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What Do You Do With an Arrogant Maitre D'?

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After responding to a question on another thread reminded me of this little experience, I thought I'd post it on here and get the opinion of those wiser and more experienced as to what to do in this case :)

 

Last year while on the Diamond, the only blemish on an otherwise fantastic cruise was the Maitre D' in the Santa Fe Dining Room. We had PC dining and found a waitstaff team that we liked in the Santa Fe, so we ended up alway going there after the second night. The waiter and his assistant were fantastic. The Maitre D', on the other hand, was a jerk - I don't know how else to put it! He was arrogant to everyone, even treated the waitstaff like dirt when he wasn't happy with their performance. There were 6 of us in our group, and the first night they sat us at a table for 4 and a table for 2 that were right next to each other. There wasn't much space between them, so it was effectively like a table for 6. This worked out so well and the waitstaff was so good that silly me, I noted the table numbers and made a reservation the next day for the same 2 tables, explaining on the phone that there were 6 of us in the group and these tables worked out great. They were confirmed, and off we went happily to dinner...or so we thought.

 

When we arrived at the dining room and told the Maitre D' we had reservations for those 2 tables, the man literally had a temper tantrum in front of a reception area full of fellow cruisers. He ranted on about how he had done this last evening as an accommodation to us, this is what he gets for doing a favor, he will never do this again, etc, etc. We all looked at each other in amazement. I don't understand why he would be so upset - its not like he had to do anything special! In any case, we waited until the ranting subsided, our tables were prepared, and we had a great dinner. Each night we showed up after that, he barely said enough to get us a table - which was fine with us.

 

We were hesitant to complain to anyone in authority while the cruise was in progress because after all, we wanted to come back to that restaurant and realized the amount of control he exerted over our future dinner plans! All we could do was write up a comment card at the end of the cruise. We did a very glowing one for the waitstaff, and a not so glowing one for him!

 

My question is, would there have been any better way to handle this situation? It really galled me to be embarrassed like that and not do anything, but I didn't want to cut off my nose to spite my face. We will be on the Star in 3 weeks and want to be ready in case this should happen again. Hopefully not all Maitre D's are like this and he was the exception to the rule.

 

Any thoughts would be appreciated! :)

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Wow, what a jerk! He wasn't "doing you a favor" by seating your group together - it's his J-O-B. Groups of 6 are hardly uncommon.

 

I would have written a complaint, taken it to Guest Relations and ask that it be delivered to the top person in hospitality. I would also have spoken with the Captain's Circle rep, especially if you are Platinum or Elite. There is NO excuse for his behavior, even if you were in his face first (and it sounds as if you were not). To behave in such a boorish and hostile manner was inexcusable, and "punishing" you for the rest of the week was just childish.

 

I also would have made snide comments under my breath, because I too can be childish, but direct confrontations scare me.:rolleyes:

 

I have read of other cruisers having problems with waitstaff and, after their complaints were lodged, having a much better experience. I don't see how he could have made it worse for you.

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Yes go to the pursers desk and request a private meeting with the 'Housekeeping /Dining Room Services Manager'...Don't be aggressive in your approach....this works wonders.:)

I used to be employed in the hospitality industry in my youth.:)

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My question is, would there have been any better way to handle this situation? Any thoughts would be appreciated! :)We will be on the Star in 3 weeks and want to be ready in case this should happen again. Hopefully not all Maitre D's are like this and he was the exception to the rule.
The Diamond handles, at least in Jan 2005, their dining differently than most of the other ships so doubt you will run into the same problem again. The Maitre D's do have an "ego" that is huge and they do like to have control of "their" dining room. It sounds like in your case he did not like someone telling him where they were going to sit. Possibly had you come to the dining room and asked him if you could sit at those two tables you would have had a totally different response. I'm surprised that you were told on the phone that those two tables were confirmed rather than saying you had a confirmation for the time requested.

 

We have never had a problem when making a request for a "standing" reservation at a certain table but have always spoken directly with the Maitre D. They will only make them for certain times, usually corresponding to the times "traditional" seating is occuring. The reason for this is that they have a minimum number of parties that must be seated at each table in order to feed all the passangers. If they made the reservation at a certain table midway through the dinner hour they would only be able to seat one party that evening.

 

On the Diamond they would not take standing reservations and we had to call every couple of days for a reservation. The Maitre Ds were always very accomodating about seating us at a particular table if it was available.

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Hello,

 

I was on the Diamond and loved everything about it but one bartender was really rude to another passenger and was picking a fight with him. I quitely went down to the pursers desk and asked to speak who was in charge of that bartender. Up showed the man in charge of the entire bar staff and I explained situation. He apologized and said he would take care of it. That night the maitre D' came up and advised me that I could order a bottle of wine compliments of his boss. They also spoke with the employee who was removed from that particular bar for the remainder of the cruise and he was a very senior bartender. So I guess what I am saying is that there are managers onboard that we normally don't see that are in charge of the staff including the Maitre D's. For now all you can do is let Princess know.

 

Shelley

 

 

 

After responding to a question on another thread reminded me of this little experience, I thought I'd post it on here and get the opinion of those wiser and more experienced as to what to do in this case :)

 

Last year while on the Diamond, the only blemish on an otherwise fantastic cruise was the Maitre D' in the Santa Fe Dining Room. We had PC dining and found a waitstaff team that we liked in the Santa Fe, so we ended up alway going there after the second night. The waiter and his assistant were fantastic. The Maitre D', on the other hand, was a jerk - I don't know how else to put it! He was arrogant to everyone, even treated the waitstaff like dirt when he wasn't happy with their performance. There were 6 of us in our group, and the first night they sat us at a table for 4 and a table for 2 that were right next to each other. There wasn't much space between them, so it was effectively like a table for 6. This worked out so well and the waitstaff was so good that silly me, I noted the table numbers and made a reservation the next day for the same 2 tables, explaining on the phone that there were 6 of us in the group and these tables worked out great. They were confirmed, and off we went happily to dinner...or so we thought.

 

When we arrived at the dining room and told the Maitre D' we had reservations for those 2 tables, the man literally had a temper tantrum in front of a reception area full of fellow cruisers. He ranted on about how he had done this last evening as an accommodation to us, this is what he gets for doing a favor, he will never do this again, etc, etc. We all looked at each other in amazement. I don't understand why he would be so upset - its not like he had to do anything special! In any case, we waited until the ranting subsided, our tables were prepared, and we had a great dinner. Each night we showed up after that, he barely said enough to get us a table - which was fine with us.

 

We were hesitant to complain to anyone in authority while the cruise was in progress because after all, we wanted to come back to that restaurant and realized the amount of control he exerted over our future dinner plans! All we could do was write up a comment card at the end of the cruise. We did a very glowing one for the waitstaff, and a not so glowing one for him!

 

My question is, would there have been any better way to handle this situation? It really galled me to be embarrassed like that and not do anything, but I didn't want to cut off my nose to spite my face. We will be on the Star in 3 weeks and want to be ready in case this should happen again. Hopefully not all Maitre D's are like this and he was the exception to the rule.

 

Any thoughts would be appreciated! :)

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Wow! I would probably excuse the behavior one time...assuming the man had a bad day. If it happened again, I would suggest (on the spot) to the Maitre'd that if he is unable to accomodate our request we could speak with the Hotel Manager about future arrangements. In a related matter, we were on the Diamond this past Feb (Auckland to Sydney) and also had a problem in the Santa Fe dining room with a bad waiter/assistant waiter team. We were seated more than 15 min before we even got any water (this was at a table of 8) and were "brushed off" when we tried to order some wine. After another 5 min, I walked over to the waiter (who was talking to another waiter and still ignoring our table) and politely asked him to please get the dining room manager. The man turned quite pale, but he quickly got the Maitre'd who appologized and said they were having a "busy night." Noting that the dining room was only half full, I told the Maitre'd that we did not want any more excuses, and if they could not provide us with good service we would go to one of the other dining rooms. From that point the service was excellent but we avoided the Santa Fe for the remainder of the cruise.

 

Hank

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The Maitre D's do have an "ego" that is huge and they do like to have control of "their" dining room. It sounds like in your case he did not like someone telling him where they were going to sit. Possibly had you come to the dining room and asked him if you could sit at those two tables you would have had a totally different response.

 

BJS,

 

That could very well be. I did specifically request those tables over the phone and maybe that's what got him going, the fact that the "control" was taken away from him and it somehow disrupted his plan for the night. And you are correct, they wouldn't take my reservation for the entire cruise, just a couple of nights at a time. The next time I called I just simply requested a time and a number of persons because I didn't want to re-live that experience, but the "damage" with the Maitre D' had already been done. He did what he had to do to serve us after that night, and no more.

 

It sounds like the thing to do on the Star is to make the arrangements directly with the Maitre D', and if there should be an issue like the one on the Diamond, to not hesitate to report it to someone from management. Everyone's tips and experiences have been excellent so far, thanks! :)

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Just a point of information: the ship has 1 Maitre D - he floats between all dining rooms. They have a new position of asst. Maitre D. The front door of all restaurants (including the specialty restaurants) are staffed by either asst. Maitre D's or Head Waiters (this is a supervisory position). You can tell who's who by their uniform. In all likelihood, the person you spoke to was an Asst M or a HW. At any rate, their job is running those PC dining rooms is very stressful. I find that when a staff person is over-reacting and stressed out that if you can relate to that person on a human level and openly sympathesize with is or her situation you defuse things. Probably the person on the phone wasn't supposed to accept a standing res for specific tables (very difficult to manage) or didn't relate the request. While you were exposed to this individual's frustration, I think it was more toward the situation not you personally (though it would be hard not to take it personally). Just my two cents. I find the same tactic works at the Purser's desk, too.

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If you stop to think about it for a minute you may be able to understand his concern (I don't agree with his behavior). Basically you were asking to use a table for 2 and a table for 4 when you could easily use a table for 6. On the other hand, a table for 6 cannot accommodate a party of 2 and a party of 4 (assuming they chose anytime dining because they wanted to be seated as 2 and 4, rather than share with strangers). In a way, the request was kind of selfish.

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Just a point of information: the ship has 1 Maitre D - he floats between all dining rooms. They have a new position of asst. Maitre D. The front door of all restaurants (including the specialty restaurants) are staffed by either asst. Maitre D's or Head Waiters (this is a supervisory position). You can tell who's who by their uniform. In all likelihood' date=' the person you spoke to was an Asst M or a HW. At any rate, their job is running those PC dining rooms is very stressful. I find that when a staff person is over-reacting and stressed out that if you can relate to that person on a human level and openly sympathesize with is or her situation you defuse things. [b']Probably the person on the phone wasn't supposed to accept a standing res for specific tables (very difficult to manage) or didn't relate the request. [/b]While you were exposed to this individual's frustration, I think it was more toward the situation not you personally (though it would be hard not to take it personally). Just my two cents. I find the same tactic works at the Purser's desk, too.

 

Excellent observations. Whoever accepted res for specific tables is superseding the Maitre d's authority. That was likely the real trigger.

 

Besides, I thought arrogant and rude were part of a Maitre d's job description.:p

 

Of course, a discreetly slipped Jackson will make him your friend for life.:)

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I agree with CuisinChris, the person you had this unfortunate incident with may have been either a Head Waiter or the Assistant to the Maitre D'. They are usually the people staffing the door and assigning tables. We have found that most of the people in charge of the dining rooms to be fantastic and very helpful. However, they are frequently stressed and a bit rushed. There is no excuse for blowing up at a passenger under any circumstances.

 

Assuming the person who acting so rudely was not the Maitre D', I would have sought out the Maitre D' and spoken to him. If it was the Maitre D' you had the problem with, I would have gone to the front desk and asked who the correct person would be and then followed up, in person and in writing while still on the ship.

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I would love a tutorial on the dining room staff. Who is the matrie d, the head waiter, asst mat'd, etc. I know sometimes they where different coats. Anyone want to take a crack at this. Not asking for specefic ship's, just how you tell who is who.

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If you stop to think about it for a minute you may be able to understand his concern (I don't agree with his behavior). Basically you were asking to use a table for 2 and a table for 4 when you could easily use a table for 6. On the other hand, a table for 6 cannot accommodate a party of 2 and a party of 4 (assuming they chose anytime dining because they wanted to be seated as 2 and 4, rather than share with strangers). In a way, the request was kind of selfish.

I don't disagree, but all it would have taken was the person on the telephone saying "would a table for 6 be ok instead of those 2 tables you've requested?", or simply saying they could not reserve specific tables. I would have gone for it. All we wanted was to sit together. There certainly was no selfish intent.

 

Again, this is all excellent information for avoiding the same mistakes next month! I also didn't realize the dining staff "chain of command", so this is very educational.....God I love this place! :D

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No matter who it was, (Maitre'D, assistant or otherwise) or if this person was having a bad day or not, the way you were spoken to is totally unacceptable. How dare he speak (yell) at you the way he did! You made your reservation and it was confirmed. I would have told him to take this matter up with the person who took the reservation and also tell him that I am a guest and will not be spoken to in this manner. I would further report the incident to the proper parties immediately. Granted, they all work very hard with little or no rest. However, there was no excuse for his behavior!

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you were asking to use a table for 2 and a table for 4 when you could easily use a table for 6. On the other hand, a table for 6 cannot accommodate a party of 2 and a party of 4

 

Had the headwaiter simply explained this rather than lashing out, I'm sure the OP would have had no problem accepting another table for their party. But, by lashing out, he not only left the OP without a logical and reasonable explanation, he left the OP with a very good reason for sending a little something for inclusion in the employee's file in Santa Clarita. Not too smart.

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I think that ships that are owned by Carnival Corp. have been making a real effort for staff to be really, really good to passengers over the past year or so.

 

I have noticed an improvement in the level of service. I am also more demanding than I used to be.

 

In 2000 I had terrible experiences on the Royal Princess and came away feeling like they did not value my business. I wouldn't return to that ship. Unfortunately, in those days I did not have the courage to confront them.

 

I ran into one of the head waiters from that ship on the Dawn Princess. He sat us at a table for two when I had asked to be seated with others. The next day I called him on it. He apologized and that was the end of it.

 

I think it is important to directly confront bad behavior and say "I do not deserve to be spoken to in that manner - please apologize." Sometimes we are so taken aback that we are speechless. We have to learn to speak up.

It's tough - but, boy oh boy does it feel good.

 

Roberta

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I would love a tutorial on the dining room staff. Who is the matrie d, the head waiter, asst mat'd, etc. I know sometimes they where different coats. Anyone want to take a crack at this. Not asking for specefic ship's, just how you tell who is who.

The Matre’d is normally dressed in black. The Head Waiters have white coats (dinner jackets). I’ve never seen an assistant Matre’d (I don’t go on many big ships, you know) so I wouldn’t know how to tell who he or she was.

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The best way to handle this type of situation is to smile at the Maitre D' and very politely tell him you want the spelling of his name because you want to be correct when you write it down on the Comment Card.

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It does matter if the person was the Maitre d' or not. The chain of command in the dining rooms is a very intricate and delicate matter. The Maitre d' will be the one moving through the dining room at some point during dinner. We have seen all temperaments and styles in doing this. Often the Maitre d' will stop and chat at tables, sometimes they just observe and move on. The Head Waiters - the ones in the white jackets - each work a section of the dining room and are usually very evident at the front door. They are working their way up to, hopefully, a Maitre d' position some day. The waiters are the ones we usually see most of. They take orders and make sure all is well at table. The Assistant waiters serve, do the coffee and tea and generally do not take food orders.

 

I suspect that the incident with the out of control person at the front door had to do with the chain of command being violated. I reiterate that there is never an excuse for abusive behavior. I just wanted to say that all is not equal in the dining rooms and it's important to know how to register a complaint and to whom.

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There is a Matre’d on the Diamond Princess in April who was the biggest jerk I have ever seen on a ship. His name is Laslo or Lazlo. We wrote a letter to Princess complaining about him. We received a standard form letter back from Princess.

 

Generosa on the Island Princess is the best Matre’d we have had. Anyone know which ship he is currently on?

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Generoso was the Maitre d' on the Coral when we cruised in 2003. I agree that he is one of a kind and among the best we've seen in 12 cruises. I think I heard that he was given the job on the new Crown Princess. Maybe someone knows for sure.

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Generoso was the Maitre d' on the Coral when we cruised in 2003. I agree that he is one of a kind and among the best we've seen in 12 cruises. I think I heard that he was given the job on the new Crown Princess. Maybe someone knows for sure.

 

Yes, he is on the Crown along with some of his top Head Waiters that he took with him.

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The Diamond handles, at least in Jan 2005, their dining differently than most of the other ships so doubt you will run into the same problem again. The Maitre D's do have an "ego" that is huge and they do like to have control of "their" dining room. It sounds like in your case he did not like someone telling him where they were going to sit. Possibly had you come to the dining room and asked him if you could sit at those two tables you would have had a totally different response. I'm surprised that you were told on the phone that those two tables were confirmed rather than saying you had a confirmation for the time requested.

 

We have never had a problem when making a request for a "standing" reservation at a certain table but have always spoken directly with the Maitre D. They will only make them for certain times, usually corresponding to the times "traditional" seating is occuring. The reason for this is that they have a minimum number of parties that must be seated at each table in order to feed all the passangers. If they made the reservation at a certain table midway through the dinner hour they would only be able to seat one party that evening.

 

On the Diamond they would not take standing reservations and we had to call every couple of days for a reservation. The Maitre Ds were always very accomodating about seating us at a particular table if it was available.

 

 

 

Why is dining handled differently on the Diamond than most of the other ships?

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But, by lashing out, he not only left the OP without a logical and reasonable explanation, he left the OP with a very good reason for sending a little something for inclusion in the employee's file in Santa Clarita. Not too smart.

 

I agree.

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The best way to handle this type of situation is to smile at the Maitre D' and very politely tell him you want the spelling of his name because you want to be correct when you write it down on the Comment Card.

Probably guarantees to get you the worst seat in the house.........:)

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