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As You Wish Dining - Opinions, Comments and Discussions

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One of the cruise ship employees who frequents this and other boards, from time to time, once said that less servers were needed with AYW than with traditional seating. Is it possible that AYW is also a "reduction in staff" initiative?

 

Employees are either on the cost or revenue side of the business. Employees are compensated by their ability to reduce cost or increase revenue and therefore can justify doing just about anything, for awhile. This is most certainly NOT unique to cruising.

 

Having said this, we experienced AYW on the Noordam in May and service was fine. Sake Dad was on the same cruise, also in AYW, and he did not find service to be adeqate. Do we have different standards? Were we dining in different wait stations or at different times?

 

We have experienced a few less than good dining experiences long before AYW was a concept. Just about anyone who cruises long enough will also have a few low points. There are so many variables associated with executing a dinner, the break down could be anywhere. Because I choose to share my vacation with 2000 other passengers means that sometimes things do not go as planned. Same things happens in local restaurants at every price point.

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I will just say that I am in a stand by mode for deciding about the AYW. I know I would much prefer my Traditional Dining but if we ever select a last minute cruise like we have for our upcoming Noordam I know we will have no other choice, so not worth complaining about and making myself upset before a cruise. So with that being said I am waitlisted for Traditional but in all honesty am willing to except AYW. That way if I get traditional I will be thrilled if not there is not disappointment. If we do end up with AYW which is likely I can then report what our experience is for this. But with the comments about bad service for AYW I can certainly say that we have had very bad service with Traditional as well. The worst was on the Westerdam, it was so slow, orders were never right and we would be just getting entrees when others were walking out of the dining room. This was in March 2005. There have been a few others along the way that were spotty a night or two that service was not great. I will say that our last two cruises on the Noordam and the Oosterdam the service was as perfect as it could get so I look forward to see what the next cruise brings us.:)

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The atmosphere and service suffered despite having the same wait staff each night. The service was as cold inpersonal as a busy chain restaurant. The formal nights were particularly disappointing as we received poor service from the wine steward both nights.

We were moved to the upper dining level on the last night and received the attention and service we had expected all week.

 

I'm wondering if the wait staff are seeing less tips in AYW opposed to traditional dining. I know I'm not alone in tipping above and beyond the 'auto-tip' for my servers and steward. If motivation has a color.....its green, if you know what I mean.

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I'm wondering if the wait staff are seeing less tips in AYW opposed to traditional dining.

 

I would bet on it.

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Why do you say that? It sounds like it is more efficient, and since guests pay the same in tips, there is every reason to believe that each staffer is getting at least as much as if those guests were eating traditional.

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Why do you say that? It sounds like it is more efficient, and since guests pay the same in tips, there is every reason to believe that each staffer is getting at least as much as if those guests were eating traditional.

 

On HAL, with traditional dining, I will tip above and beyond the automatic gratuity. I do this with cash, in an envelope, on the last night of the cruise. With AYW, and different stewards every night, it's not going to be nearly as easy to do this ... nor will the level of service with different staff every night be as high as it is with the same staff for a whole cruise. The only way I can think of making extra-tipping work is to give the tip every night, which will mean taking money with me every evening (and in smaller denominations that I normally give while tipping at the end of the cruise). That's annoying, and hence I wouldn't look for as many people to tip extra under AYW. Human nature, being what it is, will cause laziness to win out.

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I suppose it depends on whether you think the worst aspects of people will win out or the best aspects of people will win out. Personally, if I want to give a server something extra for going above and beyond, I'll gladly do so in the moment.

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I suppose it depends on whether you think the worst aspects of people will win out or the best aspects of people will win out. Personally, if I want to give a server something extra for going above and beyond, I'll gladly do so in the moment.

 

Which means you have to carry cash with you ... on a ship with a "cashless society." It makes for a less convenient situation, all around.

 

As for expecting the worst ... well ... I'm sorry to say, but experience tends to bear it out in most cases. I am never surprised when people behave badly. Disappointed, yes ... surprised, no.

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Why do you say that? It sounds like it is more efficient, and since guests pay the same in tips, there is every reason to believe that each staffer is getting at least as much as if those guests were eating traditional.

I'm not seeing how AYW dining increases efficiency ... with different staff each evening, you lose the efficiency of a waitperson knowing your preferences after the first dinner. Indeed, as RevNeal stated, staff likely will get the minimum mandatory tip (unless they intentionally spill soup in your lap or do something totally offensive) and little more. As an aside ... sometimes it seems that dining room service and attention increase as the cruise goes on, building up to the final night of envelopes with dead presidents inside.

 

Apologies to revneal ... just re-read your recent posts. Didn't mean to put words in your mouth about no additional tips on the horizon for the AYW personnel.

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I'm not seeing how AYW dining increases efficiency ...
Read the reports from the ships.

 

with different staff each evening, you lose the efficiency of a waitperson knowing your preferences after the first dinner.
I'm not sure we're talking about the same "efficiency". (Either that, or you're over-estimating how much of a server's time is "saved" by what you're referring to.)

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.............So with that being said I am waitlisted for Traditional ...............

 

What I still fail to understand is why anyone would need to be waitlisted for Traditional when we're told that AYW is what most people are clammoring for. So I would think that it would be all they can do to fill the Traditional seating;) .

 

I know I'm a broken record, but this is such a puzzle to me.:confused:

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What I still fail to understand is why anyone would need to be waitlisted for Traditional when we're told that AYW is what most people are clammoring for. So I would think that it would be all they can do to fill the Traditional seating;) .

 

I know I'm a broken record, but this is such a puzzle to me.:confused:

 

Heather , it is a puzzle to me as well, especially since they tried to do a hard sell to my TA for us just to say we wanted Dine As You Wish, she told them No my clients definitely wants Early Traditional. I have not checked to see where we are in the Waitlist, I know that we dropped down 50 in just a couple of days after we first purchased the cruise. At this point I am not even sure I want to know or if I care because where ever happens will happen. I certainly will not consider that it will hurt our enjoyment of this cruise. Unless as time passes and more passengers become aware of the Dine As You Wish it will grow in demand. Only time will tell. Who knows we may come back from having dined as Dine As You Wish and find it was the best idea there was since Sliced Bread :D

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Why do you say that? It sounds like it is more efficient, and since guests pay the same in tips, there is every reason to believe that each staffer is getting at least as much as if those guests were eating traditional.

 

I agree with the Rev's post.

 

All pax do not pay the same tips. We have always given the waiter something extra. Anything extra they can keep. When you have the same waiter, the ice tea, coffee, drinks , certain kinds of rolls, whatever, is handled through out the cruise. If you went with the typical AYW, meaning you are going to sit at differemt tabes, have different waiters, not get the little touches you receive with Traditional those extra tips are going to disappear. I seriously doubt that someone is going to carry cash everynight or spend the last night looking for stewards who waited on them through out the cruise. All those little touches are no longer there. Why should someone tip extra ?

 

Efficient ? Just how do you see it as being more efficient ? I see it as more of a fiasco in the kitchen.

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What I still fail to understand is why anyone would need to be waitlisted for Traditional when we're told that AYW is what most people are clammoring for. So I would think that it would be all they can do to fill the Traditional seating;) .

 

I know I'm a broken record, but this is such a puzzle to me.:confused:

 

Same here. Look at Princess. Traditonal is always waitlisted.

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I think different people will look at it from the perspective that will be support their own personal preferences. For example, the more likely scenario could be that AYW patrons will be more likely to leave the standard gratuities alone, while traditional dining patrons more likely to have the standard gratuities removed from their account and tip the staff directly, perhaps tipping less due to some perceived slight or gap between expectations and reality. While some traditional patrons will surely give their servers something extra, others will give less, just like AYW diners. Perhaps AYW patrons can be considered less likely to bother with making changes to the standard gratuity, and therefore less likely to reduce the gratuity due to perceived slights, since that would necessitate finding all the people who served you earlier in the week to tip them directly.

 

AFIAC, there is nothing other than personal preference and one's own personal hope that their own perspective will be supported by reality that would support a position that either traditional patrons or AYW patrons will be better tippers. AFIAC, raising that issue, in either direction, serves only to foster divisiveness between forum members, who have different perspectives regarding what they want from a cruise experience.

 

Efficient ? Just how do you see it as being more efficient ? I see it as more of a fiasco in the kitchen.
Again, read the reviews from people who aren't biased against AYW dining. I won't go into it myself because I haven't been there yet, but you can read the reviews as well as I can, and if you're receptive, you can also learn why it is a more efficient system, from an operational standpoint.

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I have a different view point, the opposite of yours. I think AYW diners will be more inclined to remove tips. Any guilt will be removed. It would be so much easier for them. If questioned as to why, one steward is not going to be blamed, instead muliple stewards could be blamed. The pax could claim they don't remember which ones.

 

Those pax that always find a reason to remove tips isn't going to change. AYW or Tradional will make no difference to them.

 

Like I said earlier, many of us tip extra and that isn't likely to happen with AYW.

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I have a different view point, the opposite of yours.
I'm not sure that's possible, since I don't think I have expressed a viewpoint on this issue in the message you replied to, at least in the way you mean. I wrote about what "could be" (I even bolded and italicized the words) and what "perhaps" are the reasons; I'm not saying either side is right or wrong, but rather that there isn't enough evidence available to determine right or wrong. My point was that no one here really knows, and that asserting something divisive based on the information that is available only causes conflict, not resolution.

 

It would be so much easier for them.
How would you feel if they say it would be "so much easier for you"? :confused:

 

Those pax that always find a reason to remove tips isn't going to change.
That much seems reasonable well-established, to me, but I still think there are a lot of people in a gray area, who could be prompted to remove tips more if they were going traditional dining, as compared to if they were going AYW. Until we have the proof one way or the other, it doesn't serve any constructive purpose to cast aspersions.

 

When we ate dinner at the buffet, we tipped extra, even though tips are included on Royal Caribbean. I suspect that we won't turn into mean and nasty people and stop doing so, just because we're on Holland America and using AYW dining. I'll be sure to let you know, though... just in case.

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.......... For example, the more likely scenario could be that AYW patrons will be more likely to leave the standard gratuities alone, while traditional dining patrons more likely to have the standard gratuities removed from their account and tip the staff directly, perhaps tipping less due to some perceived slight or gap between expectations and reality. .............

 

No can do!!! You cannot have the gratuity removed from your account and tip the staff directly. The only way you can tip the staff directly is when you leave the gratuity in place.

 

The staff knows full well that if they are told the gratuity has been removed, they cannot accept one directly.

 

This doesn't sit well with me, but it's the way it is.

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I'm not seeing how AYW dining increases efficiency ... with different staff each evening, you lose the efficiency of a waitperson knowing your preferences after the first dinner. Indeed, as RevNeal stated, staff likely will get the minimum mandatory tip (unless they intentionally spill soup in your lap or do something totally offensive) and little more. As an aside ... sometimes it seems that dining room service and attention increase as the cruise goes on, building up to the final night of envelopes with dead presidents inside.

 

Apologies to revneal ... just re-read your recent posts. Didn't mean to put words in your mouth about no additional tips on the horizon for the AYW personnel.

 

I actually suspect that many of those who give additional tips under the Traditional System on the final night will, indeed, NOT give any tips during the course of a cruise, every night, under AYW. I might be one to put some dollars in my pocket to tip my server each evening under the AYW system (it's what I do when I go to the Pinnacle), but I believe myself to be unusual in more ways than one when it comes to such practices. And, sadly, observations and reports tend to bear this out. Hence, I suspect that tipping will decline under the AYW system ... than and/or service will go to pot (as the reports we've read from some of the ships would seem to indicate: i.e., in the Traditional area service was good, in the AYW area it was horrible).

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I think different people will look at it from the perspective that will be support their own personal preferences. For example, the more likely scenario could be that AYW patrons will be more likely to leave the standard gratuities alone, while traditional dining patrons more likely to have the standard gratuities removed from their account and tip the staff directly, perhaps tipping less due to some perceived slight or gap between expectations and reality.

 

One might say that, but one would be saying so based upon erroneous (and possibly skewed by bias) assumptions regarding the character of the person who prefers Traditional Dining.

 

While some Traditional Diners remove the auto-gratuity and then tip less -- I've seen that happen -- I would argue that no MORE do that among the Traditional crowd than who do it among the AYW crowd. Hence, that jab at us on the Traditional side is a wash ... it works out even across the passenger census.

 

Based upon my past experience -- both prior to the auto-gratuity's inception, and since -- I suspect that I am more similar to the average HAL Mariner when it comes to tipping. To put it simply, since its inception I have NEVER removed the auto-gratuity, but have ALWAYS tipped additional amounts to those who have served me ... hence, they get their portion of the standard auto-tip plus what I have given them, directly (which usually about doubles the total tip). To assume that Traditional Folk will be more prone to remove the auto-tip is an incorrect assumption, unsubstantiated both by experience and by the circumstances and operational processes of the HAL auto-gratuity system. Being more likely to have cruised HAL in the past, those who prefer Traditional will happen to know that if you remove the auto-tip, then EVERYTHING you give directly to any steward MUST be turned in by that Steward so that it can be shared by the rest of the staff. Hence, removing one's auto-tip becomes self-defeating. As a result, the VAST MAJORITY of us leave the auto-tip in place and just tip extra directly to our stewards, who are then at liberty to keep what they receive. The auto-tip ceases to be a gratuity in my mind, and in the expressed thinking of many HAL Mariners, and is just an additional service charge.

 

Those who dine in AYW will probably leave the gratuity on their account, but most -- due to logistics, not character -- will not tip extra at all (except, of course, to their Cabin Stewards, who will not change). Hence, the over-all tip level will go DOWN for those who work in the AYW area. This seems, to me, to be the MOST LIKELY scenario ... one that is also least-impacted by pejorative assumptions drawn about people's CHARACTER.

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Doesn't sound like it's as I wish. How does HAL dare call it As You Wish if I am assigned something I don't wish? :mad:

If I can't be confirmed to late, fixed seating then it's a deal-breaker for that sailing. HAL has the responsibility to make that arrangement up front so I can make the best booking for me. :rolleyes:

 

As a solo traveler I fully agree with Ruth's and other posters' concerns. Has anybody been able to get a straight answer from HAL as to whether they will commit enough traditional dining space to meet demand? I am still wait listed for main/upper seating on Zuiderdam's March 15th sailing, even though I booked this the beginning of July. All my TA has been able to get from HAL is that I am wait listed - they won't even tell her whether this is simply because they haven't assigned tables yet or if they really do have too many requests for traditional dining. I do know that any arbitrary decision to switch me to anytime dining will be completely unacceptable.

 

My own attempt to get anything directly from HAL was also unproductive - they simply sent me a form e-mail that all matters relating to table assignments had to go thru my TA.

 

My TA is continuing to try to get answers through a "back-door" contact at HAL. I have told her to make it very clear to them that I am holding off on further 2008 bookings until I receive some assurances that I won't be forced into an NCL free style mode.

 

Will post anything new I learn.

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I still think there are a lot of people in a gray area, who could be prompted to remove tips more if they were going traditional dining, as compared to if they were going AYW. Until we have the proof one way or the other, it doesn't serve any constructive purpose to cast aspersions.

 

The justification you've cited for this assertion is that those who dine traditional will be more likely to want to tip directly. The piece of information you are missing is that IF a person removes the auto-tip from their account, then whatever they may give to their steward directly MUST go into the tip pool. In short, removing the auto-tip becomes self-defeating. Hence, most of us who want to tip directly don't both trying to remove it. We just tip over-and-above it to those whom we wish to tip. Sure, some people will remove their auto-tips out of spite or being cheap or whatever ... but, as I said in a prior post, that will probably be about equal across the board, and not limited to one group or the other.

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Those who dine in AYW will probably leave the gratuity on their account, but most -- due to logistics, not character -- will not tip extra at all (except, of course, to their Cabin Stewards, who will not change). Hence, the over-all tip level will go DOWN for those who work in the AYW area. This seems, to me, to be the MOST LIKELY scenario ... one that is also least-impacted by pejorative assumptions drawn about people's CHARACTER.

 

I totally agree with this take. The overall loss in tips is likely having a negative impact on the morale and therefore service amongst the AYW servers. There are only two plausible solutions to this problem as I see it (since AYW seems to be here for good) either tip your wait staff every night which is a hassle, or tip the Maitre' D' and trust that he'll disseminate all tips collected at the end of the cruise to all waitstaff in the AYW dining room. Has anyone heard of the latter is happening?

 

I sincerly believe in tips as the best motivator for good service in the service industry.

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Those who dine in AYW will probably leave the gratuity on their account, but most -- due to logistics, not character -- will not tip extra at all (except, of course, to their Cabin Stewards, who will not change). Hence, the over-all tip level will go DOWN for those who work in the AYW area. This seems, to me, to be the MOST LIKELY scenario ... one that is also least-impacted by pejorative assumptions drawn about people's CHARACTER.

 

Since we will more than like be in AYW because of booking this last cruise so late I am thinking I will bring additional small bills to possibly tip for each night. What I may try is if we find a table and servers we like see if there is a way to request their table/area. Like I have said until we actually tried this AYW I am not going to say either way. I could be yelling and screaming here only to find out once we try it that we really like and it works perfect, so until we do......... I will definitely report in and tell how it all works out;)

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