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About chefgarden

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  1. Hi Dave, My lst cruise was transatlantic on the QE2, in 1982....we not only dressed for dinner, we dressed "appropriatly" for embarktation. Not dressing for "formal nites" is just bad manners... no many how many days one wears a stuit to work. If one prefers not to "dress" they should book on cruise lines that don't suggest formal atire, or go to an "all inclusive" on land. Vacation is special time and everyone should select the trip that fits their needs ... not select a trip, then declass it for others. Perhaps some of these people should have a Travel Agent, to direct them. I too buy my gowns at Goodwill ... for my last cruise, I bought my entire wordrobe at GW, almost everything was already pressed or drycleaned which made my packing very easy ! Whoever invented cell phones created a monster ... I understand that some need to conduct business while away. However, the majority of people are just chatting in loud voices (because the connection is not great) and screaming apparently improves that ! I live on the Gulf in Fl. More times than not, I have left the beach because of someone screaming on their cell phone ! ..the last was about her divorce, all nasty stuff ...and I went to the beach to relax !!!!!!! Keep plugging for people to keep up the standards of cruising ... PS: When I lived in Wash. DC., dinner parties were a way of life. ... Once we hit 30, guys just wanted to come in jeans ... the gals wanted to wear gowns. One of my best dinner parties was when I said the dress code is: men in jeans, ladies in gowns ... everyone was happy ! ...but that was in a private home, not on a cruise ship. Sail on ! Helen
  2. chefgarden

    Azamara food...talk to me

    Hi Mrs. Jones, If good food is something you are looking for, I don't thing the Quest is the ship for you ... I noticed you asked about the Azamara and people wrote about the Journey ... it didn't sound like the food was any better on that ship. I didn't like the buffet meals AT ALL ... I had COLD scramble eggs, luke-warm sausage for breakfast. At lunch, there were no markers to say what the dish was, and servers were few and far between to ask questions to. I had the seafood salad. It had a lot of calamari, that was so improperly cooked I couldn't cut it with my serated knife. My sister had this salad and chose not to eat it because it was warm ... At dinner, my entree's were wonderful ... I had the filet both nites on a 2 niter. However, we waited over an hr. between our app and main course to be served. ... I didn't like my dessert... surprisingly the waiter asked me if I didn't like it & why .... The restaurant has so many more problems to work out instead of why a guest didn't like the dessert ! The glass of wine I ordered was billed at the wrong price ($2) more. My rooom card (credit card) go mixed up with my neighbor table .. his charges $86, mine $18 ... If you are looking for good food and good food service, I don't recommend Azamara. I was on their inaugural cruise ... so hopefully they will improve the food issues, the butler issues, the on-board billing issues .. but I wouldn't put my hard earned money down on a cruise until there is concrete evidence they have resolved their problems. That information will come for regular passengers .. stay posted to the Cruise Critic Board, learn to read the postings in an "educated" fashion. The cruise industry has a ship for everyone's needs ... don't jump, research and find YOUR ship. Happy Cruising !
  3. Jimmy G, I totally agree with your comments. Whether people like it or not constructive criticism (that some call knit picking) has paid off ... Apparently they are installing hand sanitizer stations and today the Sr. VP for Marketing for Celebrity & Azamara resigned ! I'm not sure if that means their advertising will be different or they are going to make the appropriate changes in SERVICE ... food safety, actual butlers, dining room staff presenting correct bills, better dining service, cabin cards that actually work, and express billing actually taking place ... I hope it's the lst step that they recognize there are multiple problems and correct them. For those of you who don't think these problems are serious, take off your rose color glasses !
  4. I was so focused on what the butler didn't do, I didn't hone in on what I consider to be dangerous practices in the handling of the buffet food ... Steam tables are kept at a temperature which maintains a "healthy" temperature for the food ... above the danger zones of 80-130 degrees F. The scrambled eggs were being put on the steam table, obviously directly from the commercial refrigerator ice cold. ... By the time they reached a safe temperature they would be sitting in the danger zones... More alarming was a mixture of potatoe & sausage ...also served luke warm. On the other hand, the seafood salad was not as chilled as it should have been...it depended where on the chilled dish one took it from....edges were apparently not under enough ice. Maintaining food at safe temperatures is elementary to the Chef ... perhaps the staff was not educated about food safety. It's certainly saving a step to take the pre-prepared items from an ice-cold box, to a steam table, without lst getting them to a proper temperature that the steam table then maintains. (assuming the steam table was producing the proper temperature). I hope Management will read this post, because this is a serious issue. So many people get sick on ships and blame it on the Norwalk Virus ... sometimes, it's poor food handling. As a trained chef, I have been trained in safe food handling.
  5. See my post about the buffet meeting standard health requirements.
  6. I have read page after page of reviews, & comments on this site ... I think that some just love cruising so much that they "roll with everything" or "sugarcoat" problems. Each person has a different prespective. I am an experience cruiser, who paid full-fare and, I again repeat that this was not a pleasant experience. I had an enjoyable time because I was not at work and was able to spend time with a friend I don't see often...that had nothing to do with the Quest ! I think if my room key didn't work, there was a crack between adjoining cabins that produced light & noise so that I couldn't sleep, dirty clothes were in the bureau (I had that too), buffet with cold food that should be warm, no hand sanitizers, ice machines that were a health hazzard because they didn't function properly, and the lack of service advertised... (I don't understand why people don't understand the difference between a cabin steward and butler) .. If I had only half of these problems and said it was a wonderful ship, wonderful cruise, I think that's sugarcoating .... I don't understand why one would do that .. but obviously it happens. I think the important purpose for this site is to give clear, concise, information for future travelers...not to sugarcoat ...yes, I had a nice time, INSPITE of the QUEST !
  7. chefgarden

    The butler didn't do it !

    There was a letter, I believe, left in our cabin welcoming us to the Quest... I quote " Our aim, and singular focus, is ensuring your total comfort whilst on board; our caring staff are dedicated to ensuring your cruise experience is nothing short of exceptional. Your Butler and Stateroom Attendant are at your disposal and can assist you with any manner of special services, such as those detailed below: Assistance with unpacking/packing Daily news delivery full breakfast evening hors d'oeuvres daily shoeshine service delivery of requested board games fresh cut flowers fruit basket and Evian water Assistance with reservations for specialty dining: Prime C & Aqualina assistance with shore excursions assistance with reservations for astral spa one complimentary night specialty didning elemis bathroom amenties appointed with luxurious robes and slippers It's not my intent to get into the specialy dining issues ... My point is, they market services they don't give ... we pay for that in our fare ! We spent more time that one should at the Customer Relations Desk... they were very professional and fixed what they could. ie, the mix-up in our bill at diner .. our neighbor was presented with my bill for 2 glasses of wine & one bottle of water .. he signed for it, then read the bill and noticed the problem. I was charged for his bottle of wine & 2 bottles of water... the CR desk handled that with the help of the Maitre'd, who we found to be very professional. My sister lost a pin at dinner..with the assistance of CR desk & the effort of the Maitre'd, that pin was found and delivered to our cabin. 2 people who live up to the "standards" and advertising of this ship do not make up for all the other areas that were lacking. ...cold eggs at the buffet station ...no hand sanitizing machines on the entire ship .. no service at the buffet, no tags saying what the food is, broken ice machine. They did have both a cabin steward and butler for each room... I met both of mine. I think they probably had only 10 cabins to care for... My cabin mate has been on 50 cruises and said this is the worst experience she's had ... I wonder if other people on this cruise tried to avail themselves to the advertised amenties ??
  8. chefgarden

    The butler didn't do it !

    Our experience on the Quest was the worse cruise we'd ever been on ! Our butler walked over our suitcases while we unpacked, then returned an hr. later to ask if we'd like him to unpack. We arranged for him to bring h'orderves, he never showed. We arranged from him to bring afternoon tea, that never happened. The inroom breakfast we ordered never arrived. He did fill our flower vase, with half dead flowers, when I presented it to him asking for the flowers. At 11:05 pm the last nite, he almost banged our door down to deliever our baggage tags. If we were using that service, we should have had our bags at the door by 11:00pm. There was dirty crewmember clothes in our bureau, & other small problems. The butler was our biggest problem. It appeared that he had no training. Certainly, they should not boast wonderful services that repeatedly never happen. If anyone is booked on a future cruise on the Quest and can cancel with a full refund, I suggest they do it. The Emerald Princess was, however, fabulious !