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There were lots of problems on the recent Costa Cruise vacation that Krista and her friends took, including lukewarm hot tubs, closed buffets, and missing towels. But the biggest surprise was when their waiter was replaced on the second day with a newly promoted, untrained busboy who abandoned them nightly. Well, when he wasn't taking their sugar or stealing their basket of bread.
Below are excerpts from the letter Krista sent to Costa Cruises:
Two days into the cruise our waiter disappeared and was replaced by our former busboy. We were told that our previous waiter was sick, leading us to assume that he would return and that the horrible replacement was temporary. The new waiter, Marvin, could not comprehend the English language well enough to bring us drinks, take our orders correctly, replenish the bread ever, or bring us the plate of cheese each night.
It was commonplace for us to wait over an hour before even getting our soup. And that is a long time without replacement bread or drinks either. Instead of having a friendly interaction with the waiter and utilizing dinner to discuss the day with our friends, our main conversation centered upon the horrible service, and how shortchanged we felt. Our interactions with our waiter were awkward at best.
From the start of Marvin's reign as waiter, we either never had sugar on the table for the tea or it would be taken from us without warning and given to other tables. When we asked for the sugar back, we had to wait for Marvin the waiter to steal it from a different table. We started putting sugar packets under our plates just so that when Marvin took the container we would not be completely stuck for a half hour. The fact that we had to go to such trouble is just ridiculous. This lack of class and manners was certainly a surprise for a restaurant, let alone a restaurant aboard a very expensive cruise that my friends and I paid full price for.
Over the course of the week we missed the dances put on by the waiters, we ate later than everyone else, and we even missed the champagne toast! As we watched the other tables rejoice with their waiter smiling and drinking champagne, our waiter had not even filled our champagne glasses. Two minutes later he ran in and filled them, too late; these are the types of mishaps that are not forgivable.
I can vouch for my friends and me when I say that we felt totally shortchanged. Night after night we waited through three hour dinners, not getting refills on water or tea, having dirty dishes left in our faces for up to a half hour, watching other guests enjoy their waiters and develop camaraderie, while we had a horrible experience for the majority of our trip.
Here's our favorite part, where Marvin goes totally nutso about the bread basket. Maybe by this point he was trying to get removed from emergency waiter duty?
After two nights we were pretty sick of the horrible service, but still grinned and bore; it hoping that our "sick" waiter would return. Finally on formal night our waiter committed what I consider the most disrespectful display I have seen in any restaurant ever. He asked if I was finished with the bread basket, which still had bread in it. I told him clearly and to his face that I was not finished with the bread and that I wanted to keep it. I know that he heard me; he was looking directly at me. He grabbed the bread basket and replied that he wanted to see if the table next to us wanted it. He then walked it over and offered it to them, although they already had a full basket of bread. When they refused it he returned it to our table and walked away with no apology or acknowledgement.
On the last day of the trip, the sick waiter mystery is solved, which unfortunately left Krista and her friends feeling even more ripped off:
Finally on our last night we walked in, and upon seeing that our "sick" waiter had still not returned, we asked to have our seat changed. It was our last night there; our entire week had been nothing but atrocious dinner conduct. If the Maitre De did not accommodate us we would have had no choice but to go to the buffet, it was so awful that I could not stand another night of horrible service. The Maitre De only then informed us that the first waiter was getting surgery and was not returning. Had we been told that in the first place we would have changed days ago!
Krista sent a very detailed letter to Costa Cruises including the above paragraphs and more, and asked for a partial refund. According to her boyfriend, who sent us the tip, "We got a very cookie-cutter response from them a few months later saying they would forward our complaints to the appropriate departments, but would not try to correct the situation."