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Old November 18th, 2007, 11:57 PM
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Nov. 18 - The Second Day of Freedom
Late last night I did visit the casino for a bit, and it was quite busy. They had announced there would be lower minimum bets at the table games for tonight, and I saw many tables with $3 minimums. All the table games use the continuous automated shuffling machines, which I hate, and which improve the odds for the house, over and above the norm. I had discussed my dislike of the shuffling machines with the Ocean Players Club before we left home. I was told they were put in place because the table games had a bad year in 2006. Now don’t we all feel sorry for a casino that made less money than it was planning for so changed the game?
After leaving the casino I swung by the Piano Bar and a small but enthusiastic crowd was gathered around the Piano. No doubt as the week continues this place should get “hopping? as it normally does.
We had an “informal? gathering of the CruiseMates group this morning poolside, below the Seaside Theater screen. Got to meet a few more of the “stragglers? we’d yet to meet. Many in the group have family and friends with them, and it seems the majority of the group are have been assigned the 5:45 dinner time in the Posh Dining Room. Most of those in the group are in the same section of the dining room. Though they have tables close to one another some haven’t met yet, so they don’t know the tables next to them are part of the group. By tomorrow I’ll hope to have arranged for everyone to meet on another. Those at the 5:45 dining time are in fact located within the dining room, so that’s a bonus.
The skies are overcast, and though the sun was battling to show itself, the outside temps are bit cool, and exaggerated by a fairly strong wind across the bow, and by afternoon we saw a sprinkle of rain. Though I’m sure the temperatures will rise as we make our way further south.
I went to the dining room when it opened for open seating lunch at 12:30. I didn’t go for lunch, but to attempt to speak to the Maitre ‘D. He wasn’t in, so I explained some of my concerns to an assistant. He didn’t believe a table was available to move us to, but assured me he’d let the Maitre ‘D know, and he would visit us at our table tonight to discuss it.
Fast forward to dinner… tonight was the first formal night, and we men were happy because we got to wear jackets (for warmth not style). It’s an odd feeling wearing formal dress to dine in a washroom. OK, so by now you believe I’m exaggerating. OK, maybe I am taking a bit of “poetic license?, but wait until you see the pictures. And as we rounded corner from the central part of the dining room to the cubicle where our table is located we could feel the temperature plummet once again. And by the time we left the dining room after dinner we still hadn’t seen the visit from the Maitre ‘D that we’d been promised.
In yesterday’s report I had passed on making any comments about our dining room service. First nights of a cruise are sometimes a bit rough around the edges, and I generally reserve judgment, and comment for that reason.
Now you’re going to start calling me a whiner!
And you’re going to think I’m still just upset about the lousy table location, But…Though our service team is pleasant, I think it’s very unlikely that they’ve been a team for very long. The service is scattered at best, and extremely disorganized. I’ve watched the waitress at the bus station, right next to our table, stand staring at the trays of plates on the stand, and the order sheets on her clipboard as though she were trying to understand the blueprints for the space shuttle. Even after being reminded, she forgot a second time to take the order of one of our cruisemates at the table next to us. Soups are arriving cold, hot appetizers arriving cold. It’s really a bit of a mess. I am honestly not very demanding at all, and am happy to display patience, and enjoy the nightly dinner experience ; so much so that I feel bad including all of this in my daily reports. However, since my attempt to address this with the restaurant manager failed, tomorrow I’ll have to drop a note to the Hotel Director. While we’re resigned to the ship being full and not being able to change the table location, not having the rest of our concerns corrected would certainly unnecessarily negatively impact the balance of our vacation.
Table locations and service staff are somewhat of a - “luck of the draw situation?. Tomorrow I’m going to make a point of talking to others in the group about their dining room service teams to hopefully find more positive opinions and experiences to share.
On a brighter note there was quite a bit going on around the ship today. When I headed to the dining room this afternoon Mrs. Kuki attended a cooking demonstration in the Sun King Supper Club. The chefs explain a number of dishes on the menu, and prepare small samplers for everyone in attendance, as well as handing printed recipes. By the time I got up there, there were over 100 people there for the demonstration.
Aside from the normal art auctions, bingo, slot machine tournament, and pool-side hairy chest contest, they held family fun water wars, and a diamond and gemstone seminar. Certainly a something for everyone type of activity day.
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