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sammymd

Just back from the Spirit, the good, and the not so good.

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My husband and I along with 2 other couples just returned

from the Spirit 7/30/05-8/06/05.

This was our fourth cruise with NCL, and 2nd to Alaska.

Went in 2002 on the NCL Sky.

First let me say that this ship was beautiful! The bathroom

was the best bathroom I have had on any ncl ship. The

shower is actually large enough to turn around in.

Ladies, I have pretty thick hair, and the hair dryer was

more than adequate. Leave you hair dryer at home.

There are 5 fairly large shelves inside the closet to stack

clothes, shoes, ect. The hanging space is about what I have had

on other ships. There is a small built in table with mirror, this

is where your outlet is. I brought a power strip, but did not use

it, as I took turns plugging my camera and phone in. I was really

dreading the bed, I had the stewad put a mattress cover on the

bed as soon as I saw him. After sleeping on the harrrrd beds on

the Sky, and hearing all the reports I was really worried.

Guess what? This was the best bed yet! We could not even

tell where the beds were pushed together.The room was kept

spotless, and the ship was very clean.

Ok, now I'll tell you what we did not enjoy. The FOOD!

We are not picky eaters, we actually eat at Golden Corral.

Let me tell you about the food we had on the Sky 3 years ago.

On formal night, the Lobster was a really big Lobster tail, I don't

know what kind, but it was very good, same with the prime rib.

I don't know what kind of lobster this is, but its not what we

had before. It's ok, same with the prime rib, just ok. The worst

food for us were the vegtables, no flavor at all. After three nights

of this, we ate some in the buffet, and places where you could

order hot hamburgers, hotdogs, and fries.

 

The best meal of the day for us was breakfast,

made to order waffles and omelets.

The Blue Lagoon had made to order hamburgers, also soups.

Didn't find out till the last day, they have cartons of milk, and

banana cake, and pound cake in an open fridge, just go help

yourself.

In Windows,my friend ordered catfish with hushpuppies.

She received catfish served on stewed vegatables, with what

looked like small, soggy, potato pancakes, these were the

hushpuppies. The strawberry shortcake was a pink jello pie

looking thing with a small piece of bread for the crust.

We usually ordered the ice cream. Wished I could give you a

report on the spec. rest's, but did not try one.

The choc. buffet is good, Pretty long line, the choc.

covered strawberries,and cherries were really good.

 

We did not enjoy the shows in the main showrooms, as most

of the ones we have seen 3 years in a row. We have had

Kevin Warner as our Cruise Director 3 years in a row. We sailed the

SEA from NY, Kevin was our CD. we decided to go to Mexico

from Houston, and the SEA had been moved there, along with Kevin,

we sail on the SPIRIT, and guess who our CD is? Yep, Kevin,

he does a pretty good job, our complaint, we have heard the same

jokes,same shows, three years in a row. Get new material!

We enjoyed Thien Fu, a comedian, and very good juggler.

Also try all the lounges, we really enjoyed Love Brothers and Lira,

and Pryme Time. They did a lot of oldy goldies. The longer the

cruise went, the harder it was to get a seat.

 

We had beautiful weather in Ketchikan, no Rain.

My girlfriends and I took a long hike, along with some shopping.

The guys went fishing with Bruce Johnstone of True Alaskan Charters,

( 1-866-882-2979) Toll free number. The guys caught a 50 pound

halibut, salmon, and codfish, which Bruce is shipping to us.

The men were so pleased with him, that they want to go to

Ketchikan, just to go fishing with him. He was

quite a bit cheaper than the ship's price.

 

In Juneau we did the Tracy Army Fyord. I had a real hard time

making my mind up to do this, because the ship goes there.

Let me tell you the diffrence. They describe the Fyords as arms,

the ship goes as far as it can go, till the ice gets to thick, then

they stop. They sometimes go till they get to the hand, but the

smaller boat goes down the fingers of the hand.

This boat got close, and I mean close to the glacier, we were

bumping icebergs, and we saw a lot of calving.

The waves were rocking our boat. Seals go there to have their

pups, the ship cannot see this. Five montain goats, one was a kid,

was trying to follow his mother, and he kept sliding down the cliff, but

he finally made it up. The best part for me, was before we got to

the glacier my friend said WHALE!, and the boat came to a

complete stop, and backed up. The boat has its own guide,

who told us to be ready,

because the whale would surface in 5 to 7 minutes.

A humpback whale surfaced real close to our boat.

This made the trip for all of us.

If wildlife is spotted they will stop, and let you

take pictures. They also pulled up right next to a beautiful waterfall,

it was worth every penny for us.

 

In Skagway we did the Yukon Drive, I did the train before.

We enjoyed it, but not as much as we did the train.

 

Prince Rupert, we liked. There was a fishing boat unloading

some of the largest crabs we had ever seen. There were a lot

of people waving as we came into town, really neat. They

had ambassadors all over town, who would give you directions.

My friend who loves to shop, was dissappointed, she said there was

not enough shopping for her. This is a fishing town, not touristy like

Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. We heard people who went

on a whale watching tour saw plenty of whales.

We had a wonderful cruise, which we got to share with some

of our very best friends. Even though we were disappointed in the

food, it did not keep us from having a great time.

 

Another tip, We spotted orca whales Sunday morning, and again

Friday evening on our return trip to Seattle, so keep a lookout,

I did not ever hear the captain say anything about them.

Alaska is awesome!

sammymd

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Thanks for the review.

 

Seems that post posters of late are complaining about the food.

Are condiments available at each table, and salt and pepper?

 

I was happy to hear that you didn't feel that the beds were so

terribly hard, as described by many before.

 

Once again, I see that you were happy with the breakfast, as

other posters have stated. This is a biggie for my DH and son,

so at least we can keep them happy for this meal.

 

I had previously read that the lobster was actually lobster tail,

so that was not a surprise to me.

 

We will be on the Spirit in September, so thanks for the heads up

about the fish dish. That really did not sound appetizing at all.

 

I hope that other than the food disappointments, you had a great trip to Alaska.

 

We can hardly wait to see the Spirit - she looks like such a grand

ship. Sorry that she will be leaving the west coast after the 17

September cruise.

 

Thanks again.

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Thanks for your review, I enjoyed reading it.

 

I had to laugh when you talked about having Kevin Warner as your CD on three different cruises. By now he probably thinks you are his biggest fans and won't change his jokes etc. because you seem to enjoy hearing them so much!:D

 

It is too bad that the food was disappointing but at least it sounds like the scenery and ports of call made up for it on this cruise. I was especially interested in your comments about Prince Rupert, from other reviews I've read it seems people either love it or hate it. I guess, since I live in a big city where there is always lots to do and lots of places to shop, a fishing village sounds to me like it would be different and interesting but I guess I'll have to go there myself to be sure.

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Sammymd,

Sorry you felt that way about the food on the Spirit.

I also returned from the same cruise, and while I thought the food was very good for the most part, I recall the lobster tails being the smallest I have ever seen - although this is not really a big problem since you can order all the tails you want. What I didn't like much was Raffles, except for the made to order breakfasts. There were some excellent meals too. The steaks and filets I had were very good.

 

Overall, very happy with the food and service, Just my humble opionion.

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Sammymd -- wish I was with you when you spotted the sea life! I didn't see much, aside from jumping fish in Juneau, although I did look in the mornings.

 

We were on the Tracy Arm Fijord excursion too -- a good investment of time and money (I did see that whale, the seals, the eagles and goats).

 

Sorry you didn't care for the food. Our party (10adults, 2children) had mixed reviews on it. I thought the food was decent for the most part -- breakfast being the most predictable, love the fruit and waffles (and yogurt from Upstate NY!). There were enough choices for lunch at Raffles that I could always find something.

 

For dinner we went to the Garden 3x, Windows 2x each, and the Bistro and Trattoria 1x each. Our group of 12 that dined together 3x, and in sub-groups the rest of the time. I was pretty happy with all the choices, except Trattoria (limited menu (I thought there was a missing page!!), and an unlisted entree, which they ran out of). Others had different opinions of the quality of the food. I enjoyed the different appetizers/soups/salads most. By the time the entrees arrived it didn't really matter!

 

One evening DH and my father ordered medium and meduim-rare filet mignon. They each received rare and when they mentioned it, the servers quickly took the meal, and then replaced it -- with another rare filet!! My mom, who has difficulty chewing. had problems with this meal also. Oh well. But the other 4 beef eaters did receive their request and enjoyed their filets. I had something different -- don't remember exactly what, but it was good.

 

Their rack of lamb (3 chops) was very good (Wed I think) -- and mom enjoyed this one.

 

We went to the Bistro for our last dinner on board. They have two(?) rooms that can seat 10, so we squeezed in our group into one. DD ordered 'surf and turf' at the Bistro -- it came with 3 lobster tails -- tasty, but barely equivalent to one 'real' lobster tail. DS really liked the Bistro 'firestar' choice he made -- I'm not sure what the fuss was about. All in presentation I think. The chocolate fondue was definitely good. The room was nice and much quieter than the Garden and Windows. The service was excellant. Adrianna was gracious and funny.

 

The staff was unfailingly cheerful and pleasant and I will try to remember their example as I head back to the 'real world' Monday morning.

 

Wish I were just beginning this trip, instead of remembering it!

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I wished we had tried some of the spec. restaurants, as everyone

seems to really enjoy them. We have always enjoyed the food

in the dining room, so I guess I just kept thinking it would get

better. As I said, we thought the Prime Rib was Ok, I was comparing

their food with what I have had on other ncl ships. I just believe

the quality has gone down. On our last ncl Alaska cruise, the dining

room had great sirlion steak, lobster, and steak k-bobs for snacks

late at night in the buffet. They had a cafe

that made fresh pizza, 24 hours a day, really good.

Their lobster tails were really large,

and served with drawn butter on the side.

 

Did this keep me from having a great time, of course not.

Like I said, the scenary was great. You can get by on the food.

If I cruise with ncl again, I will try the spec. restaurants.

I have always loved ncl, and except for the hard beds on the

sky, had not one complaint. This was the first time I felt

the cruise line should have done a better job with their food, and

that is based on 3 previous cruises with them.

 

Forgot to give you future cruisers to Alaska one more tip.

When you get to Ketchikan, go to the Visitor information

Center, very close to the ship. They have a book with a lot

of coupons for Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway.

T-shirts, ulu knives, baseball caps, great souvinors to bring home,

Anywhere from 99 cents to $1.99.

I can't remember the name of the book. Just ask someone in the center.

sammymd

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I wished we had tried some of the spec. restaurants, as everyone

seems to really enjoy them. We have always enjoyed the food

in the dining room, so I guess I just kept thinking it would get

better. As I said, we thought the Prime Rib was Ok, I was comparing

their food with what I have had on other ncl ships. I just believe

the quality has gone down. On our last ncl Alaska cruise, the dining

room had great sirlion steak, lobster, and steak k-bobs for snacks

late at night in the buffet. They had a cafe

that made fresh pizza, 24 hours a day, really good.

Their lobster tails were really large,

and served with drawn butter on the side.

 

Did this keep me from having a great time, of course not.

Like I said, the scenary was great. You can get by on the food.

If I cruise with ncl again, I will try the spec. restaurants.

I have always loved ncl, and except for the hard beds on the

sky, had not one complaint. This was the first time I felt

the cruise line should have done a better job with their food, and

that is based on 3 previous cruises with them.

 

Forgot to give you future cruisers to Alaska one more tip.

When you get to Ketchikan, go to the Visitor information

Center, very close to the ship. They have a book with a lot

of coupons for Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway.

T-shirts, ulu knives, baseball caps, great souvinors to bring home,

Anywhere from 99 cents to $1.99.

I can't remember the name of the book. Just ask someone in the center.

sammymd

I think the coupon book you're talking about is "Destination Alaska" which has about 85 pages of shopping coupons along with information about the different ports.

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We cruised in July on the spirit. I agree with the orginal poster. I believe the food is really bad. We did not try the speciality restaurants..but the regular fair was hardly passable. Breakfast I agree was the best. I never found any pound cake. I have posted in other thread about the food and I am getting blasted. But that is my opinion. The ship is pretty. The staff only fair. I think the entertainment is just okay. We did the murder mystery dinner and that was fun. We didn't get to go to far up to the glacier. We didn't see alot of wildlife. A few whales..one lone seal..lol a a few eagles. I did like Prince Rupert. It was a relief from the in-your-face-jewelery hucksters. I could hardly look..they were so pushy.

 

I don't plan on ever cruising NCL again. Princess and Royal Caribbean is my pick

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Thanks brunolvr, thats the name of the coupon

book, "Destination Alaska".This is a pretty

good sized book. It saved us a couple of dollars

on souveniors we were planning on buying anyway.

My husband came home with 5 Alaska baseball caps.

He really likes their caps, and one of our friends

bought nine caps.

 

I remembered the first time I cruised with ncl 3 years ago,

they handed out a pocket-size map of our ship. It was in

our cabin. It's not handed out anymore, but you can get

a map of your ship at the reception desk, by asking.

It really helps, and saves you some time.

 

Hope this information has helped someone, as

I really got a lot of good information from these boards

the first time we cruised.

sammymd

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Thank you sammymd for taking the time to write out your review. I always appreciate someones honesty, even when they might have to say something unpleasant. Which in your case was the food.

 

We are sailing on the Spirit in 30 days from today and this will be our 3rd NCL cruise. The previous 2, both to AK, we had very good experiences with food, as with everything else on the ships.

 

I don't anticipate the food being a problem for us, only because we aren't fussy. I'm NOT saying that you are fussy, not at all.:D But when I don't have to cook, and someone is waiting on me, and then they clean up after me; somehow that makes everything taste better!

 

And we all know that if the food was truly awful all the time, people would discontinue cruising with them and they can't have that. I have no doubt that you were disappointed with certain things, and that they were truly sub-par. But that is one thing I have enjoyed in past cruises, was the option to order something else if I didn't care for what I had originally ordered.

 

The rest of your cruise sounded wonderful and you've made me want to do the Tracy Arm adventure. So many times I feel that it's all about attitude. (Not talking about the food anymore!) Some people complain about every little aspect of their cruise and I feel that no matter how good it was they'd find something terrible to say about it.

 

I am SO looking forward to our cruise, and I enjoy reading everyone's experiences. We enjoyed the Blue Lagoon on the Star so I look forward to it again on the Spirit. And yes, we knew about the pound cake and milk from the Star. We'll definitely be partaking of that again this time.

 

Hikini:D

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IT FIGURES ! We go on the Spirit in a week ( 8/20 ) and it sounds more and more like the thing "I" was looking forward to the most on the ship ( other than the scenery) "could" end up being barf-city.

 

Very, very mixed reviews. But lately it seems to range from "fair" to "bad" instead of "good" to "fair". I will try to keep an open mind, and if it is truly unpleasant, I will get more of the casual fare type food at the Bier Garten or Blue Lagoon.

 

I had not planned on spending the extra money for the specialty restaurants, but I think I will give them a try one or two nights to get that "extra special" meal. Most reviewers gave the extra charge dining a thumbs up, although a few also stated that it was no better than the free dining areas.

 

It is hard to weed through it all and get an fix on what to expect, so I'll settle on somewhere in the middle.

 

Tim

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IT FIGURES ! We go on the Spirit in a week ( 8/20 ) and it sounds more and more like the thing "I" was looking forward to the most on the ship ( other than the scenery) "could" end up being barf-city.

 

Very, very mixed reviews. But lately it seems to range from "fair" to "bad" instead of "good" to "fair". I will try to keep an open mind, and if it is truly unpleasant, I will get more of the casual fare type food at the Bier Garten or Blue Lagoon.

 

I had not planned on spending the extra money for the specialty restaurants, but I think I will give them a try one or two nights to get that "extra special" meal. Most reviewers gave the extra charge dining a thumbs up, although a few also stated that it was no better than the free dining areas.

 

It is hard to weed through it all and get an fix on what to expect, so I'll settle on somewhere in the middle.

 

Tim

 

Tim, I am relying upon you to have this problem all taken care for our

upcoming cruise on the Spirit - the week of 10 September.

It is so difficult to believe that it is as bad as some make it out to be.

Nice to see your positive attitude - that usually helps immeasurably!!

I am sure with all of the choices - there just has to be some decent

food aboard this ship.

Some of the tips which I found on this board - and I cannot verify that

they are true are:

1) Caesar salad, grilled chicken, steamed vegetables and potato are available every meal - just ask.

2) Blue Lagoon Burgers, Hot Dogs, English Fish and Chips are available

24 hours a day.

3) Steak with or without sauce is available anytime from children's menu.

4) Ask for watrmelon or fresh fruit and if available, they will provide it.

5) Blue Lagoon Pound Cake and Banana Bread are wonderful.

6) Eggs Benedict and smoked salmon plate are available every day - again, just ask.

7) Shrimp Cocktail is available for the asking also.

8) At the Bistro - Try Steak and Lobster and the Chocolate Fondue.

9) Breakfast from room service is Continental style. Place your order the evening prior.

10) Salmon and Ribs at Raffles Terrace BBQ to die for.

11) Be sure to take advantage of the 2 for 1 at specialty restaurants. Make reservations prior to 6PM - earlier is better.

12) Great Waffles at Raffles.

 

OK, as I said, these are recommendations which were suggested on these boards. I take no responsibility here - but I will accept your unbiased opinion upon your return :p

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For heaven's sakes, people! What is up with you and this food thing! :confused: The food will be FINE. Sometimes you might get something you might not love, that's life on or off a ship.

 

I have been on several cruiselines/several ships. THE FOOD WAS FINE. EVERY TIME. Dun't tell me that was just luck. Eye-yi-yi ...

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For heaven's sakes, people! What is up with you and this food thing! :confused: The food will be FINE. Sometimes you might get something you might not love, that's life on or off a ship.

 

Or, in my kitchen! :p

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SailAways,

 

I sort of remember many of those tips from reading the posts on the board, but it's much appreciated that you have actually listed them in Black & White. I'm going to print the list out and pack it.... just so I won't forget something.

 

Three "Non-Food" tips I am going to follow is to take along a "Power Strip", a small portable travel alarm clock and some dollar bills for tipping the room service person and others that go above and beyond.

 

I'll give you a epicurean review when we get back. I'll step on the scale and see if I lost or gained weight. That will be a good indicator.

 

Tim

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Travelled on the Miami - LA cruise in 4/05 and had no real problems with the food; and don't really recall many on board adverse comments.

My only gripe was that we were on the 11th deck and every morning at 6.30am we were woken by the sound of sun loungers / chairs being set out on deck 12, and despite early complaints this never stopped.

Only area of poor service was Champagne Charlies.

That said, generally liked the ship.

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I disagree with this person:

For heaven's sakes, people! What is up with you and this food thing! :confused: The food will be FINE. Sometimes you might get something you might not love, that's life on or off a ship.

 

Excuse me......but maybe you think all is okay with the food since you cruise quite often..For many people one or two cruises is for their lifetime. Excellent FOOD was the big thing when crusing became such a big deal. For these prices I would expect the food to be excellent. Now there are different tastes..agreed..

 

I was very disapointed with the food on the Spirit. We went in July, 2005. My family who was with us felt the same way. A few things were good though. The caesar salad in Windows was awesome! The burgers at the blue lagoon were wonderful. Breakfast was okay..eggs..yuckky..but look for the omelet guy...Raffles and the sitdown restaurants were below par in my opinion.

 

I don't plan on ever sailing NCL again. Princess, or Royal Caribbean is our top picks.

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iris (in seattle), don't write off NCL on the basis of that trip. Each ship is different in any line. DH and I are from the NYC area and real 'foodies', and we loved the Dawn. The Buffet was less than adequate, and we never ate there, but the restaurants were fine and the specialty rest were really good even by NY standards.

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I disagree with this person:

For heaven's sakes, people! What is up with you and this food thing! :confused: The food will be FINE. Sometimes you might get something you might not love, that's life on or off a ship.

 

Excuse me......but maybe you think all is okay with the food since you cruise quite often..For many people one or two cruises is for their lifetime. Excellent FOOD was the big thing when crusing became such a big deal. For these prices I would expect the food to be excellent. Now there are different tastes..agreed..

 

I was very disapointed with the food on the Spirit. We went in July, 2005. My family who was with us felt the same way. A few things were good though. The caesar salad in Windows was awesome! The burgers at the blue lagoon were wonderful. Breakfast was okay..eggs..yuckky..but look for the omelet guy...Raffles and the sitdown restaurants were below par in my opinion.

 

I don't plan on ever sailing NCL again. Princess, or Royal Caribbean is our top picks.

 

I've only been on 4 cruises ... the second one actually the food wasn't so great--the meat wasn't cooked as I'd asked twice, once the entree I ordered wasn't what the menu claimed it to be, and a couple times the food was cold. (That was on an older Carnival ship.) Sure, some of the food was disappointing, but a lot of it was fine and the rest was OK. I think you are right about the subjective thing--not just about the food, but about the importance of that particular element of a cruise. I had such a good time in so many other ways that I didn't really feel disappointed, you know what I mean?

 

I honestly have liked almost everything I've had on what cruises I've taken. Also, for me, the pressure is off because I know I can send something back and try something different. I wouldn't be as forgiving in a nice restaurant on land, I am sure!

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just got back from the Spirit. I thought the food was great. We ate at Le Bistro the last night. They have 2 for 1 just about every evening for early dining. The chocolate Fondue was worth every penny. Our waiters-the same ones we had at lunch in Windows that day- even gave ust the leftover chocolate and extra strawberries to take back to our room for later. in Windows, the cold soups were my favorite. One day I even had one for dessert. Our favorite buffet was Mecican nite. The Skirt steak was very flavorful and tender.And then there was the afternoon BBQ's. Best salmon I ever had in my life. We must not have been the only ones who liked it because they even ran out of it one afternoon. If you order something you don't like they will bring you another entree or salad or whatever. They actually encourage you to order more or if you skip a starter or soup they almost insist you at least taste it. We had some of the best wait staff. We were a large group with some kids that they bent over backwards to please. Many of them are away from their own kids for 10 months at a time. They prepared them special sundaes, did puppet shows, brought them numerous chocolate milksetc. After our cruise we ran in to some of them in Seattle and they just hugged and kissed one of my nephews--so glad to see him again. Hope you have a great cruise.

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I thought the food in the main restaurants was good. Not great by any means, but good. Everyone has different tastes, some have said the food was horrible. Different strokes for different folks. But I am willing to bet my house that the vast majority ate the food. Its eatible....

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Okay, hubby reminds me I missed a few things..he says the Bavarian snack area above the pool was great. He said soups, rolled pork dish..fresh bread, bavarian sausage, pretzels in the afternoon is not to be missed. About from 12-2 in the afternoon. He thought it was great and I missed crab night at the buffet and he said it was great. Hubby knew from previous cruises to get to the restaurants early before they open..one gets served faster. One more thing they ran out of limes for drinks after about the first day...We both agree that the automatic tips are not to our benefit. But I guess some cheap people didn't tip and perhaps caused this. We are always generous tippers. But when it is forced we got irritated.

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I agree that the meals on cruises aren't quite the quality they once were. I sailed on Spirit last year and Royal Caribbean the year before and noticed. I still managed to put on quite a bit of weight so I must have liked something!

 

I think this is part of the cruise lines' effort to keep the prices affordable. Anyone knows all our costs for living expenses have risen a lot over the last few years but the cruise prices are still in reach.

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Trina, I agree with you on the food thing. I am from NYC and we do have some of the best food here and my family and I are also very picky when it comes to quality, though we love all different kinds of food. We were on the Dawn in 2004 and I enjoyed the food. I loved the buffalo wings and burgers in the Blue Lagoon, the fish and chips too were great. I liked the dining room food a lot too. I agree with you that the buffet was not very good. We had breakfast there one morning and the food was cold, even the made-to-order waffles!! The only thing I liked poolside was the BBQ and the fruit was excellent too. I tried the lunch buffet one afternoon and hated it. Thank goodness for that BBQ!! But I am not a buffet person. I also don't like having to look for my own table. I would rather wait a few minutes to be seated in the dining room and be served my beverage and not have to find a table in the midst of a crowd while trying to balance a tray at the same time!

 

I am thrilled to hear that they have cartons of milk available at the Blue Lagoon all the time! My son, who is nearly 8 months old now, will be 18 months when we go on the Spirit, and I am sure he will benefit from milk being available there all the time! I know I can always get it from room service but it's nice to know I can also go to the Blue Lagoon before breakfast if necessary! I do remember there being danish there in the early morning hours as well on the Dawn. That was nice!

 

Bonnie

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