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Zuiderdams Pinnacle Grill - Food Quality??

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Wld really appreciate hearing from those who have sailed the 'Z' & eaten in the Pinn Grill recently...

 

What was your experience regarding the food quality, the cooking & service?

Wld u return &/or recommend it to friends?

 

Had several (kept hoping each successive meal wld improve - gave up after 3 though) poor meals there in the fall of 2009..Vegs & mushrooms were tough &/or even burnt - sauces were unidentifiable & watery - some meat was stringy & overcooked & one seafood meal was even difficult to identify :)... Only saving grace was 2 of 3 desserts & the service with the exception being the lack of knowledge of the quality of the food - didn't even seem to want to acknowledge there was anything wrong regarding the quality or the cooking...Even brought out different sauces each one just as bad as the first one..:O

Being a former caterer I have some knowledge for example of what a Bernaise sauce tastes like and the ingredients therein so being told what I was served was a Bearnaise sauce was laughable and sad at the same time..Have to admit though, it was similar in color :) - same went for the peppercorn sauce but other than that who knows what was in it - too weak & 'runny' to be really identified...:(

 

Sure am hoping things have seriously improved since then..

 

Many thanks in advance..:)

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We also sailed on the Zuiderdam --2009 -- Oct/Nov and ate in the Pinnacle more than we did in the dining room. The food in the dining room was POOR -- JMO. But the food and service in the Pinnacle was great.

 

Hope you have a better experience.

 

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I had the same experience as Krazy (no offence) did. We ended up eating in Pinnacle Grill 3 times during out week on Zuiderdam. It was far superior to the main dining room in terms of quality, taste, and service -- and, for us, well worth the reasonable cover charge.

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June 2010 - Zuiderdam Pinnacle - perfectly terrible on all counts from food to service to attitude. We will never go back. I was hoping this was a contracted service and not associated with HAL at all, but apparently not. The Eastern European waiters were extremely dismissive towards the Filipino staff which had been relegated to bus boys only after enjoying their professional care so much in the MDR, the visible contempt expressed by the Eastern Europeans was extremely uncomfortable.

 

It was a very unhappy environment that night. But it was the appalling food that was the major turn-off and the over-blown service pretensions an annoying waste of time. I love HAL, but that experience was unlike anything we have had on any of our four other HAL cruises. It was an embarrassment. The poor quality of the food, preparation and presentation for a menu they have been serving forever to me said this was not just a bad night, which anyone can have.

 

There was something fundamentally wrong with the entire experience from the initial greeting to our hurried departure after then final death knell dessert. Most of the food was left uneaten so it was not one of those old jokes about the "terrible food and in such large portions".

 

Only upside is we did not waste a lot of calories on that meal - nothing was good and nothing got finished. Oh dear, it was bad.

 

June 2010 Zuiderdam had excellent MDR food, every night and every course. Never had such consistent good quality on a HAL ship. We went to the Pinnacle to avoid the MCD and were very sorry we did after that terrible experience and all our wonderful prior nights in the June 2010 Zuiderdam dining room.

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eafood meal was even difficult to identify :).....

Being a former caterer I have some knowledge for example of what a Bernaise sauce tastes like and the ingredients therein so being told what I was served was a Bearnaise sauce was laughable and sad at the same time..Have to admit though, it was similar in color :) - same went for the peppercorn sauce but other than that who knows what was in it - too weak & 'runny' to be really identified...:(

 

Sure am hoping things have seriously improved since then..

 

Many thanks in advance..:)

 

June 2010 report: I had the peppercorn sauce and it was some sort of heavy, tasteless bland gravy. I was sorry I had not ordered the bernaise but sounds like it too would have been on more disappointment. The asparagus was stiff and dried out with some horrid oily, gloppy sauce on it. How could anyone even feel good about bringing this out and place in front of a diner in that condition. And since it was brought out late in the dining sequence it appeared to have been forgotten under the heat lamps for too long and this was not a busy night.

 

The lobster bisque was totally tasteless with all sorts of lurid flourishes in its presentation. The seafood appetizer was worthless. The Caesar salad pedestrian. The steak choices over-large over-kill, tough and tasteless. And the chocolate volcano cake and the baked alaska inedible. So that scored zero for zero for us.

 

Our error was to not say a word as this horror unfolded, but we did write it up with specificity in our evaluation. There are some settings where it is obvious a complaint was not going to do any good. We just kept hoping there would be a better course somewhere along the way. Alas, there was not and we scurried out of there.

 

What was the date of your experience? Ours again was June 2010.

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What was the date of your experience? Ours again was June 2010.

 

Hi SwissMyst. Not knowing because we've only cruised once (Zuiderdam June 2010 ... not the same date as you and really enjoyed our dinner at the PG) ... might the service part of your bad experience possibly have been caused by the normal staff waiters for the Pinnacle being over in the MDR DANCING AND SINGING instead of serving you??

 

Seems I've read countless posts about the Master Chef dinner and the staff entertaining there. Just asking.:)

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I had the same experience as Krazy (no offence) did. We ended up eating in Pinnacle Grill 3 times during out week on Zuiderdam. It was far superior to the main dining room in terms of quality, taste, and service -- and, for us, well worth the reasonable cover charge.

I agree completely.

My DH and the best 22oz porterhouse ever. My filet was so soft I could cut it with my knife (which I really appreciated since my right arm was in a cast).

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June 2010 report:

 

Our error was to not say a word as this horror unfolded, but we did write it up with specificity in our evaluation. There are some settings where it is obvious a complaint was not going to do any good. We just kept hoping there would be a better course somewhere along the way. Alas, there was not and we scurried out of there.

 

What was the date of your experience? Ours again was June 2010.

 

Seems it wasn't a one night, one week or even one month experience 'cause I sailed in Sept/09 to Alaska and I wish I had made a 'fuss' instead of remaining silent (guess I kept hoping it was a mistake and wld improve)...Must have been a poor chef...& I so agree with the staff attitude 'Swiss Myst' - that shld be addressed..:(.

 

Perhaps they have been replaced as 'KK' said they really enjoyed the PG on the 'Z' in October-Nov/09..as have others and then that 'poor' chef & staff must have already returned again (new contract) when u cruised in June/10..

Anyone have any other ideas for the inconsistancy??

 

I usually eat all my dinners in the PG as the food has always been exceptional so this was a real shock!!! Never had food as bad on ANY cruiseline even in the MDRs and especially not in the specialty restaurants & of course, the staffs lack of willingness to address it also was appalling. They implied I didn't know what I was talking about :O

 

AZNative2000 - u might be onto something re: staff moving to the MDR that night - one of the nites I was in the PG was the Chefs Dinner .. who knows but sad if true when paying customers get poor service so they can put on a 'show' in the MDR but JMO...:(

 

Reason I am asking on CC is that I am considering another cruise in May, 2011 again on the Zuiderdam..Of course, if I do go and it is 'bad' I shall refuse to pay for it...no self-respecting cruiseline with any PR sense at all wld even not consider refunding a diners $ if the food is that bad - IMO anyway they shld be paying us instead!!

 

Wld appreciate knowing when everyone cruised to try & figure out what time frame the poor meals & good meals were/are being served..

 

I wld also appreciate suggestions as to how to approach HAL with this - I now believe it is an issue that shld be dealt with as this seems ongoing not just my isolated week...!

I have never had any reason to complain before :) so don't know whom to contact...

 

Thanks to all for sharing excellent info & experiences..most appreciated!! :)

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Hi SwissMyst. Not knowing because we've only cruised once (Zuiderdam June 2010 ... not the same date as you and really enjoyed our dinner at the PG) ... might the service part of your bad experience possibly have been caused by the normal staff waiters for the Pinnacle being over in the MDR DANCING AND SINGING instead of serving you??

 

Seems I've read countless posts about the Master Chef dinner and the staff entertaining there. Just asking.:)

 

Interesting speculation but I would not say it was understaffed and there were empty tables by the time we were there, nor would the chef his/self had left the premises either. Nothing would have changed the really poor menu preparation that night either which sounds very much like the OP's Zuiderdam experience.

 

Plus, if they are typically understaffed as you suggest on that particular evening adjustments should be made in the number of passengers served in the Pinnacle that evening. When there is an extra charge, one assumes they will obtain a dining experience of similar quality, no matter which night it was offered.

 

I think there were some hostile, inter-rivalry staff breakdowns going on -- my speculation. The East European waiters were treating the Filipino staff with obvious contempt, and were the Filipinos being passive aggressive at their end of this mismatch? Just speculating - poor form and inexcusable but stuff happens. Like HAL choosing East Euro waiters for their premium dining room where they are not seen as the waitstaff in the MDR. What was with that choice?

 

No, these East Euro staff people did not offer a more "continental" style dining experience. They were over- chummy and full of themselves and ignored the task at hand and acting imperiously towards the Filipinos who they ordered around their beck and call with that weary dismissiveness of "just can't get good help these days" attitudes. It was way more than a bad meal; it was a very bad atmosphere.

 

We were having rough seas as well that night, so who knows who had called in sick and left the whole operation in a mess.

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Wow, my experiences were totally different than your's in Pinnacle Grill on Zuiderdam.

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We were on the Zuiderdam in April/10

 

I am a good cook, some consider me nearly a gourmet cook, but food is always subjective however...

 

I found the food in the MDR some of the BEST i have had on HAL (most times)

 

The Pinnnacle was absolutely amazing. We enjoyed every morsel and desert. Unfortunately we went to late and they were booked solid (no wonder) to do another dinner.

 

Best recommendation - try it early and if you like it book it again.

 

Ours was excellent. :):) hope it is on the NA in October and our first try at the Tamarind too:p Only YOU can decide what you like.

 

enjoy your cruise :D

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Wow, my experiences were totally different than your's in Pinnacle Grill on Zuiderdam.

 

That is why it is important to identify date and even perhaps day of the Pinnacle experience, if we shared the same cruise. My PG experience was June 18, 2010. (Inside Passage Alaska - Zuiderdam)

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We were on the 2009-2010 Christmas/New Year's cruise and found that the MDR was OK but not outstanding but the Pinnacle was very good - the chef was a young man from India and in response to a special request made us an Indian meal in one of our 4 nights there. Oddly we found the lobster mac and cheese one of the best restaurant meals we have ever enjoyed - and both of us have been exposed to some very good food.

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We were on the Zuiderdam in April/10

 

I am a good cook, some consider me nearly a gourmet cook, but food is always subjective however...

 

I found the food in the MDR some of the BEST i have had on HAL (most times)

 

The Pinnnacle was absolutely amazing. We enjoyed every morsel and desert. Unfortunately we went to late and they were booked solid (no wonder) to do another dinner.

 

Best recommendation - try it early and if you like it book it again.

 

Ours was excellent. :):) hope it is on the NA in October and our first try at the Tamarind too:p Only YOU can decide what you like.

 

enjoy your cruise :D

I just started going to the Pinnacle in 2008 but I'm a huge fan now. I've never had a bad meal there. Funny, if it was so bad, I wonder why it was booked up. Like you say, only you can decide what you like.

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I just started going to the Pinnacle in 2008 but I'm a huge fan now. I've never had a bad meal there. Funny, if it was so bad, I wonder why it was booked up. Like you say, only you can decide what you like.

 

which might explain why it was booked up THEN - since the nites I was there in Sept/09 the place was at least 1/2 empty ea nite - hmmmm?

 

I do not agree w/ 'only u can decide what u like' in this regard... No one wld have liked the food I experienced - burnt, dry, overcooked with sauces more like tasteless lumpy gravy or watered down 'swill' - no one wld have liked it unless perhaps they were starving and even then I doubt it!! This wasn't just poor food it was simply awful and as I said - I am a former caterer and I wld have thrown it out!!!

 

U are so fortunate u have never had a bad meal there, wish I cld say the same as I am sure Swiss Myst does also..And I agree with the staff atmosphere 'Swiss Myst' - that needed to change - wonder if it has now?

 

Do u have any suggestions as to how to deal with HAL regarding this?

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That is why it is important to identify date and even perhaps day of the Pinnacle experience, if we shared the same cruise. My PG experience was June 18, 2010. (Inside Passage Alaska - Zuiderdam)

 

What was the date of your Zuiderdam cruise 'Aruba' - will presume it was Oct/Nov as was 'KKs'?

 

While I appreciate the postings - telling us u had a different experience or 'luv' the food in the PG doesn't help unless we know the date...or at least the month..

 

Thanks all! :)

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I hope that this thread doesn't become an argument about who has the best/worst food.

 

 

The Pinnacle Grill is designed as an executive restaurant. Of course, the food should be premium fare.

 

 

That said, even premium restaurants can have accidents in the kitchen. More likely when the Grill shares the kitchen with the MDR.

 

 

Ever wait a long time for your food while others are served first? That may be because the kitchen was recovering from an accident to your order. Be glad that they threw away the burnt meat or spoiled sauce.

 

 

Unfortunately, the sad reality is that they will likely try to pass off a mediocre effort on to you. What should you do about it?

 

 

For myself, I would reject the offending dish if I am dining alone. It becomes much more complicated when I am dining with others. I can't ask for a replacement dish because my table companions are already being served. So, I would end up later in the Lido buffet.

 

 

What if it isn't an accident? What if it is a systemic problem?

 

 

Sometimes, the kitchen falls apart when someone incompetent/inexperienced is in charge. I would not return after one bad experience or two disappointing experiences. There are alternatives, and life is too short to endure three strikes in a row.

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Remind me, what is the supplemental price per person in the Pinnacle Grill? I have $20 in my head but I could be wrong. Is this another example of expectations exceeding what can realistically be provided for such a price, or is it a miracle that HAL can raise the bar so high for such a comparatively low cost? On our Z cruise to Alaska last year the Pinnacle was fully booked every night (July) so we didn't get the opportunity to try it. Our fault, we should have stood in line with 50+ other people on the first night and made our dining reservations while the indifferent reservations guy was actually there at his station outside the Lido. Different rant, sorry.

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What was the date of your Zuiderdam cruise 'Aruba' - will presume it was Oct/Nov as was 'KKs'?

 

While I appreciate the postings - telling us u had a different experience or 'luv' the food in the PG doesn't help unless we know the date...or at least the month..

My Zuiderdam cruise was Feb 08. When I wrote that I had had a totally different dining experience, I was not disputing or discounting or in anyway disparaging the OP's comment, just stating that my experience had been different. Obviously the dates did not coincide (let alone the years!) but for me personally, PG has always been the dining highlight of every HAL ship I have ever been on...so far.

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which might explain why it was booked up THEN - since the nites I was there in Sept/09 the place was at least 1/2 empty ea nite - hmmmm?

 

I do not agree w/ 'only u can decide what u like' in this regard... No one wld have liked the food I experienced - burnt, dry, overcooked with sauces more like tasteless lumpy gravy or watered down 'swill' - no one wld have liked it unless perhaps they were starving and even then I doubt it!! This wasn't just poor food it was simply awful and as I said - I am a former caterer and I wld have thrown it out!!!

 

U are so fortunate u have never had a bad meal there, wish I cld say the same as I am sure Swiss Myst does also..And I agree with the staff atmosphere 'Swiss Myst' - that needed to change - wonder if it has now?

 

Do u have any suggestions as to how to deal with HAL regarding this?

The only suggestion I can make is for you to not go again. I'd vote with my dollars and not give them any of mine. I sailed with HAL for many years before I ever stepped into the Pinnacle. No way was I going to pay extra when I my food price was already included in my cruise. My TA gave me a free meal in the Pinnacle and I was hooked. I expected to not be impressed but I was. I'm sorry that was not your expereince. I can understand what you are saying about the food not being good but when someone orders a huge steak...and then complains that the steak was huge.....they lose credibility with me pretty quick.

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I have never found the food in the main dining room to be "poor." (the service can be less than expected,) I have always found the food in the MDR to be very good or better. My experience with the Pinace that it is excellent.!

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........ I can understand what you are saying about the food not being good but when someone orders a huge steak...and then complains that the steak was huge.....they lose credibility with me pretty quick.

 

There was little else on the menu besides ridiculously sized portions - always a sign of poor menu priority for me. (Nutrition suggests only a 4 oz serving of meat per meal) To be asked if we wanted a "doggie bag" for our mainly unfinished poor quality, huge hunk of meat was the topper -- yeah, like I am going to put it in my suitcase or something?

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I hope that this thread doesn't become an argument about who has the best/worst food...

 

 

Unfortunately, the sad reality is that they will likely try to pass off a mediocre effort on to you. What should you do about it?

 

 

For myself, I would reject the offending dish if I am dining alone. It becomes much more complicated when I am dining with others. I can't ask for a replacement dish because my table companions are already being served. So, I would end up later in the Lido buffet.

 

 

 

Hmmm!

 

Might I hijack this thread and ask the veteran cruisers. What would you do if the food is lousy? Ask for a replacement? Complain to the maitre D' or write a review afterwards?

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Hmmm!

 

Might I hijack this thread and ask the veteran cruisers. What would you do if the food is lousy? Ask for a replacement? Complain to the maitre D' or write a review afterwards?

 

Definitely ask for a replacement. The other two options may make you feel better after the fact but do absolutely nothing to enhance your dining experience. There is no reason to have a bad meal on a ship.

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My feeling at the Pinnacle that one night was if they were proud of putting this in front of me the first time, (and they acted like they were), then no replacement was going to be better because they were so far off the mark to start out with. It wasn't going to be worth the fuss or delay was my assessment. Just something you know. If they did not know or care enough to start out with and allowed this stuff to come out of the kitchen, there was no hope they could remedy it. Occasionally on a single item or something, a dish can be repaired but it was obvious they were serving dreck that night and all we could do was get past it and out the door hoping against hope the next course might have been edible. Which it was not. Total loss.

 

No hope to recover that night. When a pepper corn sauce comes out as a heavy grey-brown thick, tasteless glop with nary a pepper corn in sight there is no way sending it back is going to change anything because that never should have been labeled a pepper corn sauce nor an appropriate meat accompaniment. And it sounds like the OP has the same issues with the "bernaise" sauce -- when they are so far off the simple classic preparations in a meat restaurant, there is no hope sending anything like that back. It never should have left the kitchen in the first place.

 

Was the arrogant East European waiter just testing how far he could insult us when he dropped that abominable dried up oily slop asparagus at my place? Probably. That would have been an easy one to send back because it was a solo item preparation, but since it arrived well after the rest of our main courses which had been so disappointing already, it again was pointless to bother. Replacement asparagus was not going to cure the meal that had already gone so far wrong. The only hope was dessert and outta there -- but those two were inedible so we won only on the outta there part of the final equation.

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