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Has specialty dining improved since 2015?

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On 10/18/2018 at 11:03 AM, Vyhanek said:

2015, I seem to remember lobster in every Specialty Restaurant.    

I think if your basis for measurement is 2015, you will be terribly disappointed.    

The food today is good.   But I've been cruising NCL a long time and even during the decade where NCL's food was truly awful.......You know that's when we coined the term..."Subjective".    Back then it wasn't subjective, it was awful!     But then around 2013/2014 (can't remember) NCL decided they needed to be more competitive and the food improved dramatically.    Around 2015 it was really good!    Great cuts of steaks, lobster.....there really was no reason in 2015 to complain and like I said, I never fell in line with the bull...."Food is subjective" folks!!

The food now is still good.   There isn't lobster to be seen on the whole ship, not even if you are willing to pay a huge premium, you can't even get it.   The steaks are good but not like they were a couple years ago.    I don't hear people complain about the food, I saw no reason for complaint.     But it isn't to the quality standards of 2015.

I was really looking forward to having lobster on my upcoming cruise, the Norwegian Gem, sailing on Nov Nov 3rd.  I think the last time I sailed must have been around 2014, if I member correctly, and I was on the Princess.  I had lobster then.  I'm disappointed.  I'm not going to lie.

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On 10/20/2018 at 1:34 AM, gambit57 said:

 

Princess is the same.  They have "Drop and Sail" cruises for super cheap like the one you found.  My parents are Elite there and like those cruises.  It's cheaper than staying home.  Other lines like Carnival have super cheap deals too.

 

I did the Bliss to Alaska.  It cost the same as my Disney Cruise to the W. Caribbean, but I was in a Balcony with Disney and just an Oceanview with NCL.  Granted, the Disney one was in December and the Bliss was September, but the cost was nearly exact.  And I didn't have to buy a soda package on Disney.

 

There's no price advantage with NCL.  Used to be.  Not anymore.

Your comparing apples to oranges. Alaska is 3 times the price of a Caribbean vacation. The Disney Fastasy and Norwegian Epic are sailing almost the exact itinerary from Port Canaveral on Dec 29, 2018. Epic inside cabin is around $800 per person, Disney is $1800 per person and more than twice the price for every room category.

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17 hours ago, DeeBerry said:

I was really looking forward to having lobster on my upcoming cruise, the Norwegian Gem, sailing on Nov Nov 3rd.  I think the last time I sailed must have been around 2014, if I member correctly, and I was on the Princess.  I had lobster then.  I'm disappointed.  I'm not going to lie.

 

17 hours ago, DeeBerry said:

I was really looking forward to having lobster on my upcoming cruise, the Norwegian Gem, sailing on Nov Nov 3rd.  I think the last time I sailed must have been around 2014, if I member correctly, and I was on the Princess.  I had lobster then.  I'm disappointed.  I'm not going to lie.

I think we were all disappointed when NCL stopped the lobster. I think other lines are joining the "no Lobster" club. I always just tell myself: the Lobster they served was pretty crappy Lobster anyway and that makes me feel better for about an hour anyway. Yes, Lobster and sailing used to go hand in hand. 

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We found the standard has really dropped on NCL dining over the last three years--so much so that we are trying other lines.

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On 10/21/2018 at 4:10 AM, newmexicoNita said:

You must have gotten a very special deal: there is no way, one can actually think they can get a Disney cruise for the same price as an NCL cruise if one considers itinerary, the cost of port charges, the class of ship etc. Now, if you were on one of Disney's oldest ships that is a totally different story The Bliss is brand new,as you know and Alaska is more expensive due to cost of taxes and port charges in Alaska. 

 

Absolutely.  It's not completely apples to apples.  But can anything really be when you're comparing cruise lines?  There are always going to be differences.

 

I didn't get a special Disney deal.  I got multiple quotes.  They were all the same except for how much on board credit they would kick in.  It was on the Fantasy.  "Newer", but didn't have the newest changes in the kids areas.  Yes, the Bliss is brand new.  I'm well aware that time of year matters too.  Conversely, it was a Balcony cabin on Disney vs just an Ocean View for Norwegian.

 

I could have chosen a different Norwegian ship (the Pearl was following us) and got a much better room for a better price.  I could have gotten a cheaper Disney room, and gotten a cheaper price.  You can argue what ifs all day long.

 

Still, at the end of the day, I  went on a Disney cruise for the exact same price as a Norwegian cruise.  Disney is in the same general class as Norwegian.  It's not like comparing Norwegian to Seabourn or something.  The OP was asking about dining.  The specialty dining, on Norwegian's brand new ship, in my opinion, and just my opinion only (well, along with the people I sailed with), was that the specialty dining was nothing special.  Disney's standard main dining room stuff was better.  I only brought up price because the default response tends to be "well, Disney costs more" so I just mentioned it to say, no, Disney doesn't necessarily cost more.

Edited by gambit57

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Compared to the other cheaper lines I have been on (Royal and Carnival), it’s pretty good.  Don’t know how they compare to MSC or Princess.  Wouldn’t expect them to be as good as the next tier cost lines (ie Celebrity, Disney, Holland, etc).  

 

I only go to La Cucina on long cruises to mix it up.  It’s the worst of the group IMHO.

 

i don’t bother with Moderno either.  I have 3 Brazilian steakhouses where I live - no ship is going to compare.

 

Cagneys and Bistro have always been great every time I have gone.  Tepanyaki has been ok to me - but you are paying for the entertainment and not really the quality of food.

 

My favorite specialty is Qsine on celebrity. My least favorite is Sushi on 5 on Celebrity - was even worse than Cucina.

 

i don’t do the buffets, but even when the MDRs are good, I’ll still go to several specialties per cruise.  NCLs are better than average imho.

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We were on the Escape last month. We had five dinners in specialty dining venues: La Cucina twice, Le Bistro twice and Cagney's once. La Cucina and Le Bistro dinners were all excellent. Cagney's was fair. The steak has not lean and the sides were pedestrian. Nevertheless, the overall specialty dining program is something we have always enjoyed on NCL. The MDR is fine, but it is nice to have this level of variety on a cruise ship. Note: our waiter in La Cucina told us they would soon change their menu to pizza/pasta only. I would assume that may change the experience in La Cucina. 

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16 hours ago, mistertoaster said:

We were on the Escape last month. We had five dinners in specialty dining venues: La Cucina twice, Le Bistro twice and Cagney's once. La Cucina and Le Bistro dinners were all excellent. Cagney's was fair. The steak has not lean and the sides were pedestrian. Nevertheless, the overall specialty dining program is something we have always enjoyed on NCL. The MDR is fine, but it is nice to have this level of variety on a cruise ship. Note: our waiter in La Cucina told us they would soon change their menu to pizza/pasta only. I would assume that may change the experience in La Cucina. 

Darn I hate to hear that: I really enjoyed it the last few cruises and yes I think it will change the entire experience. Who wants to pay extra for just pizza and pasta. Of course if the pasta is good maybe that isn't an awful idea. We will give it a try regardless on our Feb cruise. 

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I'm not sure "improved" is the correct word to use, but it has changed quite a bit. I remember the days before specialty restaurants and you only had the MDR's. They served conch fritters on the Dream that you could bounce on your plate, and they would hit the person sitting across from you in the forehead. They would come to your table with your salad dressing choices and the Italian dressing had relish as one of it's ingredients. It's better today but I do miss the big steaks in Cagney's, and the previous menus in Le Bistro. Has it dropped a little in the last few years? Maybe. But overall the food is pretty good. Last year on the Pearl, I thought all the specialties were fine.  I do miss the open grill BBQ's around the pool on sea days. The food was just ok but it was a nice atmosphere. I'll be on the Jade in February and I expect some good meals and some not so good meals. Same as always. There still will be some wings and a beer in O'Sheehan's around midnight, if I'm hungry.

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On 10/17/2018 at 9:38 PM, Shellbelle28 said:

Not 100% sure how to answer your question because I've found most specialty restaurants to be quite good, so our standards may differ. With the exception of La Cucina... it is awful! 

We sailed on the Pearl in 2015 and again last month. 

Le Bistro- 2015, much of menu not really to our tastes but we tried it. Loved the French Onion soup. DH's steak was prepared incorrectly twice. I don't remember what I had. 2018, didn't go. 

Cagneys--2015 good steakhouse style food, not a Morton's or Ruth Chris, but very good food and service. 2018- ate there 5 out of 7 nights, very happy. 

Moderno- 2015, good food, service spotty. 2018- food quality seemed better, service much improved. 

Teppanyaki- 2015 food good, showman style service and separate parties at the same table means you eat, wait for others to be served, eat, wait some more, wait some more, eat. All to the accompanying clanging of 12 steel spatulas on the table cook tops. Food was good but we gave it a pass in 2018.

La Cucina- 2015, not that great but super good Calamari appetizer. 2018, unspeakably bad. Even the calamari. Olive Garden would be better. (Possible prejudice disclosure DH is from Italian family with current roots in NY). 

And this is a perfect example of tastes/experiences are so different. Just read on another post from 2 people that say LaCucina was very good. One from a restaurant owner and 1 from an Italian person who said even though it's not compatible to a restaurant in Italy however  for cruise ship it was quite surprising how good it was.

 

 

Thats why I love food threads , no one will ever agree on them. Even when  restaurant owners and ancestry origin folks claim the good, bad, and ugly.

 

😂😂😂 Have yet to starve on a cruise ship.

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About the only thing that we like about specialty dining is the venue and atmosphere.  Over the last 10 years the food quality and service has been on the down slope.  Of course the price has gone way up in that time.  It is just another example of NCL cutting to the bone to make a tiny bit more profit.

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On 10/21/2018 at 6:52 AM, newmexicoNita said:

Remember, the galley serves a lot of food, to a lot of people every day. We can not expect, even for the extra price, the same experience we get at our favorite, upscale, small dining place on land. 

Maybe not the same "experience", but we certainly can and should expect similar food quality.  This idea that they serve a lot of food so they get a pass on the quality is wrong and we shouldn't tolerate it.

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1 hour ago, PATRLR said:

Maybe not the same "experience", but we certainly can and should expect similar food quality.  This idea that they serve a lot of food so they get a pass on the quality is wrong and we shouldn't tolerate it.

Because you have so many negative comments about NCL I have to wonder why you do not cruise another line and just forget NCL? You don't have to tolerate what you perceive as less than top of the line food. I happen to feel differently: If I go to a upscale land restaurant I will pay anywhere from $50 to $100 for a basic meal including a glass of wine On a cruise ship, if not using a UDP or platinum meal I will pay about 1/2 that amount. Of course the food is not going to be as superior 

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For me I feel like the Specialty Restaurants are very consistent to a fault even.  The menus stay the same and the food always tastes exactly how I remembered it.  Sometimes that's a good thing like when I have my favorite raspberry creme brulee from Cagney's.  Sometimes it's not a good thing when you've been to all of the restaurants 15-20 times and wish they had something new to try. 

I really love Le Bistro.  The food is good but the atmosphere really makes that dining experience for me.  

 

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IMHO the trouble with these questions is that they are a bit like "has music improved since 1985?". 

...well that depends on what you like...

 

I've been cruising NCL for 10+ years and have found the specialty food (and experience/ambiance) to be generally very consistent and of decent quality/value for money. That's just me however...

 

Judging by recent threads here, NCL may be taking a different approach and are lowering the standard in the MDR's. That alone makes my decision for me.

 

Just my $0.02

 

 

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38 minutes ago, newmexicoNita said:

Because you have so many negative comments about NCL I have to wonder why you do not cruise another line and just forget NCL? You don't have to tolerate what you perceive as less than top of the line food. I happen to feel differently: If I go to a upscale land restaurant I will pay anywhere from $50 to $100 for a basic meal including a glass of wine On a cruise ship, if not using a UDP or platinum meal I will pay about 1/2 that amount. Of course the food is not going to be as superior 

Not that it's any of your business, but I really enjoy my time on NCL cruises.  You may cruise for the meals, I cruise for other reasons.

 

But to the point - what exactly did I say negative about NCL in the post you quoted?  What I was negative about was your lame excuse.  and I'll also point out that in the post I quoted, YOU were the one who made a negative statement about the food, not me.

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17 hours ago, PATRLR said:

Not that it's any of your business, but I really enjoy my time on NCL cruises.  You may cruise for the meals, I cruise for other reasons.

 

But to the point - what exactly did I say negative about NCL in the post you quoted?  What I was negative about was your lame excuse.  and I'll also point out that in the post I quoted, YOU were the one who made a negative statement about the food, not me.

not just once but often you have made negative comments about NCL . Let me add, and that is all I have to say, is: we all have different reasons for cruising, mine has little to do with the food to be honest and I think it is ok to voice our feelings within reason. Over and out!!!!!

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6 hours ago, newmexicoNita said:

I think it is ok to voice our feelings within reason. Over and out!!!!!

That's funny.  Apparently it's OK for you to voice your opinion, but when I voice mine you ask me to cruise elsewhere. That's commonly referred to as hypocrisy.

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