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Windjammer Self-serve? yea/nay?


barjpoe
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Just read that Royal is considering bringing back self-serve in the Windjammer.

Want to get consensus/opinions on it. Yea/Nay

I vote Nay; I like that the crew is doing the serving. I've seen to many not washing hands, using the serving utensils in multiple dishes (possible contamination), picking up food with their hands, or picking it up then deciding that they didn't want it and put it back; to name just a few.  

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I am generally in the nay camp but one ship was light on servers with only one crew trying to cover both sides of the two sided food stations.  That didn't work well, might as well just put food out on one side if they are going to deploy one crew.  

So many times I've seen guests do sketchy things with food and tongs.  Crew service probably reduces noro spread by significant margins.

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9 minutes ago, twangster said:

I am generally in the nay camp but one ship was light on servers with only one crew trying to cover both sides of the two sided food stations.  That didn't work well, might as well just put food out on one side if they are going to deploy one crew.  

So many times I've seen guests do sketchy things with food and tongs.  Crew service probably reduces noro spread by significant margins.

I think there is a happy medium.  We don't really need someone to hand us the cup of iced tea that is already poured and just sitting at a table.  I do like the staff serving the main dishes.

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I hate touching the utensils that everyone else touches, and the fact that other people may touch food and then put it back. That being said, I went to the Solarium Bistro once on my last cruise and found it to be more awkward than it was worth to stand outside the ropes and have someone walk me through the line while I try to decide what, and how much of something, I want.  I quickly gave up asking for food and ate almost nothing.  We wandered into the Windjammer another day during lunch and found it to be equally awkward so we ate nothing there.  Suffice it to say that I'm just done with buffets.

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10 hours ago, Matt said:

Where did you read that? Royal said recently they don’t expect it to go back to self serve.  

I get emails from CC and it came yesterday 

this is is what I read 

While Royal Caribbean hasn't yet made the change yet, it's coming, at least on some North American sailings. Speaking onboard Harmony of the Seas on its final European cruise before heading across to Florida, the ship’s Environmental Officer, Mabel Diaz confirmed that the self-serve buffet would return once the ship had made the crossing. Diaz cited the Americans’ desire to have a self-serve buffet as the main reason for the dropping of the served buffet, along with looser COVID-19 restrictions.

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Huge NAY!  

In general, humans are gross.  They tend to do nasty things with their hands, noses, and mouths.  My LEAST favorite venue for eating was the WindJammiere because all I could think of was germs germs germs (no, I am not a true germaphobe, but it does help when it comes to self control on a buffet 🙂 ).  

The kids sneeze and touch things at the buffet. Blech!

NAY NAY NAY!!!

 

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1 hour ago, barjpoe said:

I get emails from CC and it came yesterday 

this is is what I read 

While Royal Caribbean hasn't yet made the change yet, it's coming, at least on some North American sailings. Speaking onboard Harmony of the Seas on its final European cruise before heading across to Florida, the ship’s Environmental Officer, Mabel Diaz confirmed that the self-serve buffet would return once the ship had made the crossing. Diaz cited the Americans’ desire to have a self-serve buffet as the main reason for the dropping of the served buffet, along with looser COVID-19 restrictions.

And Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said the complete opposite:

"On board, the buffet, where it's now being served to you instead of you picking up the tongs yourself. And I suspect that for us, that will be a permanent feature, because independent of the health reasons, it's just better."

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As a “germ aware” person I was always very aware how gross people were and carried my own little hand sanitizer.  Watching people skip “washy washy” or do it and then stand there take a bite, wipe their nose and touch the serving spoons gave me an understanding about how noravirus would stampede through ships.  
personally I dislike the staff serving me when I ask for “a little” snd get an oversized ladle full.  It’s especially disappointing when they pour half and half into my coffee and when I say stop they continue, making the coffee too cold  (Now if that was alcohol I wouldn’t complain).  
If they go back to us serving ourselves my coffee will be perfect, my food portions will what I want  and my personal hand sanitizer will be at the ready.

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I'm going on my first RC cruise in March. I really do not mind either way self-serve or be served. All of you that are saying nay to self-serve weren't saying that before the pandemic. You served yourself and were quite happy. As long as I get to eat, they can give it to me on paper plates, I don't care.

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I'm not a fan of self serve buffets, it was the one thing that really worked my nerves on cruise ships when people would just walk in the buffet while completely ignoring the crews request to wash their hands. 

I hope Royal NEVER goes back to self serve buffets, I enjoyed having the crew serve me.  I also noticed a lot less food being wasted as servers cleaned the tables after people were done eating.  There were a lot more empty plates with no food remaining than I've ever seen on any cruise I've been on in the past. If Royal Caribbeans employee cost are the same in Windjammers as they were before the pandemic, then I think Royal should keep thing like they are now because they have to be saving at least 15%-30% in food cost on both breakfast and lunch, simply because they are not wasting tons of food over people eating with their eyes and not their stomach.

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Conceptually I prefer the "cleanliness" of the nay vote.

In practice i found it extremely frustrating to stand and wait for servers to become available to do things like "hand me a glass of iced tea". "hand me a spoon" , etc.

 

I could get behind a mixed method, some of the areas of service right now are flat out stupid ... put those back to self-serve and just focus the crew service on actual areas of concern like the food that you can touch with your hands, etc.

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21 minutes ago, jticarruthers said:

I could get behind a mixed method, some of the areas of service right now are flat out stupid ... put those back to self-serve and just focus the crew service on actual areas of concern like the food that you can touch with your hands, etc.

I agree. 
 

While I understand the need to be seen following protocols, it seems a little silly that I can’t grab a plate/silverware/napkin that is already together and by itself, but I can grab a bowl of salad right next to it. 
 

That being said, it’s not a deal breaker at all.  I’m still thrilled to be able to cruise again, and the extra few seconds don’t bother me. 
 

 

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1 hour ago, teddy said:

I agree. 
 

While I understand the need to be seen following protocols, it seems a little silly that I can’t grab a plate/silverware/napkin that is already together and by itself, but I can grab a bowl of salad right next to it. 
 

That being said, it’s not a deal breaker at all.  I’m still thrilled to be able to cruise again, and the extra few seconds don’t bother me. 
 

 

+1

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8 hours ago, teddy said:

I agree. 
 

While I understand the need to be seen following protocols, it seems a little silly that I can’t grab a plate/silverware/napkin that is already together and by itself, but I can grab a bowl of salad right next to it. 
 

That being said, it’s not a deal breaker at all.  I’m still thrilled to be able to cruise again, and the extra few seconds don’t bother me. 
 

 

I get what you're saying but how many times have you seen a individual in Windjammers grab the top plate only to grab the next plate underneath only to put the first plate back.  The same with silverware people grab 2 sets of silverware only to put one back.  Even with mandatory hand washing I think this is Royal is concerned about having multiple people touch but not take the plate on top then someone who isn't a germaphobe take the top plate.  

I did think it was strange with the salad bowls that I could just grab a bowl of salad that they didn't have someone handing me the bowl. 

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The buffet is one of the most disgusting places I've ever been and I cannot fathom going back to self serve yet.   The things that people do - not even realising that they're contaminating food/plates/cutlery and the like is over the top.   

I've seen people take two or three plates and return the ones that they've touched to the stack, multiple pieces of cutlery touched, tongs falling handle-first into food and people continue to use them, then lick their fingers and go on to grab another set of tongs...  doesn't seem like much - but 🤢🤮

And the amount of food people take is obscene sometimes and perhaps a bit more self-control is exercised when food is served to them.   My husband and I once saw a woman sitting at a table with one other person - pretty sure they had 10 different plates of food all heaping up and they literally took one bite of everything and wasted the rest.   It was horrifying.   

And the quality of the handwashing is never really enough to really disinfect hands - we're all guilty of this... pretty sure 99% of people do not actually wash their hands for 20 seconds, like actual rubbing.   Most (including me) are in and out of that hand washing station in 20 seconds.   turbo.

 

 

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21 hours ago, Pattycruise said:

As a “germ aware” person I was always very aware how gross people were and carried my own little hand sanitizer.  Watching people skip “washy washy” or do it and then stand there take a bite, wipe their nose and touch the serving spoons gave me an understanding about how noravirus would stampede through ships.  
personally I dislike the staff serving me when I ask for “a little” snd get an oversized ladle full.  It’s especially disappointing when they pour half and half into my coffee and when I say stop they continue, making the coffee too cold  (Now if that was alcohol I wouldn’t complain).  
If they go back to us serving ourselves my coffee will be perfect, my food portions will what I want  and my personal hand sanitizer will be at the ready.

Unfortunately hand sanitizer will not kill the noro virus. My vote is no self service for all the reasons previously stated. 

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mixed emotions on this.  haha.

for one, Fain's comments came 2 months ago.  if Mabel Diaz said this more recently and specifically cited "Americans desire to have a self-served buffet" then I can't imagine Fain doesn't have the same information, and signed off on it.  like it or not, consumer surveys rule corporate decisions everywhere. 

anything with tongs, IMO, is gross.  You hanitize to get inside the Windjammer.  then watch as someone shovels a hamburger into the gaping hole in their face.  then they go back up and touch 8 different pairs of tongs as they continue to construct their next cinder-cone shaped pile of food.  in this case the initial hanitizer when they first entered, is useless.  

however there are sections like coffee and individually-plated dessert items that I think would be safe enough to let guests handle it themselves.  take a clean coffee mug from the rack and fill it from the carafe. it's not like you're putting your mouth on the spigot 😆

I'd say overall I'm in the "nay" camp for the purposes of this survey, but with considerations.  

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One thing I've done is ask for a drink after I sit down - just one less thing I have to get back up and do after I get my food, and the wait staff is more than happy to get it. They've also very good at circling around and asking if I need anything else. I agree that it's weird they allow you to take a bowl of salad, but the next station over they serve you. But I am a solid Nay. I was on Freedom with 3000+ ppl this past weekend, and it wasn't too crazy or backed up anytime I went for Lunch or Dinner. 

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On 11/12/2021 at 6:59 PM, PurdueFlyer said:

 

anything with tongs, IMO, is gross.  You hanitize to get inside the Windjammer.  then watch as someone shovels a hamburger into the gaping hole in their face.  then they go back up and touch 8 different pairs of tongs as they continue to construct their next cinder-cone shaped pile of food.  in this case the initial hanitizer when they first entered, is useless.  

 

^^^^^^THIS RIGHT HERE!!!! Great point!!!  Unless each patron is washing/sanitizing their hands after they stuff that last morsel in their mouth (hello chicken wings, sushi, burgers, pizza, etc.) before going back to the trough, the initial washy washy washy is ALMOST pointless. If they go back three times after their initial plate and touch just one pair of tongs each time, then that is three possible viral loads from just one person. And, most people touch more than one pair of tongs per trip, right? The spread is exponential. 

#teamwindjammernay

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Not super worried either way to be honest.  When they are really busy it's a bit of a pain with one or two people dishing food but I also figure they will add another person or two to each area when the capacity is higher as well.  The not allowing you to grab a cup is a bit of BS though, while on the ship the people handing out cups have gloves on but I don't know how many times as they passed it over their glove touched my hand.  Unless they are going to change out gloves every few minutes it actually defeats the purpose IMHO.  Have a table with drinks spread out and no picking and choosing/touching multiple cups and it would be better. 

 

Serving the food isn't a big deal until you get one of the picky people in front of you wanting a particular item and ONLY that one... like, "hey the 3rd donut from the back is the only one I will eat" or the "that's not enough, no wait that's too much." Then they grumble and complain under their breath.

 

I was able to go through and get most everything with a minimal wait.  In fact it was harder to find a table which was partly because instead of pulling the excess tables and leaving more space they were blocked off so walking around and finding a table still included cramped spaces and little signs sometimes hidden behind a chair or just out of sight as you walk around the corner.  Pulling 1/3 of the tables out would have left space and ended confusion on tables being available or not.  

 

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4 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

The downside is once we get back close to normal capacity, there simply aren't enough crew members to efficiently serve the buffet lines.

I have to disagree with you, I don't think it will take that much longer than when people served themselves and the benefits clearly out way any minor inconvenience.

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