(Dear Readers: I wrote this the first evening of the cruise, at 2AM on 1/1/13 to a Cruise Director and Blogger on Carnival’s Website, John Heald. I apologize if I sound a bit grumpy - I had an empty stomach. Read more for details…. )
I'd love to say something positive. I am a very upbeat person. Alas, I cannot. I couldn't even eat dinner this evening. Not sure what was worse, the nausea from the ship moving, or the waitress from hell. I've had much better service from a truck stop in American Canyon California at the Hwy 29 Cafe, let alone eating at Cole's Chop House, French Laundry, and Auberge in Napa Valley.
The previous night, we dined at the Napa Rose at Disney's California Hotel. Jonathon was the chef, previously at Auberge until 2004. We had excellent service, ordered fabulous wine, and teased Jonathon about his malfattis (actually much improved over Napa's version).
I realize I'm not in Disneyland anymore.
My waitress on Carnival's Inspiration on 12/31/12 8:15 PM Seating Table 389 committed a major faux pas - she argued with me that I had ordered the buffalo mozzarella. I did not. She didn't believe me. In front of me, my plate, was encrusted, herbed, heated cheese. No tomatoes. See, I had ordered a tomato salad/blue crab plate for my first meal, and for dinner, I'd ordered the quail appetizer. I asked her for a menu, and pointed to the entree that I did order but not receive. But, strangely, that dish never appeared in front of me. She removed the buffalo mozzarella plate and slammed down the quail. Which I had asked for as dinner entree. But no, the waitress from hell slammed down my dinner course while my dining companions had green Caesar salads in front of them.
I waited about 10 minutes with the quail in front of me. Still no tomato salad. I pushed the quail away. And waited. No salad. No server. No drinks showed up at my table that we had ordered.
Golden Rule: The customer is always right. #2: follow correct dining procedure: get drink orders; come back with drinks; order courses (starters, salads, soups, then main entree) After clearing dinner plates, ask for coffee/port orders and dessert. Serve after dinner drinks at same time as dessert. Do not serve out of order. Do not place a dinner entree in front of someone before their soup/salad/appetizer course.
And, no, do not argue with the dining customer and slam down a plate in front of them.
After about 20 minutes of waiting, I lost my temper. I stood up, looking for the vanishing waitress. No dice. Caught another guy who wanted to take our drink order. Again. Those never arrived either.
Hmm, John, what would you do? I lost my patience. I stood by the galley, slammed my dinner entree onto a stack of dinners, and stormed off looking for a manager or maitre'd or chef. Asked three people. No one took the time to even care. Couldn't find any management.
I left then to retire to my cabin. I'd lost my appetite.
See, John, I'm a very rational person. Usually. I'm not perfect. I've been ill this past month. Apparently with an extremely rare autoimmune disease that's causing horrid nausea. And irritability.
Our table patrons from Russia? Alas, the Mom got the wrong soup. Her daughter, Caterina, never got the mozzarella or quail she had ordered. When she finally asked, the waitress gave her the cold plate of quail that had been sitting on the table for 20 minutes, which I then slammed on top of the other entrees in the galley. And it was quite cold.
Now, John, here in California, that would be a violation of California State law for food service. I had physically touched the plate. And waitress from hell turned around and served it to another diner.
There's a reason California has that law. It would be to help against, say, spreading salmonella or e.coli bacteria, or say even listeria or Norovirus. Apparently there's been several ships this week who have come down with cases of Cruise Ship Norovirus.
Now, John, I'd love to be able to enjoy the rest of my cruise. Considering my autoimmune disorder, and the reputation of your ship, I'd advise on proper food handling to prevent an outbreak. I'd prefer not to get sick on this ship. John, can you make this right for our table #389? My husband requested a different server for tomorrow. Please kindly show me that Carnival Cruise Lines has some class, style, and elegance.
Otherwise I'll be blogging in my cabin eating beef jerkey for the next 4 days. I'm sure the NY Times would love to hear this story. I already wrote them Sunday about Sandybrook and Gun Control. They'd love to hear about Norovirus outbreak prevention plan from Carnival. But servers breaking both dining etiquette and food safety and handling rules and laws? Now, that would be an excellent story.
Cathy Gumina Odom
Carnival Inspiration CBN # U75 Catalina and Ensenada trip.