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"Bribing" Maitre d' to get better table/waiter


stan01
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Posted (edited)

On our recent QUEEN VICTORIA cruise we found, to our horror, we had been assigned to a table of six (having always checked our preference for a table for two) at embarkation lunch (Princess Grill).  

 

We were, instead, seated at what must be the best table in the room... all the way aft, looking over the stern and the sea.  And wound up keeping it for the whole cruise.  We did not "bribe" nor "induce" or demand or pester but relied on the professionalism of the staff to set things right. They did. 

 

But, yes, we did tip the Asst. Maitre d' for his superb attention to my wife's gluten free diet and, yes, for getting me the odd Indian curry lunch and even kedgeree for breakfast.

 

One should never have to bribe and always be induced to tip when the service is "beyond the call".  We find it almost always is, at least in PG and especially on QUEEN VICTORIA.  Now... we just have to get "that" table again!

Edited by WantedOnVoyage
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There will always be those who will flash the cash to try and get what they want, I am totally against it and do what others do, ask politely.

 

What would more annoying is a Maitre'd actually accepting the bribe, by doing so all it is doing is encouraging this behaviour.

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11 hours ago, exlondoner said:


There was an account of the very unedifying behaviour of a celebrity guest speaker on the naming voyage, when they wouldn’t move her to the table she wanted.

Yes, I am guilty of reporting the incident.  I have no idea of how the patient, polite (and in the view of all who witnessed this unbecoming and embarrassing performance) shamefully-treated senior waiters, resolved the matter, but the next evening, it was "carry on as usual" in the very best of Cunard tradition.  They are exemplary, in my opinion.

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2 minutes ago, Mareblu said:

Yes, I am guilty of reporting the incident.  I have no idea of how the patient, polite (and in the view of all who witnessed this unbecoming and embarrassing performance) shamefully-treated senior waiters, resolved the matter, but the next evening, it was "carry on as usual" in the very best of Cunard tradition.  They are exemplary, in my opinion.

On, and @WantedOnVoyage, that was on QUEEN ANNE 😉

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2 hours ago, S1971 said:

There will always be those who will flash the cash to try and get what they want, I am totally against it and do what others do, ask politely.

 

What would more annoying is a Maitre'd actually accepting the bribe, by doing so all it is doing is encouraging this behaviour.

I  would be 'very disappointed' if this ever happened on any ship, never mind Cunard but as no one here has yet to have personally experienced bribing for a better table or  observed such direct action  [tipping afterwards would be very welcome I'm sure], let's keep our fingers crossed Cunard integrity will prevail.🤞

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Victoria2 said:

I  would be 'very disappointed' if this ever happened on any ship, never mind Cunard but as no one here has yet to have personally experienced bribing for a better table or  observed such direct action  [tipping afterwards would be very welcome I'm sure], let's keep our fingers crossed Cunard integrity will prevail.🤞

 

I agree, never witnessed it myself in the dining room and hopefully never will,  I have in bars though, where a dollar or two seems to get priority service, another dislike of mine.

 

I wouldn't contemplate complaining given the crews financial circumstances.

 

I'm in no doubt it happens though on all cruiselines.

 

With regards to tipping afterwards, personally I'm not one to get over friendly with crew members such as the Maitre'd but appreciate others do.

 

It wouldn't at all surprise me that on occasions the suggestion of a good tip at the end of the cruise may assist in getting a more favourable table, more especially if they are returning passengers who are known to be generous.

 

 

 

 

Edited by S1971
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46 minutes ago, Victoria2 said:

I  would be 'very disappointed' if this ever happened on any ship, never mind Cunard but as no one here has yet to have personally experienced bribing for a better table or  observed such direct action  [tipping afterwards would be very welcome I'm sure], let's keep our fingers crossed Cunard integrity will prevail.🤞

See post 6.

 

I'm not too bothered by the money being accepted, on the basis that a fool and his money are easily parted, but I would doubt it had any impact in the scenario I gave.

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Just now, Pushpit said:

See post 6.

 

I'm not too bothered by the money being accepted, on the basis that a fool and his money are easily parted, but I would doubt it had any impact in the scenario I gave.

I saw #6 but you were an observer and your 'I guess' shows you  did not have 100% knowledge so couldn't definitively say what was the behind the transfer of cash.

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Going slightly off topic but related to the OP - how would you know a "good" table from a "bad" table on a ship that you have not been on before? And similarly with waiters - if you have not been on the ship/cruise line how do know in advance who the good/not as good waiters are?

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, david63 said:

Going slightly off topic but related to the OP - how would you know a "good" table from a "bad" table on a ship that you have not been on before? And similarly with waiters - if you have not been on the ship/cruise line how do know in advance who the good/not as good waiters are?

Basically, 'you' have no idea but your previous comment on what is a good table is most definitely subjective.

 

There was an interesting 'moan' a year or two back re a specific table in QV's QG by a member who had got [bought or given, can't remember] an upgrade to a Q1.

The [window] table assigned 'did not meet expectations' and boy, was it made plain on this board. The interesting thing is, a Pre Covid regular Q1'er  on Worldies always had that table.

 

So 'good' for one, isn't necessarily 'good' for another so sussing out dining issues on a new or fresh ship must be heavily down to experience.

Edited by Victoria2
pre covid
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Aloha. Born and raised in Manhattan and blessed to cruise since 1971.  I respect everyone has different opinions and also opinions formed based on where they live, etc.  Having done business in NY and Las Vegas I can tell you that tipping is the norm to get the best tables, service, shows, rooms and the list goes on and on. That is the reality. I do not always agree that it should be the norm but unfortunately that is the way the world works.  I have had my choice of table locations, waiters, parking lots suddenly have a space available, front row seats, etc.  I'm not bragging but it is naive to believe that it is not the way the wheels turn. I also agree that in some cultures and countries that is not the way it works so I am also respectful of where I am and who I am encountering.  

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3 hours ago, Victoria2 said:

I saw #6 but you were an observer and your 'I guess' shows you  did not have 100% knowledge so couldn't definitively say what was the behind the transfer of cash.

My guess related to the motive (happy wife, happy life?), but unfortunately there was no guesswork in respect of what was going on, the passenger was without question tipping / bribing their way to a better table. It wasn't pleasant to watch it happening.

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47 minutes ago, Pushpit said:

My guess related to the motive (happy wife, happy life?), but unfortunately there was no guesswork in respect of what was going on, the passenger was without question tipping / bribing their way to a better table. It wasn't pleasant to watch it happening.

Aloha.  Agreed that if it done where observed and in the open it is totally obnoxious and generally by a novice. Generally the person receiving the gratuity will refuse and in fact become annoyed. There is a certain decorum to follow.  It is something learned. Again I do not condone this but at times in my opinion a necessary evil.

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1 hour ago, LouChamp said:

Aloha. Born and raised in Manhattan and blessed to cruise since 1971.  I respect everyone has different opinions and also opinions formed based on where they live, etc.  Having done business in NY and Las Vegas I can tell you that tipping is the norm to get the best tables, service, shows, rooms and the list goes on and on. That is the reality. I do not always agree that it should be the norm but unfortunately that is the way the world works.  I have had my choice of table locations, waiters, parking lots suddenly have a space available, front row seats, etc.  I'm not bragging but it is naive to believe that it is not the way the wheels turn. I also agree that in some cultures and countries that is not the way it works so I am also respectful of where I am and who I am encountering.  

Yet a couple of NYers have implied it is not the way they would do things. In any case, as you say, things happen differently in different cultures, and Cunard ships are not part of NY.

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1 hour ago, Pushpit said:

My guess related to the motive (happy wife, happy life?), but unfortunately there was no guesswork in respect of what was going on, the passenger was without question tipping / bribing their way to a better table. It wasn't pleasant to watch it happening.

In that case as you are positive and in the know, your

so my guess is that this was someone who was trying to get a nice table for his wife/girlfriend.

 

should read so I know that this was someone who was trying to get a nice table for his wife/girlfriend.

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Given the number of crew changes Cunard are going through, including mid voyage and certainly on our recent Southampton-Med one on QV, tipping at the onset might get you that coveted table but don't count on retaining the same stewards, maitre d' or wine steward if you're aboard for a week or more.

 

We lost our excellent table steward to promotion after the first week (off to become room service supervisor) and he was replaced, to our delight, by our steward from the last cruise who came over from Queen's Grill.  And sadly we lost our wonderful wine steward (also a familar face from a previous cruise) in Istanbul and his replacement, well shall we say, made us appreciate him all the more by comparison. Fortunately, the superbly attentive maitre d's in PG stayed on throughout.  

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18 minutes ago, Victoria2 said:

In that case as you are positive and in the know, your

so my guess is that this was someone who was trying to get a nice table for his wife/girlfriend.

 

should read so I know that this was someone who was trying to get a nice table for his wife/girlfriend.

Or for himself?  Not clear.  A narcissist, maybe.

 

I'm in the camp that says norm or not, it's gross to buy a better table.

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7 minutes ago, alc13 said:

Or for himself?  Not clear.  A narcissist, maybe.

 

I'm in the camp that says norm or not, it's gross to buy a better table.

Open dining is an interesting concept as far as table allocation is concerned.

 

Guest seating on fixed or 'club' dining is usually planned just before sailing, as I found out this year and gaining a perceived 'sweet spot' would/could be at the expense of another guest.

 

I would have thought open dining would be down to 'on the night' allocation in the main. I'm not as fan of anyone who flashes the cash to obtain an unwarranted advantage although I am at the front of the queue to discreetly 'reward' after an event and am with you on your adjective use.  🙂

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LouChamp has explained it beautifully from the U.S., particularly Northeast (I’m from New Jersey) perspective.

While not always right or fair, it’s just a fact of the service industry.

And certainly if done should be discrete and not a show.

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11 minutes ago, foodsvcmgr said:

LouChamp has explained it beautifully from the U.S., particularly Northeast (I’m from New Jersey) perspective.

While not always right or fair, it’s just a fact of the service industry.

And certainly if done should be discrete and not a show.

So what happens if everybody does it, other than a M d’H with stuffed pockets?

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21 minutes ago, exlondoner said:

So what happens if everybody does it, other than a M d’H with stuffed pockets?

That's what I said in post #4 - everybody ends up back where they started!

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Clearly everyone won’t, just agreeing with Lou that from an American perspective this is quite normal and not considered distasteful if conducted quietly.

More often than not in recent years I’ve had very good fortune getting two tops in decent locations by requesting same through personal cruise consultants at Cunard and HAL, and through the dining department online at Celebrity, thus avoiding the need for adjustments once onboard.

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If ever I found out I had been bumped from a restaurant table due to such  abhorrent behaviour between a fellow passenger and a member of Cunard staff is the day I make such a stink, the member of staff would wish he/she were on a different planet.

 

Luckily, I know it will never happen.

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5 minutes ago, foodsvcmgr said:

from an American perspective this is quite normal and not considered distasteful

As a non-conformist to this practice can you explain why I should be put at a disadvantage by somebody pushing their way to the front?

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I still remember my mother explaining who and how much to tip when I sailed on my first crossings, alone, at age 16 on FRANCE and RAFFAELLO... it was $1 a day each for the cabin and table steward and $3 for the crossing to the deck steward. That was a LOT of money back in 1974 and put a real crimp in my newspaper route funded travel budget. But like a young gentleman, I did my duty and tipped "properly".  

 

But tipping has always been part of ship travel although Americans do it best and most often and why the happiest stewards and bellboys were on the New York run!

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