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As You Wish Dining - Opinions, Comments and Discussions

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Betty,

 

The overwhelming majority of the talk about AYW is speculation. The posters most opposed feed off each other as they have done for all changes. They have not yet experienced it nor been impacted by it.

 

Luckiestlady gave us a gift in terms of sharing with us the real issue is indeed group bookings. This confirms what Jazzsea told this board on a previous occasion. And these groups might be as simple as a TA consortium who options the best cabin locations ( and they do) and reserves the coveted early dining seating so that everyone else has to be waitlisted, early on. It does not mean that those waitlisted will not get fixed seating.

 

We can all approach this with our ships half full or half empty.

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Maybe Luckiest Lady 21 is just plain tired and worn out from a tough day dealing with the over-reaction to the As You Wish Dining. Maybe she wishes somebody would cut her and the other customer service agents some slack, because they're just trying to do their best with a new situation. Maybe it's time for all of us to take a deep breath and calm down, and reserve judgment until we've actually experienced As You Wish Dining.

 

Karin

 

Luckiestlady is off duty( I assume) and is under no obligation to treat us like customers. I can't even begin to appreciate what her work day must be like.

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Luckiestlady is off duty( I assume) and is under no obligation to treat us like customers. I can't even begin to appreciate what her work day must be like.

I got a bit heated about this issue b/c everything else at work has been overshadowed by this dinning concept, and i spend me whole day dealing with it, at times people physically scream at me over dinning. believe it or not I have had people threaten to personally sue me for not being able to give them their desired seating.

 

as hard as it can be i do enjoy my job, but after a year of it I wonder if I should have taken this job, it is not easy to let every insult and mean spirited thing people say to me over issues i cannot control, roll off me.

 

I dont feel like I have to treat any of you like customers on this board. I am off the clock and when I am not at work I dont like to think of anyone as a customer only I view everyone as a person with a right to their opinion, and as such I hope you will accept my right to an opinion as well. I am sorry about offending anyone

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Just a note about your previous post, everyone on this thread is aware of the implementation Schedule for each ship, as it was posted on previous pages of this thread..Perhaps you missed it.....

 

Betty

 

actually that post was to give better info on the ship abbreviations for anone who may not have felt like translating the travel agent and cruise line jargon in the copy of that memo that was posted I wasnt trying to insult anyone by that, I just noticed a post that i forgot to quote where someone mention deciphering the ship abbreviations

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<long whistle>

Boy, we really are naughty.

Watch out, or the next time we show our faces on a damship someone from HQ is going to slap us in the face. :)

 

I rarely slap I assure you. but I do have to admit I have been afraid to go on a HAL cruise. When people realize the have as you wish dinning, they might hang me off the back of the ship by my ankles.

 

(as I am now cautious about saying anything on this board, this is m attempt to poke a bit of humor at the situation)

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I

 

I dont feel like I have to treat any of you like customers on this board. I am off the clock and when I am not at work I dont like to think of anyone as a customer only I view everyone as a person with a right to their opinion, and as such I hope you will accept my right to an opinion as well. I am sorry about offending anyone

 

You sound like a class act to me. Remember, this too shall pass.

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You sound like a class act to me. Remember, this too shall pass.

you know I hate it when I cant help someone, like when there are fees I dont agree with, or someone has a special request we cant fill, or especially people being neglected by travel agents who call in and cant get even basic info about their trip.

 

And I appreciate everyone who has showed understanding of the fact that I would solve this issue if I could and have patience with the times that my ability to help falls short o what people might expect. I an ideal world I could make every person happy, but I must accept that I cant, and do the best I can in this position I am in

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First people complained about not getting early dinning, now when alternatives are given to make it possible for more people to eat early without having to resort to the lido you complain.

 

reason dinning is waitlisted from day one is people who are opposed to change panic and complain to the agent who takes out a group dinning request immediately, and puts people who in no wa are associated with each other into this group just so they can get the dinning the agent wants them to have.

 

Hal is not forcing you into as you wish dinning. in order to facilitate the new dinning though the lower level dinning times had to be cut, and this can result in more waitlisting on the remaining times, and third be glad you can even make a reservation during as you wish. This was a concession made from the original plan after the outrage HAL phone staff got while explaining the dinning test on the Noordam. There is more to your cruise than just your dinning time, dont like the arrangement, then dont eat in the main dinning room.

 

I believe in tradition to an extent, but to do nothing but post messages on here trying to scare people out of cruises b/c the dinning has moved forward to reflect the general trend of the industry (pioneered by princess and NCL which everyone on here seems to practically worship) is dumb.

 

And in closing I have taken far too man calls in the past about how people wished the dinning was like Princess's to believe you guys are that opposed to it, I think you just are bored or angry and want to complain about something

The Dutch were the first to carry slaves to America. This is better than those ships, so shut-up and be glad that we even provide "dinning". The beatings will continue until morale improves. I'm not quite sure whether you are saying "everyone on here seems to practically worship" Princess and NCL or AYW, but in either case I think your conclusion is clearly wrong or we would not be having this discussion.
You sound like a class act to me. Remember, this too shall pass.
:confused::confused::confused:

Thom

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Maybe Luckiest Lady 21 is just plain tired and worn out from a tough day dealing with the over-reaction to the As You Wish Dining. Maybe she wishes somebody would cut her and the other customer service agents some slack, because they're just trying to do their best with a new situation. Maybe it's time for all of us to take a deep breath and calm down, and reserve judgment until we've actually experienced As You Wish Dining.
Very well said, Karin.

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Some of the things I love about cruising are not having to think about where or when I'm having dinner and meeting interesting people and getting to know them by sharing dinner with them each evening. I've never particulairly enjoyed open seating breakfast and lunch, making small talk with people I will probably never see again on a large ship. Breakfast and lunch are minor issues because we generally don't go to the dining room anymore for these meals. Dinner is a huge issue.

 

I agree. I've basically stopped using the dining room for breakfast and lunch, because you usually have no vested interest in who you eat with, and the staff really don't display their personality. You are no longer dining. You are eating.

 

In the days of yore, we sat for all three meals at the same table with the same servers. Little by little, they are taking that away.

 

If dinner goes that way, or I'm unfortunate to be placed OUTSIDE traditional, that HUGE piece of cruising is removed for me.

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Maybe Luckiest Lady 21 is just plain tired and worn out from a tough day dealing with the over-reaction to the As You Wish Dining. Maybe she wishes somebody would cut her and the other customer service agents some slack, because they're just trying to do their best with a new situation. Maybe it's time for all of us to take a deep breath and calm down, and reserve judgment until we've actually experienced As You Wish Dining.

 

I am sure that Luckiest Lady 21 is exhausted from a tough day. I'm sure that the flood of HAL traditionalists whining and complaining, pontificating and threatening about this new dining scheme has been way over the top and far beyond the bounds of what would ordinarily be called "reasonable." I'm sure that this has been just horrible for her and the other HAL Customer Service personnel; what we've seen, participated in, and experienced on this board probably isn't even a patch on the heights to which it has reached on the phones with the numbers of people who are being directly, and immediately, impacted by the new schedule. I regret this ... however, it's in-part due to HAL management practices in the schedule's implementation. People are paying, in many cases, some significant dollars for their cruises and they are concerned that their cruises will be severely and negatively impacted by this change. And, since HAL appears (note, I wrote "appears") by "wait-listing" so much of Traditional to not be carrying through with their stated intention of providing a true "choice" when it coming to dining, I would say that it's not as easy for those who are concerned about this matter to just relax and wait until they get aboard ship to see how it works. By then it's usually too late to fix it ... one just has to live with it.

 

This isn't to say that people have a rite to be combative, harassing, rude, or vicious on the phone or in person. But, perhaps -- just perhaps -- HAL management should be getting a "clue" from this reaction that something is not going right in the initial stages of the implementation.

 

As for me ... I got to experience a HAL ship with the two Dining schedules when I was on the Noordam in January. I had Traditional and couldn't tell the difference. If things move through the transition and horror stories are not "par for the course" (i.e. and even the vast majority -- if not all -- of those who are being wait-listed are discovering that they're getting what they asked for anyway), then I'm sure the "furor" will die down.

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Maybe Luckiest Lady 21 is just plain tired and worn out from a tough day dealing with the over-reaction to the As You Wish Dining. Maybe it's time for all of us to take a deep breath and calm down, and reserve judgment until we've actually experienced As You Wish Dining.

 

Karin

 

Betty,

 

The overwhelming majority of the talk about AYW is speculation. The posters most opposed feed off each other as they have done for all changes. They have not yet experienced it nor been impacted by it.

 

 

We can all approach this with our ships half full or half empty.

 

Thank you both for the breath of fresh air on this subject. Thank you for saying what we "newbies" are afraid to voice on this board. Your calm, reasoned posts are very much appreciated. Love Karin's "I've spent most of my life worrying about things that never happen" ---- how true!

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Luckiestlady gave us a gift in terms of sharing with us the real issue is indeed group bookings. This confirms what Jazzsea told this board on a previous occasion. And these groups might be as simple as a TA consortium who options the best cabin locations ( and they do) and reserves the coveted early dining seating so that everyone else has to be waitlisted, early on. It does not mean that those waitlisted will not get fixed seating.

 

Yes, indeed. It is certainly much better than the scenario I proposed. And, I have no reason to doubt that such is the case. This being said, and given the amount of consternation it is generating -- the number of angry customers and the number of cancelled reservations from people who don't want to be "wait-listed" perhaps HAL should stop this practice? If this isn't possible, perhaps HAL should admit to those so-impacted that such is what is going on and that wait-listing doesn't mean what it sounds like it means (what it means in general parlance -- i.e., that the venue is full and, hence, one has to wait for cancellations in order to have a chance of getting in).

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I got a bit heated about this issue b/c everything else at work has been overshadowed by this dinning concept, and i spend me whole day dealing with it, at times people physically scream at me over dinning. believe it or not I have had people threaten to personally sue me for not being able to give them their desired seating.

 

That is utterly ridiculous ... threaten to personally sue a Customer Service person? Shooting the messenger isn't the answer, and being combative and threatening isn't the answer either. When one is so emotionally upset that one gets to that point -- and one isn't actually on the ship or at a point where it's going to cost money -- such a person should just cancel their booking. When on the ship or in the penalty period, of course, it's too late (which is what they're afraid of).

 

as hard as it can be i do enjoy my job, but after a year of it I wonder if I should have taken this job, it is not easy to let every insult and mean spirited thing people say to me over issues i cannot control, roll off me.

 

You have my deepest sympathy.

 

I dont feel like I have to treat any of you like customers on this board. I am off the clock and when I am not at work I dont like to think of anyone as a customer only I view everyone as a person with a right to their opinion, and as such I hope you will accept my right to an opinion as well. I am sorry about offending anyone

 

You're "off the clock" here. And I can certainly understand blowing off steam. AND I definitely appreciate treating people as people and not as customers. However ... and I'm trying to say this gently ... when one works in customer relations -- interfacing a company with the public -- one is really NEVER fully "off the clock." One is ALWAYS a representative of the company to others. As clergy I am NEVER actually, fully, "off the clock." There are "degrees" in being a representative for one's company, and even when one is "off" one is still, in some respects, "on." Once one self-identifies as being with "the company," that makes one a representative of it all the time. When I serve as a Chaplain on HAL, even though I'm not a paid employee of the Line but a "private contractor" providing "services for service," I am still a "representative of the Line" and hence have to watch my mouth, watch my actions, and do nothing that would in any way conflict with Line policy. It's a tough balancing act, considering that my primary duty is to my "boss," not to the Line. But, it's do-able.

 

To make a long post short (haha), you have both my sympathy and my respect. Dealing with some of us hot-heads must be exceedingly difficult.

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I rarely slap I assure you. but I do have to admit I have been afraid to go on a HAL cruise. When people realize the have as you wish dinning, they might hang me off the back of the ship by my ankles.

 

(as I am now cautious about saying anything on this board, this is m attempt to poke a bit of humor at the situation)

 

:D

For the most part our bark is worse than our bite. :D And, I must confess, the HALHQ employees I've had the joy of meeting aboard ship have always been a delight and a pleasure.

 

To my fellow HAL traditionalists who are very concerned about this issue, I offer the sage words of advice that we have all so-often heard and repeated ourselves: A day at sea on a cruise is far better than one on land and at work. Allow me to modify it a bit: The Dinner service aboard ship, even in AYW Dining, is quite nearly infinitely better than the "self-service dining" you receive at home when you put that TV dinner down in front of yourself on the coffee table. :D

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Maybe Luckiest Lady 21 is just plain tired and worn out from a tough day dealing with the over-reaction to the As You Wish Dining. Maybe she wishes somebody would cut her and the other customer service agents some slack, because they're just trying to do their best with a new situation. Maybe it's time for all of us to take a deep breath and calm down, and reserve judgment until we've actually experienced As You Wish Dining.

 

Karin

 

Karen, I resent your implication that I am over-reacting when all I want is for HAL to accommodate my preferences stated when I booked over 8 months out, before HAL's press release announcing AYW dining. As noted by several posters, it is not AYW if HAL can't accommodate my wishes; it is "as HAL wishes" when they tell my TA that I should request open dining due to the length of the fixed seating wait list.

 

As for reserving judgment until after experiencing AYW dining, are you suggesting that I should be willing to endure 17 days of anytime dining? I don't think so! If I wanted that I'd sail with NCL.

 

Luckiestlady, I can sympathise with your frustration in having to deal with situations you have no control over, but that's a hazard of the service industry. I do question your judgment in some of your posts, and you had better hope that HAL doesn't find out who is hiding behind your CC screen name. They'll probably fire your a**. I know I would! Like it or not, you are never completely off duty as long as you represent your employer to the public.

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Yes, indeed. It is certainly much better than the scenario I proposed. And, I have no reason to doubt that such is the case. This being said, and given the amount of consternation it is generating -- the number of angry customers and the number of cancelled reservations from people who don't want to be "wait-listed" perhaps HAL should stop this practice? If this isn't possible, perhaps HAL should admit to those so-impacted that such is what is going on and that wait-listing doesn't mean what it sounds like it means (what it means in general parlance -- i.e., that the venue is full and, hence, one has to wait for cancellations in order to have a chance of getting in).

 

It seems to me that this waitlisting thing is the source of most of the discontent. This has been happening with tremendous frequency for about the past 2-3 years, well before the AYW concept. And it's impacting those who want early seating moreso than late seating. Those who prefer late seating are potentially oblivious to this trend.

 

I have questioned why it is that there suddenly seemed to be a major shift in dining patterns given late seating was the hot seating, not that long ago. The reason is group accommodations. The revenue side of HAL is trying to keep their options open, to attract groups.

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First people complained about not getting early dinning, now when alternatives are given to make it possible for more people to eat early without having to resort to the lido you complain.

 

reason dinning is waitlisted from day one is people who are opposed to change panic and complain to the agent who takes out a group dinning request immediately, and puts people who in no wa are associated with each other into this group just so they can get the dinning the agent wants them to have.

 

Hal is not forcing you into as you wish dinning. in order to facilitate the new dinning though the lower level dinning times had to be cut, and this can result in more waitlisting on the remaining times, and third be glad you can even make a reservation during as you wish. This was a concession made from the original plan after the outrage HAL phone staff got while explaining the dinning test on the Noordam. There is more to your cruise than just your dinning time, dont like the arrangement, then dont eat in the main dinning room.

 

I believe in tradition to an extent, but to do nothing but post messages on here trying to scare people out of cruises b/c the dinning has moved forward to reflect the general trend of the industry (pioneered by princess and NCL which everyone on here seems to practically worship) is dumb.

 

And in closing I have taken far too man calls in the past about how people wished the dinning was like Princess's to believe you guys are that opposed to it, I think you just are bored or angry and want to complain about something

 

As I noted a few days ago, I had traditional dining on the lowel (AYW) level. It didn't go particularly well for us. I have nothing against AYW - it's the mixing of both types on one level of the dining room that I believe caused our problems.

 

If I were designing the dining program, I'd create more of a difference between fixed and AYW, while lessening the difference between AYW and the Lido buffett. Make attire even more flexible for AYW by eliminating formal night for AYW or making a suit and tie optional (just like most land restaurants). Then improve the quality of the food in the Lido for dinner (the one night we tried the Lido for dinner, it seemed much weaker than the dining room menu). Cruisers would have more of a reason to pick AYW, but wouldn't be punished if there were no tables available.

 

BTW, I spent 30 years in management in a service industry. One of the things I learned along the way is that if you're off duty but strangers know who you are, you really can't discuss your company differently than when you're on duty. It may not be right, but it's the way it is.

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However ... and I'm trying to say this gently ... when one works in customer relations -- interfacing a company with the public -- one is really NEVER fully "off the clock." One is ALWAYS a representative of the company to others. As clergy I am NEVER actually, fully, "off the clock."

 

To make a long post short (haha), you have both my sympathy and my respect. Dealing with some of us hot-heads must be exceedingly difficult.

 

Do you think there might be a difference between "a calling" or being an officer of a company versus being a Customer Service Representative as it relates to 24/7 representation of a company?

 

Many of the onboard officers are often quick to point the finger at their respective home office, Seattle, MIA, LA what have you. It is not unusual for an onbord officer to take some passengers into his/her confidence and share some inside news and occasionally a home office blunder ot two. It makes passengers feel good to get the inside scoop.

 

This behavior is certainly not limited to cruise lines and with few exceptions, almost all employees go off the clock.

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It seems to me that this waitlisting thing is the source of most of the discontent. This has been happening with tremendous frequency for about the past 2-3 years, well before the AYW concept. And it's impacting those who want early seating moreso than late seating. Those who prefer late seating are potentially oblivious to this trend.

 

I have questioned why it is that there suddenly seemed to be a major shift in dining patterns given late seating was the hot seating, not that long ago. The reason is group accommodations. The revenue side of HAL is trying to keep their options open, to attract groups.

 

That could well be.

However, with AYW isn't the best way to keep all options open is to assign all big groups to AYW and allow them to adjust their group dining times to match?

 

Or ... contrary wise ... wouldn't it make equal sense to simply request all passengers to state their preference and state that, in all likelihood, they'll get their request. Then, once the ship is booked and all passenger requests are tabulated in a computer, they then know how much Traditional and how much AYW space is needed. That way Groups get what they want, Traditional cruisers get what they want, and AYW get what they want.

 

Why not?

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If I were designing the dining program, I'd create more of a difference between fixed and AYW, while lessening the difference between AYW and the Lido buffett. Make attire even more flexible for AYW by eliminating formal night for AYW or making a suit and tie optional (just like most land restaurants). Then improve the quality of the food in the Lido for dinner (the one night we tried the Lido for dinner, it seemed much weaker than the dining room menu). Cruisers would have more of a reason to pick AYW, but wouldn't be punished if there were no tables available.

 

My first impression on this proposal is that it would make the evening/dining experience for a Traditional Formalist (like me) FAR WORSE and FAR MORE uncomfortable if I got assigned to AYW. Imagine ... I like Traditional and I like Formal and I cruise Solo. If I don't get assigned to Traditional, then not only do I have to put up with being footballed around the Dining Room, every night of the cruise, from table to table to table where I'm not wanted, but now I also don't get to enjoy the Ambiance of Formal Dining!?? Sorry ... I'd cancel or not book if such were the scenario. I hope HAL doesn't put you in charge.

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That could well be.

However, with AYW isn't the best way to keep all options open is to assign all big groups to AYW and allow them to adjust their group dining times to match?

 

Or ... contrary wise ... wouldn't it make equal sense to simply request all passengers to state their preference and state that, in all likelihood, they'll get their request. Then, once the ship is booked and all passenger requests are tabulated in a computer, they then know how much Traditional and how much AYW space is needed. That way Groups get what they want, Traditional cruisers get what they want, and AYW get what they want.

 

Why not?

 

Greg, so many things make sense that we have to wonder, why not.

 

Carol ( jazzsea) shared with this board the reason why HAL strives to give large groups early dining- so the group's evening activities do not impact all guests. If the group is large enough or there are enough groups onboard with evening events, they can probably swallow the entire first seating, regardless if it's fixed or AYW.

 

The travel agency consortiums who option blocks of cabins, often in the best locations are also on the band wagon of hogging early seating options. And 8 months out, no one knows with any certainty, which cabins will get and stay sold.

 

Who knew that early seating was destined to become the Tulip Mania of cruising.:D

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Luckiestlady, I can sympathise with your frustration in having to deal with situations you have no control over, but that's a hazard of the service industry. I do question your judgment in some of your posts, and you had better hope that HAL doesn't find out who is hiding behind your CC screen name. They'll probably fire your a**. I know I would! Like it or not, you are never completely off duty as long as you represent your employer to the public.

You know bob I wish they would fire me. I am looking or a new job b/c I hate that m job has become about putting a pleasant spin on negative things that upset people, and putting out constant fires caused by policy changes. I feel that the customer service positions at HAL become less and less about customer service, and more about company not guest interest with each passing day. I desire to represent a company that wont step on their customers interests as much as holland does.

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Greg,

 

I concur with everything you've said. As a solo cruiser who likes traditional, formal dining, I would have to seriously look at other lines if HAL can't give me what I want. I like your image of being "footballed around the dining room". Like you, I don't want to be foreced on a group of diners who don't want me.

 

My sister finally decided to try solo cruising and picked NCL. I tried to talk her out of it, and as I predicted, it turned into a dining disaster.

 

Roz

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Do you think there might be a difference between "a calling" or being an officer of a company versus being a Customer Service Representative as it relates to 24/7 representation of a company?

 

There is a difference, but a lower-level employee can be terminated for: (1) publicly contradicting company policy, or (2) abusing/berating/driving off customers just as easily -- if not more easily -- than a higher level one. They DO still represent the company, even if not as highly placed.

 

Many of the onboard officers are often quick to point the finger at their respective home office, Seattle, MIA, LA what have you. It is not unusual for an onbord officer to take some passengers into his/her confidence and share some inside news and occasionally a home office blunder ot two. It makes passengers feel good to get the inside scoop.

 

This behavior is certainly not limited to cruise lines and with few exceptions, almost all employees go off the clock.

 

There is a difference between taking the side of a passenger/customer against the company and berating the company's customers from whining and complaining. The officers "take the passengers into their confidence" and "speak off the record" in closed conversations precisely because what they're doing is a violation of policy. Otherwise, they would speak openly and on the record.

 

We have several people who post on this board who work for HAL (or for other Cruise Lines). In some cases they have admitted that they work for the Lines; in other cases it's a closely held secret among those of us who have met them aboard ship or on shore in other capacities. In all cases, regardless of level of employment (officer of ship, VP of department, phone-service representative) they usually (in all but 2 cases that I know of) try to maintain their anonymity because their speaking ill of Line practices, or of the Line's customers, can adversely affect their employment.

 

Do they go "off the clock?" Yes ... in a sense. But, when speaking ABOUT the company and/or ABOUT the company's customers and TO the company's customers, they are nevertheless still representatives of the Line.

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