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Food on NCL - Have you noticed a downward change???

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Seriously the food in the buffet on my Royal Princess cruise was only fit for pigs. The presentation of the refried beans reminded me of a pile of dead bees.

 

Annie

 

Wow.. where and when was that? We had amazing seafood selections (many various dishes), sushi with various caviar, many offerings for different types of diets etc. It was great. It was for new 2017 year. Our cruise was a second leg of Celebrity Silhouette/Royal Princess combination and Princess beat Celebrity in food department, which is a toll order.

 

My parents went on Regal and also rave about their experience.

Both cruises were in Caribbeans.

 

 

Refried beans? I don't remember beans.

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Last month, we were aboard the NCL GEM, Canada/New England, NYC to Quebec City.

 

Visiting the East Coast, one would have expected lobster to be served at some MDR dinner. No lobster. A disappointment.

 

Don't be disappointed. East coast (Maine) lobster is never served in Dining rooms of any massmarket line. It is usually unfrozen warm water "replica" of lobster. You can order Main lobster in specialty restaurant for $29(?), but honestly.... I'd better order it in Maine's lobster shack than massproduced.

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I was recently on the Getaway and the food was not as good as last year's EPIC or ESCAPE. Was it a one-time event or have others perceived the same thing. They are not serving the better cuts of meat unless you go speciality restaurant. Now it is lamb shanks instead of leg of lamb. Anyone else? Thoughts?

No negativity please.

 

I find just the opposite. I think the food quality has increased substantially over the past 3 or 4 years. For many people they prefer the lamb shank over the leg. A properly braised lamb shank is a wonderful cut of meat. As far as better cuts of beef in the specialty restaurants, that has always been the case, but IMO the cuts in the MDR have improved recently.

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Seriously the food in the buffet on my Royal Princess cruise was only fit for pigs. The presentation of the refried beans reminded me of a pile of dead bees.

 

Annie

wat?

 

Been on Regal twice, LOVED it, booked my 3rd Regal cruise 2 days ago. I seriously sail on Princess for food only, because it offers nothing else of value to us.

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I was recently on the Getaway and the food was not as good as last year's EPIC or ESCAPE. Was it a one-time event or have others perceived the same thing. They are not serving the better cuts of meat unless you go speciality restaurant. Now it is lamb shanks instead of leg of lamb. Anyone else? Thoughts?

No negativity please.

 

An excerpt from my review on the Jade last week. We cruised on the Spirit in March and last September eating 9 meals in the MDR on each cruise.

 

 

 

Dining : We traditionally eat all our breakfasts and lunches at the buffet. We eat all our dinners in the MDRs with maybe 1 in the buffet and the occasional Cagney’s as a treat. I feel “dining” was the only area that did not meet our expectations and our expectations are not that high. The fact that we only ate in the MDRs 3 times on a 12-night cruise speak volumes to the selections available. We had no memorable meals in the MDR and had issues with 3 dishes on the 3 different occasions. Upon speaking with the food and beverage officer/manager, it was communicated to us that the Jade is currently serving a menu that would be rolled out fleetwide in the upcoming months. That’s not good news for MDR diners as we feel the divide between Specialty and MDR has never been greater.The buffet ended up being the usual fare with a memorable meal the first night of prime rib. I asked for a ¾” cut and it was excellent and tender. The best dishes in the buffet tended to be dishes that were stewed or braised. The fact that the“carvery” offered 3 nights of roasted chicken and 3 nights of a lesser cut of roast beef was not appealing to us. Being “platinum” allowed us to eat at LeBistro and Moderno. We couldn’t book a decent time at Cagney’s so chose Moderno and it was way better than we remembered on the POA. The filet mignon and the lambchops were outstanding though they didn’t come through the dining room as often as the chicken. I didn’t see any prawns or seafood offered. We ate at O’Sheehan twice and probably should have eaten there more. I loved their Thai chili wings. The new MDR menus will not deter me from cruising NCL but I will factor a Specialty meal plan into my costs.

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Actually I think there is every incentive to make the included food good, only a tiny % of passengers eat specialty, so many, particularly first timers, go away only with the memory of the included food.

Really, I count 8 or 9 specialty restaurants on the Escape, and they are mostly NOT SMALL. Just eyeballing it, the square footage of all of them is about equal to the square footage of the three dinning halls combined. The Manhattan Room is about the size of Cagney's and Moderno combined. If only a "tiny percentage" eat there, it seems like a big waste of space.

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Food in NCL's MDRs is definitely of a lower quality than Royal Caribbean or even Carnival. I would describe it as mediocre at best. The fare at Moderno, Le Bistro, and Cagney's is excellent, but, of course, it costs more.

What people often forget, is when you pay say $30 for a specialty restaurant, you are also paying for the meal in the dinning room or buffet you didn't eat. That $30/person meal really becomes a $45/person meal. When they drop what they are paying per meal in the dinning room or buffet, they have to increase the price of the specialty restaurants to make up for it, and over the years, they definitely have.

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Last month, we were aboard the NCL GEM, Canada/New England, NYC to Quebec City.

 

Visiting the East Coast, one would have expected lobster to be served at some MDR dinner. No lobster. A disappointment.

 

Maybe I'm showing my age, but when we started cruising with Royal Caribbean many years ago, they offered lobster EVER night. The only lobster we have seen in the last few years is Celebrity still seems to have it once on 7+ day cruises.

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Maybe I'm showing my age, but when we started cruising with Royal Caribbean many years ago, they offered lobster EVER night. The only lobster we have seen in the last few years is Celebrity still seems to have it once on 7+ day cruises.

 

 

RCCL is still serving lobsters once on 6 day or longer cruises. Just like Celebrity(they I believe serve lobster regardless of length)

I’m not sure when lobster was served every night.

We started to cruise with major lines in North America in 2003 and it was always 1 lobster night per cruise with each of them.

Except for Princess which had 2-3 themed buffets with limitless lobsters, crabs etc. I believe Holland now also has lobster buffet once per cruise.

 

RCCL on Quantum class did have 4 themed included MDR 2-3 years ago where guests could rotate between restaurants or eat it any. One was Grande where surf and turf was served nightly, but this system was discontinued.

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Haven't eaten in the MDR for three cruises and will not eat there on our upcoming cruise in December. Sounds like we are doing the right thing.

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Maybe I'm showing my age, but when we started cruising with Royal Caribbean many years ago, they offered lobster EVER night. The only lobster we have seen in the last few years is Celebrity still seems to have it once on 7+ day cruises.
Mt first RCCL cruise was 1987 (Song of Norway, oh what a nice ship that was) and we cruised RCCL primarily back in those days. It was always just one lobster night as I remember it.

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Very little variety in the Garden Cafe. Mostly chicken or meatloaf. When there is rare a fish option, it is fried.

Up goes the fees, down goes the food quality.

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10 minutes ago, IrieBajan54 said:

Very little variety in the Garden Cafe. Mostly chicken or meatloaf. When there is rare a fish option, it is fried.

Up goes the fees, down goes the food quality.

 

Are there any restaurants you would recommend to a new NCL cruiser?

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19 minutes ago, IrieBajan54 said:

Very little variety in the Garden Cafe. Mostly chicken or meatloaf. When there is rare a fish option, it is fried.

Up goes the fees, down goes the food quality.

 

I couldn't disagree more with this comment.  I find that on the NCL ships I've been on the buffets have had great choices.  Indian food, carving stations, sandwich stations, BBQ, soups, great baked goods, salad bars, etc.   

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On 10/6/2018 at 7:39 PM, CruiseGal999 said:

NCL's food is decidedly getting worse. My last cruise where NCL served REALLY good/impressive food, was 2013 on the Spirit Barcelona to Venice.

 

But 2017 NCL Sky to Cuba ... HORRIBLE food. 2018 NCL Gem, HORRIBLE food. SO salty, my hands and feet puffed up immediately and I only ate 2 bites! Mislabeled food in the buffet. Label stated Something Tortilla ...and it was a Frittata! Put regular coffee in the Decaf dispensers. ALL of the meats were TOUGH ... so overcooked and tough. It was just all around horrible.

sorry you had such a horrible dining experience. I never expect to enjoy the buffets like I do other restaurants. This is on a ship or on land. Buffets are nothing more than fast food for people in a hurry and want a variety. 

 

WE have been sailing since the early 1980s and yes we have seen food quality slip on all lines, but we have seen the selections improve. As for NCL, with the rare exception we have seen the food in the past year or two improving not the other way around. There are a few disappointments, but over all, whether specialty dining or MDR I have no complaints. For those who want to depend on the buffet, don't expect quality at all. 

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5 hours ago, newmexicoNita said:

sorry you had such a horrible dining experience. I never expect to enjoy the buffets like I do other restaurants. This is on a ship or on land. Buffets are nothing more than fast food for people in a hurry and want a variety. 

 

WE have been sailing since the early 1980s and yes we have seen food quality slip on all lines, but we have seen the selections improve. As for NCL, with the rare exception we have seen the food in the past year or two improving not the other way around. There are a few disappointments, but over all, whether specialty dining or MDR I have no complaints. For those who want to depend on the buffet, don't expect quality at all. 

My comments were about the MDRs mostly.  The very few times I did eat at the buffet ... it was also horrible.  But I DO expect the MDRs to get it right ... and they don't.  

I'm going on a Princess cruise next week.  I've seen people write about how good the food is on Princess.  We'll see.  

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We sailed the Gem in April/May, and found almost all the food to be very good.  We ate in 3 specialty restaurants (Cucina, Cagneys, LeBistro) and had a couple of dinners in the MDRs.  Of the two, we preferred the Grand Pacific in part because it is such a beautiful venue.   The sushi we had at the sushi bar was fantastic.  The Garden buffet for breakfast - found the food good, no better or worse than you'd expect in a cafeteria --  only gripe was the crowded spaces.  (and then there was the time an elderly gentlemen who was clearly racist shared our table and we got up and left.)

I'm surprised to see so many poor reviews.  As a previous post said -- we didn't have to prepare the food, or wash the dishes.  And someone was always putting a napkin on our laps. 🙂   Sitting by the windows watching the sea and sunset.   Now that's what it's really about.

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First cruise on NCL Star last month and I really enjoyed the food. I only ate at MDRs or buffet and I quite liked everything. The appetizers at the MDR were great and changed every day and the main courses were also yummy with different choices each day. The buffet was good too for breakfast and lunch (never ate there for dinner). A lot of choices too including chicken, beef, sandwiches, salads, fries, pizza.

I enjoyed trying new foods without worrying about disliking them since I could always ask for something else. And no cleaning up or cooking! Perhaps I'm not picky ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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I cant get over the idea of germs, germs, germs.  Will try to use one of the mdrs for breakfast and lunch. 

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On 10/8/2018 at 9:08 PM, ano said:

 

Maybe I'm showing my age, but when we started cruising with Royal Caribbean many years ago, they offered lobster EVER night. The only lobster we have seen in the last few years is Celebrity still seems to have it once on 7+ day cruises.

 

You can get 2 lobster tails at Walmart for 20 bucks. Why are people so hung up on lobster? Meh. 

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2 minutes ago, craigvphillips said:

 

You can get 2 lobster tails at Walmart for 20 bucks. Why are people so hung up on lobster? Meh. 

When people save up all year to go on "vacation" they don't want meals that they eat the other 358 days of the year. I personally like scallops also, but they were nowhere to be found, even on NCL's "Seafood Night."

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31 minutes ago, zitsky said:

I cant get over the idea of germs, germs, germs.  Will try to use one of the mdrs for breakfast and lunch. 

You might give Oceania a try.  There is no self service in the buffet. 

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1 hour ago, ano said:

 

When people save up all year to go on "vacation" they don't want meals that they eat the other 358 days of the year. I personally like scallops also, but they were nowhere to be found, even on NCL's "Seafood Night."

 

Thats the thing, the tiny lobsters they used to serve aren’t expensive. Scallops might even cost more. 

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Its been a few years that I have been on NCL but I sort of have the opposite reaction as this thread.  In 2015 NCL revamped their MDR menus and they were much better.  I found the specialty restaurants went down in quality.  Cagneys removed all the seafood or quality appetizers for much lower cost soups, wings, and sliders.  They were good but not the better quality stuff that Cagneys was known for.  We also thought La Cucina was less quality too.

Edited by david_sobe

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We were on the Epic for 22 days in April this year and got off of the Adventure of the Seas 2 weeks ago. I had trouble finding something interesting on the MDR menu on both ships. We actually found the food to be better at the buffet. Maybe it is just me as I might be tiring of cruise ship food after 36 cruises.

 

John

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