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I mean, it's like airline seats.  People complain about the lack of leg space on airlines all the time, and then when they buy tickets they buy the cheaper one with less legroom??? People complain about no meals on flights, but buy cheaper tickets with no meals rather than pay for meals.

 

Cruises are by historical prices pretty cheap currently, and in the "contemporary"/mass market category, customers are highly price-sensitive.  If you want to have a meaningful conversation about the change in food quality over time, you need to go over the cost too.  I mean there's whole categories of other cruise lines that are happy to provide you with better food for more money.  And the contemporary/premium category cruises are all going for the specialty/suite restaurant model where you can pay for better food. 

 

That being said, I've only gone on a few cruises recently and all the food was pretty bad compared to land-based restaurants, but what I really wonder is what the quality was like before.  I really wish people would post more pictures of their food from ages past.  I wonder how much dissatisfaction with cruise food is because land-based cuisine has progressed a lot in the last 30 years.  People's tastes and standards especially in metropolitan areas is vastly different than from before.  Honestly, those old menus look pretty unappetizing.  There's a reason Nouvelle cuisine took over the world.  I really wonder if they served those meals from the 50's and 60's now, what my impression would be.

 

I've said in other threads, I think nouvelle cuisine is a lot harder on a cruise ship, with it's focus on fresh seasonal ingredients with a deft light touch compared to classic french (english/american) cuisine with it's focus on heavy sauces where the freshness and quality of the ingredients is kind of less important.  i bet it's pretty hard to get quality ingredients shopping for like 4-8,000 people for a whole week all at once.

 

 

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We’re not in the 100 cruise category, more like 10-12 depending on family members.  Regarding flights, my husband and I are the age where we’re flying Business Class at least.  We can afford it. My husband doesn’t like paying for, but he falls asleep by the time the pilot say “please prepare the cabin for take off.”  I on the other hand am wide awake. I I’m not having another person squeezing into my seat or hogging the armrest.  I’d rather stay home. 

 

With th all that said, the food on our recent NCL Panama Cruise was right down horrible. Maybe like I humane. When you look at the menu for 2-weeks and it’s the same menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as is the same food listed, that is wrong on many levels.  Service was also horrible (except for the cabin attendants).

 

The majority of our cruises have been Holland America.  We were on an Alaskan Cruise 6-months prior to our NCL Panama trip.  Not one night in the dining room was the same.  They had some standard dishes, and it was labeled such but had many other dishes to choose from. Lunch, same thing. They always have lobster night.  No lobster night on NCL.  At least on HAL when you got fruit for your yogurt is wasn’t a mashed up frozen ball of ungodly looking fruit, sitting in a bowl of frozen colored water. 

 

No matter where you are on an Holland America ship you were asked if you wanted a drink. On NCL you had to find a bar open. If you weren’t at the pool, you had to either go upstairs to the pool or go to the casino bar. All the bars in the center of the ship were closed during the day.  My guess was because NCL gave you the “free drinks” they were not going to push their drinks. 

 

Lets talk about those free drinks. Prior to paying our bill in full we were surprised with an additional $500 plus dollars on our bill. For those free drinks we had to pay in advance the fees to the bartenders. Of course you were charged extra fees for the free dinners also, some tip.  Also included in the freebies they were giving out besides the supposedly free drinks and 5-free dinners, was ship-to-shore calling. I wonder if anyone even knows what that is.  NCL was pushing using their App. Well remember that free 250 minutes of free internet?  Couldn’t use the App without internet. 

 

Believe you me if I would have known how bad the food was day after day after day I would have booked with any cruise line except NCL.  I would have happily paid for an upgrade. But even with an upgrade the food and bad service on NCL couldn’t have been any worse.  Oh and by the way, we did fly first class to Florida and back from LA to Portland.  The absolute best part of the entire trip.   Well that and the alligator tour on the Everglades.   

 

If if I can prevent one other person from never going on a NCL Cruise by writing this review, I will feel elated.  (Two couples from my office were thinking of booking a cruise, they won’t be going on NCL). 

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Those meals from the 1950’s and 1960’s were a lot better than the slop most mass market lines are serving today.  I was there and I can tell you when the menu said prime beef you got prime beef.  Beluga caviar was common back then...try and get that today.  The meals served onboard the SS France in Tourist Class were better than the food on most premium lines today...I’ve had both.  

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13 hours ago, CGTNORMANDIE said:

Those meals from the 1950’s and 1960’s were a lot better than the slop most mass market lines are serving today.  I was there and I can tell you when the menu said prime beef you got prime beef.  Beluga caviar was common back then...try and get that today.  The meals served onboard the SS France in Tourist Class were better than the food on most premium lines today...I’ve had both.  

And they were heavily subsidized.  Your tax dollars at work.

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16 hours ago, Perish2 said:

We’re not in the 100 cruise category, more like 10-12 depending on family members.  Regarding flights, my husband and I are the age where we’re flying Business Class at least.  We can afford it. My husband doesn’t like paying for, but he falls asleep by the time the pilot say “please prepare the cabin for take off.”  I on the other hand am wide awake. I I’m not having another person squeezing into my seat or hogging the armrest.  I’d rather stay home. 

 

With th all that said, the food on our recent NCL Panama Cruise was right down horrible. Maybe like I humane. When you look at the menu for 2-weeks and it’s the same menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as is the same food listed, that is wrong on many levels.  Service was also horrible (except for the cabin attendants).

 

The majority of our cruises have been Holland America.  We were on an Alaskan Cruise 6-months prior to our NCL Panama trip.  Not one night in the dining room was the same.  They had some standard dishes, and it was labeled such but had many other dishes to choose from. Lunch, same thing. They always have lobster night.  No lobster night on NCL.  At least on HAL when you got fruit for your yogurt is wasn’t a mashed up frozen ball of ungodly looking fruit, sitting in a bowl of frozen colored water. 

 

No matter where you are on an Holland America ship you were asked if you wanted a drink. On NCL you had to find a bar open. If you weren’t at the pool, you had to either go upstairs to the pool or go to the casino bar. All the bars in the center of the ship were closed during the day.  My guess was because NCL gave you the “free drinks” they were not going to push their drinks. 

 

Lets talk about those free drinks. Prior to paying our bill in full we were surprised with an additional $500 plus dollars on our bill. For those free drinks we had to pay in advance the fees to the bartenders. Of course you were charged extra fees for the free dinners also, some tip.  Also included in the freebies they were giving out besides the supposedly free drinks and 5-free dinners, was ship-to-shore calling. I wonder if anyone even knows what that is.  NCL was pushing using their App. Well remember that free 250 minutes of free internet?  Couldn’t use the App without internet. 

 

Believe you me if I would have known how bad the food was day after day after day I would have booked with any cruise line except NCL.  I would have happily paid for an upgrade. But even with an upgrade the food and bad service on NCL couldn’t have been any worse.  Oh and by the way, we did fly first class to Florida and back from LA to Portland.  The absolute best part of the entire trip.   Well that and the alligator tour on the Everglades.   

 

If if I can prevent one other person from never going on a NCL Cruise by writing this review, I will feel elated.  (Two couples from my office were thinking of booking a cruise, they won’t be going on NCL). 

Although we have never sailed with NCL,  as we sailed almost exclusively with P&O/Princess since 1975. However, since they were purchased by Carnival Corp in 2003, we noted a steady decline in standards, which then went into free-fall post 2008/2009. Our World Cruise with them in 2015 will be our last.

 

However, we fully accept that many current and future passengers are very happy with the reduced standards & quality, at bargain basement fares. While we generally don't council others to not cruise Princess, we will provide them with our expectations of a cruise and how they are not met by Princess, or any other mainstream line.

 

Similar to you, we do not fly anything but First or Business for flights of 5 hrs or more and for cruising we use a Premium/Luxury brand, such as Viking Ocean.

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2 hours ago, snaebyllej said:

And they were heavily subsidized.  Your tax dollars at work.

While I haven't sailed on the ships CGTNORMANDIE noted, all of my ships in the 70's & 80's were owned and operated by a private company, which received zero government subsidisation. We had similar levels of service and quality.

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59 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

While I haven't sailed on the ships CGTNORMANDIE noted, all of my ships in the 70's & 80's were owned and operated by a private company, which received zero government subsidisation. We had similar levels of service and quality.

 

Amen...there were many ships sailing in the 1970’s that never received a subsidy and were still able to field outstanding service and high quality food.  Victoria, Santa Paula, Italia, Amerikanis, Bremen, Gripsholm, Ocean Monarch, Brazil and Argentina...to name a few.  My wife and I have been blessed, in our lives, to have experienced some of the best ships that sailed in that era.  I believe things started going downhill when shipping lines became big corporations with money hungry stockholders and greedy CEO’s.  Food quality was the first item to be checked off by the executives pushing the pencils.  

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On 4/19/2019 at 1:06 PM, CGTNORMANDIE said:

 

Amen...there were many ships sailing in the 1970’s that never received a subsidy and were still able to field outstanding service and high quality food.  Victoria, Santa Paula, Italia, Amerikanis, Bremen, Gripsholm, Ocean Monarch, Brazil and Argentina...to name a few.  My wife and I have been blessed, in our lives, to have experienced some of the best ships that sailed in that era.  I believe things started going downhill when shipping lines became big corporations with money hungry stockholders and greedy CEO’s.  Food quality was the first item to be checked off by the executives pushing the pencils.  

Wow, some great classic ocean liners. To those you can add Oriana, Canberra, Uganda, Nevasa and Arcadia, all steam ships that never received government subsidies - probably because they were all white hulls and not grey hulls & funnels.

 

With respect to standards, it is so true, I recall the days when Shipping Lines were managed by mariners, who actually knew ships, sadly these days shipping lines are managed by MBA's & accountants that wouldn't know the bow from the stern.

 

P&O/Princess went into free fall, the day Passenger Division was separated from the P&O Group. Three years after that it was purchased by Carnival Corp. The really sad thing is they treat their officers even worse than the customer.

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Hi Heidi,

 

So true...the board rooms rule and the top execs are overpaid.

 

You have had some great sailing experiences. I always wanted to sail on P&O back in the day...and almost did.  I had a transatlantic booked on Canberra (a rare crossing from NY...I think Canberra only did one in her lifetime.) but DW couldn’t get the time off...sighhhh.

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1 hour ago, CGTNORMANDIE said:

I always wanted to sail on P&O back in the day...and almost did.  I had a transatlantic booked on Canberra (a rare crossing from NY...I think Canberra only did one in her lifetime.) but DW couldn’t get the time off...sighhhh.

 

I wonder:  might this have been a sailing following a solar eclipse cruise from New York on the Canberra?  Date?  Don't recall.  But, I had a friend who sailed on such, if my memory is correct.  He sailed on two solar eclipse cruises from New York.  One was on the Olympia and then another was on Canberra, I am fairly certain.  He had one of the odd cabins which was "outside" but there was a short hallway from his door to the porthole at the hallways end.

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2 hours ago, CGTNORMANDIE said:

Hi Heidi,

 

So true...the board rooms rule and the top execs are overpaid.

 

You have had some great sailing experiences. I always wanted to sail on P&O back in the day...and almost did.  I had a transatlantic booked on Canberra (a rare crossing from NY...I think Canberra only did one in her lifetime.) but DW couldn’t get the time off...sighhhh.

Didn't spend much time on Canberra, just less than a month, but she was certainly a spectacular liner. Spent most of my time on Oriana & Uganda, then the Princess ships when P&O bought Princess Cruises.

 

Don't recall any of the P&O ships doing TA's, but on Oriana I did Southampton to Ft Lauderdale when enroute to Sydney & Aussie cruising. During the winter months, Canberra normally did a World Cruise, departing Southampton in early January.

 

Went aboard Canberra during her farewell trip to Vancouver, as I knew both the Captain & Staff Captain. That was the late 90's and still remember having an exceptional lunch, with great service.

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38 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

I wonder:  might this have been a sailing following a solar eclipse cruise from New York on the Canberra?  Date?  Don't recall.  But, I had a friend who sailed on such, if my memory is correct.  He sailed on two solar eclipse cruises from New York.  One was on the Olympia and then another was on Canberra, I am fairly certain.  He had one of the odd cabins which was "outside" but there was a short hallway from his door to the porthole at the hallways end.

Thanks for bringing back some great memories. 

 

If my memory is correct they called them the courtyard cabins. From the main fore/aft alleyway you had groups of cabins arranged on both sides of a short athwartships alleyway that went to the ships side, ending in some portholes/windows. Each pod had 4 or 6 cabins.

 

The 2 inboard cabin doors opened to a fairly narrow alleyway, then the 2 middle cabins were stepped in a couple of feet and the 2 outboard cabins were again stepped in a couple of feet. When the cabins were stepped in, they had a long narrow window that let natural light into the cabin.

 

It was a really novel concept that i have not seen on any other ship. When I worked on Canberra, as an extra officer, I actually had one of these pax cabins.🙂

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5 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

Thanks for bringing back some great memories. 

 

If my memory is correct they called them the courtyard cabins. From the main fore/aft alleyway you had groups of cabins arranged on both sides of a short athwartships alleyway that went to the ships side, ending in some portholes/windows. Each pod had 4 or 6 cabins.

 

The 2 inboard cabin doors opened to a fairly narrow alleyway, then the 2 middle cabins were stepped in a couple of feet and the 2 outboard cabins were again stepped in a couple of feet. When the cabins were stepped in, they had a long narrow window that let natural light into the cabin.

 

It was a really novel concept that i have not seen on any other ship. When I worked on Canberra, as an extra officer, I actually had one of these pax cabins.🙂

 

Yes, your description of what Richard's cabin was like is accurate.  

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