Thank you Hank , you said what we think better then we did . It's not just juvenile at the M&G 's but take a look at some of the responses to our question . Mostly not constructive .
We hear you :). There are some folks who seem content with the current M&G situation and they do a great job explaining why we no longer want anything to do with those functions. I suspect the folks who are "not constructive" are the very same folks that have convinced me to not waste my time going to M&Gs. We do see some exceptions and it seems like the Roll Calls for some longer cruises (we are talking weeks) are very constructive. Perhaps it is because these cruises tend to attract an older (and often well traveled) crowd who enjoy trading info on travel and ports rather then focusing on their cat :).
About 2 years ago, right before we were to take a long Princess cruise, one of the Roll Call folks simply posted that he liked going to the International Café early on sea days, would generally be wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and would welcome anyone to join him for coffee and conversation. On the first day he had about 8 visitors (including us) and the early morning group quickly grew to about a dozen who came and went as they pleased. There were no "rules," "gift exchanges," speeches etc. but simply folks that would get together to talk about anything. In a sense it was what we used to see at the old Meet and Greets. Most of us became friends and we all learned from each other. A few would just sit with their coffee and listen. Others were very chatty and were generally quite interesting. If one was unhappy with the group or conversation they could simply walk away...and others who were curious were immediately welcomed. One Aussie lady actually mentioned that this was the new "Roll Call."
FWIW I hope you don't judge all HAL cruisers by the negativity of those few who submitted snarky and downright nasty comments. Based on our extensive cruising history with HAL and our slightly lesser experience on CC, I could've predicted beforehand (with almost 100% accuracy) who would submit negative comments. Even though it may not be my "place" to do so, I would like to apologize to you for the very unfriendly reception you received - it is certainly not typical of the HAL cruisers whom I've been fortunate enough to meet both on CC and in person.
BTW thanks, Hank, for your kind and helpful insights.