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I am not the expert on this topic, so take my comment with a grain of salt --- or pepper from a MDR pepper grinder! My understanding is that the tips pre-determined by RCCL will disperse te tips where they should go without any additional work on your part. Unless the Maitre d does something extra, like giving you a private table by a window or something.

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Do you ever have any interaction with the maître d'? In my short "cruise career", I can't recall the maître d' even stopping by our table to inquire if everything was OK. Is anyone familiar what their duties should be other than expecting a tip at the end of the voyage.

 

I think my only time in dealing with a Maître d' was when switching from the second seating to the first seating (many years ago). I believe (but someone correct me if you know differently) the Maître d' is essentially the person in charge of the dining room (but not the kitchen), oversees all the wait staff, reservations, seating assignments, etc.

 

The chain of command to your table is Maître d' (one per dining room) > Head Waiter (one per section) > Waiter (one per table) > Assistant Waiter (one per table). Most issues that arise should be dealt with by either your Waiter or Head Waiter, but could be escalated to Maître d' if the Head Waiter cannot resolve it. 

 

The Head Waiter is the one that should be stopping by your table to confirm everything is alright. I don't think Maître d' normally expects a tip, but it might make sense if they do you a favour, of which you're especially appreciative, such as moving you to a great table with a view.

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I think the size/scale of dining rooms is the reason for this.  On smaller vessels (both on lines upmarket and on ships years ago in the premium and contemporary space) we've seen and interacted with the maître d' many times.  In fact, I have pics of the maître d' preapring table-side deserts for us (such as crêpe suzette), but for one person to have a high level of interaction with that many guests while managing an entire dining room serving thousands is surely challenging.  

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The head waiter usually stops by almost every night of my times in the MDR.  Sometimes it's a bit hit or miss, but their duty is to ensure everything is running smoothly.

 

You would want to talk to the head waiter for reasons like

  • You are unhappy with the service (too fast, too slow)
  • You are unhappy with your table assignment (who you are dining with, the location, noise, etc)
  • You have a special dietary request (I always request Indian dishes to be provided)
  • You have a special celebration or surprise (a birthday or anniversary and want a cake or something)

In my opinion, the head waiter should stop by and introduce him/herself on night 1 or 2, and make an effort to ensure everything is going well.  Certainly your waiters can get the head waiter if you need them sooner.

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