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New Celebrity Food Quality Poll

Select your average Celebrity MDR Dining Experience  

341 members have voted

  1. 1. Select your average Celebrity MDR Dining Experience

    • Fast food chains: Mc Donalds, Wendy's, Subway
      4
    • Hotel catered meal, such as for convention.
      44
    • Sit down casual dining chain, mostly pre-prepared food: Chili's, Applebee's, Olive Garden, Outback.
      26
    • Better quality food chains that prepare most of their food from scratch: Macaroni Grill, PF Chang's.
      35
    • High-quality hotel catered meal, such as for a wedding or special event.
      147
    • High-quality restaurants with national name recognition: Ruth's Chris, The Capital Grille, etc.
      65
    • Fine local restaurants that are worth a two hour trip from elsewhere.
      19
    • True gourmet restaurants with highly complex, challenging cuisine of fine ingredients and wines.
      1


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... on the Mercury in October and most of us agreed the food had gone down a notch. Guess what? They got rid of the chef ...

We must remember that a cruise ship is really a floating resort chain hotel. Just as with a land based chain of resort hotels, an individual hotel (ship) will vary from others in the same chain due to variations in the staff. When a staff member (chef or restaurant manager, etc.) doesn't measure up, hopefully corporate will take action before too many guests are alienated.

 

Personally, I feel that the extremes cited in this thread are due to such personnel problems that will ultimately be corrected by corporate management. I have certainly witnessed the exact same issues in land based restaurants and have seen chefs and managers come and go and watched the food vary with the process despite no change in the overlying corporate policy.

 

Consequentially, I feel that our best action when confronted with poor food or service quality is to do exactly what should be done at a land-based establishment - complain to management then and there. If management isn't aware of a problem how can they correct it?

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We must remember that a cruise ship is really a floating resort chain hotel. Just as with a land based chain of resort hotels, an individual hotel (ship) will vary from others in the same chain due to variations in the staff. When a staff member (chef or restaurant manager, etc.) doesn't measure up, hopefully corporate will take action before too many guests are alienated.

 

Personally, I feel that the extremes cited in this thread are due to such personnel problems that will ultimately be corrected by corporate management. I have certainly witnessed the exact same issues in land based restaurants and have seen chefs and managers come and go and watched the food vary with the process despite no change in the overlying corporate policy.

 

Consequentially, I feel that our best action when confronted with poor food or service quality is to do exactly what should be done at a land-based establishment - complain to management then and there. If management isn't aware of a problem how can they correct it?

 

Just MHO but I suspect the "down a notch or two" feedback re food quality and preparation on recent Celebrity cruises is more likely the result of a reduction in the per diem food allowance than it is a function of personnel issues.

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Just MHO but I suspect the "down a notch or two" feedback re food quality and preparation on recent Celebrity cruises is more likely the result of a reduction in the per diem food allowance than it is a function of personnel issues.

 

I tend to agree with you. I think it is more than a coincidence that we had the best food on our most expensive cruise (British Isles & Fjords).

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We just got beack from the Equinox TA and I know that is not the Constellation, the subject of the food question...

 

I don't recall when I have had such excellent food on Celebrity and I think they have it exactly right based on the Jaques Van Staden menus we enjoyed. In fact we think it is better than we recall in the past couple of years on this line.

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Hi....

I was on the Mercury in October and most of us agreed the food had gone down a notch. Guess what? They got rid of the chef (I think he hd a German name) and hired a new one for the cruise after mine. I still think the food is good on =X= and hope by January the new chef will have turned things around. I'm taking a b2b on Mercury in March. One thing I can say, is the service is superb in all areas of the Mercury. Jini

 

Hi Jini:)...I read about this...things must have gotten really poor..they

got rid of the the Chef in the middle of a sailing.:eek:

 

I am still going to book Mercury again;)....not sure when but will be

back on her for another sailing.

 

I am on SUMMIT next month and I am pretty easy to please

food wise......lets see how it is on her:D

Edited by Lois R

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We just got beack from the Equinox TA and I know that is not the Constellation, the subject of the food question...

 

I don't recall when I have had such excellent food on Celebrity and I think they have it exactly right based on the Jaques Van Staden menus we enjoyed. In fact we think it is better than we recall in the past couple of years on this line.

 

The new ships charge more pp per day. Do you think that is why the food was better?

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The new ships charge more pp per day. Do you think that is why the food was better?

 

You know I don't know. I thought about what I paid for this cruise and it was nothing for 14 nights in my book, and it was a TA which is really a repo and usually a bargain type cruise.

 

The menus were the new ones and I was really expecting the older ones and after the comments on this board I was thinking well...

 

The new menus are exciting and innovative and I feel lucky that they were on this cruise and I had the opportunity to really enjoy them.

 

There was an intersting piece in the daily and I would quote it if I could get my hands on it. I will paraphrase it from the best of my memory:

 

From Jaques...We know that we can't please everyone even though we do try hard to. We aim for something for everyone and still keep the meat and potatoes that has been so enjoyable for so many.

 

From my point of view, there is still much that is offered that we really had no interest in the meat and potatoes on the left side of the menu, and I couldn't fault them for one instant with the choices that they take the time to offer knowing there are old fashioned diners. Those who enjoy adventure are in for a treat. All the aspects are covered, and the specialty dining is still amazing to add to the MDR experience for a change. In fact, many of the nightly choices on the new menu are from specialty, so you can almost enjoy that venue a bit without even going and its a round robin almost each night on the menu sampling with one of the specialty dining venue options to be tried.

 

Maybe they knew there were so many seasoned guests on this cruise they'd try it. For this cruiser, I can't rave enough and did so in person with the Chef and on the comment card. I loved it!

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Just MHO but I suspect the "down a notch or two" feedback re food quality and preparation on recent Celebrity cruises is more likely the result of a reduction in the per diem food allowance than it is a function of personnel issues.

 

Ms J's comment inspired me make the comment but I was referring, as I said, to the "extremes" not specifically "down a notch" comment. When I read someone's extreme comment of food being inedible, that is way beyond a cost reduction and is most likely a personnel issue.

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I've only been on two cruises with X but both times the food was fantastic. The pastries, such as the chocolate croissants, are fresh and who doesn't love the waffles? The AquaSpa cafe had great healthy alternatives and it was good, too. The buffet had plenty of international cuisines that I enjoyed sampling. And I felt the MDR was even better on Solstice than when I was on Millennium.

 

I don't go for the comfort foods on a cruise ship. One of our guests was as picky an eater as a toddler and had steak for dinner every night. I don't think he was that impressed with the food because he wasn't adventurous to try anything truly exotic, like lamb. :rolleyes:

 

I'll take foi gras over shrimp cocktail and curried eggplant over green beans. The choices did not disappoint and the quality was quite good.

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Why does Celebrity feel they need celebrity chefs? Since they started that business, that's when I've started to see the quality of food decline. They pay big bucks for these supposed great menu items, but for me, those items are poor quality. As much as it galls me to say it, if they need a known chef, Roux's menus were much better than this latest chef.

 

Celebrity just needs to develop their own menus and dump these paid chefs. I would venture a guess that many passengers don't need the fancy-named items and would be happy with well prepared food items made with quality ingredients.

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Why does Celebrity feel they need celebrity chefs? Since they started that business, that's when I've started to see the quality of food decline.
Huh? Michel Roux was part of Celebrity from day one. He was part of the team that developed the whole "brand" for Chandris. For a long time I would say that was absolutely the thing Celebrity was known for - food and the Michel Roux affiliation in particular.

 

There has always been a "name" chef, either Michel Roux or Jacques Van Staden. So the arrival of celebrity chefs can't account for food decline.

 

(I have not been back since Roux left, but am about to be, which is why I am checking this board for the first time in eons. I wasn't necessarily planning on coming out of lurkerdom but just had to comment on this.)

 

Anyway I think Celebrity started a bit of a trend - now there is Jacques Pepin on Oceania, Georges Blanc on Carnival (!), Ettore Bocchia on Costa, Charlie Palmer on Seabourn, Todd English on Cunard, Marco Pierre White, Gary Rhodes and Atul Kochhar on P&O, Nobu Matsuhisa on Crystal ... and that's just off the top of my head. Past ones included Daniel Boulud on Cunard, Wolfgang Puck on Orient Lines (yes, really!) and maybe the first, Paul Bocuse on Royal Viking, which didn't last long as people who were already paying for "world class" didn't like being asked to pay extra for his alternative restaurant. It became a "generic" Italian restaurant in not too long. Bocuse on RVL is the only one I can think of that (slightly) predated Michel Roux on Celebrity, and I doubt many people even remember that one. I never would have but Google Books has the past 30 years of Cruise Travel now and I was looking through back issues a while ago.

 

Jacques Van Staden does have a rather different role as the aforementioned celebrity chefs as he is actually a direct employee of Celebrity who is responsible for the day-to-day food and beverage operations of the fleet - basically he is the corporate executive chef, whereas Roux was an outside consultant, as are all those other guys I mentioned on other lines.

 

Interestingly, Jean-Marie Zimmermann, who is the "global culinary ambassador" (read: corporate executive chef) at Cunard, used to be that at Celebrity. He was recommended by Michel Roux. I'm not sure if he'd count as a "celebrity" chef - he's earned a Michelin star in his own right, before he started with ships, so maybe? Anyway, Cunard's food is IMHO as good as the Michel-Roux-"designed" food on Celebrity was and better than anyone else has delivered on a large ship. (But to some extent, chefs on Cunard are allowed to design their own menus, not like Celebrity.) In a few months I will taste Jacques' food and see what I think of that. The new menus I've seen look "OK" though some of the stuff I've seen on there is a little off-putting - lasagna with cheddar cheese?! - but it's hard to tell what the quality of food will be like from reading menus. (Anyone who has ever been given a printed menu while flying economy class knows this. ;) )

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Huh? Michel Roux was part of Celebrity from day one. He was part of the team that developed the whole "brand" for Chandris. For a long time I would say that was absolutely the thing Celebrity was known for - food and the Michel Roux affiliation in particular.

 

There has always been a "name" chef, either Michel Roux or Jacques Van Staden. So the arrival of celebrity chefs can't account for food decline.

 

(I have not been back since Roux left, but am about to be, which is why I am checking this board for the first time in eons. I wasn't necessarily planning on coming out of lurkerdom but just had to comment on this.)

 

Anyway I think Celebrity started a bit of a trend - now there is Jacques Pepin on Oceania, Georges Blanc on Carnival (!), Ettore Bocchia on Costa, Charlie Palmer on Seabourn, Todd English on Cunard, Marco Pierre White, Gary Rhodes and Atul Kochhar on P&O, Nobu Matsuhisa on Crystal ... and that's just off the top of my head. Past ones included Daniel Boulud on Cunard, Wolfgang Puck on Orient Lines (yes, really!) and maybe the first, Paul Bocuse on Royal Viking, which didn't last long as people who were already paying for "world class" didn't like being asked to pay extra for his alternative restaurant. It became a "generic" Italian restaurant in not too long. Bocuse on RVL is the only one I can think of that (slightly) predated Michel Roux on Celebrity, and I doubt many people even remember that one. I never would have but Google Books has the past 30 years of Cruise Travel now and I was looking through back issues a while ago.

 

Jacques Van Staden does have a rather different role as the aforementioned celebrity chefs as he is actually a direct employee of Celebrity who is responsible for the day-to-day food and beverage operations of the fleet - basically he is the corporate executive chef, whereas Roux was an outside consultant, as are all those other guys I mentioned on other lines.

 

Interestingly, Jean-Marie Zimmermann, who is the "global culinary ambassador" (read: corporate executive chef) at Cunard, used to be that at Celebrity. He was recommended by Michel Roux. I'm not sure if he'd count as a "celebrity" chef - he's earned a Michelin star in his own right, before he started with ships, so maybe? Anyway, Cunard's food is IMHO as good as the Michel-Roux-"designed" food on Celebrity was and better than anyone else has delivered on a large ship. (But to some extent, chefs on Cunard are allowed to design their own menus, not like Celebrity.) In a few months I will taste Jacques' food and see what I think of that. The new menus I've seen look "OK" though some of the stuff I've seen on there is a little off-putting - lasagna with cheddar cheese?! - but it's hard to tell what the quality of food will be like from reading menus. (Anyone who has ever been given a printed menu while flying economy class knows this. ;) )

 

Doug,

 

Great info!! I think the "old timers" of Celebrity loved the fact that Michel Roux's cuisine was very predictable and consistent (top notch ingredients prepared by experts). My wife and I loved our first exposure in 1993 on the Horizon and fell in love with the Celebrity cuisine. Having said that, the menu's on Celebrity really never changed for the next ten years and I think that's what people miss? We had memorized pretty much every menu for every day on a Celebrity ship. That promotes a mind set and I think people don't handle change very well. See if this looks familiar:

 

http://www.thepreismans.com/Infinity%20menus.htm

 

To me, the food on the Solstice this past year is every bit as good as Celebrity has ever offered. The demise of Celebrity's cuisine is over stated and I recommend you try all of the new venues onboard the new Solstice class of ships.

 

Enjoy!

Kel:)

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Just a thought....

After reading 99% of this post, I believe that many have said "it's not like the is was long ago", Has anyone really thought about this, I mean really thought about it. Years ago fine dinning wasn't as prevalent as it is today. Most of the restaurants years ago were of the family owned type. no major chains ( except for fast food) not that these were bad, they just weren't "fine dinning" for the most part. Heck it wasn't all that long ago dinners were the main stay of going out to eat. We have gourmet hamburgers places now. Micky D's don't cut for some now. Fast forward to today we have fine dinning restaurants all over the place. Just look at how the restaurant business has changed in La Vegas alone...

With all that being said, I think as a whole we expect more for our restaurants now. As we have expanded our taste buds and our familiarity with finer dinning we have raised the bar some, and we have become used to this finer dinning, when years ago it was a real treat to dine at such a "fancy" place. So, the memories of the meals of that time seems to shine more than today. We get these finer dinning meals so much more often now that it's not a big treat as it was long ago. so we remember the meal of yesterday year with much more pleasure.

As a conclusion, I think maybe the meal aboard most ships are as fine as they were some time ago and have not gone down in quality, But perhaps have remained the same. But we have all changed and that once great meal we had only a few times a year has been diminished by our being used to finer dinning on a weekly basics.

 

 

I'm just trying to look at this from a different direction.

 

JMHO

 

I must note that I am rather new to cruising and only have 3 under my belt, and have not had the pleasure of sailing on X. So I'm not trying to compare.

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Just a thought....

After reading 99% of this post, I believe that many have said "it's not like the is was long ago", Has anyone really thought about this, I mean really thought about it. Years ago fine dinning wasn't as prevalent as it is today. Most of the restaurants years ago were of the family owned type. no major chains ( except for fast food) not that these were bad, they just weren't "fine dinning" for the most part. Heck it wasn't all that long ago dinners were the main stay of going out to eat. We have gourmet hamburgers places now. Micky D's don't cut for some now. Fast forward to today we have fine dinning restaurants all over the place. Just look at how the restaurant business has changed in La Vegas alone...

With all that being said, I think as a whole we expect more for our restaurants now. As we have expanded our taste buds and our familiarity with finer dinning we have raised the bar some, and we have become used to this finer dinning, when years ago it was a real treat to dine at such a "fancy" place. So, the memories of the meals of that time seems to shine more than today. We get these finer dinning meals so much more often now that it's not a big treat as it was long ago. so we remember the meal of yesterday year with much more pleasure.

As a conclusion, I think maybe the meal aboard most ships are as fine as they were some time ago and have not gone down in quality, But perhaps have remained the same. But we have all changed and that once great meal we had only a few times a year has been diminished by our being used to finer dinning on a weekly basics.

 

 

I'm just trying to look at this from a different direction.

 

JMHO

 

I must note that I am rather new to cruising and only have 3 under my belt, and have not had the pleasure of sailing on X. So I'm not trying to compare.

 

I grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and lived in Manhattan, New York City, as a young adult. At that time I felt that the dining experience in New York restaurants was in a different league than most of the country whenever I traveled, with the exception of San Francisco. Then around twenty years ago, many other parts of the country had upscale restaurants which were as good or better than ones found in New York. In my opinion, there is an Italian restaurant in Chicago that is better than any other Italian restaurant I have dined at including New York and Italy. Now you can find wonderful upscale restaurants almost anywhere in the United States. So in response to your post, I think you are right about people who lived in most parts of the United States, but New York City always had very upscale restaurants.

 

When my husband and I took our first cruise 35 years ago we lived in Manhattan and were use to dining at the best restaurants in the city. With that in mind, we felt the dining experience aboard the Leonardo da Vinci was as good or better than most upscale land based restaurants. However, in those days a very small segment of the population cruised and those who did expected and received excellent cuisine and service.

 

On the other hand, most cabins weren't nearly as nice are they are today and modern ships have wonderful amenities that didn't exist years ago.

Edited by Bridge Maven

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The worse the food the less weight you gain on the cruise, and anyway isn't there a Mickey D's in every port. ! was in Acupulco in the 60's and the Denny's was pretty good, course I was cruising on a Navy ship that time.

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Just returned from Infinity on 12/5. We found the food in the MDR to be average. It wasn't terrible but it wasn't fantastic either. Our biggest issue is the creativity of the menu and the tough meats. One night yellow fin tuna was on the menu, the very next night ahi tuna. Short ribs one night then the next night boneless short ribs. Asparagus for three nights then brocolli for three night. Wilted spinach on just about every dish. Get my drift. The steaks,other than the filet, were very tough but usually done according to my med rare preference. Our dinner companion ordered the lamb chops one night and mentioned they were very tough and could not eat them. Rather than offering to replace them for her he cut them up.( We told her she should send them back but she didn't want to fuss seeing how overworked the staff was). I find this unacceptable. It's not like this was a new waiter either. He has been in MDR for 9 years according to him. The first few nights we asked for iced tea and either got it at the end of the meal or not at all so we just decided to drink water instead which was refilled frequently. I feel the problems with the service was due to having too many guests to serve. They seemed overwhelmed. By the way, we felt the food in the buffet area excellent, but MDR could use some improvement. My first post so just my impressions and experience & my 2 cents worth.

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Our dinner companion ordered the lamb chops one night and mentioned they were very tough and could not eat them. Rather than offering to replace them for her he cut them up

 

:eek: This sounds pretty shocking to me...I hope they mentioned this on their comment card. I would think this would be grounds for major discipline if not termination...

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In response to the lamb chops issue. This was only their second cruise and she didn't want to make a fuss. She wouldn't have said anything but when he asked how everything was, her husband mentioned the lamb chops appeared very tough. The waiter asked her about it and she agreed they were tough so he said she just didn't know how to cut them and proceded to cut them up for her. I know, my husband and I couldn't believe it either. On another night 4 ordered tea and when the little pots came all had cold water. When he was told about the cold water he had to feel every pot before he took them away and brought hot ones. Felt like he didn't believe us. We've been on 12 previous cruises and had never experienced anything like that before. Was really surprised it happened on Celebrity.

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It's interesting to note that people who have cruised on the Soltice ships indicate that the food was good and they enjoyed the experiences. However, people cruising the M class ships especially the Constellation feel that the food is not that good. We're sailing on the Constellation in June. That was always my favorite M class ship and even a year ago, I felt that the food quality had declined. I hope that it's not worse now than then.

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In response to the lamb chops issue. This was only their second cruise and she didn't want to make a fuss. She wouldn't have said anything but when he asked how everything was, her husband mentioned the lamb chops appeared very tough. The waiter asked her about it and she agreed they were tough so he said she just didn't know how to cut them and proceded to cut them up for her. I know, my husband and I couldn't believe it either. On another night 4 ordered tea and when the little pots came all had cold water. When he was told about the cold water he had to feel every pot before he took them away and brought hot ones. Felt like he didn't believe us. We've been on 12 previous cruises and had never experienced anything like that before. Was really surprised it happened on Celebrity.

 

Hi, this was the same waiter who asked you for your cabin number?

Boy, he really sounds bad:eek:.....the wait staff is usually so good.

He cut them? Instead of asking if she wanted something else:rolleyes:

I am really sorry you got such a flakey waiter.

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It's interesting to note that people who have cruised on the Soltice ships indicate that the food was good and they enjoyed the experiences. However, people cruising the M class ships especially the Constellation feel that the food is not that good. We're sailing on the Constellation in June. That was always my favorite M class ship and even a year ago, I felt that the food quality had declined. I hope that it's not worse now than then.

 

Hi Judy:) I am going on SUMMIT next month and it will be the first

time back on her since our cruise back in 2005! Will let you know how

things go when I get back.

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Definitely, though I don't think that is the exact set I had on my last Celebrity cruise (the earlier ones were way too long ago to remember).

 

To me, the food on the Solstice this past year is every bit as good as Celebrity has ever offered. The demise of Celebrity's cuisine is over stated and I recommend you try all of the new venues onboard the new Solstice class of ships.
I'm going to be on CENTURY so only the one specialty restaurant, but I do intend to try it.

 

My previous Celebrity cruises have all been on ships that didn't have specialty restaurants.

 

To be honest, this particular cruise was so ridiculously cheap that I won't be overly disappointed if the food is only average (in the past it was definitely better than average).

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