Since our cruise is so full, do you think getting early reservations in the Restaurant or Manfredi's would be less crowded?

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51 minutes ago, JeriGail said:

Since our cruise is so full, do you think getting early reservations in the Restaurant or Manfredi's would be less crowded?

According to the restaurant manager, 5:30 to 6:30 is prime time for the restaurants. 8 pm is less crowded.

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We had only 170~ people on our Bermuda cruise so nothing was ever crowded. 

We didn't make reservations until we boarded and had no issues getting table for 2 at 6:00-6:30 every time.

WC had a much expanded sushi/sashimi selection since our last cruise in 2019---that was a pleasant surprise. Servers carried our plates to our tables most of the time. They also did a much better job with the premium wines---had the menus and would serve whichever wine we wanted with each course.

 

WC had just as many choices as pre-COVID. Every lunch and dinner had multiple roasts, there was always fish available, always pizza and pasta if that's your thing, salads, etc.

If you are a picky eater, pescatarian, vegetarian, whatever----you will find something you like.

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, JeriGail said:

Since our cruise is so full, do you think getting early reservations in the Restaurant or Manfredi's would be less crowded?

Jeri - when we sailed on full Viking ships pre-COVID, dinners always started at 6:00.   It was very easy to get reservations from 6:00 to 6:45 for Manfredi's or Chef's Table then, and as people have said, 8:00 and on were also easy.   Our Restaurant Managers have told us prime time is 7:00 to 8:00.

Reservations were never used at the Restaurant - either pre-COVID or on our Welcome Back Cruise. 

Because of our observations, we find we don't get too hung up on reservations ahead of time.  Seems like we just go with the flow, check out the menus, and decide how we feel that day, and pretty much can get into anywhere except 6:45 to 8:00 or so.   Of course, the World Cafe is easy as well anytime!

 

Note - all this can depend on the itineraries.  If there are a lot of long day excursions going on, that can make a difference.   We did notice that on sea days, seems like people ate a bit earlier.  (anxious to get to dinner after a long day of not doing much?).   Just some observations.

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8 minutes ago, CCWineLover said:

Jeri - when we sailed on full Viking ships pre-COVID, dinners always started at 6:00.   It was very easy to get reservations from 6:00 to 6:45 for Manfredi's or Chef's Table then, and as people have said, 8:00 and on were also easy.   Our Restaurant Managers have told us prime time is 7:00 to 8:00.

My concern isn't as much being able to get reservations, but finding a time when the various restaurants aren't as packed.  I'd like to be able to get a table that's not shoulder-to-shoulder with other diners.

I'm trying to not be too concerned about getting reservations and going more with the flow, but I'm more than a bit OCD!  😀  I've been waiting so long for this cruise and want it to go well.

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On a recent Sea cruise, all the restaurants opened at 5:30pm.  We had dinner at 6:15/6:30 at the Restaurant a couple of nights.  Not busy and it made for a relaxing dinner.  But it might have been rushed because the kitchen wasn't busy.

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So it seems as if Viking doesn’t have an actual policy on how many passengers sail and will fully book a cruise if it can? 
We have just made a late booking on the 24 October Med cruise starting in Venice (or somewhere adjacent to Venice, presumably). The earliest seating we could get in any restaurant was 8.00pm and most are for 8.30 and two for 9pm. We prefer a bit earlier but it’s not a game changer, although we’ll try to shift things around when on board. Could only get one booking for the Chef’s Table, though….

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15 hours ago, JeriGail said:

My concern isn't as much being able to get reservations, but finding a time when the various restaurants aren't as packed.  I'd like to be able to get a table that's not shoulder-to-shoulder with other diners.

I'm trying to not be too concerned about getting reservations and going more with the flow, but I'm more than a bit OCD!  😀  I've been waiting so long for this cruise and want it to go well.

 

On our cruise in July with 860 passengers, we could only get one 8:30 reservation for Manfredi's. Even that late passengers were crowded in and actually after we had been seated two other couples were seated one each side of us. One word - tight.

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20 hours ago, CCWineLover said:

I doubt we will have this luxury in the future as people start filling up the ships!

While it is nice to have a bit more service with lower PAX counts, Viking will go out of business if they cannot fill up their ships so I am hoping that the ships will be more full because we all want Viking to be successful! Also, I feel for the crew as the gratuities are based on passenger count and with lower passenger count they are getting lower gratuities to spread amongst the crew.

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On 9/11/2021 at 7:38 PM, CCWineLover said:

JM - what kind of dishes did you or others have them fix up special for you at the WC?  I had heard you could get a steak or seared/cooked shrimp, but perhaps there were other dishes?

 

In addition to the always available steak, salmon, and chicken there are usually a special dish or two. Typically, samples of these will be sitting on the counter.  When you ask for them, they are then prepared “a la minute”. In the before times, one usually stood around and waited and it was handed to you. I noticed on our Iceland cruise (around 650 aboard) that the chef would say I will bring it to you.  That never happened as I used the cooking time to get a salad or a bread and when I was walking back by the cooking station he was typically coming out the door looking for me. 

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And don’t forget the Aquavit Terrace cooking station!
Cooked to order stir fry, Asian, Mexican, Italian, seafood, etc. on a rotating basis.

And nice quiet seating in the back. So quiet that the ships officers gather there for uninterrupted meals.

Always hot and always good!!

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47 minutes ago, CILCIANRQTS said:

And don’t forget the Aquavit Terrace cooking station!
Cooked to order stir fry, Asian, Mexican, Italian, seafood, etc. on a rotating basis.

And nice quiet seating in the back. So quiet that the ships officers gather there for uninterrupted meals.

Always hot and always good!!

Agree!  And you can get it extra spicy if you like it that way!

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1 hour ago, CILCIANRQTS said:

And don’t forget the Aquavit Terrace cooking station!
Cooked to order stir fry, Asian, Mexican, Italian, seafood, etc. on a rotating basis.

And nice quiet seating in the back. So quiet that the ships officers gather there for uninterrupted meals.

Always hot and always good!!

Not this station is not available on all ships.  Orion was the first ship that we have sailed that has it.  I know Sky does not have it and I believe neither do Star or Sea. 

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13 minutes ago, Clay Clayton said:

Not this station is not available on all ships.  Orion was the first ship that we have sailed that has it.  I know Sky does not have it and I believe neither do Star or Sea. 

 

No fixed station on the Sun either. They set up portable cooking stations/BBQ's on many nights out on Aquavit Terrace.

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