Skip to main content

Maitre D' Role: Key Duties and Responsibilities on a Cruise Ship

Submitted by kgnadmin on

If you possess exceptional social skills and have experience in restaurant service, this could be the ideal position for you on a cruise ship. The role of a Maitre D’’’ is not only incredibly enjoyable but also comes with significant responsibilities.

They say the grass is always greener on the other side, which certainly rings true. When I embarked on my journey on a cruise ship, I viewed the job of a Maitre D’’ as the most exciting job imaginable. I used to think, "Wow, who is this person in the elegant black suit, effortlessly smiling and welcoming guests, earning around $10,000 per month." However, I soon realized that it is not as simple as it appears.

Among the various positions on board a cruise ship, the Maitre D’’ holds one of the most prominent roles. They are responsible for overseeing the dining experience on the vessel, including seating guests and ensuring impeccable service in the dining rooms. Additionally, they directly interact with diners to cater to their needs. The job description of a Maitre D’’ revolves around service, but it is also a noble profession that, when performed diligently, garners respect from both the crew and passengers aboard the cruise ship.

The Maitre D’’ supervises a team comprising waiters, assistant waiters, and assistant Maitre D’’ personnel. While the kitchen staff falls under the purview of the chef, they collaborate with the Maitre D’’ in preparing and delivering exquisite food to the guests.

A typical maître d will not have any formal educational requirements. Many will work their way up from waiters to maître ds, so the experience is the most critical factor. Keep in mind that the experience may come from Restaurants or dining establishments. The nuances of a specific cruise ship will often be taught on the job.

One of the basic requirements is the ability to change plans on the spot when needed. Although preparation and scheduling are crucial, sometimes even the best-laid plans may need to be revised. Therefore, a maître d must stay calm in a crisis and act when required.

The maître d job description is generally the same for most cruise ships. The key is experience with many a maître d cruise ship, having risen from waiter to assistant maître d in the process. For those interested in pursuing this career, a bachelor's degree in food management or hospitality can be helpful but not required.

Manages daily restaurant operations, assists with menu planning, maintains sanitation standards, and assists servers and hosts on the floor during peak meal periods. Strives to continually improve guest and employee satisfaction and maximize financial performance in areas of responsibility.

The Maitre D' Restaurant is ultimately responsible for supervising and directing all food and beverage service functions in the Main Restaurant and Room Service. Ensuring that daily programs are followed, all events related to the Main Restaurant and Room service are manned, and all related tasks are adhered to. 

The Maitre D' Restaurant has the essential task of managing its team and ensuring it exceeds guest expectations. The decisions made by this position hugely impact the overall experience of both guests and crew and, therefore, need to be made in clear, concise measures while always focusing on the success thereof. 

Maintaining an active presence at official occasions and events is one of the most demanding parts of the job. There are many different kinds of customers, many different complaints, and Maitre D’’ is the one who handles professionally all of those.

The Restaurant Manager reports directly to the Food and Beverage Manager and also the Hotel Director. 

Many jobs are required to be done, but I will list the most important ones. Here are some key responsibilities of one awesome but also demanding job...

Meitre D is Responsible for the complete supervision, training, and development [including evaluation] of all Assistant Maître D's, Waiters, and Utilities assigned and scheduled to the main Restaurant and Room service outlets. That is often a face-to-face interview with the department subordinates when the performance at work is being discussed.

Meitre D ultimately ensures that all SOPs linked to the main Restaurant and Room service are followed and adhered to and that all approved newly created SOPs are implemented accordingly and within the stipulated timeframes.

They are also responsible for supervising the Seating Hostess in ensuring her duties are fulfilled according to her Job Description and overseeing that all invitations for hosting tables are completed accurately and promptly and the approved hosting schedule assigns guests. [incl. RSVP] – All related SOPs linked to seating and dress codes are included in this responsibility.

Also, Metire D is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all guest preferences and dietary requirements are met and catered for within the outlets supervised.

Apart from strict supervision for each breakfast, lunch, and dinner service, the Maitre D’’' Restaurant also must act as the main contact party for all guests dining in the venue, and each table must be visited to ensure guests are exceedingly pleased with all services and product related to the outlet.

If you work in the Meitre D position, you are expected to Respond efficiently and accurately to guest complaints and feedback regarding the main Restaurant and room service feedback. This includes the acknowledgment and appreciation of positive guests. 

It is the responsibility of the Maitre D’’' Restaurant to ensure the Restaurant's readiness [15 minutes] before any advertised starting times, and s/he is also accountable for any corrective measures that might be required.

It is required by the Maitre D’ Restaurant to establish a sound professional relationship with the Exe Chef de Cuisine. This creates an atmosphere that promotes success and a comfortable working environment for both front and back-of-house personnel.

Besides, the Maitre D' needs to liaise with the Sommelier to ensure that all revenue wine lists are correctly updated and all service staff understand and practice policies related to revenue wine service. This includes the understanding and knowledge related to both summer and winter complimentary programs by all service staff.

 Meitre is responsible for the maintenance of all equipment, cleanliness of the outlet, and the overall upkeep of all PH-related aspects that ensures both the main Restaurant and Room service meet all CDC regulations. This includes developing cleaning schedules for the area of responsibility and overseeing and following up on execution. In this role, the efficient delegation of tasks and social skills are a must. 

In collaboration with the F&B manager, the Maitre D’ Restaurant must assign waiters, as per the general schedule, to their assigned stations to allow for smooth, coordinated service.

Meitre D Attends all menu briefings in the Restaurant [and Room Service] and ensures that all servers are familiar with both food and beverage items served for that evening. Also conducts regular F&B tests and relays any concerns to the F&B Manager.

Ensures that the name recognition policy is adhered to and that name recognition is utilized on the floor.

Ensures that company guidelines for uniform and personal hygiene policies are followed.

Responsible for collaborating requirements to the F&B Manager for creating the daily schedule in conjunction with the daily Herald and cruise layout.

There is no easy job on board the ship, some jobs are better than others, but every job is difficult in its own unique way. If you decide to pursue this career and become the master of the cruise ship's dining room, I hope this will help you with all the specific and important information to know. Whatever you decide your cruise ship career might be, have fun and always remember to smile. If you become the Meitre D one day, the smile will be the free ticket to resolve any kind of problem or the difficult passenger who is upset for waiting too long for his dinner, even if it's sincere or not, smile and remember to breathe. Everything will be ok in the end. Take care. God bless you.

Crew Insights

Articles and experiences shared by crew members working on cruise ship. Find out more about ship life at sea together with tips and advices for first time crew members and cruise oldtimers.