Oh hey, it's now about 5:40 PM on day 1 of our cruise and guess what...we're back in the guest services line!
We enjoy sailaway, we change for dinner, we all meet in the Golden
Dining Room at precisely 5:30...and are greeted by the same rude crew
member who "helped" us (not) just over two hours before. She's obviously
annoyed and in no uncertain terms tells us to go away and come back at 6
for dinner. At which point we give her our names and inform her that we
were told to come to the dining room at 5:30 to speak with the maitre
d'. And she responds, "He isn't here yet, you have to come back at 6."
Yet again I repeat that we were told by guest services to come to the
dining room at 5:30. She says that she has our names, they received the
email, but that we shouldn't have been told to come at 5:30 and we
should just come back at six. And now I've gone from understanding but firm, to frustrated and only a bit demanding, to just downright mad.
A gentleman standing on the center level - the one that's raised up
above the outer ring of the dining room - approached the rail and asked
what was going on. The girl we'd been talking to started explaining that
we were trying to get our dining fixed, and he also told us to come
back at six. I insisted on explaining yet again that this issue never
should have occurred in the first place, we checked and double-checked
that we would have dining together when we linked our bookings together,
we'd been given incorrect information all day and that we weren't
leaving until someone gave us a solution.
And yes, I knew that the man I was talking to was the maitre d'. I've
been on enough cruises and worked in the restaurant industry long enough
to know that. Yet he referred to himself in the third person, saying
that we would have to come back at six to talk to the maitre d', and if
we did this they "may" be able to find us a table together for the first
night and would "try" to get our dining situated for the rest of the
cruise the next day.
Hence us ending up back at guest services uhhh-gain. Had to speak to the
same girl, as well. She seemed flabbergasted that she shouldn't have
sent us there at 5:30 but still only shrugged and said we'd just have to
go back at six as we'd been told. So we asked to speak to a manager.
Had to repeat the entire story yet again. The manager called the dining
room, spoke to someone there for a minute, hung up and told us that we
needed to go to the fourth floor desk for the Golden Dining Room at 6
and that yes, they *would* find us a table together and they *would* fix
our dining for the rest of the week.
Needless to say, about ten minutes later we did as we were told, spoke
to the maitre d' who absolutely was the same man who had told us to go
away about twenty minutes earlier, and were told that "there was no way
the people at the Carnival 800 number could *promise* us that two
separate booking numbers would have the same table at dinner" - even if
they were confirmed for the same dining time.
Funny, I've never had this problem before on any cruise line, including
Carnival, and I've cruised with other people who had different
rooms/booking numbers on five out of my six cruises now. And when I said as much, he then tried to blame it on the travel agent...when neither myself nor my friends booked this cruise through a TA.
They did find us a table together, though, and promised to send us a
note with our new/fixed dinner assignment the following day. So we
*finally* sat down to enjoy night #1's dinner. Now, usually I'm not a
food porn person but I went a different route this time and took
pictures of almost everything that we ate...so that I would actually
remember what I ate and when. For those who don't love tons of pictures
of food...err...I apologize in advance, I suppose.
First, gazpacho! I'm big on gazpacho and there's honestly nothing like
homemade. This was good, but nothing special. Not bad, not amazing. Blah
Next, the braised beef brisket, which was the "comfort food" menu item
for the night. The veggies that came with it were good...the brisket
itself...well, it was tasty, and not overcooked or anything, but it was extremely
fatty. I know that brisket is a cheaper cut of meat and all, and maybe I
just got the fattiest chunk of whatever they were using, but it was bad
enough (the amount of inedible fat, I mean) that I was only able eat
about half of the meat that was on my plate :-/
Now, my husband had the cured salmon appetizer and it was VERY tasty; his tilapia was good as well if you are a tilapia person.
And last but not least...the creme brulee for dessert. It was decent,
but again I'm really spoiled because Steve spent a year in France and
makes, well, TRUE creme brulee. Some of the caramelized sugar on top
wasn't even cooked enough to be the sort of shell/crust that it's
supposed to be.
A couple other dinner notes - because I've seen it asked/mentioned/discussed a lot on the boards leading up to our cruise - when we were on the Liberty this past week, YES the cappucino/espresso was still included at dinner.
Also, a magician stopped by our table at one point. He showed us a trick
or two, had that sort of sarcastic-bordering-on-rude humor that I can
normally dig but wasn't feeling on this particular night due to our
earlier travails (haha). In general I don't like to be interrupted with
stuff like this when I'm eating, but this was the only night something
like this happened and the magician said he was usually at/near the
casino bar so I'm guessing it was just a bit of a push to get people to
go check him out.
And WOW this was super long again and I'm not even done
with our first day! More soon, I promise, and now that the worst is
over (heh) I swear I won't be so, err, wordy.