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As You Wish Dining - Opinions, Comments and Discussions

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.............I could be yelling and screaming here only to find out once we try it that we really like and it works perfect, so until we do......... I will definitely report in and tell how it all works out;)

 

You are so right, Lisa. And if you do end up with AYW I'll be really interested to see how you feel ... especially since I know you're going into it not really wanting it.

 

I do remember Laura posted somewhere that it worked very well for them. So it may be that sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But I also think someone posted (was it Laura?) that the reason it worked was because they liked their group the first night and just went at the same time every night with the same people ..... which ends up sounding an awful lot like "traditional" to me;) .

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When we ate dinner at the buffet, we tipped extra, even though tips are included on Royal Caribbean. I suspect that we won't turn into mean and nasty people and stop doing so, just because we're on Holland America and using AYW dining. I'll be sure to let you know, though... just in case.

 

And who said anything about turning into mean nasty people ?

 

No need to let me know. I really don't care who tips and who doesn't tip.

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No can do!!! You cannot have the gratuity removed from your account and tip the staff directly.
This directly contradicts what other folks have said.

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I have a different view point, the opposite of yours. I think AYW diners will be more inclined to remove tips.

That's why if this AYW really takes off, HAL should make the auto-tips mandatory ... you can increase them, but not reduce or eliminate them. I think NCL on their American brand ships classify the auto-tips as a "hotel service charge" ... and just like with a hotel on land, you cannot remove them.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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One might say that, but one would be saying so based upon erroneous (and possibly skewed by bias) assumptions regarding the character of the person who prefers Traditional Dining.
So in the end, we're better off making no assumptions about what either group would tend to or tend not to do. That was my point.

 

While some Traditional Diners remove the auto-gratuity and then tip less -- I've seen that happen -- I would argue that no MORE do that among the Traditional crowd than who do it among the AYW crowd. Hence, that jab at us on the Traditional side is a wash ... it works out even across the passenger census.
No jab intended. My interest is in getting people to stop making nefarious assumptions about AYW patrons. Period. Just stop -- please.

 

The justification you've cited for this assertion is that those who dine traditional will be more likely to want to tip directly.
"May". I said "may". Please stop reading more into what I'm writing than I wrote myself. Thanks.

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I totally agree with this take. The overall loss in tips is likely having a negative impact on the morale and therefore service amongst the AYW servers.

I could be wrong, but I believe all dining room servers are in the "tip pool." Therefore it would stand to reason that regardless of whether a server was assigned to the AYW dining room, or the traditional one, he would get the same amount of tips. I would also guess that HAL will rotate the servers evenly so that everyone has the same opportunity to make the better tips. I know for a fact that HAL does that now among its bars and lounges. They rotate the bar servers to ensure that everyone gets an equal shot at the extra tips. They'll do the same thing with the dining room. The auto-tip pool will cover everyone equally, and then by flipping servers between the two dining rooms each cruise, everyone will have an equal shot at the cash tips that passengers in traditional dining will more likely give out.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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And who said anything about turning into mean nasty people ?
Some of them messages I've seen in this thread make assumptions about AYW patrons that I'm sure no one would like to seen made about them.

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Some of them messages I've seen in this thread make assumptions about AYW patrons that I'm sure no one would like to seen made about them.

 

I have read every post on this thread and no where do I see anything about AYW patrons that come anywhere close to the mean and nasty reference. Please give me the post numbers, I would like to read them.

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Again, read the reviews from people who aren't biased against AYW dining. I won't go into it myself because I haven't been there yet, but you can read the reviews as well as I can, and if you're receptive, you can also learn why it is a more efficient system, from an operational standpoint.

 

Are we talking just Hal or other cruise lines like Princess and NCL.

I just had a very close friend return from NCL. She thought the Freestyle concept was, to use her words, fabulous. Her thinking has now changed. She hated it and swore she would never sail on a ship with freestyle again.

I would think this was an unbiased opinion since she jumped into it thinking it was fabulous. Maybe the cruise line thought it was efficient but according to her, running from one eating venue to another and all of them having horrible lines, doesn't say efficient to me. JMO

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I would like to read them.

 

"... I wouldn't look for as many people to tip extra under AYW. Human nature, being what it is, will cause laziness to win out."

 

and

 

"I think AYW diners will be more inclined to remove tips. Any guilt will be removed."

 

etc.

 

As you can tell, I very much resent such statements, and would hope that threads would be free of such generalizations against a class of cruise passenger. Can we stop this meta-discussion now? Please.

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This directly contradicts what other folks have said.

Did you read Heather's entire post ? She is absolutely correct. It does not contradict what others have been saying.

 

If you remove the tip and decide to tip directly they MUST turn it over to be added to the auto tip pool. If you leave it in place and choose to tip an additional amount that steward gets to keep the tip and NOT turn it over to be put in a pool.

No can do!!! You cannot have the gratuity removed from your account and tip the staff directly. The only way you can tip the staff directly is when you leave the gratuity in place.

 

The staff knows full well that if they are told the gratuity has been removed, they cannot accept one directly

 

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I agree, Gizmo, I have no idea what Bicker is talking about. No one has made any assumptions about AYW diners on this thread.

 

OddBall, your post doesn't surprise me. I've seen a lot of negative reviews about the freestyle dining on NCL. I'm not sure what "reviews" Bicker is referring to and I admit I don't read all reviews. But I do know that I've seen an awful lot of negative response to this form of dining.

 

I was equally astounded to read the article by Carolyn Spencer Brown who evidently feels traditional dining should go the way of the horseless carriage and that we all need choice and shouldn't be "forced" into a dining schedule.

 

I haven't felt forced into anything. HAL, before AYW, was offering 4 different dining times ... how much choice does a person need???? And you could further request 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 size table!

 

Additionally, we had the opportunity to go to Lido Dining or the Specialty restaurant. I don't know how much choice some people need, but that's plenty of choice for me.

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Cruise Critic member InTheWaSide posted the following about As You Wish Dining a month ago. It gives Holland America's explanation of the dining concept, how it works, and its implementation on the various ships of the HAL fleet.

 

Click here to view the post by InTheWaSide.

 

Here is info I received in my cabin on the Noordam, a little more than a month ago, about As You Wish Dining.

 

And finally, Here is information from HAL's own website describing As You Wish Dining.

 

Karin

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"... I wouldn't look for as many people to tip extra under AYW. Human nature, being what it is, will cause laziness to win out."

 

and

 

"I think AYW diners will be more inclined to remove tips. Any guilt will be removed."

 

etc.

 

As you can tell, I very much resent such statements, and would hope that threads would be free of such generalizations against a class of cruise passenger. Can we stop this meta-discussion now? Please.

 

These are not statements that are mean and nasty nor were they posted with an intent to put those that favor AYW in any type of negative class.

 

These statement are no different than some of yours. If I choose to, I could resent your following statement but I don't. I look at it as an opinion nothing else.

For example, the more likely scenario could be that AYW patrons will be more likely to leave the standard gratuities alone, while traditional dining patrons more likely to have the standard gratuities removed from their account and tip the staff directly, perhaps tipping less due to some perceived slight or gap between expectations and reality.

 

I expressed my opinion and you expressed yours. Attacking mine or anyone else's is uncalled for. We may disagree but insinuating those that prefer AYW are veiwed as mean and nasty by someone that prefers Traditional is wrong.

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Did you read Heather's entire post ? She is absolutely correct. It does not contradict what others have been saying.

 

If you remove the tip and decide to tip directly they MUST turn it over to be added to the auto tip pool. If you leave it in place and choose to tip an additional amount that steward gets to keep the tip and NOT turn it over to be put in a pool.

 

 

 

 

Thank you, Oddball! I hadn't even noticed that Bicker was bickering with me.:)

 

Oddball and I are correct, Bicker, and I can't imagine why you say that it contradicts what others are saying. It does not.

 

If you remove the standard gratuity, you CANNOT tip any of the crew personally. They are informed who has removed the gratuities and if anyone tries to tip on their own, they are honor bound to turn it in ... and they do.

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Did you read Heather's entire post ? She is absolutely correct. It does not contradict what others have been saying.
Sorry I misunderstood. Thanks for clearing it up for me.

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Cruise Critic member InTheWaSide posted the following about As You Wish Dining a month ago...
Thanks for reposting these, Karin.

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I personally believe that Carolyn Spencer Brown summed up what most of the cruisers want when she said:

 

"And yet: In every poll you see on new trends in travel, what's most important to travelers is choice. Cruising's "ye olde" tradition of dictating when and with whom its passengers dine would seem to be that trend's antithesis." See the Cruise Critic article:

 

http://cruisecritic.com/features/articles.cfm?ID=508

 

Heather,is correct..We all have listened to the CD's & have been led to believe that the crew can accept the tip, even when one has removed the auto tip..But, that they cannot keep it & must put it back into the tipping pool...

 

We also request large tables as we see each other alone every day of our lives..We enjoy being with friends & others at a large table..On most of our cruises most of those folks we've had the pleasure to dine with, with only one exception, always gave our Servers an additional tip & left the Auto tip in place..

 

We've also had a Crew member, who often posted on this board, (we've not heard from for a while) , state that on many ships the Crew always puts the extra tips back in the auto pool even when the auto tip is left in place..He said this was strictly voluntary & decided on by the Crew themselves..He also said that a VERY small percentage of traditional diners remove the Auto tip..And if someone really wants to remove the auto tip he must come up with a good reason why!

 

I have a feeling that the Traditional Servers will pool all of their extra tips & share it with those who serve in AYWD ....

 

And it wouldn't surprise me one bit if in the near future the Gratuities ($10 pp pd) increases substantially with an additional increase for those who are in suites..

 

JMO..:) Betty

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These are not statements that are mean and nasty
The sure read that way to me, especially as a AYW dining patron.

 

These statement are no different than some of yours. If I choose to, I could resent your following statement but I don't.
I deliberately made it clear that that statement that it was a possibility (I even bolded the words "could be"), not a statement. How much more bandwidth do you want to waste on this meta-discussion?

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I personally believe that Carolyn Spencer Brown summed up what most of the cruisers want when she said:

 

"And yet: In every poll you see on new trends in travel, what's most important to travelers is choice. Cruising's "ye olde" tradition of dictating when and with whom its passengers dine would seem to be that trend's antithesis." ....................

 

I disagreed somewhat with Ms Brown's article. I even discussed it with DH at dinner tonight. I asked him whether he had ever felt "dictated to" with traditional dining. He said absolutely not. And I know that in 25 years of cruising none of our dinner companions did either.

 

Frankly (and this is an extremely personal view I know), I think our society has arrived at a time and place where we have far to much choice. But I won't go there.:D

 

I do agree with her that it might have worked better (in some ways) on the smaller, more intimate ships. But on the other hand, the ships are so large now that it's even harder to meet people and ever see them again... particular if you don't drink.

 

And people really do end up with a lot of choice with traditional dining. There's an awful lot of musical chairs going on after the first night. And somehow I think the majority end up pretty happy.

 

But as I say (my current mantra;) ) what do I know???

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Thank you, Gizmo.

Bicker has ripped my statement right out of it's context and given it meaning that was NOT in my statement. Sadly, I don't think it will do any good for me to try and defend myself ... he's interpreted my statement in the most negative light possible, and there is nothing I can do to change that. I find this MOST unfortunate.

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I have a feeling that the Traditional Servers will pool all of their extra tips & share it with those who serve in AYWD ....

 

Thank you, Betty, that would fit with what I know about the wonderful people who serve us on the ships.

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I am a proponent of traditional dining. I can only speak from my experience on NCL regarding freestyle dining and tipping. They also charge 10/person/day. We tipped our cabin steward $100 at the end of our cruise. He was estatic. While I was not satisfied with the freestyle dining, we tipped a few waiters for outstanding service, one looked like he was about to cry. Maybe he had never been tipped before...it is possible if he were new to the cruise industry.

I prefer to tip in cash. We did not have our autogratuity adjusted, we tipped additionally as we felt it was deserved. Isn't autogratuity in place because not everyone would leave tips in the past?

As far as the cashless society is concerned.. do you not have cash for taxis? admission to beaches? shopping? the casino?

Isn't there an ATM on the ship? Or if you prefer to have cash in the beginning, isn't there a safe in the cabin?

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As far as the cashless society is concerned.. do you not have cash for taxis? admission to beaches? shopping? the casino?

 

Taking cash with you on shore excursions is an automatic given because your ship ID card can't be used to make purchases on land as it can aboard ship. As for the ship's casinos ... I just put it on my shipboard account. I almost never carry cash around with me aboard ship ... why should I? You can't buy anything aboard ship with cash. The only time I take cash with me aboard ship is when I'm going to eat in the Pinnacle Grill or if it's the last night of the cruise and I'm tipping my stewards. If I get stuck with AYW I'll have to do that every night. I know I will ... but people will be people, and many will not. That's not a stab at AYW diners ... it's a stab at ALL people, based upon my observation of what we do.

 

Isn't there an ATM on the ship?

 

Nope ... not on HAL. Or, at least, not yet. You've not been on HAL in 12 years, so apparently you don't realize that. You'll find out when you board the Noordam in 5 months.

 

Or if you prefer to have cash in the beginning, isn't there a safe in the cabin?

 

Yes, of course, and that's where I keep my cash while aboard ship ... not in my pocket.

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Further to my post yesterday regarding my booking on Zuiderdam’s March ’08 crossing, my TA has just forwarded the following from HAL:

 

Good Morning,

At this time the ship has not released all of the dining to me for confirmation. Based on the total number of seats available and the number of guests that are already on the waitlist, I would recommend open dining for your guests. (emphasis added)

Please let me know if you questions or need additional information.

Warm Regards,

Margaret Knight

Ship Services Coordinator

ms Zuiderdam

 

TA has again informed HAL that her client wants traditional dining and told them that this is affecting future booking decisions; don’t know if it will do any good – won’t hold my breath!

 

If HAL doesn’t care enough to fulfill a 15-year customer’s dining preferences 8-1/2 months before departure, they obviously don’t care to keep me as a client. So, this has made one decision easy for me – no further consideration of HAL, including the Noordam’s October ’08 crossing.

 

Only thing keeping me from canceling the Zuiderdam booking immediately is my love of the Harry James Orchestra.

 

One final question: how can the new dining scheme offer the "best of both worlds" when one of the worlds is unavailable?

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