What line has the best food?

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#61
Philadelphia area
600 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
I understand that there are many different opinions on what constitutes the “absolute best food”, and I understand that there is a problem with sampling sizes. But these types of problems occur in land based restaurants as well. Yet there are plenty of guidebook, reviews, newspaper columns on quality of land based restaurants. The review and ratings may be done by experts (e.g., Michelin, newspapers), or by public (e.g., Zagat’s). Despite the extreme subjectivity of gauging quality of restaurants, the review process is well developed and understood -- even those of us who are non-foodies are able to name several high quality restaurants in the metropolitan area to us.

If the review process can be done for land-based restaurants, and could be done with hundreds of thousands land based establishments, why is it so difficult to do so with cruise ships? Or has this been done, and everyone here is somehow ignoring it.
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#62
Williamsville, NY, Fort Myers, FL
3,501 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
Originally posted by pdmlynek
I understand that there are many different opinions on what constitutes the “absolute best food”, and I understand that there is a problem with sampling sizes. But these types of problems occur in land based restaurants as well. Yet there are plenty of guidebook, reviews, newspaper columns on quality of land based restaurants. The review and ratings may be done by experts (e.g., Michelin, newspapers), or by public (e.g., Zagat’s). Despite the extreme subjectivity of gauging quality of restaurants, the review process is well developed and understood -- even those of us who are non-foodies are able to name several high quality restaurants in the metropolitan area to us.

If the review process can be done for land-based restaurants, and could be done with hundreds of thousands land based establishments, why is it so difficult to do so with cruise ships? Or has this been done, and everyone here is somehow ignoring it.
Interesting point. I don't expect to see anyone taking on this task. It would be an expensive review when you take into consideration the cost of the cruise!

Marion
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#63
676 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by pdmlynek
I understand that there are many different opinions on what constitutes the “absolute best food”, and I understand that there is a problem with sampling sizes. But these types of problems occur in land based restaurants as well. Yet there are plenty of guidebook, reviews, newspaper columns on quality of land based restaurants. The review and ratings may be done by experts (e.g., Michelin, newspapers), or by public (e.g., Zagat’s). Despite the extreme subjectivity of gauging quality of restaurants, the review process is well developed and understood -- even those of us who are non-foodies are able to name several high quality restaurants in the metropolitan area to us.

If the review process can be done for land-based restaurants, and could be done with hundreds of thousands land based establishments, why is it so difficult to do so with cruise ships? Or has this been done, and everyone here is somehow ignoring it.
Yes it has been done and is kept up to date nearly every year. Conde Nast does it and here are the latest results. Similar to Zagat, these ratings come from the passengers, not professional food critics.

Individual ships did show differences but as a whole:

Mass market: Celebrity was number 1, Disney number 2.

In the river cruise ship market, the differences between individual ships was so large that I would hesitate to call a winner. River Concerto (Grand Circle) was number 1; and the next three were all from Uniworld

In the luxury market, Seabourne was number 1 and Crystal and Oceania were virtually tied for number 2.
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Hello from Art & Ellie

#64
Port St.Lucie Florida
8 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Well we have sailed on many lines. So far, 28 cruises in all. 18 on Carnival alone.
Three left for this year and booked on 6 for next year. All Carnival.
Celeberty and RCCL were the best for food and now it is a toss up. Depends what you like to eat.
Reason we pick carnival. Price and size of cabin.
A few months ago. We took a short 4 day on the Carnival Imagination and could not belive the quality and temperature of the food.
It was fantastic. Just like 5 star dining.
Now, we gave up formal dining. Takes too long to get the food.
Have no idea what the heck it will look and taste like when you finally do get it.
We do not like dining for over an hour and a half. Sitting after dinner with a drink and talking is one thing. But over an hour to get all the food, that's another.
So we mostly go to the buffet. See and get what we like.
Now back to the Carnival Imagination out of Miami.
Hot food was unbelieveably hot. Soup was so hot you could not eat it immediatly. Cold food, salad etc. icy cold. Just the way it shoud be.
Everything inbetween was excellent. Cut all the meat with a fork.
Taste was excellent. Texture was excellent.
Atmosphere was also so different and wonderful.
The plates were nautical and beautifully colored.
So being so very unexpected and wonderful we had to ask.
Here was our answer.
We are experimenting on the Imagination.
The head chef is our best in the fleet. The food is much better quality.
As for the temperature of the food. Our heating and cooling tables are new and different just for this ship. All, some or none will be on the other ships after there 2.0 make over.
Needless to say. We were very disapointed to hear it might not make it to all the ships, if anySo we are going to see if it remains the same.
Valor in Sept and the the Imagination again in October. Liberty in December. It will be interesting to see what it will be like on the Liberty. It went through the 2.0 make over.
#65
Pasadena, CA
126 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
I have cruised on most of the "mainstream" cruise lines (more than once with the exception of Carnival) and am surprised that Silversea hasn't been mentioned in this thread.

IMHO, the Le Champagne dining room on Silversea is *the* best dining experience I have had at sea. Besides being a Relais & Chateaux-affiliated dining establishment, the meals I have had in Le Champagne would compare favorably to a Michelin one or two star (land) restaurant.
#66
Jackson, NJ
201 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Originally posted by Maeshel
New here and hope I am posting in the correct forum.
Just returned from from my 2nd cruise on Royal Carribean. I felt the food has gone down hill from my first cruise with them in 2004.

What cruiseline has the best food in your opinion? Looking at an inside passage cruise for 2012.
I've been on Princess & Celebrity. While princess is wonderful, Celebrity is the best. Now with the solstice class ships, & 4 specialty restaurants, beyond great. That being said my husband always says that the Pizza & Cookies are better on Princess.
#67
776 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
that is like saying which girl is the prettiest in the miss america contest

we all see feel and taste differently

some of us drive fords others toyota other mercedes

they all get us from point a to point b

what i think is delicious may not agre with your taste buds
#68
PA
108 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Of the five lines we have cruised with, Oceania comes up first with Disney a distant second.

Even though the Specialty Restaurants are included in the Oceania cruise fare, we were equally as happy in the Grand Dining Room most nights. We were on a 15 day cruise in July of this year and the GDR did not repeat the menu---only some entrees and side offerings. The menus in the Specialty Restaurants remain largely the same (deliciously) each evening.
#69
2,331 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Have sailed many times on Celebrity and RCCL and once on Carnival.
We like Celebrity
Food on RCCL has been good but just last year we sailed on the Oasis and thought the food in the dining room ok but the food in Windjammer was VERY unappealing. And if you are in the "adult" area and the food in the Windjammer wasnt appealing you had to go to the other end of the ship for even a hamburger. I thought the ship is so big, another grill would have been nice. They do have the spa food. Honestly it was almost "a little too healthy" at times. Where as we loved the spa food on Celebrity.
We just booked a cruise for this winter, and considered the Allure, but since it is the sister of Oasis we choose a different ship. We loved the entertainment and the adult area on the Oasis. It was bliss but getting to food when the Windjammer was that bad was a negative.
Also went on Carnival once. I always am shocked to say this but the food on that ship was excellent. The buffet had stations: Mexican, made to order stir fries, made to order sandwiches etc. I must say we were shocked. sadly, the Carnival experience was not for us. The ship we were on didnt have allot of big windows and the pool area was really loud. Its a shame cuz the food was good
#70
PA
35 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Originally posted by Maeshel
New here and hope I am posting in the correct forum.
Just returned from from my 2nd cruise on Royal Carribean. I felt the food has gone down hill from my first cruise with them in 2004.

What cruiseline has the best food in your opinion? Looking at an inside passage cruise for 2012.
Well have not been on any cruise ship, except for NCL. They DEFINETLY do not have the best food. Was really disappointed.
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Gary and Linda
#71
Williamsville, NY, Fort Myers, FL
3,501 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
Originally posted by motherchic
Have sailed many times on Celebrity and RCCL and once on Carnival.
We like Celebrity
Food on RCCL has been good but just last year we sailed on the Oasis and thought the food in the dining room ok but the food in Windjammer was VERY unappealing. And if you are in the "adult" area and the food in the Windjammer wasnt appealing you had to go to the other end of the ship for even a hamburger. I thought the ship is so big, another grill would have been nice. They do have the spa food. Honestly it was almost "a little too healthy" at times. Where as we loved the spa food on Celebrity.
We just booked a cruise for this winter, and considered the Allure, but since it is the sister of Oasis we choose a different ship. We loved the entertainment and the adult area on the Oasis. It was bliss but getting to food when the Windjammer was that bad was a negative.
Also went on Carnival once. I always am shocked to say this but the food on that ship was excellent. The buffet had stations: Mexican, made to order stir fries, made to order sandwiches etc. I must say we were shocked. sadly, the Carnival experience was not for us. The ship we were on didnt have allot of big windows and the pool area was really loud. Its a shame cuz the food was good
A few months ago we cruised on the Carnival Breeze. I had not cruised on Carnival in 15 years. The ship was wonderful and the food was exceptional....I was shocked because I was expecting mediocre food. We have cruised on most of the cruise lines and I have now put Carnival back on my list if the itinerary is right.
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#72
Near Orlando but California Dreaming
14,150 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
Of the three lines I've sailed on, in the MDR RCCL was worse than cafeteria food, Windstar was very good. Remy on the Disney Dream was by far the best meal we've had at sea--easily worthy of two Michelin stars.
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#73
Alabama
152 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
The absolute worst menu was aboard Carnival in 2012. They served Meatloaf in the MDR. To me that is pretty low class. The best MDR food would have to be aboard HAL.
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#74
Albuquerque, NM
7,450 Posts
Joined May 2003
After 49 cruises, let me update my picks:

#1 -- Oceania, best dining room food of all cruise lines.

#2 -- Azamara, very close to Oceania, but their buffet is not as good.

#3 -- Celebrity -- Best large ship category! Buffet and Alternative restaurants are great.

#4 -- Cunard dining room only! Buffet sucks and Todd English is so so.

#5 -- Oasis and Radiance class ships of RCL if you visit their alternative restaurants. All other ship Classes are not that great.

#6 -- Holland America. Safe MDR food and pretty good buffet and alternative restaurants.

We are going to give Princess another try next month. Stay tuned.

Kel
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Future Cruises: NCL Escape (06/2017), Celebrity Equinox (06/2017), NCL Pearl BtoB (12/2017), MSC Seaside (Yacht Club, 03/2018) and Cunard Victoria (WC, 02/2019).
----------------
Past Cruises:
Celebrity -- Horizon (‘93), Galaxy (‘97), Zenith (‘98), Constellation (‘02), Century (‘02), Millennium (‘03), Summit (‘04), Mercury (‘05), Galaxy (‘05), Century (‘06), Millennium (‘06) , Constellation (‘08), Constellation (‘08), Solstice (‘09), Solstice (‘10), Eclipse (‘11), Summit (‘11), Millennium (‘11), Silhouette ('12), Silhouette ('12), Silhouette ('13), Infinity ('13), Infinity ('13), Century ('13), Century ('14), Eclipse ('14), Reflection ('15), and Equinox ('15).
Holland America -- Veendam (‘03), Volendam (‘04), Zuiderdam (‘05), Westerdam (‘06), Maasdam (‘07), Maasdam (‘07), Westerdam (‘08), Maasdam (‘09), Nieuw Amsterdam (‘11), and the Westerdam ('16)
Royal Caribbean -- Rhapsody of the Seas (‘01), Voyager of the Seas (‘02), Splendor of the Seas (‘02), Grandeur of the Seas (‘04), Vision of the Seas (‘04), Radiance of the Seas (‘09), Allure of the Seas ('12), Navigator of the Seas ('14), and the Anthem of the Seas ('15)
NCL -- Starward (‘78), Norwegian Dream (‘95), Norweigan Sea (‘01), NCL Jewel ('15), NCL Jade ('16), and the Getaway ('17)
Princess -- Star Princess (‘03), Caribbean Princess (‘05), and the Golden Princess ('13)
Azamara -- Journey (‘07) Oceania -- Regatta (‘09) Cunard -- Queen Mary 2 (‘10), and Queen Mary 2 ('13)
Sitmar -- Fairsea (‘82)

(508 days total)
#75
4 Posts
Joined Mar 2015
I been on 5 cruises but only on 4 cruise line

Princess is #1
MSC is. # 2
RCCL IS # 3
Celebrity is # 4

I been on princess Caribbean , MSC orchestra , serenade of the seas , celebrity summit and celebrity reflection and going on my six cruise in march on MSC Divina .
#76
Albuquerque, NM
7,450 Posts
Joined May 2003
This is very much a moving target; let me update one more time:

After 55 cruises, let me update my picks:

#1 -- Oceania, best dining room food of all cruise lines.

#2 -- Azamara, very close to Oceania, but their buffet is not as good.

#3 -- Celebrity -- Best large ship category! Buffet and Alternative restaurants are great.

#4 -- Cunard dining room only! Buffet sucks and Todd English is so so.

#5 -- NCL using the "Ultimate Dining Package" and eating all evening meals in alternative restaurants. Eat lunch in the main dining room and avoid the buffet as much as possible.

#6 -- Oasis class, Q-class and Radiance class ships of RCL if you visit their alternative restaurants. All other ship Classes are not that great.

#7 -- Holland America. Safe MDR food and pretty good buffet and alternative restaurants.

#8 -- Princess, we keep giving them a shot, but I really don't get it. Meals were very mediocre, even in the alternative restaurants. Crowded buffet.

Kel
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Future Cruises: NCL Escape (06/2017), Celebrity Equinox (06/2017), NCL Pearl BtoB (12/2017), MSC Seaside (Yacht Club, 03/2018) and Cunard Victoria (WC, 02/2019).
----------------
Past Cruises:
Celebrity -- Horizon (‘93), Galaxy (‘97), Zenith (‘98), Constellation (‘02), Century (‘02), Millennium (‘03), Summit (‘04), Mercury (‘05), Galaxy (‘05), Century (‘06), Millennium (‘06) , Constellation (‘08), Constellation (‘08), Solstice (‘09), Solstice (‘10), Eclipse (‘11), Summit (‘11), Millennium (‘11), Silhouette ('12), Silhouette ('12), Silhouette ('13), Infinity ('13), Infinity ('13), Century ('13), Century ('14), Eclipse ('14), Reflection ('15), and Equinox ('15).
Holland America -- Veendam (‘03), Volendam (‘04), Zuiderdam (‘05), Westerdam (‘06), Maasdam (‘07), Maasdam (‘07), Westerdam (‘08), Maasdam (‘09), Nieuw Amsterdam (‘11), and the Westerdam ('16)
Royal Caribbean -- Rhapsody of the Seas (‘01), Voyager of the Seas (‘02), Splendor of the Seas (‘02), Grandeur of the Seas (‘04), Vision of the Seas (‘04), Radiance of the Seas (‘09), Allure of the Seas ('12), Navigator of the Seas ('14), and the Anthem of the Seas ('15)
NCL -- Starward (‘78), Norwegian Dream (‘95), Norweigan Sea (‘01), NCL Jewel ('15), NCL Jade ('16), and the Getaway ('17)
Princess -- Star Princess (‘03), Caribbean Princess (‘05), and the Golden Princess ('13)
Azamara -- Journey (‘07) Oceania -- Regatta (‘09) Cunard -- Queen Mary 2 (‘10), and Queen Mary 2 ('13)
Sitmar -- Fairsea (‘82)

(508 days total)
#77
3,691 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Great thread. I always divide cruises into 4 categories. Budget/ mainstream/ premium/ luxury.I mainly do Celebrity, which I consider upper mainstream. . Just off Oceania 71N; I consider premium.Gained 10 lbs. Lets face it; most of us have not done luxury cat .Loved O but at twice of usual $$ of Celebrity, I still think Celebrity offers best food value in the Cruise business. Admittedly, they have cut some corners in past few years to keep the tab down.
#78
Albuquerque, NM
7,450 Posts
Joined May 2003
Originally posted by zoncom
Great thread. I always divide cruises into 4 categories. Budget/ mainstream/ premium/ luxury.I mainly do Celebrity, which I consider upper mainstream. . Just off Oceania 71N; I consider premium.Gained 10 lbs. Lets face it; most of us have not done luxury cat .Loved O but at twice of usual $$ of Celebrity, I still think Celebrity offers best food value in the Cruise business. Admittedly, they have cut some corners in past few years to keep the tab down.
zc,

I agree 100%!

Kel
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Future Cruises: NCL Escape (06/2017), Celebrity Equinox (06/2017), NCL Pearl BtoB (12/2017), MSC Seaside (Yacht Club, 03/2018) and Cunard Victoria (WC, 02/2019).
----------------
Past Cruises:
Celebrity -- Horizon (‘93), Galaxy (‘97), Zenith (‘98), Constellation (‘02), Century (‘02), Millennium (‘03), Summit (‘04), Mercury (‘05), Galaxy (‘05), Century (‘06), Millennium (‘06) , Constellation (‘08), Constellation (‘08), Solstice (‘09), Solstice (‘10), Eclipse (‘11), Summit (‘11), Millennium (‘11), Silhouette ('12), Silhouette ('12), Silhouette ('13), Infinity ('13), Infinity ('13), Century ('13), Century ('14), Eclipse ('14), Reflection ('15), and Equinox ('15).
Holland America -- Veendam (‘03), Volendam (‘04), Zuiderdam (‘05), Westerdam (‘06), Maasdam (‘07), Maasdam (‘07), Westerdam (‘08), Maasdam (‘09), Nieuw Amsterdam (‘11), and the Westerdam ('16)
Royal Caribbean -- Rhapsody of the Seas (‘01), Voyager of the Seas (‘02), Splendor of the Seas (‘02), Grandeur of the Seas (‘04), Vision of the Seas (‘04), Radiance of the Seas (‘09), Allure of the Seas ('12), Navigator of the Seas ('14), and the Anthem of the Seas ('15)
NCL -- Starward (‘78), Norwegian Dream (‘95), Norweigan Sea (‘01), NCL Jewel ('15), NCL Jade ('16), and the Getaway ('17)
Princess -- Star Princess (‘03), Caribbean Princess (‘05), and the Golden Princess ('13)
Azamara -- Journey (‘07) Oceania -- Regatta (‘09) Cunard -- Queen Mary 2 (‘10), and Queen Mary 2 ('13)
Sitmar -- Fairsea (‘82)

(508 days total)