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This may be a dumb question but it’s been several years since we’ve sailed with HAL....Are the menus the same throughout the HAL fleet or is it different for each ship? Has anyone recently sailed on the Rotterdam, and how was the food? Also, I’ve heard that ships often discount the specialty dining on the first night, is this true? Thanks!

 

 

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This may be a dumb question but it’s been several years since we’ve sailed with HAL....Are the menus the same throughout the HAL fleet or is it different for each ship? Has anyone recently sailed on the Rotterdam, and how was the food? Also, I’ve heard that ships often discount the specialty dining on the first night, is this true? Thanks!

I can only answer your second question:

We sailed on the Rotterdam over Christmas (9th HAL cruise), and I thought that the food quality in the MDR was very good. And on average I would say that the variety of selection was better than average. However the service was brutally slow. I suspect that this was a kitchen issue, not our servers (who were excellent), because others have complained of the same thing, and we had the same slow service in the Canaletto and in the Pinnacle for breakfast.

 

Food in the Lido market was very good for breakfast, just average for lunch (same as on all HAL cruises IMO). New York Pizza was great. Canaletto food quality was also very good, although a little salty for my taste.

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We were on the RT Rotterdam Voyage of the Vikings in Aug/Sept 2017 and always have late fixed dining (around 8pm-Upper Dining Room) - we were in an out within an hour.

 

So a lot can depend on when and where one chooses to dine on the Rotterdam. Food was fine, service was wonderful and our window-side table for two could not have been better for those longer summertime "white nights" in this part of the world.

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This may be a dumb question but it’s been several years since we’ve sailed with HAL....Are the menus the same throughout the HAL fleet or is it different for each ship? Has anyone recently sailed on the Rotterdam, and how was the food? Also, I’ve heard that ships often discount the specialty dining on the first night, is this true? Thanks!

 

 

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We were on the Rotterdam in Aug-Sept for 38 days and found the MDR food to be generally very good. On longer cruises they do vary the menus although many of the actual offerings are the same (i.e. you might have Prime Rib offered about once every 10 days). We are not big fans of the Lido (although we certainly eat breakfast and lunch in that venue on many days). HAL has designed their Lidos so that there is very little self-serving....and many items must be plated by staff. This can result in lines for many items. We miss the old sandwich bar...where one could have nearly any sandwich custom made (most sandwiches are now premade). We find Lido lunches a bit repetitive with staples like chicken being an everyday offering. As to the MDR, our only major complaint is about the desserts (at dinner) which are generally unimaginative and a bit boring. The dessert offerings at lunch in the Lido are actually more interesting then what is offered in the MDR at dinner. I would like to see HAL adopt theme lunches (in the Lido) similar to what we often find on Celebrity. On that line the Lido offerings will vary greatly around themes (such as Italian Lunch, Oriental lunch, etc).

 

The Dive-in offerings are decent as burgers are made to order. The New York Pizza offerings are a real improvement over the previous years when lousy pizza was offered in the Lido. We love the Pinnacle lunches......but have lost interest in Pinnacle dinners (but others enjoy this venue). The revamped room service breakfast menu is a major step down....from the previous menu. Now, they want you to order from a limited number of fixed menus rather then selecting options (as in the past). Some cruisers try to get around the new menus by simply writing what they want on the menu....but its hit or miss whether you will get your request.

 

Hank

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I can only answer your second question:

We sailed on the Rotterdam over Christmas (9th HAL cruise), and I thought that the food quality in the MDR was very good. And on average I would say that the variety of selection was better than average. However the service was brutally slow. I suspect that this was a kitchen issue, not our servers (who were excellent), because others have complained of the same thing, and we had the same slow service in the Canaletto and in the Pinnacle for breakfast.

 

Food in the Lido market was very good for breakfast, just average for lunch (same as on all HAL cruises IMO). New York Pizza was great. Canaletto food quality was also very good, although a little salty for my taste.

 

Thanks bleacher04 for your report on the Rotterdam food. We will be on her for 14 days in March. One thing piqued our interest was breakfast in the Pinnacle. We have had many lunches and dinners in the Pinnacle, but never breakfast. Is breakfast offered every day or only some days ? How much do they charge, and does my Mariner 4-star get me a 50% discount ? I have never seen a menu for a Pinnacle breakfast. Is one posted anywhere ?

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Thanks bleacher04 for your report on the Rotterdam food. We will be on her for 14 days in March. One thing piqued our interest was breakfast in the Pinnacle. We have had many lunches and dinners in the Pinnacle, but never breakfast. Is breakfast offered every day or only some days ? How much do they charge, and does my Mariner 4-star get me a 50% discount ? I have never seen a menu for a Pinnacle breakfast. Is one posted anywhere ?

 

Breakfast in the Pinnacle is available every day for those in Neptune Suites and above only. It is a Suite perk and there is no charge.

 

For the general public, it is only open on certain days for lunch and every night for dinner.

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Thanks bleacher04 for your report on the Rotterdam food. We will be on her for 14 days in March. One thing piqued our interest was breakfast in the Pinnacle. We have had many lunches and dinners in the Pinnacle, but never breakfast. Is breakfast offered every day or only some days ? How much do they charge, and does my Mariner 4-star get me a 50% discount ? I have never seen a menu for a Pinnacle breakfast. Is one posted anywhere ?

 

Pinnacle breakfasts are a Neptune suite perk. They are not available for the general passenger. They may take place either at the Pinnacle restaurant itself or on some ships, in a reserved section of the Upper Dining Room (which offers windows but defeats the purpose of having it in the more spacious and gracious Pinnacle dining room setting.)

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We were on the RT Rotterdam Voyage of the Vikings in Aug/Sept 2017 and always have late fixed dining (around 8pm-Upper Dining Room) - we were in an out within an hour.

That's been our experience on previous HAL cruises; the courses come out bam, bam, bam, to the point where sometimes we felt rushed! But this past cruise in December there was a noticeable delay between ordering and service, and between each course. And in more venues than just the MDR.

 

So a lot can depend on when and where one chooses to dine on the Rotterdam.

We were in the Lower DR, but had the same assigned table and same fixed dining reservation (7:30 pm) each night. So not too different from you, except for the level.

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CDC health regulations brought an end to the outdoor specialty buffets - there were insufficient hand washing stations located in the Lido pool area for food-handling, as well as insufficient overhead protection from flying birds I gather. You can read about these restrictions on the CDC vessel sanitation website reports section.

 

Since CDC also strictly limited passenger self-serve for the buffet lines there have been a lot fewer reported Code Red incidents, which was the intent of this restriction as well. Other cruise lines may have different design that provide the CDC requirements allowing outdoor buffets or specialty informal dining options. I suspect the new HAL ships are designed with these newer sanitation requirements in mind, but they may not have been cost effective to retrofit on the older HAL ships.

 

Visit the CDC Vessel Sanitation website - it is a fascinating read when you see what those CDC spot checks on ships look for, plus it lets you know the health score cards for all cruise ships individually. HAL can be proud of their past scores and have often gotten a 100 rating. https://wwwn.cdc.gov/InspectionQueryTool/InspectionSearch.aspx

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Since CDC also strictly limited passenger self-serve for the buffet lines there have been a lot fewer reported Code Red incidents, which was the intent of this restriction as well.

And after observing some people's hygiene habits, I am completely in favour of this one!

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This may be a dumb question but it’s been several years since we’ve sailed with HAL....Are the menus the same throughout the HAL fleet or is it different for each ship? Has anyone recently sailed on the Rotterdam, and how was the food? Also, I’ve heard that ships often discount the specialty dining on the first night, is this true? Thanks!

 

 

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We were recently ion the Rotterdam (or first HAL cruise), and were disappointed in the food and service on board. Nothing was bad in the MDR or Lido, but we expected better based on HAL's reputation and comments from others.

 

We found the quality and variety of food offerings to be below what we have experienced on Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess and Carnival. Service was also very slow. The desserts were the most disappointing with little variety and most had little flavor.

 

We also were disappointed in the pizza at New York Pizza. The taste was very bland and the cheese was very greasy and had an odd texture. Of course, taste is subjective and others seem to rave about it.

 

We did not try either specially restaurant, but did see them offering some discounts and combination packages onboard. I do not recall the specific discounts.

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
We were recently ion the Rotterdam (or first HAL cruise), and were disappointed in the food and service on board. Nothing was bad in the MDR or Lido, but we expected better based on HAL's reputation and comments from others.

 

We found the quality and variety of food offerings to be below what we have experienced on Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess and Carnival. Service was also very slow. The desserts were the most disappointing with little variety and most had little flavor.

 

We also were disappointed in the pizza at New York Pizza. The taste was very bland and the cheese was very greasy and had an odd texture. Of course, taste is subjective and others seem to rave about it.

 

We did not try either specially restaurant, but did see them offering some discounts and combination packages onboard. I do not recall the specific discounts.

 

 

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I could not agree with you more. We were on Rotterdam for 2/4 cruise and we were SO disappointed in the food. We could hardly ever find something we wanted to eat in the dining room or in the market. (And yes - the pizza was gross and bland. The burgers and hot dogs were no better.) MOST disappointing was that the soft serve machine was nine times out of ten out of order. (And why can't they do self-serve like other cruise ships?) We did have dinner at the Pinnacle when it was Rudy's and the food was laughably bad. I mean LAUGHABLY bad. I would not cruise w/ Holland again based on the food alone - what else is there to do on such a boring ship but eat? And when that's not an option...

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Answering the 2nd question, on Zuiderdam in January they offered 25% off specialty dining the first night. We enjoyed the MDR food with only a couple of exceptions, loved the Dive In burgers and were pleasantly surprised by a lot of items in the Market buffet at both lunch and breakfast. It was out first experience with HAL and came away very happy.

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Answering the 2nd question, on Zuiderdam in January they offered 25% off specialty dining the first night. We enjoyed the MDR food with only a couple of exceptions, loved the Dive In burgers and were pleasantly surprised by a lot of items in the Market buffet at both lunch and breakfast. It was out first experience with HAL and came away very happy.

 

 

 

Thank you! These answers were the ones I was hoping for!

 

 

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Getting on next Sunday and I hope it's not as bad as these comments say. We are becoming 5* and never had really bad meals on a HAL ship. W.ent to Sel de Mer on Kdam 4 nights and it was terrific.

 

I hope you have the same Chef and crew that we did last March - May. The food was probably the 2nd best I have had on HAL. No Sel de Mer then but the PG food was good - excellent.

 

The crew on our cruise were really outstanding. 2nd best I have seen on my cruises. (That says a lot since my 1st is the P'dam). If you have the same ones you are in for a treat.

 

Have a great cruise and a WONDERFUL time!!!!

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