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Your Favorite Public Place, Is It Losing Its Appeal?

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As the typical cruiser becomes more seasoned, it is natural to develop a liking for particular areas on a cruise ship. In some cases, that place(s) becomes your go-to space for fun, socializing, personal/more private enjoyment, etc. Café Al Bacio and the Martini Bar are perfect examples of extremely popular public spaces that have developed quite a following on X ships. Using these two venues as examples, but certainly not limiting this discussion to just those two, what are your comments and ideas regarding the following?

 

Café Al Bacio attracts readers, card players and idlers. Nothing the matter with that. The Martini Bar attracts drinkers - alcohol, non alcohol and idlers - nothing the matter with that. At both venues when a seat becomes available, it is taken immediately. You can not expect to get lucky every time you visit your favorite place. Popularity brings in big numbers and everyone needs and deserves a chance to enjoy that atmosphere, should they desire. However, on many occasions there are those folks who have finished ordering or have ordered nothing at all. Yet, they continue to remain seated for long periods of time with no regard for other passengers who would like to have something to eat or drink, at that specific venue. In addition to that, servers and bartenders and X are not making any money on those seats. Is this okay? Is there a solution that could respectfully alleviate the problem? Is it even a problem?

 

Is your favorite public place losing its appeal?  

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 I like the Aqua Spa cafe, due to the healthy offerings.

However, it is difficult to find a seat to eat my meal, as so many play cards there.

Maybe next time I sail, it will be too hot, as we have a Mediterranean sailing in August.

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Café Al Bacio is definitely one of our favourite haunts. We love to sit with our morning or afternoon coffee, read a chapter or two of whatever book we are reading, but leave once our coffees are finished. We are increasingly frustrated to see the card players and others who monopolize tables for hours on end and force paying customers to take their coffee or teas or snack and find a place elsewhere on the ship to consume it. I'm sure these people wouldn't go as a group to their local Starbucks or whatever and sit playing cards while customers had to leave with their coffees to sit elsewhere (in their cars?) to drink them, but for some reason they think that Café Al Bacio is fine. Of course, coffee shop management would ask them to move along if they weren't actually buying anything, but Celebrity is loathe to do so. Personally, we find that this type of chair hog is far worse than those on the pool deck. We can always find loungers there, even if not always in an ideal location, but the Café Al Bacio is just too small to allow this type of activity.

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I am inclined to relax with friends for hours at a bar/dining establishment. Perhaps talking, watching a game, etc. However we're usually always ordering... have fresh cocktail or snack in front of us. I'd have no problems sitting at the bar for 2-3 hours in an evening if I was having fun and drinking. 

If folks are spending hours without ordering anything (or much longer than a reasonable time frame to consume their purchase), that's indeed disrespectful and they should move to another seating area in the ship. 

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This type of situation (card players and the like) has been on-going here at CC...

 

I have not read, as of yet, any suggestions as to where the players can go to have their games or had I missed it?

 

Maybe those places have been posted in the Daily and they missed it?

 

Has anyone asked GS to provide a place for card players and gamers to play so 'public spaces' can be available for those who want to read books or newspapers or people watch or those who want to sit by themselves in public venues? If GS is not notified, such a pain I know, that seating is an issue how can they or X help us gain it back, if we want it back?

 

I, on previous sailings, would invite myself to sit at occupied tables or on the couch in public venues if that is where I wanted to stay. If it did not matter, I meandered on to another space or place to relax.

 

bon voyage

 

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26 minutes ago, Bo1953 said:

This type of situation (card players and the like) has been on-going here at CC...

 

I have not read, as of yet, any suggestions as to where the players can go to have their games or had I missed it?

 

Maybe those places have been posted in the Daily and they missed it?

 

Has anyone asked GS to provide a place for card players and gamers to play so 'public spaces' can be available for those who want to read books or newspapers or people watch or those who want to sit by themselves in public venues? If GS is not notified, such a pain I know, that seating is an issue how can they or X help us gain it back, if we want it back?

 

I, on previous sailings, would invite myself to sit at occupied tables or on the couch in public venues if that is where I wanted to stay. If it did not matter, I meandered on to another space or place to relax.

 

bon voyage

 

Bo, I agree. 

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47 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

Café Al Bacio is definitely one of our favourite haunts. We love to sit with our morning or afternoon coffee, read a chapter or two of whatever book we are reading, but leave once our coffees are finished. We are increasingly frustrated to see the card players and others who monopolize tables for hours on end and force paying customers to take their coffee or teas or snack and find a place elsewhere on the ship to consume it. I'm sure these people wouldn't go as a group to their local Starbucks or whatever and sit playing cards while customers had to leave with their coffees to sit elsewhere (in their cars?) to drink them, but for some reason they think that Café Al Bacio is fine. Of course, coffee shop management would ask them to move along if they weren't actually buying anything, but Celebrity is loathe to do so. Personally, we find that this type of chair hog is far worse than those on the pool deck. We can always find loungers there, even if not always in an ideal location, but the Café Al Bacio is just too small to allow this type of activity.

 

Same here...they tie things up all day sipping  just a  few coffees,,. Large groups, loud conversation.  It has totally  ruined this space......same for the Solarium  cafe tables and even some lounging areas, plus  the Buffet tables towards the rear;   and   on EDGE they  take over  the  limited seating adjacent to the Cafe and Bar.

 

The card spaces are underutilized or converted .  X should figure this out with a new appealing card  and game space, AND table signs that indicate that the dining/ coffee areas are not for cards and games with info about where they can enjoy those activities,..or if needed, limit occupancy to 30 min per party...drastic but necessary.

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30 minutes ago, Bo1953 said:

This type of situation (card players and the like) has been on-going here at CC...

 

I have not read, as of yet, any suggestions as to where the players can go to have their games or had I missed it?

 

Maybe those places have been posted in the Daily and they missed it?

 

Has anyone asked GS to provide a place for card players and gamers to play so 'public spaces' can be available for those who want to read books or newspapers or people watch or those who want to sit by themselves in public venues? If GS is not notified, such a pain I know, that seating is an issue how can they or X help us gain it back, if we want it back?

 

I, on previous sailings, would invite myself to sit at occupied tables or on the couch in public venues if that is where I wanted to stay. If it did not matter, I meandered on to another space or place to relax.

 

bon voyage

 

On some TAs in S class ships I've seen card and game players use the MDR, deck 4. Must have made arrangements through the Events Coordinator. I've also seen card and game players use the Sky Lounge during the day. This works if they don't mind the noise from activities. Conference rooms can also be used if not reserved. Unfortunately, the dedicated Card Room is being eliminated in favor of cabins in the renovations. Problems can be avoided if card players, crafters and gamers would speak to the Events Coordinator to reserve space. 

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59 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

Café Al Bacio is definitely one of our favourite haunts. We love to sit with our morning or afternoon coffee, read a chapter or two of whatever book we are reading, but leave once our coffees are finished. We are increasingly frustrated to see the card players and others who monopolize tables for hours on end and force paying customers to take their coffee or teas or snack and find a place elsewhere on the ship to consume it. I'm sure these people wouldn't go as a group to their local Starbucks or whatever and sit playing cards while customers had to leave with their coffees to sit elsewhere (in their cars?) to drink them, but for some reason they think that Café Al Bacio is fine. Of course, coffee shop management would ask them to move along if they weren't actually buying anything, but Celebrity is loathe to do so. Personally, we find that this type of chair hog is far worse than those on the pool deck. We can always find loungers there, even if not always in an ideal location, but the Café Al Bacio is just too small to allow this type of activity.

 

 

I understand what you are saying, however, those people haven’t paid to be in the Starbucks shop, but they have paid to be on a Celebrity cruise and to use any public space open to them.

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On our last (cool weather) Cruise, getting a seat in Cafe Al Bacio was extremely difficult apart from mid evening, when large numbers were either dining or in the theatre.  In the daily bulletin there was often a request that people in Ocean View Cafe vacated their tables when they had finished dining at meal times. A similar notice might at least highlight that ‘table hogging’ when others are seeking places to sit is a bit anti-social. I recognise that with the drinks packages being so popular, it would not stop people having many drinks over hours but it might help. Or even a short ‘friendly’ (not actually saying ‘anti-social’ or ‘hogging’, lol) paragraph placed in the table menu?

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2 minutes ago, mrsgoggins said:

On our last (cool weather) Cruise, getting a seat in Cafe Al Bacio was extremely difficult apart from mid evening, when large numbers were either dining or in the theatre.  In the daily bulletin there was often a request that people in Ocean View Cafe vacated their tables when they had finished dining at meal times. A similar notice might at least highlight that ‘table hogging’ when others are seeking places to sit is a bit anti-social. I recognise that with the drinks packages being so popular, it would not stop people having many drinks over hours but it might help. Or even a short ‘friendly’ (not actually saying ‘anti-social’ or ‘hogging’, lol) paragraph placed in the table menu?

I'm afraid that signs, notices and casual comments really wouldn't modify behavior.Several years ago Penn State conducted a study of how much time it took people to vacate a parking space. The study concluded that it took considerably longer for one to vacate a space when someone was waiting for it than if no one was waiting. I believe that some people tend to be highly territorial and they tend to be even more territorial when others want to invade what they see as "their" space. 

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4 minutes ago, Orator said:

I'm afraid that signs, notices and casual comments really wouldn't modify behavior.Several years ago Penn State conducted a study of how much time it took people to vacate a parking space. The study concluded that it took considerably longer for one to vacate a space when someone was waiting for it than if no one was waiting. I believe that some people tend to be highly territorial and they tend to be even more territorial when others want to invade what they see as "their" space. 

 

Really? I’m amazed! If we know that someone wants our parking space we definitely do not linger, but speed up. I can’t believe that most people don’t behave as we do.

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3 minutes ago, mrsgoggins said:

 

Really? I’m amazed! If we know that someone wants our parking space we definitely do not linger, but speed up. I can’t believe that most people don’t behave as we do.

I can. 

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Was on the newly renovated Summit in September.  There is no game room.  However, Mah Jong and card players were allowed to play in Blu from 11:30 am until 3:30 pm.  It was a pleasant atmosphere.  We also played cards in the buffet area between 3:30 and 5:30 pm.  It was after lunch and before dinner.  We were able to get coffee, tea, water and snacks served in the buffet at 4:00 pm.  Some people read books and played games in the Rendevouz Lounge.  It was a cool weather cruise, so people were looking for indoor space.

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We had a similar set-up on the Eclipse earlier where Blu was available between (I think) 11-3 for cards and games.  Not sure if the OV had a area in the afternoon for cards & games.  It seems that this would alleviate some of the problem.  

Nor sure of a solution for those that sit for hours at a crowded bar with a bottle of water or no drink at all.

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Let’s clarify a few points. Sitting at El Bacio having a coffee, playing cards or reading isn’t the same as the pool chair hogs. The pool hogs put their items on lounges and go off to eat or shop or whatever, taking the lounge chairs out of service when not being used. Sitting and actively using a table in El Bacio and not ordering what someone else thinks is how much they should spend/order/drink isn’t chair hogs, it’s using a common space available to all. And they are considered ‘chair hogs’ by some because they got there first. Life at a popular spot. we play cards there and order drinks and snacks and so on.

 

I’d hope upon hope there isn’t someone watching us intently, walking by to see if there is anything in my coffee cup and so on, but apparently there are. I understand the issue and kind of get bugged by the guy sitting in the chair next to the window sleeping. I’d like to wake him up and ask him to nap in his SR, but that’s life. And I don’t complain because it’s None Of My Business.....well I’ll complain to my wife and she tells me: Get A Life.

 

And why just complain about readers and card players? What about the Very Inconsiderate People (VIP’s) who enjoy the music being played in that venue and they order one drink and sit and listen for an extended time, or the two couples sitting and talking for extended time? By the way ‘extended time’ is defined as time that cuts into when you want that table. 

 

Personally, none of these goings-on are any of our business......we just got there later. You have no idea how much those card players or readers have ordered and used. Life is tough when you don’t immediately get what you want and someone else is getting it.

 

Den

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1 hour ago, villauk said:

 

 

I understand what you are saying, however, those people haven’t paid to be in the Starbucks shop, but they have paid to be on a Celebrity cruise and to use any public space open to them.

But these areas are a  primarily a coffee shop, seating for the EDEN  cafe or the buffet, etc..not an all purpose public space for all day use by groups.   They could not just saunter into the casino for their own card games !

 

Maybe  mgmnt could  reserve a few tables in varioys spot  for card play but  denote others as  a food and bev area. In the card rms, tables used to have a sign up sheet.

 

Happy to hear X is trying to work on alternatives..so everyone can enjoy the ship and their hobbies. 

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Okay, I'm thinking I'm not getting this issue.
 

I relate it to chairs around the pool that are occupied, not CHOGS. If someone has found a place that they enjoy and they are using it, I am not going to think bad of those who are enjoying themselves. Let alone talk to GS to have them moved.

This past January my DW and I had a very nice afternoon in the buffet area. A little to eat, more to drink and a lot of cribbage. It would have been weird if we were asked to leave because someone else wanted the table. Granted it wasn't busy, but still.

I see the problem with the ships layout and not the people using the areas that are accessible.

In addition I fly out of Minneapolis and we have charging stations and iPad's scattered through out the airport, it would be great for those who use these charging stations if they would think of others and do less than a full charge, but most don't.

Most folks don't notice inconveniences, until it inconveniences them. I guarantee you that if you can figure out how to change human nature, you have a high paying job waiting for you.

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21 minutes ago, jelayne said:

We had a similar set-up on the Eclipse earlier where Blu was available between (I think) 11-3 for cards and games.  Not sure if the OV had a area in the afternoon for cards & games.  It seems that this would alleviate some of the problem.  

Nor sure of a solution for those that sit for hours at a crowded bar with a bottle of water or no drink at all.

Sunset bar on Reflection has folks who sit there for hours..sittin and sippin while others patiently wait to get a seat.

One of the more crowded areas on that ship...  ...Not sure of bar etiquette b/c we do not sit at bars generally.. 

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26 minutes ago, Denny01 said:

Let’s clarify a few points. Sitting at El Bacio having a coffee, playing cards or reading isn’t the same as the pool chair hogs. The pool hogs put their items on lounges and go off to eat or shop or whatever, taking the lounge chairs out of service when not being used. Sitting and actively using a table in El Bacio and not ordering what someone else thinks is how much they should spend/order/drink isn’t chair hogs, it’s using a common space available to all. And they are considered ‘chair hogs’ by some because they got there first. Life at a popular spot. we play cards there and order drinks and snacks and so on.

 

I’d hope upon hope there isn’t someone watching us intently, walking by to see if there is anything in my coffee cup and so on, but apparently there are. I understand the issue and kind of get bugged by the guy sitting in the chair next to the window sleeping. I’d like to wake him up and ask him to nap in his SR, but that’s life. And I don’t complain because it’s None Of My Business.....well I’ll complain to my wife and she tells me: Get A Life.

 

And why just complain about readers and card players? What about the Very Inconsiderate People (VIP’s) who enjoy the music being played in that venue and they order one drink and sit and listen for an extended time, or the two couples sitting and talking for extended time? By the way ‘extended time’ is defined as time that cuts into when you want that table. 

 

Personally, none of these goings-on are any of our business......we just got there later. You have no idea how much those card players or readers have ordered and used. Life is tough when you don’t immediately get what you want and someone else is getting it.

 

Den

Den, I did indeed address the nappers, the talkers and the listeners. They would be "the idlers." 

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1 hour ago, villauk said:

I understand what you are saying, however, those people haven’t paid to be in the Starbucks shop, but they have paid to be on a Celebrity cruise and to use any public space open to them.

Using that criterion, I suppose that a group could grab a table in the MDR to play cards for the evening. As the increasingly pervasive sense of entitlement flourishes, people seem to be losing sight of some pretty fundamental social concepts. A coffee shop, on land or at sea, is there to provide service to its customers. If you aren't a customer, you shouldn't be there. Café Al Bacio is no different than the MDR, in so far as both are spaces designed for a specific purpose, not for use as lounges.

 

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26 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

Using that criterion, I suppose that a group could grab a table in the MDR to play cards for the evening. As the increasingly pervasive sense of entitlement flourishes, people seem to be losing sight of some pretty fundamental social concepts. A coffee shop, on land or at sea, is there to provide service to its customers. If you aren't a customer, you shouldn't be there. Café Al Bacio is no different than the MDR, in so far as both are spaces designed for a specific purpose, not for use as lounges.

 

 

 

As I stated above, I totally understand where you are coming from but your analogy of comparing it to Starbucks on land doesn’t work: one doesn’t pay just to walk through the door in Starbucks like you do when you walk on to the ship, and Cafe al Bacio is a public area with informal seating. It would be far better to open the barely used Sushi on 5 to generate more seating in that section.

 

For years there have been announcements asking pax to think about fellow passengers and vacate the Oceanview seating when they have finished eating, but it has little effect, especially on embarkation day and on Reflection (a whole extra deck of cabins). This will only get worse as more and more public space is converted into extra cabins and suites, thus reducing general public space.

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I don’t think that the problem is with the people who want to play cards, linger  over a drink or a cup of coffee, or sit quietly and read a book. Many of us cruise so that we can relax and enjoy quiet time.

The problem is with the cruise lines who are continuously taking away lounges and public space to fit in more cabins, more private space for those who want to pay for it, and venues to make money such as speciality restaurants.

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On Infinity, a group took the one large round table in the middle of Baccio.   They were very loud, had visitors and took turns at the table.  They made it clear it was their  card table...

 

We tried to  go at diff times to enjoy  afternoon tea and coffee with a biscotti but it was not worth putting up with them,..They owned it for the  cruise,!

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5 minutes ago, villauk said:

Cafe al Bacio is a public area with informal seating.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. You view Café Al Bacio as a public area with informal seating, while I view it as a coffee shop with seating provided for its customers. 

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