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Changing Dining room Etiquette

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Clearing away one plate only at a table for two seems to mean to me that the waiter is bored. He has to make a second trip to remove the other plate. I would not mind that.

However, I would not be happy with the presentation of the dessert menu while someone at the table (of any size table) is still eating the entree. I would immediately speak to the waiter about that; and if it continued, speak with the person at the head of the dining room. And, if that didn't change things a "how are we doing" card would be filled in so that the Food & Beverage Manager would be aware.

Jim

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Even worse than that.  When I asked our sommelier how often she used the little cup on a chain around her neck, she had absolutely no idea what it was for!

  She said they just wore them so guests would know who the wine waiter was lol

 

After taking our wine orders, a junior drinks waiter would then  deliver our wine to our table - passing them across from one side across the table to the other side, without bothering to walk around. Sometimes giving my wine to someone else to pass to me from the other side...

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It is very true that the waiters are very friendly, but poorly trained on serving etiquette on HAL, especially compared to competitor

Celebrity.

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23 minutes ago, wales4ever said:

Even worse than that.  When I asked our sommelier how often she used the little cup on a chain around her neck, she had absolutely no idea what it was for!

  She said they just wore them so guests would know who the wine waiter was lol

 

After taking our wine orders, a junior drinks waiter would then  deliver our wine to our table - passing them across from one side across the table to the other side, without bothering to walk around. Sometimes giving my wine to someone else to pass to me from the other side...

 

😮

 

No wonder people think it’s okay to wear jeans in the MDR.  😜

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16 minutes ago, Despegue said:

It is very true that the waiters are very friendly, but poorly trained on serving etiquette on HAL, especially compared to competitor

Celebrity.

 

(Sigh)

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9 minutes ago, *Miss G* said:

 

😮

 

No wonder people think it’s okay to wear jeans in the MDR.  😜

 

Which one do you think came first.

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15 hours ago, Caribbean Chris said:

 

 

This made me recall a few years ago at one of the Mariners Club lunches. It was crowded, loud, and rushed, with plates cleared and next courses served immediately regardless of who was still eating an earlier course. The food was not up to par either, very annoying overall for such an occasion that should have been extra-gracious. Other times it has been nicer, but I don’t really care any more whether we go or don’t go.

I agree with this - we had that happen on the Oosterdam.  I have skipped the last 2 invitations.   A great time to have lunch in the Lido and have a seat by the pool.  

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3 minutes ago, ottahand7 said:

I agree with this - we had that happen on the Oosterdam.  I have skipped the last 2 invitations.   A great time to have lunch in the Lido and have a seat by the pool.  

 

Last two Mariner luncheons I have attended have had greatly improved, creative and locally inspired menus. A very welcome surprise, compared to the rather dreary affairs in times past. Might want to think about giving them another try,  if it is just the menu that has kept you away. Those who get invited to the Medallion ceremonies get earlier seating, so the later entry crowds are avoided. If not, then all the other crowding complaints I assume remain valid.

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6 minutes ago, OlsSalt said:

 

Last two Mariner luncheons I have attended have had greatly improved, creative and locally inspired menus. A very welcome surprise, compared to the rather dreary affairs in times past. Might want to think about giving them another try,  if it is just the menu that has kept you away. Those who get invited to the Medallion ceremonies get earlier seating, so the later entry crowds are avoided. If not, then all the other crowding complaints I assume remain valid.

Thanks, maybe we will give it another try.  I am 3 Star so the crowding will continue to be a problem.  The one on the Odam it was extremely difficult to hear in the back where we were seated.   

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1 hour ago, OlsSalt said:

 

Which one do you think came first.

 

I think you have the basis for an entirely new thread.  😉

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19 hours ago, Been There, Planning That said:

The evolution has been taking place over the last decade, I'd guess, in the timing of clearing plates from a table.

 

In the long past, the steward would wait until all diners at a table had completed a course before removing all plates at the same time.  The new trend is to immediately remove an individual's completed plate no matter the eating speed of others at the table.  (This seems to always have been done in the Lido where eating is very informal).  This is the new norm in family style restaurants and and even in land formal ones.

 

This was taken to the extreme at our table for two, at early traditional,  last month on the Volendam.  As soon as one of us was done, the plate was removed the instant the steward saw it.  One night my husband was still enjoying his main course when my plate was whisked away.  The dessert menu was immediately brought over to me and my husband's left on this bread plate until he was done and ready to order.  We were always on time so this wasn't the issue and rather 'speedy diners.'

 

I understand the principle of not leaving a dirty dish for the first diner to have in front of him.  But on this trip one of us was given the impression that we needed to hurry up so we could both get on to the next course.

 

We didn't notice this in the Pinnacle Grill.

As one who has majored in hospitality there are a couple of views:

1. If the plates are not immediately removed, diners consider it bad inattentive service.

2. if the plates are removed as soon as a diner at the table finishes it is considered being rushed.

 

Now in my opinion I would rather have them removed quickly so as not to run the risk of draping a cuff or sleeve accidentally in the leftover food, however the desert menu should have waited until all plates were removed because now it is rushing you and at no time should one diner be given the next course while others are still on the previous.

 

Now what wasn't explained by the OP was if this was the first or second seating.  I hate the first seating one because it is so early and two  you are rushed through it because they need to flip the table and get the dining room all ready for the next service.

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, ScottC4746 said:

As one who has majored in hospitality there are a couple of views:

1. If the plates are not immediately removed, diners consider it bad inattentive service.

 

 

I would argue that the above may be true from an American perspective, but not inclusive of all Americans.  Specifically, the above is not true of fine dining.  At least from a European and Canadian perspective.

Edited by *Miss G*

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9 minutes ago, ScottC4746 said:

 

Now what wasn't explained by the OP was if this was the first or second seating.  I hate the first seating one because it is so early and two  you are rushed through it because they need to flip the table and get the dining room all ready for the next service.

 

It was the first seating.  I agree it was far TOO early but the second one late for our lifestyle.

 

Because the staff is so rushed we seldom if ever saw an emptied table being prepared for second seating.  

 

Ruth

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Just now, Been There, Planning That said:

 

It was the first seating.  I agree it was far TOO early but the second one late for our lifestyle.

 

Because the staff is so rushed we seldom if ever saw an emptied table being prepared for second seating.  

 

Ruth

That is us.  First seating is way too early and the late seating is too late for us.  By 7 PM we are chewing on the furniture for our 815 seating.  We are trying my choice dining this time.

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5 hours ago, ger_77 said:

We just returned from the Maasdam and didn't have that experience at all.  When people finished their dinners (at our table for 8), the wait staff would wait to clear until everyone had completed their meal.  We never felt rushed, or slowed down by the eating speed of others at the table, or by the early clearing of dishes.

 

Smooth Sailing! 🙂🙂🙂

ger_77 and Miss G are correct.  Removing one person's plate prior to all at the table being finished with that course is considered inappropriate.  Some who work in the hospitality industry are, unfortunately, not informed of this.  I eat slowly and on many occasions my dining companions will tell the server not to take away their plates before I am finished.  It does not mean I have to clean my plate but for me to say that my plate can be cleared.  Cherie 

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6 hours ago, *Miss G* said:

I am British and we were taught to put our knives and forks together and leave them in the 11:25 position to indicate that you are finished.  The reason behind this is so the server can easily steady the utensils when they clear.  (Serve to your left; clear from your right.)

 

This is also what I learned. I'm American.

 

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I've cruised three times in the past year with another cruise line and never saw anything cleared from the table until everyone at the table was finished. These cruises were on a line that is not known for elegant service.

 

On one occasion, it caused a problem. We were a large group, one person ordered two appetizers, and one ordered two main courses. Except for the plate from the first person's appetizer or the second person's main, nothing was cleared until everyone finished the course. The problem was that some had show reservations and needed to finish faster than those with the multiple orders. On that line, waiters are supposed to ask about show reservations. It's possible that ours did, but one person answered--incorrectly--for the entire group. Dessert orders hadn't been taken when I left (after more than two hours at the table) for a show, because the passenger with the second main course was just finishing it then.

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Waiters clearing plates from diners who are finishes isn’t new. I have a distinct memory of being in a restaurant in NYC thirty years ago and overhearin this from the next table:

 

Waiter: “May I take your plate, sir?”

 

Diner: “The lady [his dining partner] isn’t finished.”

 

Waiter: “I see, but may I take YOUR plate?”

 

Diner: “No. You can clear the plates when we are both finished.”

 

Taking a cue from that, if I’m ever eating with someone who is eating more slowly than I, I simply use my words to request that the server clear the table when we are both/all done eating.

 

Other people prefer not to sit with used, empty plates in front of them. Different strokes for different folks.

 

I’ve found on cruises that the crew is very willing to accommodate any reasonable requests.  So if you and your dining partner don’t want plates removed until you have both finished, say so.  I’m sure they’ll get the hint even if it takes a couple of requests.

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I think the servers are put in an awkward position because "the guests" aren't as thoughtful of one another as they used to be.  It's weird for one person to inhale his/her meal like a Hoover vacuum while his/her dining partner is enjoying a leisurely pace -- causing the Hoover to sit for a prolonged period with a soiled empty plate, if the server doesn't decide to whisk it away.

 

Moral: Slow down and dine with your partner.  Plates will be cleared in unison and everyone will be happier.   :classic_smile:

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1 hour ago, jm485 said:

’ve found on cruises that the crew is very willing to accommodate any reasonable requests.  So if you and your dining partner don’t want plates removed until you have both finished, say so.  I’m sure they’ll get the hint even if it takes a couple of requests.

While I agree with your comment and that of others to the effect that all you have to do is ask your server to wait until you are both/all finished, we shouldn't have to ask. While it may not be quite universal, it's pretty basic dining etiquette. 

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When that happens to me, even if my plate is empty if my so is still eating I just tell the table steward that I would like to keep my plate. It make the person aware that there are other ways of clearing the tables, perhaps even elicit a conversation behind scenes. But then, I miss silver service in the mdr as well. :classic_blink:

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I really detest when waiters rush to clear the table as soon as they see you take the last bite.....it's as if they don't have enough plates and must wash them right away!  When I eat dinner at home, we don't clear the table the instant we've finished...we sit and "let things settle" for a bit!  When asked if I'm finished by a waiter, I'll say, no,not yet!   Even if I am!

 

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I remember being so impressed at a local dinner theatre when the waiter, instead of just grabbing the plate, inquired, "Are you still enjoying your salad?"

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I was taught that all diners at a table should keep pace with one another.

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