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AYWD Ettiquette


Jsipes

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I have never used AYWD, but may in the future. I have a question for those of you who have done so....Assume that you are a party of two, and are seated at a table for 6, and the others have already ordered. When the food is served, does it create an ackward situation because you have just started your food order ???

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While I haven't tried HAL AYWD, I have used the similar programs in NCL and Princess, plus lunch is handled this way, too. There is a pretty continuous flow of people into the dining room, so I think they seat people together at pretty much the same time, and then take everyone's order at the same time. You may be seated, given a menu, they go get another group, fill up your table, then they take the orders. So you don't really have to wait long before your table fills up and the food should arrive all together.

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From the one cruise we've been on that had AYWD, the diners arrived at much the same time, with orders taken about the same time. They seemed to fill up one table at a time, which avoided that awkward situation you described. Others may have had different experiences, but that was ours.

-John and Cheryl

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As the other posters mentioned, they fill the table up pretty quickly - the first night we ate a later than usual dinner - we were led to a table for 8- and there were only 2 ladies already seated, with menu - however, they had not ordered yet.....

 

We ended up being only four around the table, service was slow that first night (possibly the time frame) - but the rest of the nights - seating and service went smoothly -

 

If you are seated first, you get to drool over the selections a little longer!!

 

CJcruzer

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From the posts it sounds like you can't get a table for 2???

You can, but you might have to wait a bit for it. That's why a lot of folks will just let the matri 'd seat them at a larger table since they can be seated immediately that way.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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DH and I were on the Oosterdam when AYWD first rolled out on that ship this January. We were assigned AYWD and we had a table for 2 every night. We had different tables the first and second evening but liked our wine steward and waiters the second night and they said to ask for the table by # and to call at 8 a.m. each morning to request the table - and DH did that. However, there was a catch - in order to get the table for two we had to agree to eat early - I think we had to be there at either 5:15 or 5:30 - I can't remember at this moment. To us it was worth having a nice table at the aft of the dining room and to have the same wine steward and waiters every night. It was just like the traditional dining experience.

 

Now every day when my DH called to make the reservation he was told "no guarantees" but every afternoon we received the confirmation card at our cabin with the same table. I think they tried to seat people at the aft of the dining room and work forward as the clock ticked so there was some sense to the table placement. We never just showed up and waited for a table, but we had a great experience.

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I'm curious about another aspect of AYWD etiquette - tipping. For those with experience of AYWD, how did you handle this? I'm thinking especially of the awkwardness of one party at a table wishing to thank with a gratuity, while others may not care to do so. How/when can this be handled discreetly?

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DH and I did tip the wine steward, waiter and assistant waiter on the last night of the cruise in the AYWD experience and did notice others at larger tables do the same. Most simply had the money in hand and passed it the crew when leaving or handed them an envelope like was done before the automatic tipping started. Not a problem at all and they did appreciate the tip.

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Thanks for the speedy response, Duck Tune. Did you have a plan for tipping if you hadn't been able to get the same table every night? Go looking for your servers in that section - or put the names on an envelopes and hand to the Maitre D'?

 

I know some people get different servers every evening. I'm curious how tipping works in those cases (especially when you have others passengers at the table who may not wish to leave a gratuity).

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On a 15 day cruise, we had a table for two twice, and we were always asked if we wanted a table for two or to sit at a larger table. Having done the table for two, we prefer eating with groups, especially when the people are as interesting as we experienced on the Veendam.

 

We wondered about tipping, too. When we went in for AYWD, we were asked our cabin number; this solves many issues, including who our waiter was that night and how to approtion the tips added to our on board account. Seventy percent goes to the room steward and to the waiter(s), with the other thirty percent divided among the other service staff. We thought this was a reasonable division. The option exists to raise or lower the amounts, as well as reward extraordianry service in the traditional way-something we happily did.

-John and Cheryl

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We just returned from a 4 day re-positioning cruise on the Volendam. We had AYWD with different servers each night. Since we were very happy with the service we received, and since there would be no way to reward the individual servers that we had, we decided to kick up the amount of our auto-tip. That made us feel better, and hopefully the money found its way into some deserving pockets.

 

I think that by following this strategy, it gives the servers a reason to work together as a team, which is ultimately to our benefit.

 

Marc

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Appreciate the response. We prefer to eat 8:30 or later and wouldn't at all mind calling ahead for a reservation requesting the table for 2. Life at home is very hectic and we really enjoy and look forward to our time together when cruising, so we really like a table for just the 2 of us.

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The wait staff does not take orders for the table untill all guests are seated and have had an opportunity to look at the menu. Evryon eis served at the same time as they were in fixed seating.

 

As others have said, the tables fill quickly within a 5 minute +/- period, no different than fixed seating.

 

In terms of waiting, Open Seating is an improvement over fixed seating when it comes to waiting and waiting for tablemates who decided to dine elsewhere for the evening and not tell anyone. That does not happen in Open Seating.

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Thanks for the speedy response, Duck Tune. Did you have a plan for tipping if you hadn't been able to get the same table every night? Go looking for your servers in that section - or put the names on an envelopes and hand to the Maitre D'?

 

I know some people get different servers every evening. I'm curious how tipping works in those cases (especially when you have others passengers at the table who may not wish to leave a gratuity).

 

We only decided to tip because we did get extraordinary service every night and wanted to say an extra thank you. Since we didn't have different servers I can't really respond but I would think that if we liked the service we received and knew we would not be at the same table we would do the same thing that we do in a restaurant - tip right then.

The servers we did have in AYWD told us that they would spend the next cruise working the traditional dining room and that HAL would rotate staff between AYWD and Traditional to allow everyone a chance to experience both options. I haven't been on a cruise since January so don't know if that is working out or not.

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I'm curious about another aspect of AYWD etiquette - tipping. For those with experience of AYWD, how did you handle this? I'm thinking especially of the awkwardness of one party at a table wishing to thank with a gratuity, while others may not care to do so. How/when can this be handled discreetly?

When I wind up in AYWD, I plan to handle the "tipping matter" very discretely. My auto-tip will take care of it. Since I'm not getting "personalized" service, I see no reason to tip a nickle more than the auto-tip provides.

 

Now in traditional dining, where my waiters get to know me and my preferences, and then cater to them, they get an envelope at the end of the cruise with something "extra." But since AYWD waiters don't have the time to get to know me and my preferences, since I will likely be served by a different waitstaff each night, I don't feel I should have to tip anything extra at all. Now before you call me cheap, note that HAL set this dining option up. Not me. And if I get "stuck" dining in AYWD ... and not because I wish it ... then I have no problem thanking my waiters at the end of the evening with a nice smile and letting that suffice (along with my auto-tip amount, of course).

 

Now what I think is gonna be interesting is whether at some point the auto-tip is going to be reclassified as a "hotel service charge" and not be removable. Wouldn't surprise me at all.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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I'm curious about another aspect of AYWD etiquette - tipping. For those with experience of AYWD, how did you handle this? I'm thinking especially of the awkwardness of one party at a table wishing to thank with a gratuity, while others may not care to do so. How/when can this be handled discreetly?

The same way it is handled in traditional. Just hand your waiter an envelope as you leave the dining room after the "last supper."

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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