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Mariner MLK Weekend 2020


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My husband and I are loyal Royal fans and returned from our third Royal cruise on Monday. While we had a great time, there were some things that disappointed us. I'm curious if anyone has noticed a difference in the quality of service on shorter cruises vs. longer itineraries.

For example, we had My Time Dining on this cruise vs. traditional seating on previous 6-and-7 night cruises.

On the first night in the MDR, we arrived at about 8:45. When we were seated, the waiter immediately told us we needed to eat quickly since it was late (My Time Dining seats until 9:00 AND the dining room was still quite full of people being seated and ordering). They brought every course before we had completed the previous course and generally rushed us through our meals so quickly that we didn't have time to finish a cocktail and order a glass of wine with our entrees before dessert had arrived. The service was brusque, if not outright rude, and the entire meal was finished in probably less than 45 minutes.

The second evening was fine, but on the third evening, we arrived before 8:30 PM. We were seated for 20 minutes before we were even acknowledged by the assistant waiter, who explained that the waiter was busy, so he would be the one primarily helping us. He took a drink order, and we sat another 25 minutes before our drinks arrived and he took our food orders. Service improved after that, but it was a disappointing start.

Is it possible that service is not as good with My Time Dining because you don't have the same waitstaff every night and they don't feel as accountable?

I also noticed that with the production show, "Gallery of Dreams," the sets and costumes were excellent, but the actual performances were not nearly as good as on our previous cruises.

I'm wondering if anyone has had a similar less-than-great experience on the shorter cruises. We're booked again on Rhapsody for Thanksgiving, and have signed up for My Time Dining. While it's nice to have the flexibility, I wonder if we should switch to traditional dining in order to have better service.

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We were on Mariner in October. We only had one meal (breakfast) in the MDR and the service was horrid and the food was cold. 
 

Also had a very bad experience at Johnny Rockets for lunch. It’s a very small restaurant and we were sitting in a booth smack in the middle. No one came to our table for over 10 minutes. Waiter after waiter just walked by. No one even acknowledged us. We finally waved down a white shirt (officer) and things improved quickly. 
 

The best service we received was from the concierge in the Diamond Lounge. He was phenomenal! Mentioned him by name in the post cruise survey. 

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I was on a 4-night sailing on Navigator in December and had My Time Dining.  We experienced none of those issues.  I arranged to have the same table/wait staff every night, and they (mostly our waiter, the assistant waiter wasn't great, much to the dismay of our waiter, who ended up doing much of the work of both of them) took excellent care of us.  We never felt rushed.  I'm sorry to hear that you had that experience. 😞

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Have you reported this to RCCL, or at least the ship?  I've had issues before, cabin steward, room service, and when I returned I e-mailed RCCL with the issues, and not opinions.  I got a reply with $250 obc voucher.  Yes it is true that a detrimental report can affect a person's career, but that is the reason they shouldnt treat the customers like that, to avoid the repercussions.  Just my 2 cents worth.

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1 hour ago, Sailor_to_Cruiser said:

Have you reported this to RCCL, or at least the ship?  I've had issues before, cabin steward, room service, and when I returned I e-mailed RCCL with the issues, and not opinions.  I got a reply with $250 obc voucher.  Yes it is true that a detrimental report can affect a person's career, but that is the reason they shouldnt treat the customers like that, to avoid the repercussions.  Just my 2 cents worth.

Thanks for the idea! I just sent an email through the contact page on the website. I'll be interested to hear their response.

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1 hour ago, DDaley said:

Wow! If I got to have an MDR meal in under 45min I would be so pleased! We skipped it a couple nights because sitting 2.5 hours for dinner is ridiculous.

Thanks! I agree 2.5 hours is a bit too long, but I like a leisurely meal, with cocktails and wine, in a nice dining room--maybe 1.5 hours or so.

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@Johnstewarth, I think that if your goal is a leisurely meal and one with the level of service you're used to, you'll generally be better off sticking with traditional dining. Since it seems you're OK with eating later, the 8:30 traditional slot should work well for you. I've done late seating on two out of our three cruises (third having been in a JS with CK access for dinner), and both times been fine with both the level of service and the pace. Only time it felt rushed was when my wife and I arrived late (with advance notice to the staff), about the same time as you mentioned for your first night.

I don't know this for a fact, but just from doing the cruises I've done with late seating it does seem that the MDR kitchen shuts down at 10 PM and the wait staff is... not exactly ushering everyone out of the space around that time, but at least hinting through their actions that we needed to be elsewhere. Certainly by 10 I saw that the place was near-empty every time we stayed that late. I'm sure they not only have to clear everything out and get the space ready for the next morning's breakfast service, but also have other duties in other areas of the ship that they can't be late for.

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I usually have Tradition dining, and don't have a problem. I usually get first seating, however Next week I will be on Serenade ,and I have 8:00pm seating. This is just too late for me. I am going to talk ,and try to have this changed to first seating once onboard, if possible. If I absolutely have to i will eat the buffet every night.

Also, I remember from previous cruises that someone is stationed outside the MDR,  for changes, questions, etc but  can anyone tell me the times this takes place?    .

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11 minutes ago, lovecruising!!! said:

Also, I remember from previous cruises that someone is stationed outside the MDR,  for changes, questions, etc but  can anyone tell me the times this takes place?    .

There’s almost always someone there, but you’ll want to do this as soon as you board and before the drill. We did this on Harmony last August and had no problem getting moved to the earlier seating.

We were on Mariner the weekend before last. We booked late so MTD was the only option. We were concerned about having the same wait staff and the possibility of not being able to change our time so we opted for the Unlimited Dining Package. We had three great meals at the specialty restaurants (well Jamie’s was just okay) so now I’m thinking we made the right choice.

We also skipped the production show as the time was terrible (10:00 I think). After Harmony’s incredible entertainment we had majorly lowered our expectations for Mariner but enjoyed everything else (and even like the ice show more).

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Regarding the MDR, if the service and/or food is not up to the standards you have come to expect, first thing I would do is ask to speak to the head waiter. When I've encountered exceptionally long waits, poorly prepared food, or anything out of the ordinary, I'll explain the issue to the head waiter so that it can be remedied.

20 hours ago, Johnstewarth said:

I also noticed that with the production show, "Gallery of Dreams," the sets and costumes were excellent, but the actual performances were not nearly as good as on our previous cruises.

This just may be the current performers are not as talented as the others you have seen in the past? RC does a great job with hiring talented performers, but they all can't be of the same level of talent.

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1 hour ago, Matt said:

Regarding the MDR, if the service and/or food is not up to the standards you have come to expect, first thing I would do is ask to speak to the head waiter. When I've encountered exceptionally long waits, poorly prepared food, or anything out of the ordinary, I'll explain the issue to the head waiter so that it can be remedied.

This just may be the current performers are not as talented as the others you have seen in the past? RC does a great job with hiring talented performers, but they all can't be of the same level of talent.

I think the performers probably weren't as talented, which surprises me since Mariner is bigger than our previous cruises on Empress and Rhapsody. I would have thought that the bigger the ship, the better the talent they would want representing the company.

When we were on Rhapsody Thanksgiving week 2019, we went to a Q & A with the performers one afternoon. They were all very charming and spoke very highly of RC. They said that, as cruse line experience goes, RC looks the best on a performer's resume and is considered to have the highest caliber of talent.

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