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11 hours ago, DrSea said:

The reasoning  of why they are doing this is that I was told it was to "keep offering premium food without increasing prices" and to "reduce waste". 

Makes sense and not unreasonable IMO. I would imagine the higher ticket items will disappear from the Lido, if they were there to start with.

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1 minute ago, TiogaCruiser said:

Makes sense and not unreasonable IMO. I would imagine the higher ticket items will disappear from the Lido, if they were there to start with.

 

HAL tracks food consumption. They are aware of how many lobster tails and other high ticket items are served at the Lido. If they see a migration to the Lido and an increase in consumption of these items, HAL may take the "good stuff" away from the Lido.

 

Or this could be a ploy to get people to go to the Lido.  HAL may leave the higher ticket items there, thinking paying for a few steaks or lobster tails is cheaper than paying staff to serve them in the MDR.

 

Or, as others have said, some bean counters in Seattle may have figured out it's a way to extract money from passengers. If so, it's possible they didn't even think about the Lido option. 

 

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How about we make some suggestions or alternate ideas. Instead of making money by charging for a second entree, they could do a diners club package. $99 per guest for a 7 day cruise. DO NOT require all people in the cabin to buy this! This could include 1 wine tasting, special Starters (not on the regular guests menu), larger portions of some entrees ( like a larger lobster tail), special Mains, and sampling plates. This would make the other guests at the table jealous and would want to find out how they could get the package. Some, including myself, would find this appealing and other would have no interest, but this would help cover the cost of those with large appetites (the 16 year old football player) without raising the cost of their food. One last idea, host a special event for the members to give feed back.

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13 hours ago, DrSea said:

The reasoning  of why they are doing this is that I was told it was to "keep offering premium food without increasing prices" and to "reduce waste". 

 

HAL and I must have a vastly different idea of what "premium food" is.  

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1 hour ago, foodcruiser said:

How about we make some suggestions or alternate ideas. Instead of making money by charging for a second entree, they could do a diners club package. $99 per guest for a 7 day cruise. DO NOT require all people in the cabin to buy this! This could include 1 wine tasting, special Starters (not on the regular guests menu), larger portions of some entrees ( like a larger lobster tail), special Mains, and sampling plates. This would make the other guests at the table jealous and would want to find out how they could get the package. Some, including myself, would find this appealing and other would have no interest, but this would help cover the cost of those with large appetites (the 16 year old football player) without raising the cost of their food. One last idea, host a special event for the members to give feed back.

I find it amusing that your screen name is Foodcruiser.  I love it! 🥩🥨🥓🌮🧀🍦

 

Roz

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3 hours ago, killsport said:

According to Carnival Corp's latest annual report, food costs (which include cost for the crew and passengers) is only 7.65% of the cruise fare (or 5.65% of overall revenue). So if you are paying $1000 cruise fare (not including taxes, fees, additional purchases) for your week on HAL, your food cost (and your portion of crew that get fed for that week) is about $76.50.............

Source: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/815097/000081509719000004/a201810k.pdf

 

That data point explains why there is little to no discounting for solo fares even when only one person is eating, yet getting charged for two full fares. 

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4 hours ago, killsport said:

Soon you'll see Spirit Air / HAL comparisons. Maybe a future partnership? I can see the advertising - "Lowest price! Join us for an amazing cruise*"

* breathing available for $2/hr; exclamations are extra

Sadly this seems to be the direction of the major cruise lines.   Cruising used to be elegant.    However the mojo has changed on most lines to recreating a Vegas experience.

 

I have always been hopeful that HAL would be a hold out from this and would maintain the cruising traditions so many of us enjoy:   a formal night or two,  a promenade deck, a movie theatre,  etc.

 

Mostly HAL still does this but sadly for some of us, they too seem to heading downscale to cater to the Vegas crowd. 

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Well, now this thread gave me a bad dream about DH hungrily eye-balling what's left of the pork chop on my plate, he having already swiftly devoured his own tiny morsel.  

Is this war time rationing?  Do I keep calm and carry on?

This is a different kind of cruise.  Food for Thought.

 

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17 hours ago, killsport said:

I wonder if some people's opinions on what is "right" for other people would be acceptable if it was something they preferred...........

 

It is my hard-earned vacation and I expect to do/try things that I can't/don't do at home...

Like tasting different foods. Like eating a second entree. Like having a dessert at an odd hour. Like sitting on a balcony. Like having a glass of wine before 6pm. Like visiting different locations. Like talking to people I haven't met before. Like listening to live music of different genres. Like having salmon/lox at breakfast. Like having a burger and fries because they smell or look good. This is vacation, not everyday/routine time.

 

As long as I'm not interfering with others (e.g. being loud, obnoxious, smelly, blocking the view), why would anyone care what I do?

 

You have essentially chosen initially a prix-fixe, all-inclusive resort option when you choose a cruise ship - so your upfront personal demands for your vacation are in fact limited by that initial choice.  Your only real choice is to find a better cruise line alternative somewhere else.  Or to start paying for the extras you want out of this cruise ship experience.

 

Please keep in mind there is another side to this argument -- passengers who do not want to subsidize those using the ship as an all you can eat buffet regardless of the initial entry cost. Since we don't want to subsidize others  preferred levels of alcohol indulgences, we do not chose those cruise lines that include this in their initial pricing structure. Same thing. 

 

However from recent reports about other mid-market cruise lines, it appears they are all cutting back on what dining options and food choices and quality are part of their initial entry pricing. Food production globally is becoming more and more expensive. We are perhaps just seeing the canary in the mine shaft.

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12 minutes ago, CruiseRQA said:

Sadly this seems to be the direction of the major cruise lines.   Cruising used to be elegant.    However the mojo has changed on most lines to recreating a Vegas experience.

 

I have always been hopeful that HAL would be a hold out from this and would maintain the cruising traditions so many of us enjoy:   a formal night or two,  a promenade deck, a movie theatre,  etc.

 

Mostly HAL still does this but sadly for some of us, they too seem to heading downscale to cater to the Vegas crowd. 

 

How have passengers themselves responded to the former "elegance" of times yore, particularly "formal nights" or gracious main dining room experiences? They are the ones who have down-graded these experiences by their own choices and demands.  Times and expectations have changed - cruise lines are now caught in the middle and trying to find their way.

 

BTW: Cruising used to be "elegant" mainly for those willing to pay first class fares; there were other no-frills price options as well. Not all that long ago.

 

My first RTW ocean-going experience in the 1970's offered both first class and passenger class fares. Those of us in passenger class definitely did not have an elegant experience, but a very serviceable one. Cabins had no bathrooms, food was a fixed menu and there were no onboard activities or entertainment. The ship got us where we wanted to go, fed and housed us and the price was affordable. First class passengers got the extra dining, attention and facilities that came with the premium costs. 

 

So nostalgia about the former "elegance" of cruising might be seen through a very distorted lens.

Edited by OlsSalt

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On 2/25/2019 at 11:02 AM, richwmn said:

For what it's worth -

As I mentioned before, the menus I post are downloaded from Navigator. Tonight's menu is already available and is attached. I went downstairs to see if it was posted by the dining room and it wasn't, but attendants were there finishing breakfast and when asked provided a copy as well as yesterday's. The copy that was provided is identical to that downloaded with the exception that the download does not contain a page marked "After Dinner" and includes Deserts and Drinks. There is no mention on today's menu about a $10 charge for multiple entrees.

 

I also thought to ask for a copy of last night's menu and after a very short search was provided the page for Starters and Mains. Again, there is no mention of the $10 charge for multiple entrees.

 

I guess we’re both here on NA. Did you look at the very bottom of the Starter page?  We looked at the posted menu after we left the Dining Room and it is, in fact, listed in very small print in the disclosures at the bottom. 

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2 minutes ago, djhsolara said:

I guess we’re both here on NA. Did you look at the very bottom of the Starter page?  We looked at the posted menu after we left the Dining Room and it is, in fact, listed in very small print in the disclosures at the bottom. 

Yes we are, cabin 5100 if you would like to get together for a minute

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In any case, it will be interesting to see if this goes fleet-wide.  HAL's ships are not in any way uniform in quality.  What will fly on the Nieuw Statendam may not fly on the Zaandam,  We hesitantly have a cruise booked on Veendam, knowing it's kind of crusty and we could have plumbing problems.  But we do still find the gracious service onboard these older, small ships quite charming, and so we keep booking.  But our hesitation is there.  How many additional annoyances beyond bad plumbing and rust will we overlook?  Not sure.

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2 minutes ago, AncientWanderer said:

In any case, it will be interesting to see if this goes fleet-wide.  HAL's ships are not in any way uniform in quality.  What will fly on the Nieuw Statendam may not fly on the Zaandam,  We hesitantly have a cruise booked on Veendam, knowing it's kind of crusty and we could have plumbing problems.  But we do still find the gracious service onboard these older, small ships quite charming, and so we keep booking.  But our hesitation is there.  How many additional annoyances beyond bad plumbing and rust will we overlook?  Not sure.

 

Please tell us the price points of "non-crusty" ships that can offer you the same itinerary? And ships that guarantee they only have passengers that do not toss things into the plumbing systems, after being warned up front. Agree, always a bummer to face those issues. But to not risk them happening by only sailing brand new ships, does come at more premium prices. Why not choose those upfront and avoid the risks choosing an older ship where these risk factors are already built into that choice. 

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23 minutes ago, OlsSalt said:

 

How have passengers themselves responded to the former "elegance" of times yore, particularly "formal nights" or gracious main dining room experiences? They are the ones who have down-graded these experiences by their own choices and demands.  Times and expectations have changed - cruise lines are now caught in the middle and trying to find their way.

 

BTW: Cruising used to be "elegant" mainly for those willing to pay first class fares; there were other no-frills price options as well. Not all that long ago.

 

My first RTW ocean-going experience in the 1970's offered both first class and passenger class fares. Those of us in passenger class definitely did not have an elegant experience, but a very serviceable one. Cabins had no bathrooms, food was a fixed menu and there were no onboard activities or entertainment. The ship got us where we wanted to go, fed and housed us and the price was affordable. First class passengers got the extra dining, attention and facilities that came with the premium costs. 

 

So nostalgia about the former "elegance" of cruising might be seen through a very distorted lens.

 

How have passengers responded?  They have spoken in droves as they flock to mega ships by the thousands with go-kart tracks and rock climbing walls.   They willing pony up for worse food.   Hence the comparison to Spirit Airlines.

 

My initial cruise experience way back in the day on RCCL Song of America was elegant and without a class structure of extra charges for this and that.

 

I am not looking at the elegance of cruising through a distorted lens.   I am simply observing what has happened to most cruise lines.   My Song of America cruise had no class divisions, yet we manged to wear a coat and tie to dinner twice that week and were served as much fine food as we wanted in the MDR as well as having a midnight buffet each night at 12.   

 

Forgive me for not wanting a Spirit Airlines cruise.  

 

Ultimately the people speak. 

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I don't mean to be harsh but the continuous talk of some individuals "subsidising" all of the rest of us they consider ballast gets tiresome. We ballast folks on our yearly vacation overindulging on a few meals also buy drink packages, book ship excursions, buy internet packages, rent cabanas, buy ship photo packages, pay for spa and salon treatments, buy special surcharge dining, and do all those wonderful vacation things. No one subsidizes my vacations but me. 

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41 minutes ago, AncientWanderer said:

In any case, it will be interesting to see if this goes fleet-wide.  HAL's ships are not in any way uniform in quality.  What will fly on the Nieuw Statendam may not fly on the Zaandam,  We hesitantly have a cruise booked on Veendam, knowing it's kind of crusty and we could have plumbing problems.  But we do still find the gracious service onboard these older, small ships quite charming, and so we keep booking.  But our hesitation is there.  How many additional annoyances beyond bad plumbing and rust will we overlook?  Not sure.

misread. She is due a drydock in April. fingers crossed.

Edited by fatcat04

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29 minutes ago, OlsSalt said:

 

However from recent reports about other mid-market cruise lines, it appears they are all cutting back on what dining options and food choices and quality are part of their initial entry pricing. Food production globally is becoming more and more expensive. We are perhaps just seeing the canary in the mine shaft.

 

Perhaps, but cruise lines need to keep in mind that if the 'reality' of cruising starts to look very different compared to their beautiful commercials and advertisements, there could be a lot of passenger pushback. (I can't imagine a commercial featuring a dinner interaction at which the waiter says "I'm sorry sir but I'll have to charge you $10 if you want to sample that Beef Wellington in addition....")  That's a long way from Celebrity's old campaign of "We'll treat you like a celebrity....."

 

At some point the whole cost-cutting exercise to keep fares from rising becomes unsustainable. Already cruise lines are spending much less on ingredients/food per person then they were 10-15 years ago. (As reported upthread, food costs account for less than 8% of your cruise fare.)  I am not so exquisitely sensitive to pricing that I wouldn't be willing to pay an extra $75 per seven days to keep from having to face hot dogs or meat loaf in the MDR, or be met with constant upcharges.  To me, these upcharges are an unpleasant intrusion on my cruise vibe. Even if I rarely would be in the situation of wanting to order a second entree, I like knowing the possibility exists. And I selfishly don't want my pleasant dinner interrupted by an angry outburst from Joe Schmoe at the next table who is unhappy about the upcharge.  

 

   

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Reducing food waste is an admirable goal.  However, as one post pointed out,  the cost of food for one person is only 7% of the cruise fare.   If they have 2000 people on a particular cruise, they know that some will eat in the Lido, some will eat in the specialty restaurants, and the bulk of them will eat in the MDR, sometime between 5:30 and 9:30 pm.   They have to judge, based on prior experiences, how many servings of beef, fish, or pasta dishes that are on the menu that night, and how to prevent the waiters from disappointing a passenger by saying "sorry, we are out of the beef".   So they always prepare extra servings of each entree.   If those extra servings are not consumed, in some cases, they can hold them over for the next day in the Lido, but other food items cannot be "left-overs".  So there is already built-in waste of main entrees.   The very small number of people who will ask for a 2nd entree will certainly have no effect on the level of waste.   Any left over entrees that are not served will be ground up and disposed.   

They can never accurately predict if one of the main courses will be a huge hit and 75% of diners will order it, so they have to prepare extra servings, and if they are wrong, those will be waste.   Of course, with lobster tail, prime rib and filet, they already know that they need to prepare a much higher percentage to prevent disappointing passengers.   

Possibly on the cruise lines with a much younger demographic, you will have a higher percentage of "18 year old football players" ordering 2nd servings of an entree,  but the average demographic on HAL being older, I would think that 2nd entrees would be few and far between, and definitely not worth HAL appearing to be squeezing the $$$ out of the passengers.

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14 minutes ago, fatcat04 said:

I don't mean to be harsh but the continuous talk of some individuals "subsidising" all of the rest of us they consider ballast gets tiresome. We ballast folks on our yearly vacation overindulging on a few meals also buy drink packages, book ship excursions, buy internet packages, rent cabanas, buy ship photo packages, pay for spa and salon treatments, buy special surcharge dining, and do all those wonderful vacation things. No one subsidizes my vacations but me. 

 

Look at  this way, other passengers are currently subsidizing me when they buy drinks or gamble or participate in any of  the other revenue-generating activities onboard.

 

Keep an open mind about the topic at hand and don't assume any of this is a personal attack. Seattle bean-counters have to weigh and balance all these factors. Interesting to explore the hows, wheres and whys - including many of our demands for continued value cruising. 

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28 minutes ago, OlsSalt said:

 

Please tell us the price points of "non-crusty" ships that can offer you the same itinerary? And ships that guarantee they only have passengers that do not toss things into the plumbing systems, after being warned up front. Agree, always a bummer to face those issues. But to not risk them happening by only sailing brand new ships, does come at more premium prices. Why not choose those upfront and avoid the risks choosing an older ship where these risk factors are already built into that choice. 

Funny you should ask.  We are currently plotting out our travels for the next year and a half or so.  In the past couple of years, I haven't really been doing deep investigation on comparative pricing.  We've been happy with HAL and have traveled with them.

But we've noticed cut-backs, and, yes, crusty ships, so I have really been digging deeper in comparisons on our desired destinations -- complete with charts and price-per-day comparisons, incorporating in all the things that we value in our cruise experience.  In all this, I was surprised to find that, for instance, with Alaska, after I totaled up this, that and the other with HAL, we could travel with Seabourn for very little more than on an older HAL ship.  That surprised me.   

 

This spring, we will be on a Celebrity ship for the California Coast.  We used to cruise with them a lot, but their product changed, and so we left them.  We decided to give them another try to see what's up -- again for about the same price as what we pay for our HAL cruises.

 

Everybody has a different cruising style.  I didn't compare "inside cabin to inside cabin" for these cruises.  I know we like to book specialty restaurants from time to time and that we enjoy wine with our dinner, and that at our stage of life, DH and I need balcony space between us.  I guess now, I'll also incorporate in an extra pasta dish for DH when comparing costs.  He enjoys a pasta with his steak.  

 

So, no, after investigating, I don't feel the need to tolerate bad plumbing or a crusty ship.  There are reasonable alternatives out there for us.  That said, we still like HAL's style, love their crew, and they are who we look to first -- for now.

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I like the idea of tasting different things when on vacation, especially the idea to be able to order smaller portions to do just that without exploding. In reality I've seen people eating lobster tails as if they hadn't eaten for a month, and even someone ordering two slightly different versions of a crème brûlée only to eat one tiny spoonful of the second one. Which he liked but "he didn't feel hungry". 

 

Maybe HAL doesn't just think about extra profits to be made on food but also simply wants to have less customers that are attracted by unlimited food and more customers that don't care about $10 extra. The latter will probably also buy more art, more haircuts, more wine. 

 

Personally, I couldn't care less if the ships charges me $10 when I feel like an extra entree after the fare alone was a few thousand. I don't find it unreasonable, as a relative newbee (4 cruises) I don't find it unexpected, and I don't like people insulting the waiter and cook by eating a spoonful of a dish. 

 

(BTW I'm the exception who doesn't buy more art, haircuts and wine :))

Edited by AmazedByCruising

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5 minutes ago, TAD2005 said:

The very small number of people who will ask for a 2nd entree will certainly have no effect on the level of waste.

 

To play devil's advocate, isn't this what the $10 trial is trying to establish?  We can speculate all we want but until you put an assumption in front of the customer, you really never know.  This could very well be an exercise in trying to determine what effect, if any, adding a price for "extra" food will have on how much has to be prepared for the "just in case"  scenarios.  We also don't know if this trial is to convince an executive of the reality.

 

That said, I am new-ish to cruising (only a few years but several cruises), and I never considered ordering a second entree as a "thing" to be done.  It just didn't enter my consciousness based on my experiences with going to land-based restaurants where that is not an option.

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I just called and talked with the Mariner Society. They have not heard of this and transferred me to ship services. Ship services confirmed this is a test that is currently being conducted.  Two ships are testing the full cruise of the extra charge per additional entree and two other ships are testing the extra charge just for the Gala nights.

Ship services did say that people order two entrees and then waste a lot of food.

 

My two cents, if portion sizes were somewhat normal, there would not be a need to ask for an extra entree.  The last two cruises I was on the meat portions were really small.

Edited by UM-Fan

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5 minutes ago, OlsSalt said:

 

Look at  this way, other passengers are currently subsidizing me when they buy drinks or gamble or participate in any of  the other revenue-generating activities onboard.

 

Keep an open mind about the topic at hand and don't assume any of this is a personal attack. Seattle bean-counters have to weigh and balance all these factors. Interesting to explore the hows, wheres and whys - including many of our demands for continued value cruising. 

I do keep a very open mind and I don't see it as a personal attack. And I do get it. Everything costs someone something. If Seattle can't count enough beans, we all know where the axe will land. As others have commented, a proportionate increase in fare to keep a few traditional things is not objectionable to most. Alienating customers and seeming miserly otoh is not good pr.

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