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Not up to standard--our Voyager cruise, Nov. 16-Dec. 6/'19


ON cruiser
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Hello folks, now that that we are into "Boxing Day", after the busy holiday, I see that my review of our Voyager cruise has been posted on Cruise Critic. I have tried but am unable to link it here. It is the second review under the Voyager, if anyone cares to read it, as I provide more detail in that review.

 

This was our second Regent experience. While we enjoyed our first experience, unfortunately, this second time around was not great. While our cabin steward/stewardess were fine, and the deck and bar service overall quite good, the food quality and food service, amongst other issues, was a real let-down. It seems that in Dubai the ship took on many new, and untrained or insufficiently trained, wait staff. There was often a disconnect between the kitchen and the servers. Not only us, but others dubbed this a "training cruise". 

 

Not wanting to get into "can you top this?", but a couple whom we met and dined with one night told us their story of dinner at Chartreuse. They went with another couple. Everyone got their appetizers and all was proceeding well. Then, three of four of them were served their main course. This one fellow, telling us the story, was not. It was discovered that his "ticket" had not been submitted. Yet his main course was not then rushed ahead. Rather, he had to sit and watch the other three eat, not only their main courses, but be served their desserts, before he finally got his meal. While we found the food in Chartreuse unexciting, and the service disjointed, happily, however, we never experienced anything like that!

 

What we did experience were glitches with almost every meal, in almost every venue: a dish forgotten, something messed up (like a side dish), etc. It did get tiresome.

 

What was particularly annoying was the way this was (not) addressed. We did note our dissatisfaction on board, and, after a meeting with the Chef and F & B Director (the General Manager was absent), the food did improve somewhat. The food service and other issues I note in my review did not. Thus, I wrote to the CEO (using the e-address that someone helpfully posted on cruisecritic). He never replied, rather having someone in "guest relations" fob me off. If a token future cruise credit had been offered, I would have been more willing to try them again. At least that would have shown some tangible recognition and acknowledgment that they messed up, and know they must do better in future. Yet my dissatisfaction and my future business appears to be unimportant to Regent.  Happily, there are other options at this price-point.   

 

 

Edited by ON cruiser
typo
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I agree, you just can't put oil new waiters without training.  Service should be the same "GOOD" on all cruises, Regent should have a standard and that standard should be met 100%--period.  After all you don't pay that amount for sub standard service.

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ON cruiser - I read your review (the full one) with interest since we were also on this cruise, the second part of a B2B. I just wanted to give my impression of some of the items you mentioned. While I had sometimes different experiences than you mention, this is in no way meant to question your unfavorable impressions.

We had no issues with the food on this cruise, either with taste, temperature or forgotten dishes. This applies especially to Compass Rose, our favorite restaurant (we did not eat in Chartreuse on this segment since we don’t care for it generally).

As far as service, we did not notice much difference from the previous cruise, but there was definitely a significant crew turnover in Dubai. As you mentioned the Observation Lounge, there was one new server, while very friendly and eager to please, needs additional English language training as she sometimes did not understand simple requests.

We did not have any problems with getting items washed cold in the laundry, but definitely had some laundry problems on other cruises.

i could not agree with you more on the early morning excursions (though I believe it may not be unique to Regent). They need to realize that we are on vacation!
Finally, I can understand why you may not consider Regent again. Since you mentioned Seabourn, we had quite a bad experience (worse than your Regent experience) on Seabourn after a number of enjoyable cruises. I made extensive comments after returning from the trip, but never heard so much as a word from management or anyone else. As a result, we do not sail on them anymore.

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ON cruiser, really sad to read about your experience on the Voyager.  I certainly would have been disappointed as well.

 

While it is certainly no excuse, I wonder if the high staff turnover was in part due to the shifting of personnel for the launch of Splendor?

Edited by RJ2002
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6 minutes ago, RJ2002 said:

ON cruiser, really sad to read about your experience on the Voyager.  I certainly would have been disappointed as well.

 

While it is certainly no excuse, I wonder if the high staff turnover was in part due to the shifting of personnel for the launch of Splendor?

Well, we will soon see if a cadre of "Generals" does any better - we're on the Splendor inaugural (small "i" like Regent uses)cruise. On our September Explorer cruise, we experienced lots of small dinner "glitches". I posted that I thought that Regent was putting on new staff with insufficient training. Not the end of the world but for a cruise line who brags about "luxury" - not as good a service as my local restaurant.

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2 hours ago, BBWC said:

ON cruiser - I read your review (the full one) with interest since we were also on this cruise, the second part of a B2B. I just wanted to give my impression of some of the items you mentioned. While I had sometimes different experiences than you mention, this is in no way meant to question your unfavorable impressions.

We had no issues with the food on this cruise, either with taste, temperature or forgotten dishes. This applies especially to Compass Rose, our favorite restaurant (we did not eat in Chartreuse on this segment since we don’t care for it generally).

As far as service, we did not notice much difference from the previous cruise, but there was definitely a significant crew turnover in Dubai. As you mentioned the Observation Lounge, there was one new server, while very friendly and eager to please, needs additional English language training as she sometimes did not understand simple requests.

We did not have any problems with getting items washed cold in the laundry, but definitely had some laundry problems on other cruises.

i could not agree with you more on the early morning excursions (though I believe it may not be unique to Regent). They need to realize that we are on vacation!
Finally, I can understand why you may not consider Regent again. Since you mentioned Seabourn, we had quite a bad experience (worse than your Regent experience) on Seabourn after a number of enjoyable cruises. I made extensive comments after returning from the trip, but never heard so much as a word from management or anyone else. As a result, we do not sail on them anymore.

We were on this cruise also (a b2b for us) we did not have ANY food or service problems (we did not eat at Chartreuse on this leg). 

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I agree this is annoying. This problem with training new staff occurred a few years ago too, when the Explorer was coming into the fleet. IMO management needs to have extra staff onboard to train these new hires in additional to the regular complement of crew.

 

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11 minutes ago, JMARINER said:

I agree this is annoying. This problem with training new staff occurred a few years ago too, when the Explorer was coming into the fleet. IMO management needs to have extra staff onboard to train these new hires in additional to the regular complement of crew.

 

A definite problem would be having sufficient crew quarters to accommodate the extra staff to do the training

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4 minutes ago, Kwaj girl said:

A definite problem would be having sufficient crew quarters to accommodate the extra staff to do the training

Maybe, but they could always use a few passenger cabins for the crew. It is not like Shore side Management doesn't know this is going to be a real problem when they are needing to recruit and train new waiter, bar and housekeeping staff fora new ship. 

 

I don't think it is fair to the passengers that they have to suffer with poor service because of new crew training, particularly in such large numbers of trainees. I know that the staff onboard have a difficult time; having to do their regular duties and spend time training and more importantly, supervising the new hires.  I think the OP should be entitled to a substantial credit for having to endure this poor level of services

 

J

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Thanks for the feedback. Indeed, I wish we had been lucky enough not to have had any dining service-related issues, as some did manage. It shows that everyone can have different experiences. Of interest, there is not only my less than stellar review on the Review section but a few others recently posted that noted problems with Voyager. I don't think its just us being overly picky, as others on board also had problems.

 

But one can have a less than stellar cruise on any line, unfortunately (albeit the lines should strive to deliver all the time). It is what happens when this occurs. Another poster noted that Seabourn ignored their concerns, hence Seabourn lost their business. Rightly so. Things go wrong, complaints happen. It is what next happens that makes the difference. Companies that stand behind their product deserve more business.

 

Ah well, "on to the next"...even a mediocre cruise is more fun than a good day at the office!

 

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6 hours ago, RJ2002 said:

ON cruiser, really sad to read about your experience on the Voyager.  I certainly would have been disappointed as well.

 

While it is certainly no excuse, I wonder if the high staff turnover was in part due to the shifting of personnel for the launch of Splendor?

But it is an excuse...and should be.  Just because you have a high turn over--Regent should be ready for that and train ahead of time.  Companies should put on a new ship until they are ready.  Having great service on the Splendor doesn't mean the other ships should suffer in service.

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We just returned from our Voyager cruise Singapore to Singapore.  I was told that 50 staff trainees were on board our cruise in guest cabins. We received excellent service and found the food to be very good.  We had a couple of dishes that were not hot enough but certainly not cold.   We had one of the best waiters we have ever had cruising (over 250 Seabourn, 150 Silversea 75 Regent) JoJo in Compass Rose.  There was a bar staff member in the Observation lounge who never managed to get our drinks order right but Victor was fantastic.  We have had great cruises on all of the cruise lines I have mentioned but also had a few misses on all the cruise lines.  Our cruise on the Mariner in April was not good and I'm not sure I would cruise that ship again.  I loved the two Voyager cruises we did this year.  If you do have a Voyager cruise coming up do try and ask to be seated at JoJo's station in Compass Rose he is outstanding.

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I think ONCruiser was being fair in his assessment  - aside from one point he raised:  What I find unfair is to recount someone else's experience in a restaurant.  He was apparently not at that table nor as far as I can tell in Chartreuse when the other diner's main course was not ordered.   If you weren't at the table how can you know what was said?  Plus the sort of dishes that are served in Chartreuse take time...and cannot be rushed.  It is entirely possible that the kitchen prioritized the "second" order but simply could not get it cooked in no time at all.  The others had been served their main course.  Clearly they could not be expected not to eat what was in front of them nor to have their plates taken away and have everyone wait until the forgotten one was ready.

 

Where I see the problem in this case is serving the desserts to the others when the fellow was waiting for his main course.  That shouldn't have happened.  Also the waiter and the Maître d'Hôtel should have jumped in, offered an upgraded bottle of wine to the table or something.  Maybe they did?  No one reporting on this forum was there so how do we know?

 

This can happen anytime in any restaurant.  From what we know it could perhaps have been handled better.  

 

Training new staff to a uniform standard is always what we call a "casse-tête" - a problem.  Training staff to meet Regent's standards must be more than that!   And clearly bringing a new ship online with a full complement of trained crew is a major task.  (Not one I would like to oversee in fact!)   Also clearly IMO is that current passengers shouldn't be expected to be "hotel school clients" to train staff.  How do you square that circle??

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We were also aware of staff training on our last cruise - perhaps @ronrick1943 or other CC contributors who were on board Mariner from Tokyo to Vancouver recall about half a dozen staff in Compass Rose wearing strange, non-standard Regent uniforms?  These restaurant staff appeared to be shadowing experienced Regent staff members at that time.  We had dining room issues throughout our cruise, mostly resolved following conversations with those in a position to address them, but one might take the view that the most basic skills - serving the correct food, hot and with timely delivery of any accompaniments to the correct person - should be routine for any restaurant staff employed by Regent? 

 

It's interesting to read that some avoided problems on the recent Voyager cruise by choosing their table carefully.  We do as many here have recommended and find a team of servers we like and who can be relied upon to do a great job.  I never single our preferred staff out here, because clearly, not everyone can sit in the same area of the restaurant!  But I see several names pop up time and again and it's surely no coincidence that many of them feature on our list too.  

 

I agree @Hambagahle training a large number of new staff must be a challenge, but that should not impact on our experience. Of course, they must gather practice somewhere and I think most of us would be as understanding and tolerant of new staff as we are of, say, learner drivers.  I think the problems occur when there are more than a handful of staff needing close supervision, challenging the workload of an already stretched management team.  And I hadn't even thought about the accommodation issue!!    (Who'd run a cruise ship, eh?)

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27 minutes ago, Gilly said:

We were also aware of staff training on our last cruise - perhaps @ronrick1943 or other CC contributors who were on board Mariner from Tokyo to Vancouver recall about half a dozen staff in Compass Rose wearing strange, non-standard Regent uniforms?  These restaurant staff appeared to be shadowing experienced Regent staff members at that time.  We had dining room issues throughout our cruise, mostly resolved following conversations with those in a position to address them, but one might take the view that the most basic skills - serving the correct food, hot and with timely delivery of any accompaniments to the correct person - should be routine for any restaurant staff employed by Regent? 

 

It's interesting to read that some avoided problems on the recent Voyager cruise by choosing their table carefully.  We do as many here have recommended and find a team of servers we like and who can be relied upon to do a great job.  I never single our preferred staff out here, because clearly, not everyone can sit in the same area of the restaurant!  But I see several names pop up time and again and it's surely no coincidence that many of them feature on our list too.  

 

I agree @Hambagahle training a large number of new staff must be a challenge, but that should not impact on our experience. Of course, they must gather practice somewhere and I think most of us would be as understanding and tolerant of new staff as we are of, say, learner drivers.  I think the problems occur when there are more than a handful of staff needing close supervision, challenging the workload of an already stretched management team.  And I hadn't even thought about the accommodation issue!!    (Who'd run a cruise ship, eh?)

Sorry, but we didn't notice that--and I realize training does need to happen, however not at the expense of paying customers.  Crew in training should be extra crew members working with current crew.

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I agree that it’s frustrating (at a minimum) to spend good money for a cruise and have a less-than-stellar experience.

 

I can also say that with very few exceptions we’ve received excellent service on every Regent ship over 10 cruises...but I can honestly say that our highest number of glitches came just before Explorer was launched.  While I’m not trying to completely exonerate Regent about this, I do understand that it’s difficult to train that many new staff members while still maintaining standards on the other ships in the fleet.  Sure, you can train them on land as much as possible, but there’s no real substitute for actually being on board and dealing with paying customers.

 

So while I understand your frustration with the hiccups in service, be aware that any smaller cruise line will undoubtedly suffer the same issues while launching a new ship.  I’m confident that Regent will address these problems and hopefully get them fixed sooner rather than later...especially considering that we’re sailing with them next month!

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1 minute ago, ronrick1943 said:

Sorry, but we didn't notice that--and I realize training does need to happen, however not at the expense of paying customers.  Crew in training should be extra crew members working with current crew.

True - but there’s the question of accommodating the additional crew on board.  It’s not like land-based training where you can just stuff the trainees into a hotel for a few weeks.

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2 minutes ago, UUNetBill said:

True - but there’s the question of accommodating the additional crew on board.  It’s not like land-based training where you can just stuff the trainees into a hotel for a few weeks.

Bill, I agree--however that is a Regent problem that needs to be solved ben Regent.  Any training shouldn't impact the exceptions of a wonderful cruise.  If you're willing to pay the price you pay and get less, I'm not willing to do that. Training can be done the right way, it just takes management to make it happen.

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1 minute ago, ronrick1943 said:

Bill, I agree--however that is a Regent problem that needs to be solved ben Regent.  Any training shouldn't impact the exceptions of a wonderful cruise.  If you're willing to pay the price you pay and get less, I'm not willing to do that. Training can be done the right way, it just takes management to make it happen.

Ronrick - see my previous post on this subject.  While I agree that Regent could probably do a better job of getting new crew trained and ready, it’s not like they’re just shanghai-ing people off the street and pressing them into service.  In a perfect world the new crew would seamlessly integrate with no issues.  But we don’t live in a perfect world.

 

I don’t like lapses in service any more than anyone else, but I also understand that things like this are difficult to work around.  When it happens, I let someone in management know about the issues - and most times it’s corrected quickly and doesn’t happen again.

 

Frustrating?  Yes.  End of the world?  No.

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2 minutes ago, wripro said:

OR Regent should tell the passengers that there will be a high number of crew in training on a particular cruise and because this crew cannot live up to the standards they have promised they are refunding a part of the fare.

Of course, you’re making the assumption that standards won’t be met.  I also don’t believe that Regent has ‘promised’ any specific standards - they may have ‘implied’ or ‘intimated’ but I have never seen any written promises of any set standards.

 

By that token, Regent should also refund passengers if they’re upgrading the technology on board, such as the tablets in the restaurants or the internet repeaters.  Or if they’re performing any maintenance underway, or painting or varnishing...

 

Seriously, yes, I get it - we pay a lot for these cruises and we want things to be as perfect as we hope...but that’s not always possible.  Have I griped and complained about service lapses in the past?  Sure I have.  But I never asked for a refund if my dinner was late or someone didn’t refill my wine glass.  I figure on a 15-night cruise I’m going to have around 45 meals served to me - if 44 of them are excellent and one is less than stellar, I’m not gonna let it ruin my vacation.  But that’s just me, I guess.

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These comments about crew training reminded me about Holland America.  I seem to recall that they have a training center in the Philippines for their food and bar personnel.   I know the hotel function for both Regent and Oceania is outsourced to The Apollo Group, but I have not heard if Apollo has a shore-based training program.   Regent and O have similar onboard standards, but since Apollo also handles the hotel function for other lines/ships as well, perhaps a central training facility wouldn't be feasible.

 

 

Edited by RJ2002
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2 hours ago, UUNetBill said:

Of course, you’re making the assumption that standards won’t be met.  I also don’t believe that Regent has ‘promised’ any specific standards - they may have ‘implied’ or ‘intimated’ but I have never seen any written promises of any set standards.

 

By that token, Regent should also refund passengers if they’re upgrading the technology on board, such as the tablets in the restaurants or the internet repeaters.  Or if they’re performing any maintenance underway, or painting or varnishing...

 

Seriously, yes, I get it - we pay a lot for these cruises and we want things to be as perfect as we hope...but that’s not always possible.  Have I griped and complained about service lapses in the past?  Sure I have.  But I never asked for a refund if my dinner was late or someone didn’t refill my wine glass.  I figure on a 15-night cruise I’m going to have around 45 meals served to me - if 44 of them are excellent and one is less than stellar, I’m not gonna let it ruin my vacation.  But that’s just me, I guess.

Bill, although I agree with you, I'm sure Regent has a training person in charge of training for Regent--no matter where they get trained.  Since so many people have posted about this problem--their is a problem that needs to be corrected.  So I'm guessing it's the VP of Training (HR) that needs to do a better job of over seeing this.  Problems happen, no big deal--but when you have a known problem you fix it.

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