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BWIVince

Reflections on OCS190917-11 (Huh?) [9/17 YVR-LAX]

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Geesh, that’s way more of a mouthful than it used to be with the old sailing numbers! 

 

I know, many people are thinking, “who let Vince start a thread again?!?  Didn’t be lock that feature on his account yet?”  Yes, many people still have PTSD from the last time I was allowed to click that button.

 

I just wanted to start a thread to post a few random thoughts and/or pictures from the recent September 17-28 Vancouver-San Pedro segment.  Everyone is welcome and encouraged to contribute – it doesn’t even have to be specific to this sailing or from someone on the sailing.  Feel free to agree/disagree/challenge/question.

 

The first thing I wanted to add was about:

 

Passengers

 

What a GREAT sailing with wonderful people!  Unfortunately because of the timing of the M&M I wasn’t able to attend, but it was still wonderful meeting so many of the board members on this sailing.  From old friends I hadn’t seen in years, to people I’ve known on the board forever and finally got to meet in person, to people I met for the first time on the ship, I had a great time socializing with everyone and really hope to sail with everyone again very soon!

 

For the people originally were planning on joining this sailing but couldn’t make it, I promise we missed you and drank plenty of cocktails in your honor.

 

More to come...

 

Vince

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Yay, Vince - the Crystal board here was getting very quiet and then I see your post. Can't wait to hear more!

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Thanks Keith and Shirin!  Hopefully from the subject line everyone can tell I'm trying to keep this light, but I know how things get around here when you touch a nerve.  The next thing I wanted to hit was:

 

Open Seating

 

This was only my second cruise since Crystal implemented open seating on Symphony, and overall it was another positive experience.  This sailing was vastly different in terms of passengers dining preferences though, and definitely showed me firsthand how it goes on other sailings, and where some of the concerns come from.

 

First, a lot of people wanted to dine at 6:00 – and I mean a LOT.  Before opening, the line to enter Waterside usually ran across the Crystal Plaza and looped past the desk…  Or down the stateroom corridor.  Or many nights, unfortunately – both directions at once, merging in front of the Excursions Desk.

 

48871599341_252b01a196_c.jpg

 

48871599331_edfa053e46_c.jpg

 

(I didn't think to snap the last pic until I was halfway across the front desk already, and things were starting to space out in front of me a little at that point, but you get the idea.)

 

The actual duration of the wait at 6:00pm was minimal as the line moved steadily, but if you weren’t at the front of the line, you probably didn’t get your preferred table.  If you weren’t in the middle of the line you may not have gotten your preferred servers.  I don’t think I had bad service from any of the Waterside waiters the entire cruise, that I can remember, so this wasn’t a huge disappointment, but having the waiters know you, and your preferences, personality, and quirks is certainly an advantage.

 

Remi did a great job (as I expected) to accommodate every request the best he could, IMHO, given the surge that loaded the dining room immediately.  Plan B or Plan C tables always seemed to have most of the attributes of the original requests.

 

Crystal really took the seating feedback to heart.  Unless I missed a set somewhere, the maligned 2/2/2 trios (the set of three tables for two nestled together) that initially appeared inboard from the window 2-tops have all been replaced.  They’ve either been replaced with the rounds of 6 or ovals of 8, or reverted back to the pairing of one two-top and one four-top that were present in many of those spots during the fixed seating years.  Large tables were VERY easy to come by – to the point that many of the rounds of 6 were set as crescents of 4 facing the window since they needed fewer rounds of 6 than they had.

 

Overall I feel like the sailing went well if you were flexible, but it was easy for those who wanted something specific  to be disappointed this go-round.  It’s interesting to see the difference in dining patterns between the two shipboard populations.

 

I’ll post more on the actual food another time.

 

Vince

Edited by BWIVince

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YIKES  a lot of people for the early bird  dinner

What time did you find was not so lined up?

We prefer to eat before 7pm  will that be  an issue in Crystal's MDR ?

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4 minutes ago, LHT28 said:

YIKES  a lot of people for the early bird  dinner

What time did you find was not so lined up?

We prefer to eat before 7pm  will that be  an issue in Crystal's MDR ?

 

After that line loaded in (like 15-20 minutes), the wait was gone.  (The actual wait was shorter, too, since people kept arriving on the end of the line.)  Besides Remi being very quick about the assignments, they used staff from all over the ship to help show guests to their seats once the initial lineup of waiters had to get back to their stations.  The process moves quickly, it just takes longer to seat people than it used to now that they have to ask everyone their preference and assign them a table, unlike the old days.

 

The only inconvenience (to my eye) was to people who had a specific table or waiter request, really, and I think it's mostly us old-schoolers that are trying to emulate the old days by keeping consistent servers that would even feel that issue.  If you're used to open dining, and didn't have a preference on where you wanted to sit, you'd have no trouble walking up at 7:00pm and getting a good table. It just probably won't be in a particular section you might ask to sit in, that's all.

 

One night my group had dinner at 7:30 due to a late short excursion, and we got seated on the opposite side of the dining room than we normally did, but Remi still seated us with servers that knew us from some lunches and we had a delightful dinner. 

 

I don't think you'll have any trouble getting seated at 7:00 if you're flexible.  (Others that dined later -- PLEASE feel free to disagree if my perception is off!)

 

Vince

 

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Well, thankee v much about your frank and helpful comments. Been awhile since we got Crystallized, happily, but are not “old school” nor a pal of Remi. Not sure about open seating on Crystal, given your fine pics. We always did assigned, with “our” table and a great crew, back five and six years.

 

Those long long lines, for early seating? Crystal? And I deeply understand the efforts of maître d’ and staff to accommodate.  But on our other fave line, which shall be nameless—Viking—, early seating needed by a gastric-challenged bro was a breeze. Fave table always and “our” staff.

 

Not complaining, exactly. And v v much looking to our cruise on this Friday. But those pics? Hmmm.

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I have to say that it is eye popping to see long lines at 6pm. 

I miss the old days of having the same waiter and same table with waiters getting to know our preferences. 

Oh dear Remi, he is a gem.

 

 

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3 hours ago, BWIVince said:

 

After that line loaded in (like 15-20 minutes), the wait was gone.  (The actual wait was shorter, too, since people kept arriving on the end of the line.)  Besides Remi being very quick about the assignments, they used staff from all over the ship to help show guests to their seats once the initial lineup of waiters had to get back to their stations.  The process moves quickly, it just takes longer to seat people than it used to now that they have to ask everyone their preference and assign them a table, unlike the old days.

 

 

 

Thanks  for the info

We are used to open dining  & usually  do not request specific waitstaff or locations   so will probably be fine 🙂

 

 

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We tend to eat after 7 pm and never had a problem getting into Waterside.

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6 hours ago, BWIVince said:

 

Open Seating

 

First, a lot of people wanted to dine at 6:00 – and I mean a LOT.  Before opening, the line to enter Waterside usually ran across the Crystal Plaza and looped past the desk…  Or down the stateroom corridor.  Or many nights, unfortunately – both directions at once, merging in front of the Excursions Desk.

 

48871599341_252b01a196_c.jpg

 

48871599331_edfa053e46_c.jpg

 

(I didn't think to snap the last pic until I was halfway across the front desk already, and things were starting to space out in front of me a little at that point, but you get the idea.)

 

Vince


OMG - I’m lost for words, well almost!!!!   They don’t include images like that on the website or in the glossy brochures, but why do people do it???  Looks like students queueing for a college refectory to open, hardly befitting of sophisticated travellers for whom  “Luxury is Personal”... It’s not as if you aren’t there by 6.00pm you aren’t going to get any dinner!!!! 😱😱
 

Anne

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It must have just been the group on this voyage, for whatever reason, were early eaters!  I spent 46 days on Symphony earlier this year and never saw lines like this!!  The good news, as Vince mentioned, they get people seated very quickly.  Me?  If there was a line like that, I would just park myself in the Cove and have something to drink and enjoy the music until all those people were seated.

 

I'm so glad to see pictures from this voyage.  I was beginning to wonder if all the CCers were keeping the trip a big secret!

 

Thanks for posting Vince,

~Nancy

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I often say that no two cruises are alike and that is the case with the line up for the opening of Waterside at 6:00 PM.

 

We were on several cruises on Serenity starting with the Holiday Cruise last December thru early May and each one was different.  Holiday cruise had a queue outside Waterside extending to the shore excursion desk on some nights and on others a line half that length which is still long.  People began lining up around 5:50 PM.  As Vince said the line moved fairly quickly.  On other cruises the initial lines were like the half way ones on the Holiday cruises and overtime they got shorter.  On some cruises there was no long line.  Even on Symphony last May at 6:00 PM the lines were minimal.  What it will be like on any cruise is a guess.  On the cruise that Vince and others were on I am not surprised about the line as I think it has a lot in common with the Holiday cruise we were on.

 

Yes, I was on other luxury lines with long queues when their equivalent of a main dining room opened up.

 

Should someone be on one of those cruises with a long line and not want to wait on one just arrive at 6:15 PM or 6:30 PM.

 

Keith

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Vince, I am looking forward to those food photos.  You take many great ones as I remember from our cruise with you in May of 2018.    I am so glad you started this thread and are taking the time to share your experience.  

 

Many thanks,

Keith

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Was there a Bridge Group on board?  Not the regular one Crystal puts on but the one that is put on for ACBL with the instructors and an evening game?  They eat early and run to the night game and are quite rushed....that would cause this.

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We also like to dine early and it is related to some gastric problems. I think the lines would not be so long if passengers would not start queuing already before 18.00. We were usually around 18.10 and the line either was short or moving quickly.

Ivi

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11 hours ago, CeciltheSeaSerpent said:

Well, thankee v much about your frank and helpful comments. Been awhile since we got Crystallized, happily, but are not “old school” nor a pal of Remi. Not sure about open seating on Crystal, given your fine pics. We always did assigned, with “our” table and a great crew, back five and six years.

 

Those long long lines, for early seating? Crystal? And I deeply understand the efforts of maître d’ and staff to accommodate.  But on our other fave line, which shall be nameless—Viking—, early seating needed by a gastric-challenged bro was a breeze. Fave table always and “our” staff.

 

Not complaining, exactly. And v v much looking to our cruise on this Friday. But those pics? Hmmm.

 

I'm sure the same thing could happen on any line with open seating -- you're completely at the whim of when people choose to eat.  Crystal managed it as well as anyone could, but it was just more an observation of the risks of open seating (even if unusual!).  Please let us know how your experience goes with your cruise though, it will be interesting to contrast them.  I'm sure you'll enjoy it! 

 

I assure you that you don't need to be a friend of Remi for any reason -- I only mention him because now everyone gets his personal assistance every evening, unlike the old days...  In my experience, that's a positive.

 

8 hours ago, Jayayeff said:


OMG - I’m lost for words, well almost!!!!   They don’t include images like that on the website or in the glossy brochures, but why do people do it???  Looks like students queueing for a college refectory to open, hardly befitting of sophisticated travellers for whom  “Luxury is Personal”... It’s not as if you aren’t there by 6.00pm you aren’t going to get any dinner!!!! 😱😱
 

Anne

 

NOW you tell me!  :classic_biggrin:  I saw the line form and thought for sure, I'd better get in it now or else they were going to run out of food!  :classic_laugh:

 

I think this was the image that some of us were fearing when open seating was first announced, BUT the fact that it moved quickly and doesn't seem to be the norm have certainly mitigated the fears that some of us had prior to the implementation.

 

7 hours ago, oakridger said:

It must have just been the group on this voyage, for whatever reason, were early eaters!  I spent 46 days on Symphony earlier this year and never saw lines like this!!  The good news, as Vince mentioned, they get people seated very quickly.  Me?  If there was a line like that, I would just park myself in the Cove and have something to drink and enjoy the music until all those people were seated.

 

I'm so glad to see pictures from this voyage.  I was beginning to wonder if all the CCers were keeping the trip a big secret!

 

Thanks for posting Vince,

~Nancy

 

Nancy, I don't think there were large groups aboard -- none of the facilities that I can remember were regularly rented out, and none of the people in the line seemed to really know each other outside of their own table.  I think it was just a lot of people that liked eating early, and a peppering of people that _really_ wanted something specific and wanted to make sure they nailed down what they wanted.  (Myself included, I guess!)

 

KenzSailing -- sorry about the delay, I had to research the answer since I couldn't remember off the top of my head, but then I saw you deleted your message.  Feel free to ask it again and I can answer now, if you'd like.

 

Vince

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6 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

Vince, I am looking forward to those food photos.  You take many great ones as I remember from our cruise with you in May of 2018.    I am so glad you started this thread and are taking the time to share your experience.  

 

Many thanks,

Keith

 

Thanks, Keith...  I'll add some of those later today!  It's the least I can do in support of you and others that have gone out of their way to include more food photos among your other great pics!

 

6 hours ago, ChatKat in Ca. said:

Was there a Bridge Group on board?  Not the regular one Crystal puts on but the one that is put on for ACBL with the instructors and an evening game?  They eat early and run to the night game and are quite rushed....that would cause this.

 

Kathy, there wasn't a bridge group on this sailing.  The interesting thing was the vast spectrum of departure times for that first wave -- it didn't seem like any measurable number of people were trying to get in quick to get out.  There were always a couple of tables for two that were done in 20-40 minutes, but for the most part we had 4 courses at our table and were still in the earliest half to depart from that first wave.  We were usually at a table for three though, so we ate a little quicker and chatted a little less than the larger tables.

 

Vince

 

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Wow.  We were on the Symphony last July (party of 4).  We generally ate around 7pm and had the same table and waiter for each meal without any wait.  

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8 hours ago, oakridger said:

It must have just been the group on this voyage, for whatever reason, were early eaters!  I spent 46 days on Symphony earlier this year and never saw lines like this!!  The good news, as Vince mentioned, they get people seated very quickly.  Me?  If there was a line like that, I would just park myself in the Cove and have something to drink and enjoy the music until all those people were seated.

 

I'm so glad to see pictures from this voyage.  I was beginning to wonder if all the CCers were keeping the trip a big secret!

 

Thanks for posting Vince,

~Nancy

 

I was on this cruise and dined late, typically between 7:30 and 8:30.  While there were NO lines at Waterside, it was very busy at those times.  When crystal had fixed seating, we always ate late and the dining room was on the quiet side!!  

 

based on conversations with Remi and other waterside management, this cruise had a high percentage of guests that ate early and many guests didn't go to silk or charascarria.  umi uma and Prego were busy as well.  Anyhow, i was told this was highly unusual.

 

i felt that Remi and his team did a great job accommodating our dining needs as well as all others I spoke with.

 

Nancy

Edited by nancygp

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How do I say this without sounding like a snob, but there was a large contingent on this cruise (and as I understand, all the Alaska cruises) who are not the "usual" Crystal cruisers. Also, there was a large contingent of previous Crystal cruisers who are getting close to "aging out" of cruising all together and do just "domestic" cruises at this point. All of that causes the line at the opening of Waterside as seen in Vince's photos. I was down in the Cove on occasion at that time, "sipping" on my champagne, also thinking, I hope that's never me!!!

 

All this is to say, this is not the "norm", but it happens. Waiting to dine at 7 "solves" the problem.

 

Patty

 

 

 

 

 

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Vince,

 

great to finally meet you.  Enjoyed visiting with you and your friends.

 

keep the reports coming!!!

 

Nancy

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Again every cruise is different.  So many factors ranging from demographics,  to dining patterns, to overall occupancy,  to itinerary, to length of cruise.  

 

Groups are typically not an issue if they dine early as they often have a section for them to dine at and they can have them enter without waiting on line.  

 

Keith

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