Royal Caribbean Group CEO believes crew will serve buffet guests at all times

One of the big changes to cruise ships since Royal Caribbean restarted shipping is unlikely to go away.

Since the first Royal Caribbean ship started sailing again, onboard buffets have gone from self-service to full service, meaning crew members are now serving guests instead of serving themselves.

The rule change was one of many new health protocols introduced to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 between guests and crew members, and this rule could end up being a change that makes sense even at the end of the day. -beyond Covid.

Royal Caribbean Group chief executive officer Richard Fain said in a recent interview that he believes crew serving food to guests at buffets is just a better approach, aside from protecting health.

“On board, the buffet, where it is now served to you instead of picking up the tongs yourself. And I suspect that for us it will be a permanent feature, because regardless of health reasons, it’s just better. “

Mr Fain said having a team on hand to serve more closely monitors when refills are needed, so there is less waiting for guests. as the plate empties they go one is another of that. “

He acknowledged that without the pandemic this was not an idea they would have considered.

At the start of the pandemic, there were many concerns that buffets would not be available at all. While fine dining is an important part of the cruise, the buffet is a staple of the experience.

When the ships resumed sailing, the buffet was still there, but the crew members stood behind the buffet with tongs in hand.

Buffet drinks are also served by the crew. Crew members hand guests a cup of water, tea, or coffee instead of the guests taking it themselves.

Guests now walk to a buffet station and ask the crew member to serve them a particular item.

Other health protocols implemented in the buffet include scanning SeaPass cards when entering and leaving the site to ensure there is no overcrowding, some tables blocked to ensure the social distancing and even signs on the floor to show passengers where to stand while queuing for the buffet at a safe distance.

Royal Caribbean also added a reservation system for the Windjammer, where customers could optionally book an hour in advance through the Royal Caribbean app, although this has not been necessary on any sailing so far.

While Mr Fain did not touch on the subject of the buffet dinner, it remains another major question among cruise passengers.

Currently the Windjammer is only open for breakfast and lunch on board. It is not open for dinner.

The reason the Windjammer stays closed for dinner is because there just aren’t enough people on the ship. At dinner, specialty restaurants, the main dining room, and other free dining venues compete for all guests. With ships sailing less than half a ship’s normal capacity, Royal Caribbean decided to keep the Windjammer closed for dinner.

From what I’ve heard from Royal Caribbean, the Windjammer will remain closed for dinner until the ships again reach around 50-60% capacity.

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