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Wishing on a star

General Info about food on the Nieuw Statendam. (HAL overall)

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Okay,  I know that food is subjective!!!!

And I know the 'cheerleaders' are ready to ascend to their lofty perches...

 

But, I am hoping for some general feedback on a few things.

In specific,  I am wondering about how salty, processed, ingredients like MSG, fake additives/flavorings/fillers, etc...

 

I know that nobody here can make a comparison.  Especially since Princess just recently re-did their menus and recipes.  But, I have recently sailed Princess, with their new ( cut-back ) menus and recipes.

And, just to be open and honest.  I am worried that I simply can not handle 10 days on HAL - Niew Statendam if the quality and artificial ingredients in most of the food are as bad as I experienced onboard the Regal Princess.   

 

Does anyone else here, with these kinds of sensitivities and issues, have any insight?

 

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MSG is not fake.  Not sure what you are really looking for. My guess from your laundry list is you will be very unhappy on a HAL cruise. You picked a mass market cruise line. Bring your own food is the only solution.

Edited by OlsSalt

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I do find food quality can vary a bit among the ships.  And yes, I know food is subjective.  

 

I don't like salty food either.  The most salt I find is in the gravies - so I ask for the gravy on the side and taste it.  If it's ok, I'll use it and if not, I don't.  I'm actually not a big gravy fan anyways so prefer a lot less than a lot more 😉 

 

If your question pertains to the N Statendam, there are several LIVE threads on the go.  One by Vict0riann (although they will be disembarking shortly) and another by Btimmer.  I would go to both threads and ask the question.  All of the posters are pretty forthright and not cheerleaders.

 

Other than the gravies, I didn't find food overly salted/ with artifical stuff on our Prinsendam or Rotterdam cruises (this year and last).

 

Just one subjective opinion 😉 

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13 minutes ago, OlsSalt said:

MSG is not fake.  Not sure what you are really looking for. My guess from your laundry list is you will be very unhappy on a HAL cruise. You picked a mass market cruise line. Bring your own food is the only solution.

 

A lot of people have reactions to MSG including DH.  Many Chinese restaurants here have eliminated it for good reason 😉

 

OP - I haven't noticed MSG in the HAL menus.  DH is sensitive to it (I'm not a fan either) and we would certainly notice if there was.

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25 minutes ago, OlsSalt said:

... My guess from your laundry list is you will be very unhappy on a HAL cruise. You picked a mass market cruise line. Bring your own food is the only solution.

 

... or pick a different cruise line.

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16 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

A lot of people have reactions to MSG including DH.  Many Chinese restaurants here have eliminated it for good reason 😉

 

OP - I haven't noticed MSG in the HAL menus.  DH is sensitive to it (I'm not a fan either) and we would certainly notice if there was.

 

Mayo Clinic will beg to differ with your conclusions,  but I  won't start another battle of the cut and paste wars on this topic. 

 

MSG is a traditional part of many Asian cuisines, as much as lard is a critical flavor component of Mexican food. But both have been now labeled as "dangerous" food stuffs and fallen out of use in mainstream Asian and Mexican dining. 

 

As Julia Childs wisely observed ..... Americans, they are so afraid of their food .........

Edited by OlsSalt

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35 minutes ago, Wishing on a star said:

...  In specific,  I am wondering about how salty, processed, ingredients like MSG, fake additives/flavorings/fillers, etc...

Does anyone else here, with these kinds of sensitivities and issues, have any insight?

 

 

If you have special (medical) dietary needs or are allergic to MSG or sodium (salt) or a host of other food additives/ingredients, HAL will make every effort to accommodate your needs if you will contact HAL Access & Compliance at (800) 547-8493 before your cruise and also discuss the matter with the Food Service Manager once you are onboard.

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1 hour ago, OlsSalt said:

MSG is a traditional part of many Asian cuisines, as much as lard is a critical flavor component of Mexican food. 

 

Not in REAL Mexican food - not in any of my books, not in any of the recipes that my MIL has.  DH is Mexican.  No MSG at all nor lard.

 

Sorry, won't belabour the point but REAL Mexican food has no need for MSG nor lard and there is none in any of the recipes I have 😉  Nor was it in his mother's larder or any of our relatives that I am aware of 😉 

 

Maybe in TexMex but NOT Mexican. And some of my recipes are pretty old 😉 

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13 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

Not in REAL Mexican food - not in any of my books, not in any of the recipes that my MIL has.  DH is Mexican.  No MSG at all nor lard.

 

Sorry, won't belabour the point but REAL Mexican food has no need for MSG nor lard and there is none in any of the recipes I have 😉  Nor was it in his mother's larder or any of our relatives that I am aware of 😉 

 

Maybe in TexMex but NOT Mexican. And some of my recipes are pretty old 😉 

 

Just sayin".....' from "ingredients in Mexican food: our Calif Mexican restaurants always brag they use no lard, so it appears to be a normal expectation in this cuisine, which is highly regional and pigs were a post contact addition I suppose: Lard flavor cannot be duplicated.  Dang, now I did get dragged into another cut and paste but what else can I do when faced with your stark incredulity?

 

Fats 

When it comes to using fats in recipes, you won't find butter in classic Mexican cuisine. Today, most cooks will use vegetable oil, but the more traditional fat to cook with is lard. Lard, which is pig fat, gives a wonderful flavor to refried beans and the masa (cornflour dough) used for tamales.

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9 minutes ago, OlsSalt said:

but what else can I do when faced with your stark incredulity?

 

WOW!  that's pretty insulting since I do KNOW something about REAL Mexican food.  It's you who seem to have a hard time understanding that some of us might KNOW something about this.  

 

You quote "look up" items and use California Mexican as your example?  That's NOT Mexican food.  It's Tex Mex IMO. 

 

In any case, I know my husband's heritage even if you don't.  I cook it too and pretty dam well as well as Spanish cuisine.  

 

So, we will agree to disagree but please don't make comments on things that you are not accurate on.  I KNOW.  That heritage is in our family and I honour it for DH.

 

 

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4 hours ago, OlsSalt said:

 

Mayo Clinic will beg to differ with your conclusions,  but I  won't start another battle of the cut and paste wars on this topic. 

 

MSG is a traditional part of many Asian cuisines, as much as lard is a critical flavor component of Mexican food. But both have been now labeled as "dangerous" food stuffs and fallen out of use in mainstream Asian and Mexican dining. 

 

As Julia Childs wisely observed ..... Americans, they are so afraid of their food .........

Just a culinary trivia tidbit: Garum was a condiment used by the Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines made of fermented fish, I'm guessing like Vietnamese fish sauce? It was also high in MSG and used as an umami flavor enhancer. MSG has been used in one form or another all over the world for thousands of years.

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5 hours ago, kazu said:

 

A lot of people have reactions to MSG including DH.  Many Chinese restaurants here have eliminated it for good reason 😉

 

OP - I haven't noticed MSG in the HAL menus.  DH is sensitive to it (I'm not a fan either) and we would certainly notice if there was.

I am allergic to MSG and mushrooms, hence I always fill in the food allergy forms prior to sailing.  HA claims it doesn't use MSG at all; however, I've been denied certain soups with the maitre'd telling me it had MSG!!

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2 minutes ago, sevenseasnomad said:

I am allergic to MSG and mushrooms, hence I always fill in the food allergy forms prior to sailing.  HA claims it doesn't use MSG at all; however, I've been denied certain soups with the maitre'd telling me it had MSG!!

 

MSG is a naturally occurring compound in some foods. Perhaps HAL was erring on the side of caution by alerting you to the soups that have ingredients that naturally contain MSG.

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Thank you everyone!

If we do consider this cruise,  ( which I will admit, we might not do this... ) perhaps I will look further into addressing things like low-salt, no MSG, etc...  with the cruise line / staff before sailing.

 

PS:  on our last cruise, mentioned, it was almost impossible to try to mitigate or navigate, as it was not simply sauces, gravies, etc... With the new menus and recipes, the huge majority of the foods/dishes seemed to be almost like pre-processed salt/MSG/artificial ingredient loaded, totally thru and thru.  Even simple potato sides.

 

Any other good insight would continue to be helpful.

 

If these issues are true with all 'mass market' cruise lines...

And more upscale lines with better food are out of our budget, for sure...

Our sailing days might be limited.

Edited by Wishing on a star

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17 minutes ago, Wishing on a star said:

Thank you everyone!

If we do consider this cruise,  ( which I will admit, we might not do this... ) perhaps I will look further into addressing things like low-salt, no MSG, etc...  with the cruise line / staff before sailing.

 

PS:  on our last cruise, mentioned, it was almost impossible to try to mitigate or navigate, as it was not simply sauces, gravies, etc... With the new menus and recipes, the huge majority of the foods/dishes seemed to be almost like pre-processed salt/MSG/artificial ingredient loaded, totally thru and thru.  Even simple potato sides.

 

Any other good insight would continue to be helpful.

 

If these issues are true with all 'mass market' cruise lines...

And more upscale lines with better food are out of our budget, for sure...

Our sailing days might be limited.

 

IF you wish to book the cruise, I would defnitely contact in advance and let them know.  There are forms to fill out and you might need to remind your waiter on the first night but HAL is pretty good at taking care of those who can't eat certain things.

 

You might even get a special menu offered each night for the next night's meal. 

 

We honestly haven't needed to do this as we can work around it easily with great waiters in the MDR and the other specialty dining venues 😉 . But, my issues are very minor and can be worked around easily with a bit of help from my friends. 😉 

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7 hours ago, Wishing on a star said:

Okay,  I know that food is subjective!!!!

And I know the 'cheerleaders' are ready to ascend to their lofty perches...

 

But, I am hoping for some general feedback on a few things.

In specific,  I am wondering about how salty, processed, ingredients like MSG, fake additives/flavorings/fillers, etc...

 

I know that nobody here can make a comparison.  Especially since Princess just recently re-did their menus and recipes.  But, I have recently sailed Princess, with their new ( cut-back ) menus and recipes.

And, just to be open and honest.  I am worried that I simply can not handle 10 days on HAL - Niew Statendam if the quality and artificial ingredients in most of the food are as bad as I experienced onboard the Regal Princess.   

 

Does anyone else here, with these kinds of sensitivities and issues, have any insight?

 

If quality food is on the top of your list when it comes to cruising, you may want to try an Oceania cruise as their food is great!! We personally have no issues with HAL's food, except for maybe their scrambled eggs, but Oceania's food offerings and free specialty restaurants simply wow us each time we cruise with them. 

Edited by Ken the cruiser

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Perhaps splurge and dine in the specialty restaurants most nights? I'll bet you can get more personalized attention and menu alternatives in those venues. 

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7 hours ago, OlsSalt said:

MSG is not fake.  Not sure what you are really looking for. My guess from your laundry list is you will be very unhappy on a HAL cruise. You picked a mass market cruise line. Bring your own food is the only solution.

Are you even capable of being pleasant? The OP's question was not posed in a confrontational manner, and was eminently reasonable.  The first thing you did was pop into the thread with a completely unhelpful and 'aggressive' answer. May I also suggest you brush up on your reading comprehension. The OP never indicated that he or she believed that MSG was fake.  If you're going to be a bully, at least make sure you have your I's dotted and your T's crossed.

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We brought a granddaughter who was allergic to many, many foods, but HAL worked with us to make safe choices.  Our basic plan with her was to stick to what we knew was safe, especially whole foods... fresh and steamed vegetables, fresh fruits, poultry, (she couldn't eat meat or fish) and sorbet... they brought us the container to read for ourselves.  She received a copy of the next night's menu to make her selections.  We always requested "No Sauce or "No Gravy".  She brought a few of her safe condiments: a salad dressing, and non-dairy margarine, special bread (not just gluten free but legume free) and rented a small in-room refrigerator for $2/day.   The Lido Chef is always available whenever the Lido is open and he became our best friend, we could always ask for him to advise us about ingredients.  

HAL will provide many alternative foods such as gluten free items, milk alternatives even stevia instead of artificial sweeteners.  

I suggest you make wise choices selecting foods that will not have fillers:  choose the fish - usually excellent, especially if it is billed as "fresh"; whole meats instead of meatballs or something that is mixed together or breaded.  Mains are usually accompanied by a few vegetables and maybe a starch, but some of the starches are combination foods like potato croquettes for example, so request a baked potato or rice instead.  Choose whole eggs or request your omelet be made with fresh-cracked eggs not from the bowl of beaten eggs; avoid the cold cuts of ham, roast beef, turkey as they are all processed - go to the carving table instead and they will carve meat and make your sandwich fresh... at least they were doing so on Koningsdam earlier this month when we were aboard.  

 

I think you will find HAL helpful with information when you ask, but the choices for your health or taste are your responsibility to chose appropriately for you as there will be a very broad variety of foods available.   

As expressed already, HAL is a mass-market cruise line.  The food is good to very good, occasionally excellent in most people's opinions but it is not custom made.  

Happy planning, m--

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7 minutes ago, RMLincoln said:

We brought a granddaughter who was allergic to many, many foods, but HAL worked with us to make safe choices.  Our basic plan with her was to stick to what we knew was safe, especially whole foods... fresh and steamed vegetables, fresh fruits, poultry, (she couldn't eat meat or fish) and sorbet... they brought us the container to read for ourselves.  She received a copy of the next night's menu to make her selections.  We always requested "No Sauce or "No Gravy".  She brought a few of her safe condiments: a salad dressing, and non-dairy margarine, special bread (not just gluten free but legume free) and rented a small in-room refrigerator for $2/day.   The Lido Chef is always available whenever the Lido is open and he became our best friend, we could always ask for him to advise us about ingredients.  

HAL will provide many alternative foods such as gluten free items, milk alternatives even stevia instead of artificial sweeteners.  

I suggest you make wise choices selecting foods that will not have fillers:  choose the fish - usually excellent, especially if it is billed as "fresh"; whole meats instead of meatballs or something that is mixed together or breaded.  Mains are usually accompanied by a few vegetables and maybe a starch, but some of the starches are combination foods like potato croquettes for example, so request a baked potato or rice instead.  Choose whole eggs or request your omelet be made with fresh-cracked eggs not from the bowl of beaten eggs; avoid the cold cuts of ham, roast beef, turkey as they are all processed - go to the carving table instead and they will carve meat and make your sandwich fresh... at least they were doing so on Koningsdam earlier this month when we were aboard.  

 

I think you will find HAL helpful with information when you ask, but the choices for your health or taste are your responsibility to chose appropriately for you as there will be a very broad variety of foods available.   

As expressed already, HAL is a mass-market cruise line.  The food is good to very good, occasionally excellent in most people's opinions but it is not custom made.  

Happy planning, m--

 

👍👍👍  Thanks for the upbeat Post RMLincoln.  Your experience mirrors ours to a "T", as HAL has always been  attentive to all of my spouse's contact dermatitis and food allergy needs.  Also, thanks & kudos to HAL!  👐

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2 hours ago, stickey_mouse said:

Perhaps splurge and dine in the specialty restaurants most nights? I'll bet you can get more personalized attention and menu alternatives in those venues. 

 

Based on our experience over 20+ years of cruising with HAL, there is no need to dine in the specialty restaurants in order to have your food allergy needs accommodated.  See Posts # 8 & 20 above for more info. 

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16 minutes ago, avian777 said:

 

Based on our experience over 20+ years of cruising with HAL, there is no need to dine in the specialty restaurants in order to have your food allergy needs accommodated.  See Posts # 8 & 20 above for more info. 

 

Of course not. I was just suggesting that if someone were truly preoccupied with ingredients, freshness, and customization, he or she might receive maximum accommodation in the specialty restaurants. 

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9 hours ago, kazu said:

 

Not in REAL Mexican food - not in any of my books, not in any of the recipes that my MIL has.  DH is Mexican.  No MSG at all nor lard.

 

Sorry, won't belabour the point but REAL Mexican food has no need for MSG nor lard and there is none in any of the recipes I have 😉  Nor was it in his mother's larder or any of our relatives that I am aware of 😉 

 

Maybe in TexMex but NOT Mexican. And some of my recipes are pretty old 😉 

 

Your statement about not using lard in "REAL Mexican food" is certainly at odds with the experience and views of the many Mexicans we have known over the years - to a person, they extole the virtues of lard (manteca) and especially pork lard (manteca de puerco).  Likewise, famous Mexican chefs (such as, for example, Aaron Sanchez, Rick Bayless, Ana Garcia, Zarela Martinez, and Enrique Olivera) recognize lard as a "central ingredient in Mexican cooking".  While your DH, your MiL and you may not use lard in your cooking, rest assured that most authentic Mexican chefs do.  But don't take my word for it - do some research and read some books by/about the chefs named above and about the history of Mexican cooking. 

Edited by avian777

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I suggest that for dinner in the MDR you request a fixed dining option so that you have the same wait staff every night. The first night make your servers are aware of your dietary concerns and they will take care of you each night to the best of their abilities. My SIL is so allergic to MSG that too much can put him into an allergic shock. He was a Navy Seal and this allergy came to light while he was in service and even the Navy was able to provide MSG free food to accommodate him.  If MSG added to food is so safe why are more and more prepared foods labeled MSG free?  My Granddaughter is so extremely lactose intolerant that the fried coating on fish prepared with  powdered milk or buttermilk ingredients will make her seriously ill, but most restaurants will gladly make sure that any food served her is lactose free. 

 

Edited by terrydtx

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