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food..food,,, feeding me ...feed me

food..food,,, feeding me ...feed me

Old Jul 7, 18, 3:38 pm
  #1  
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food..food,,, feeding me ...feed me

i am interested in the food quality for the boutique lines. who does it best, or close to best. we were just on a viking cruise, and the food was nice, but not special. we have been on royal crab, and some of their creations are very nice. what about seabourn, regency, silver seas, and all the rest of the top "drawer" burger barns. separate list for "special price dinners"
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Old Jul 8, 18, 7:46 am
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Food is a highly subjective subject. What I like and think is good to excellent might be anywhere from uninteresting to subpar for another. Then you add in the variability from cruise to cruise even with the same cruise line and even the same ship. Our seven cruises on Silversea is a case in point. Obviously since we keep going back to Silversea year after year there must be enough positives like food to keep us cruising with them. On the whole we’ve found their food to be several cuts above Holland America’s standard fare.

That’s not to say every dish has been excellent. Again for example all Silversea ships have a non-additional fee Italian restuarant called La Terrazza. We love Italian cuisine and eat frequently at a couple of really good and authentic Italian restaurants at home. We’ve also eaten what you’d hope was authentic and excellent Italian food in Rome, Florence, and the Amalfi Coast several times. Has every dish in La Terrazza been fantastic? No. Our first two or three cruises our dinners were great to excellent. We could hardly wait to eat there again on our fourth. Ugh. Some of the worst Italian food we’d ever had and this was all on the same ship as the previous three cruises. Went back to La Terrazza on our fifth cruise and the food was fantastic again. Same experience with the main dining room. While generally very good there have been some clunkers.

For us it’s all about managed expectations. We’ve cruised on Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, and Silversea. If I were to rate them on food, and actually overall experience, it would be Silversea first, Celebrity and Holland America tied for second, and Carnival last. We don’t consider ourselves “foodies” we just know what we like and don’t like. I’d imagine a true “foodie” might be aghast at most cruise cuisine. Generally cruise line food is at least a cut above the “rubber chicken” banquet food but certainly not up to the level of Michelin stars.

I’ve heard good things about the food on Viking, Regents, Seabourn, etc., but we’ve not cruised with any of them so I’ll let others comment.
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Old Jul 8, 18, 9:17 pm
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Pretty much agree with Randy's writing. A foodie has no business being on a (so called luxury) USA marketed cruise line. I have a bit more faith in Crystal's food procurement policies.

Others might be impressed with the food being served, I'm not. You're eating the same crap ice cream on Silversea, Seabourn, NCL, and Carnival.
Ben and Jerry's on Crystal. And what is more important than ice cream?
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Old Jul 9, 18, 1:18 am
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We have been on Seabourn (x3), HA (x2), Celebrity (x4), Costa (x3), and NCL (x1), so my comments are based on these experiences:

Our (perhaps deluded) self-concept is that of a "Foodie." We live in a place with some great restaurants, and travel to places with wonderful dining options. Sometimes when we do port calls, our object is to have lunch at a particular restaurant. We are not swayed by the number of Michelin stars possessed by a restaurant--they have to earn it when we walk in the door.

We have learned to have low expectations of cruise ship food. Compared to land-based restaurants that operate in an intensely competitive environment, no way can you find consistency in raw materials or personnel/expertise on the high seas.

Our single best meal at sea, and one of the best meals ever, happened to be at HA's Pinnacle Grill. We were in Iceland, and they had just loaded on some fresh salmon. The meal was indescribably good. Five stars. That, however, was a true anomaly. We find that the more common seafaring meal is either too salty or lacking in tenderness.

Of the cruise lines upon which we have voyages, my rating would be:

1. Seabourn
2. Celebrity
3. Costa and Holland America
4. NCL

Even though Seabourn is my highest -ranked for cuisine, there have been some real misses, However, given the intimate atmosphere aboard and the service culture, they do try to make amends and get it right.

We are looking forward to our Silversea adventure this September.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 5:21 am
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Yes.....

I thought of mentioning the rare occasion when a great fish purchased locally being the exception.
Reading a different aged thread on this topic and someone was commenting on fresh beef being served on ships. Beef on ships reminds me of an old fast food advertisement. When was the last time you saw a square fish swim? Same idea with that great tasting steak you are eating on board.

Enjoy the Silversea venture. You might be adjusting number four on your list.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 5:59 am
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The best meals I've had on a cruise were had on shore. On the ship it's industrial dining that rarely exceeds the quality of Applebees/Outback/Olive Garden, etc. Cruise food seems more about quantity than quality for most people. A few minutes watching a cruise ship buffet helps explain why there is an obesity problem in North America.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 6:38 am
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I am not a foodie. I eat to have enough calories to last until the next meal. The food on the Windstar and Azamara lines was far far better than the food on HAL.

Windstar has some cruises with James Beard foundation chefs. I wonder if that would be a solid option for you. I didn't see any reviews on Cruise Critic for them.
https://www.windstarcruises.com/why-...se-collection/
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Old Jul 9, 18, 7:26 am
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Originally Posted by hedoman View Post
I thought of mentioning the rare occasion when a great fish purchased locally being the exception.
Reading a different aged thread on this topic and someone was commenting on fresh beef being served on ships. Beef on ships reminds me of an old fast food advertisement. When was the last time you saw a square fish swim? Same idea with that great tasting steak you are eating on board.

Enjoy the Silversea venture. You might be adjusting number four on your list.
Interesting that Holland America actually procured locally caught fish. Recent reports from Alaskan cruises seem to indicate that much to the disappointment of the passengers this is not a general or common practice. Part of that is Canival Corporation advertises itself as only buying from renewable and subsustainable sources. That doesnít totally eliminate wild caught sources but limits it. We were told by a cruise ship hotel manager on a different line that generally speaking that any protein that can be frozen is frozen and is rarely fresh. According to her this is driven by economics (i.e., bulk purchases) and food processing and related health concerns. Even produce and other fresh food stuffs, which obviously canít be frozen, are often purchased from and supplied by contractual arrangements and not necessarily locally procured. Iím not saying local procurement never happens just that itís relatively rare.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 11:49 am
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Originally Posted by hedoman View Post
Enjoy the Silversea venture. You might be adjusting number four on your list.
Is the Silversea food that bad that it will be coming in at #4 ?

Originally Posted by Randyk47 View Post
Interesting that Holland America actually procured locally caught fish. ... I’m not saying local procurement never happens just that it’s relatively rare.
The message was definitely that the salmon was locally caught. What I am not sure about is whether the stock was wild or farm-raised.

The HA boat we were sailing was one of the lower passenger-capacity versions (Ryndam, which I think is now retired from their fleet). I don't know how widespread the salmon offering was and whether they just stocked the premier/extra cost dining room with freshest of the lot.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 1:35 pm
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Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
Is the Silversea food that bad that it will be coming in at #4 ?


The message was definitely that the salmon was locally caught. What I am not sure about is whether the stock was wild or farm-raised.

The HA boat we were sailing was one of the lower passenger-capacity versions (Ryndam, which I think is now retired from their fleet). I don't know how widespread the salmon offering was and whether they just stocked the premier/extra cost dining room with freshest of the lot.
Speaking for myself I’d say your new number 2 will be Silversea. We find their food much better than Celebrity and Holland America. We have several cruises on all three so can kind of average out our experience. Sure we’ve had outstanding meals on all three and clunkers on all three but on the whole Silversea is better.

Yes the MS Ryndam left the HAL fleet and was transferred to P&O Australia in late 2015 so almost three years ago. It was sad for us to see her leave the fleet as she was my first real cruise ship in 1995 on her fifth or sixth cruise of her inaugural year and our honeymoon ship in March 1998.

Hard to say about the salmon. Things change and maybe they’ve gone away from the locally acquired fresh protein. All lines have seemingly caught some grief from health inspectors about both food storage and cooking temps so maybe frozen until ready for use is the safest answer. Cost cutting comes into play too.

People talk about ship chefs on both Seabourn and Silversea shopping locally for onboard meals but in nearly 100 days in the last five years on Silversea we’ve yet to see or be aware of that happening. The closest we got was the captain of the Silver Wind hosted a small dinner for eight of us while we were visiting Sonterra. That’s his home and his parents live in town. We had olives and other produce from their garden, homemade wine from an uncle, bread from his baker, and several kinds of sausage from his butcher. The head chef put a whole Italian dinner together using the captain’s supplies and regular ship’s stores. It was funny to have the ship’s sommelier pouring red table wine out of repurposed plastic liter water bottles. That was fun and quite a treat.
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Last edited by Randyk47; Jul 9, 18 at 1:58 pm
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Old Jul 9, 18, 9:46 pm
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We've been shopping with the chef on Silversea and Seabourn. Seabourn still does it and they purchased market fish twice during cruise two months ago. Nothing brought on board in Dutch Harbor, Alaska.....a hugh commercial fishing port.
I've done plenty of Alaskan cruises on SS and never have seen them buy fish on that route. Last SS shopping with chef (Ann Marie) in India. She bought a few ounces of spice. What a joke.

Things have changed dratically since HAL has taken over SBs food and beverage department. Will be with them in Alaska this month eating Atlantic farmed salmon while in Alaskan waters.

Please comment when you return from your SS cruise. Looking forward to what you think of food.

Last edited by hedoman; Jul 9, 18 at 9:57 pm
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Old Jul 10, 18, 4:09 am
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I haven't tried the "top drawer" lines, but in order of preference for the more pocket friendly :
- Princess
- Cunard
- Celebrity
- P and O (UK)
- Royal Caribbean

Last edited by dp1586; Jul 10, 18 at 4:09 am Reason: specifying UK on P and O
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Old Jul 10, 18, 7:58 am
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Originally Posted by dp1586 View Post
I haven't tried the "top drawer" lines, but in order of preference for the more pocket friendly :
- Princess
- Cunard
- Celebrity
- P and O (UK)
- Royal Caribbean
Is this for overall experience or a food quality rating? Also interesting to see Cunard among the “more pocket” friendly. I haven’t cruised with them but that’s mostly been driven by not finding an itinerary at a time at a reasonable cost that has worked for us.

Last edited by Randyk47; Jul 10, 18 at 8:06 am
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Old Jul 10, 18, 9:52 am
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Originally Posted by hedoman View Post
We've been shopping with the chef on Silversea and Seabourn. Seabourn still does it and they purchased market fish twice during cruise two months ago. Nothing brought on board in Dutch Harbor, Alaska.....a hugh commercial fishing port.
I've done plenty of Alaskan cruises on SS and never have seen them buy fish on that route. Last SS shopping with chef (Ann Marie) in India. She bought a few ounces of spice. What a joke.

Things have changed dratically since HAL has taken over SBs food and beverage department. Will be with them in Alaska this month eating Atlantic farmed salmon while in Alaskan waters.

Please comment when you return from your SS cruise. Looking forward to what you think of food.
We asked a Windstar chef about where they source their food and indeed most proteins are frozen and mostly come from New York or I think they said some from Europe. He was non-apologetic and said that they do this out of concern for any potential contamination when buying locally. Anything canned is also purchased in bulk when they're in a major port. Produce is sourced locally and you will often see local cheese and so on. Some things like dairy, crackers, etc. is also local and you'll see local brands show up on wrapped product. They always have a local beer on board. I asked about the wine list which is mostly mainstream things (and resonably priced, BTW) and asked why they didn't have any small producers, and the answer was that they need to buy and stock a lot of wine around the world and need things that are readily easy to obtain as they go along. Now that I say that, I remember that they did have some local fish on board in Iceland, but it would be pretty hard to get contaminated product there, everything is pristine.

That having been said, on itineraries that include easy access to a good local market the chef will go out with some pax (you often have to ask, it isn't really advertised) and she/he buys some stuff including meats, seafood etc. This doesn't appear on the regular menu but they set up a buffet table at lunchtime marked "local delicacies".

We have also noted more variation in the menus based on the itinerary rather than in the past where it was more "oh, this is Tuesday, that means it's Prime Rib and Chicken Kiev night." On a recent itin to Japan were were many East Asian noodle dishes, soups, Thai curries, etc. on offer. At least one dish each night, many delicious if not totally authentic.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 12:56 pm
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Hi @Randyk47
the rating was for food quality and variety. Eariler on in my cruising career I didnt even consider Cunard, but recently we have been able to get some really good prices in Europe for Britannia and Britannia Club staterooms (Grills are normally way overpriced in my opinion). Once aboard, their prices are about 1/3rd cheaper than RCI, Celebrity etc so this all adds up. Although we mostly cruise with RCI now, we generally accept that the standard food offering is not the main selling point and choose to use the specialty restaurants.

Bea
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