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10 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

Gross and unsanitary, for sure. And it promoted food waste

I agree.  I never wanted to get the self serve ice cream, before.  Kids getting their own cones touching the machine completely grossed me  out.  On my last cruise, we stopped at the soft serve machine a few times, and I couldn't stop repeating how nice it is to have a staff member give it to me!

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I think Windjammer had other issues too, pre-covid.  Frankly, it was often an overcrowded zoo.  I remember one cruise in which many guests seem to sit forever at their tables -- Royal had to make frequent announcements to encourage guests who were finished eating to be sensitive to those still waiting for a table. I think that one of the benefits of Covid safety precautions is that Royal is re-thinking the Windjammer experience so that it is more positive for everyone.  This is easier with reduced capacity, so the real test will be later this year.  I am willing to say good-bye to self-service buffets because, in the end, I think it will be more enjoyable for everyone.  Also, having other dining options has been essential to lthe Windjammer's continued success.

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1 hour ago, ChessE4 said:

I think Windjammer had other issues too, pre-covid.  Frankly, it was often an overcrowded zoo.  I remember one cruise in which many guests seem to sit forever at their tables -- Royal had to make frequent announcements to encourage guests who were finished eating to be sensitive to those still waiting for a table. I think that one of the benefits of Covid safety precautions is that Royal is re-thinking the Windjammer experience so that it is more positive for everyone.  This is easier with reduced capacity, so the real test will be later this year.  I am willing to say good-bye to self-service buffets because, in the end, I think it will be more enjoyable for everyone.  Also, having other dining options has been essential to lthe Windjammer's continued success.


It’s still an absolute zoo …… we were on Symphony 2/12-19 with only 2900 people on board …… every time we’d walk down to the the pool from the 17th floor during times it was open, as we’d pass the 16th floor on the way, the line for Windjammer was beyond ridiculously long.  LONGER than I’d ever seen it pre-Covid. I couldn’t imagine waiting in a line like that for the quality of food they serve!

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21 minutes ago, ChrisK2793 said:


It’s still an absolute zoo …… we were on Symphony 2/12-19 with only 2900 people on board …… every time we’d walk down to the the pool from the 17th floor during times it was open, as we’d pass the 16th floor on the way, the line for Windjammer was beyond ridiculously long.  LONGER than I’d ever seen it pre-Covid. I couldn’t imagine waiting in a line like that for the quality of food they serve!

THis is one reason why I don't think they can do assisted serve forever.  There's just not enough staff (or room for staff to operate) to be able to to keep up with a full ship

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This was asked in a Q&A session today that included the Food and Beverage Manager and Hotel Director.  The answer was that self serve is NOT returning.  Richard Fain stated the same when he was in charge.  

Things could change in time but for the foreseeable future it won't be self serve.  

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The entire COVID experience, it's attendant health protocols as it relates to infection control, has very likely been a completely positive one for the cruise lines. I don't have access to any details but am pretty sure that all kinds of GI and respiratory illnesses that were common and acquired aboard ship have been considerably reduced. I think most of us feel a whole lot better about cruising with what is very likely a steep reduction in Norovirus infection and "cruise cough" both having come along with layered protective measures v. SARS2.

People I associate with have a reasonable appreciation for the value of personal hygiene and good personal sanitation measures when in group settings. OTH, we've all seen segments of the cruising public who don't appreciate that at all. Because of that,  I'm all for a continuation of the layered levels of health protocols - one of which is no self service at the buffets - among a whole host of others including masking when objectively based conditions warrant - and I can almost guarantee you we're not done with SARS 2, COVID or any new virus that presents the same kinds of risk to personal health in the congregate setting that cruise ships are manifestly and correctly characterized.

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One of the reasons I chose Royal for our upcoming trip was because I was watching YouTube videos of current cruise vlogs and I noticed Carnival was letting people self serve at the buffet 😳

Then a vlog came on for a Royal cruise and staff was serving so I pulled the trigger. 

It was gross before covid, and now I don't think we should go back to that....ever. 

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12 hours ago, JeffB said:

I don't have access to any details but am pretty sure that all kinds of GI and respiratory illnesses that were common and acquired aboard ship have been considerably reduced.

onboard illnesses like that were pretty rare to begin with, so I'm not sure how you quantify it in the brief post-covid era.

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I am just glad that buffets are back in general.  I lived 3 decades in Las Vegas.  I personally like the fact that Windjammer will continue its current buffet service.  I don't have to see people with mountains of shrimp anymore.  In all of my life, I have yet to see a 10 inch high pile of shrimp finished off by the person who thought it was a good idea. 😆

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I'm not much of a germaphobe and I don't get sick very often, so I would prefer self-service. I don't mind sitting at a table waiting for my food, but I feel like a combination of cattle and a prison inmate when I'm standing in a big, long line waiting for someone to serve me. 

I've never really seen anyone being egregiously irresponsible from a health standpoint at the buffet. Trust me, I totally get why they'd stick with staff serving from the buffets, but I'd rather do it myself! 🙂

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I just wrapped on a cruise where we were able to adopt the new protocols including no masks.  As I entered the Windjammer i was amazed at the number of people that refused to use hand sanitizer.  A good 30% walked right past the washy washy girl asking everyone to use the hand sanitizer.  This was never the case when we all masked up.   It seems some people are done with ALL protocols. 

So if these people are handling the tongs and dropping the tongs into the food (a common occurence pre-shutdown) then I'm all for the served WJ buffet.  

 

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8 minutes ago, twangster said:

I just wrapped on a cruise where we were able to adopt the new protocols including no masks.  As I entered the Windjammer i was amazed at the number of people that refused to use hand sanitizer.  A good 30% walked right past the washy washy girl asking everyone to use the hand sanitizer.  This was never the case when we all masked up.   It seems some people are done with ALL protocols. 

So if these people are handling the tongs and dropping the tongs into the food (a common occurence pre-shutdown) then I'm all for the served WJ buffet.  

 

Truth!

Honestly, regardless of which side you are on regarding Covid, masking, etc...one thing remains certain...handwashing, basic hygiene, covering your mouth when coughing and/or sneezing...these things should have been practiced, and continuously practiced, regardless of a pandemic.  Please serve me my buffet portions so that I don't have to rely on others' hygiene, or lack thereof. 

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23 hours ago, twangster said:

This was asked in a Q&A session today that included the Food and Beverage Manager and Hotel Director.  The answer was that self serve is NOT returning.  Richard Fain stated the same when he was in charge.  

Things could change in time but for the foreseeable future it won't be self serve.  

I am fine with it not returning but then they need to address the staffing levels at the buffet.

Just off Indy this morning and saw it constantly that people got frustrated waiting for a crew member to be available to serve them and just went ahead and grabbed what they were waiting for.

Why is the yogurt/cereal section self-serve but you have to wait for a crew member to hand you a spoon for example ... similarly what brainiac put the person in charge of serving hot cereal (breakfast) or soup (lunch/dinner) in charge of also handing out plates and silverware ... every time someone wanted food from said person, people started grabbing plates off the stack themselves. 

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30 minutes ago, CruisingNewb said:

my buffet portions

Honestly, I'm in favor of being served for this reason, as much as the hygiene. I watched a mom and daughter get three full platefuls of food, literally taking one bite off each plate and leaving the rest. I'm all for trying new things on a cruise, but they weren't even intending to try half of what they took. 

It is a minor hassle, at best, to have to ask for more bacon while I'm standing in line instead of the person in front of me taking a whole plate and not eating half of it.

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6 minutes ago, mathbees said:

Honestly, I'm in favor of being served for this reason, as much as the hygiene. I watched a mom and daughter get three full platefuls of food, literally taking one bite off each plate and leaving the rest. I'm all for trying new things on a cruise, but they weren't even intending to try half of what they took. 

It is a minor hassle, at best, to have to ask for more bacon while I'm standing in line instead of the person in front of me taking a whole plate and not eating half of it.

Right? I mentioned this earlier.  No need to take back a mountain of shrimp or a plate full of bacon.  I love bacon.  Give me 3 strips.  After I eat it, if I want more, I can think about the health ramifications as I walk back to the bacon station.  If I decide against it, I save myself and avoid food waste.  

Another thing that bothers me about buffets and portion control, are the people who overestimate how much salad they need, take a few bites, and then leave it to be thrown away.  No need.  Pre-portion the salads and avoid all of this.  Oh wait...Windjammer is already doing this!  See, new buffet protocols are great!

Alot of the arguments against the staff serving you at the buffet seem to echo the freedom of choice and autonomy arguments found in many hot debate topics these days.  Just remember, it is still all-you-can-eat and no one is stopping anyone from getting more.

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On 2/26/2022 at 5:45 PM, smokeybandit said:

Not until cruises are back to full occupancy and having staff serve becomes a hinderance to efficiency.

 

There's zero covid benefit in having staff serve.  Never has been. Another gem from the CDC

I respectfully disagree. I have seen people slide a finger on the serving utensil to taste the food, lick that finger, then do the same thing at a different dish down the line.  YUK!

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My biggest pet peeve with the Windjammer is the lack of any comprehension about how lines and waiting your turn work.

I hate it when someone walks up and reaches in front of me to be served when I'm next in line.  I mean seriously, I get it....the chances of me confronting the person are pretty much nil since there are no consequences and a confrontation will just end poorly.

Sure, I could say something to the offenders, but the last thing I want is get into a argument and have a scene when all I want is a cheeseburger. 

 

When we were on Oasis last month, it was more widespread than the other two cruises we've been on since the restart.....and it seemed like all the people who were rude and entitled were older than us (we're in our 50s).

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, jeffmw said:

I feel like a combination of cattle and a prison inmate when I'm standing in a big, long line waiting for someone to serve me. 

I harken back to elementary school waiting for the lunch lady to dish out my fish sticks and crinkle fries. Then the next one would put the pudding cup on the tray and ask if we wanted regular or chocolate milk.

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On 2/27/2022 at 11:04 AM, ChrisK2793 said:

It’s still an absolute zoo …… we were on Symphony 2/12-19 with only 2900 people on board …… every time we’d walk down to the the pool from the 17th floor during times it was open, as we’d pass the 16th floor on the way, the line for Windjammer was beyond ridiculously long.  LONGER than I’d ever seen it pre-Covid. I couldn’t imagine waiting in a line like that for the quality of food they serve!

I was on the same sailing.  I believe the back-up was caused by passengers required to check-in scan their Seapass card and washing their hands prior to entering the buffet.  Once you got in, there were plenty of tables.

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19 hours ago, Rose City Cruiser said:

I believe the back-up was caused by passengers required to check-in scan their Seapass card

We had to scan our Sea Pass for the WJ on Odyssey a few weeks ago, but not always. And in some instances, only one of our cards was scanned.

Does anyone know why this is being done? 

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7 minutes ago, SPS said:

We had to scan our Sea Pass for the WJ on Odyssey a few weeks ago, but not always. And in some instances, only one of our cards was scanned.

Does anyone know why this is being done? 

Capacity control for the venue. But it sounds like it will be going away soon, if they're not being diligent about it.

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On 2/26/2022 at 6:13 PM, Pooch said:

I hope never!  I prefer the staff handle the serving utensils.  Sorry but people are pigs!!!

I agree...can't stand to have a kid sneeze all in his hand then pick up a bun and decided he doesn't want it, then he does the same thing with cookies and so on and so on and son on. Oh and adults do the same thing.  Please keep those serving the food!!

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Since it was mentioned....proper etiquette on waiting in line....So you have a station that has salads, then pasta, and then the burgers, chicken nuggets, hot dogs....Do you have to wait at the true beginning (salads) or can you scoot in line by the burgers since you want chicken nuggets?

How should the line work in a circular station?  Where is that beginning?

I am being half joking and half serious.

Personally, I will jump to the burgers if I don't see anyone specifically waiting for burgers and I will jump in at a random spot on the circular if I don't see someone specifically waiting.  If I do accidentally cut someone off, I apologize and back up.  All is good on a cruise ship....except of course, the gross people at the buffet!!!  

I am thrilled to be served at the Wind Jamair to avoid the germs!

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6 minutes ago, Funeegal said:

Since it was mentioned....proper etiquette on waiting in line....So you have a station that has salads, then pasta, and then the burgers, chicken nuggets, hot dogs....Do you have to wait at the true beginning (salads) or can you scoot in line by the burgers since you want chicken nuggets?

How should the line work in a circular station?  Where is that beginning?

I am being half joking and half serious.

Personally, I will jump to the burgers if I don't see anyone specifically waiting for burgers and I will jump in at a random spot on the circular if I don't see someone specifically waiting.  If I do accidentally cut someone off, I apologize and back up.  All is good on a cruise ship....except of course, the gross people at the buffet!!!  

I am thrilled to be served at the Wind Jamair to avoid the germs!

I agree !  The self-serve line etiquette is very unclear.  No way am I waiting behind someone who has stopped and is waiting on something to be served or delivered to them.  I don't think it's rude to circle past them and continue on.  If I do not want soup or salad, why would I wait behind a line of people who are serving themselves soup and salad (usually the beginning of a progressive line, but not always) ?  I will just circle past them and continue on until I find something I AM interested in.

This is one of the reasons that I almost never go into a buffet to begin with.  Just too much chaos.

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One more thing that I would add to the current status of buffet service comes from my direct knowledge and experience as a buffet chef.

Pre-covid, buffet stations had one line cook assigned to ensure cleanliness, swapping out dirty utensils, food items refills, and food rotation.  Now, as with all businesses, when staffing costs were high, we would assign one line cook per two (2) stations.  That meant that certain food items might not be timely replenished or the station went unwiped for periods of time.  As a consumer, this would certainly irk me.

From the Youtube videos that I have seen of the Windjammer post-covid, the stations look relatively clean and food items replenished.  The extra staff needed to serve you is doing more than just serving you.  I think it makes for an overall better experience.

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2 hours ago, GatorCruiser said:

I want to say scanning of seapass cards was for contact tracing purposes with regards to positive covid cases onboard

I asked on our 2/12-2/19 sailing and the waiter said we are doing a passenger count for capacity reasons.  Our ship was only at 50% capacity and there always seamed like about 75% of WJ tables were occupied.  I have no idea how they would accommodate everyone at full capacity.  

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3 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

 

This is one of the reasons that I almost never go into a buffet to begin with.  Just too much chaos.

Absolutely, one of our main reasons for not going to the buffet. My family tends not to be too obtrusive so if there's a lot of people waiting for something, we would likely be the last to get it especially when there is no defined line. 

I do appreciate crew members who notices and ensures we get served before someone who just came, regardless of how loudly they ask for something. But that happens only once in a while. I'm just not sure why people don't use courtesy. I don't think they'll run out of food.

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Count me as one more vote for avoiding the buffet before covid, during and after. But not for hygiene, wait times or covid. I don't like the food, so many better options most of the time. We "end up" there sometimes but rarely set out for it, usually because we missed the hours for the other choices. Never been there for breakfast or dinner but a lunch or two on a 7 day cruise is enough for me. On Embarkation day with an early check in before the rooms are ready is usually enough for me, maybe one sea day. MDR is just as free and so much better IMHO.

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