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Cho Cho Charlie

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The mainstream cruise lines did downgrade their complimentary main dining room and buffet food somewhat, to lower fares to be competitive in a fiercely competitive industry...but they still offer upscale foods in their 'specialty restaurants', for an additional cost. But even the cheapest cruise ship buffet offer's better food than Amtrak could ever....
You do bring up an interesting thought.

I wonder how many Sleeper passengers will be willing to pay extra to eat in an Amtrak 'specialty restaurant' (aka the dining car) for an additional cost? Say, $50/meal ? Sleeper passengers will still be able to get their complimentary flex meal (aka K-ration ;) ).
 
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Cho Cho Charlie

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If you are referring to catching the dreaded norovirus, you are correct...but that is not because of food quality, but rather, passenger sanitation habits, brought on by passenger's. They have made great strides in controlling that issue, with hand-washing and/or sanitizer stations near every dining facility, various 'code' condition's which eliminate or limit passenger self service food station's in the buffet's, and other improvements...
Well, yes and no. I was on a cruise ship that had a rather major breakout of norovirus. About 1/2 the passengers became sick and had to be confined to their cabins.

While it might have started by a passenger, it was the total lack of consequential/subsequent control by the ship's crew and officers, which allowed it to be go totally out of control. No training. No action. Officers who just hoped it would go away; which it didn't.
 

railiner

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You do bring up an interesting thought.

I wonder how many Sleeper passengers will be willing to pay extra to eat in an Amtrak 'specialty restaurant' (aka the dining car) for an additional cost? Say, $50/meal ? Sleeper passengers will still be able to get their complimentary flex meal.
A good question, indeed...
I think that it would be a hard sell to 'regular traveler's', but may be popular for tourists...
Perhaps instead of limiting the dining car to only those willing to pay that rather steep rate for a meal, as a "specialty restaurant", they might first try just adding some ala carte high quality items to the regular diner choices, and see how well they sell...
 

joelkfla

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20th Century Rider

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If you are referring to catching the dreaded norovirus, you are correct...but that is not because of food quality, but rather, passenger sanitation habits, brought on by passenger's. They have made great strides in controlling that issue, with hand-washing and/or sanitizer stations near every dining facility, various 'code' condition's which eliminate or limit passenger self service food station's in the buffet's, and other improvements...
And probably those ship buffets where everyone touches the handles of those self serve utensils... therefore coming in contact with the hand germs of everyone at that buffet.

It's always nice to share... but not when it comes to germs! 🤮
 

tgstubbs1

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And probably those ship buffets where everyone touches the handles of those self serve utensils... therefore coming in contact with the hand germs of everyone at that buffet.

It's always nice to share... but not when it comes to germs! 🤮
Maybe they're the sort that believes in "herd immunity"?

Not to be confused with "crowd mentality."
 

railiner

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And probably those ship buffets where everyone touches the handles of those self serve utensils... therefore coming in contact with the hand germs of everyone at that buffet.

It's always nice to share... but not when it comes to germs! 🤮
Because of this, I believe that the self-serve buffet's everywhere, land and sea, will be forever, "gone with the wind"...
You'll still have buffet's, but you'll place your plate in front of the server, and they will dish it out for you. This will of course mean greater staffing costs, but may also limit waste, as 'glutton's' may be too embarrassed to ask for a huge pile of food at each serving...
I wonder how the "Golden Corral" chain is faring, these days...?🤔
 

tgstubbs1

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Because of this, I believe that the self-serve buffet's everywhere, land and sea, will be forever, "gone with the wind"...
You'll still have buffet's, but you'll place your plate in front of the server, and they will dish it out for you. This will of course mean greater staffing costs, but may also limit waste, as 'glutton's' may be too embarrassed to ask for a huge pile of food at each serving...
I wonder how the "Golden Corral" chain is faring, these days...?🤔
The last time I et at a "Golden Coral" I didn't feel well, and it was several years before this coronavirus.
 

20th Century Rider

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The last time I et at a "Golden Coral" I didn't feel well, and it was several years before this coronavirus.
According to the Federal Drug Administration's COVID-19 best practice guideline, restaurants should discontinue operations that require customers to use common utensils or dispensers. This poses a problem for establishments that have relied on tongs and spoons multiple people touch over the course of an evening. Since buffets don't need to employ as many workers on the floor, these restaurants have long been economical operations.

Buffets always involved health risks due to common handling of utensils, exhaled germs reaching the food despite the safety glass, and food just sitting out at a non safe temperature for too long. Far too many contamination opportunities!

The future according to so many articles in todays food journals indicate food servers providing the food requested on plates then handed to the customer. This seems much safer! And for those who must pig out, they can go back for more I guess.

BTW, on a personal note, once I reached 50 and the metabolism started to slow down, I began to avoid buffets totally!
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Devil's Advocate

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Because of this, I believe that the self-serve buffet's everywhere, land and sea, will be forever, "gone with the wind"...
You'll still have buffet's, but you'll place your plate in front of the server, and they will dish it out for you. This will of course mean greater staffing costs, but may also limit waste, as 'glutton's' may be too embarrassed to ask for a huge pile of food at each serving...
I find buffets unappealing, not just because of the shared utensils but also the stale low quality food. Even the fancier Vegas versions just did not do it for me. That said it's hard to imagine a brave new 'Murica without self-serve gorging. If the traditional buffet experience really does go away I'd be willing to pay a little more to see it out the door. 👍
 
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20th Century Rider

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Can someone please explain the justification of 8 meals a day on these expensive cruise lines... from sunrise to sundown, and on to the midnight buffet???

I mean... where does one put it all when the human stomach is the size of a fist???

 

20th Century Rider

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When I was young and skinny I had a fabulous 'food time' on the Las Vegas strip... so many years ago when for $1.99 you could fill up on steaks and potatoes au gratin. And I never got sick!

Apparently it's taken a while for the germs to catch up on the feasting as well! o_O
 

Devil's Advocate

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When I was young and skinny I had a fabulous 'food time' on the Las Vegas strip... so many years ago when for $1.99 you could fill up on steaks and potatoes au gratin. And I never got sick!
By the time I was introduced to Vegas buffets it seemed they were all in the $50-$100 range. I never experienced the cheap loss leader spreads you see in some movies. What were they like?
 

BoulderCO

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Yes, the elimination of buffets - or at least no more "serve yourself" makes a lot of sense. I understand the logic. However, I will dearly miss the daily lunch buffets at the local Indian restaurants - Lots of interesting and tasty food. A very fun way to overeat a large variety of dishes.
 

20th Century Rider

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By the time I was introduced to Vegas buffets it seemed they were all in the $50-$100 range. I never experienced the cheap loss leader spreads you see in some movies. What were they like?
Waaay back in the 60's food was cheap and a real bargain. Of course the purpose of those cheep buffets was to get you in the door and gamble big. I've never been into gambling... but I did take a shot at it... back then... I took $1.50 to the cashier and asked for pennies. The I went to the penny slot. In it went... one penny at a time. And that's all that happened... the machine just ate my pennies... one at a time. After that I realized that the big money to build those fancy casino's came from folks like me... who put their money into those fancy machines, and lost it...

one penny at a time! LOL! :p:eek::rolleyes:
 

IndyLions

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A good question, indeed...
I think that it would be a hard sell to 'regular traveler's', but may be popular for tourists...
Perhaps instead of limiting the dining car to only those willing to pay that rather steep rate for a meal, as a "specialty restaurant", they might first try just adding some ala carte high quality items to the regular diner choices, and see how well they sell...
I certainly have been ready for a long time to pay ala carte for some premium desserts, a really nice charcuterie plate, and maybe some decent wine choices. And even though I am not a craft beer drinker, I am sure there is money to be made selling craft beer at an extra cost as well.
 

fdaley

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You do bring up an interesting thought.

I wonder how many Sleeper passengers will be willing to pay extra to eat in an Amtrak 'specialty restaurant' (aka the dining car) for an additional cost? Say, $50/meal ? Sleeper passengers will still be able to get their complimentary flex meal (aka K-ration ;) ).
Definitely I would be willing to pay somewhat more for better meal options, even if the extra cost means I wind up traveling less often than in the past. But I'd want a substantial upgrade from the current program -- including more and better entrees, cooked breakfasts, separate lunch and dinner menus, and table service with place settings. In other words, something at least as good as Amtrak's "traditional dining." So that could be a way to win back customers like me who, looking at the current meal program, are deciding we'd rather stay home or find another way.

On the other hand, if we're talking about a really elite class of service -- something like Via's Prestige Class -- I don't think I would ever have a vacation budget big enough to afford it. And I wouldn't have any confidence that Amtrak could deliver an experience that would be worthy of that kind of price. And any increase in sleeper prices makes it that much harder to entice new customers to try it, given that many tend to evaluate the cost by comparing it (unfairly) to what they could pay for an airline coach seat.
 
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me_little_me

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Can someone please explain the justification of 8 meals a day on these expensive cruise lines... from sunrise to sundown, and on to the midnight buffet???

I mean... where does one put it all when the human stomach is the size of a fist???
Having many meals a day doesn't mean eating at every one of them. Sometimes it means you can do a small meal and then have a little more later or you like eating dinner at 6PM and someone else likes a light late meal at 9PM.

I generally find myself being one of the few who loses weight on a cruise (but never at home). On board, I walk upstairs all the time if there are 6 or fewer decks to go and down the stairs no matter how many. We avoid the breakfast buffet and find the leisurely pacedsit down restaurant results in eating less and enjoying the quiet unhurried company of strangers. Lunch for me is a salad at the buffet plus a dessert (Hey, it is supposed to be fun!) and dinner is always sit-down at the restaurants using any-time dining so we can meet different people and eat when it is convenient. The exception is formal nights - I refuse to dress up when I am on vacation. Generally, the only other thing we have is a fancy coffee in the afternoon but only if I have ship's onboard credit. We spend our evenings a the show then dancing. Alcohol is over priced. She can't take it well and I'm too cheap to get ripped off by alcohol prices so we stick to diet sodas in the evening, coffee (me) or tea (her) at breakfast and water and coffee (me) at lunch and dinner.
 

20th Century Rider

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You do bring up an interesting thought.

I wonder how many Sleeper passengers will be willing to pay extra to eat in an Amtrak 'specialty restaurant' (aka the dining car) for an additional cost? Say, $50/meal ? Sleeper passengers will still be able to get their complimentary flex meal (aka K-ration ;) ).
But we're already paying an arm and a leg to eat the teenie tiny dehumanizing tasteless disgusting flex meals. Amtrak will never have a 'speciality restaurant' and we are already paying 'speciality restaurant' pricing. So why discuss this???
 
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