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Cruise Selection - Good Food Critical

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

You ARE kidding, right?

I have eaten pizza all over North America. Nothing compares to pizza on RCI cruise ships.

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12 hours ago, lenquixote66 said:

I have eaten pizza all over North America. Nothing compares to pizza on RCI cruise ships.

 

Can you name a few of the places “all over North America” whose pizza fell short  of RCI’s?   I am not doubting you, but it would be helpful to start a “don’t eat this pizza” list.

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We have all seen the signs that say "Worlds Best Coffee".  The guy who did all the tasting must be totally wired.

 

Next cruise (April) is on RCI.  Definitely going to try the pizza.  We have been on somewhere between 25 & 30 cruises and have yet to eat pizza on a cruise ship.  I like pizza.  Until now I just didn't think it would be good on a cruise ship.     

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15 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

 

Can you name a few of the places “all over North America” whose pizza fell short  of RCI’s?   I am not doubting you, but it would be helpful to start a “don’t eat this pizza” list.

Lenny and John's ,Brooklyn,NY

Brooklyn Pizza,Albany,NY

Two Guys from Brooklyn,Houston,Texas

I could go on if necessary

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My good friend Thurston Howell III and his wife Lovey swear by the pizza on Oceana.  Just sayin . . . :classic_biggrin::classic_biggrin::classic_biggrin:

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8 hours ago, lenquixote66 said:

Lenny and John's ,Brooklyn,NY

Brooklyn Pizza,Albany,NY

Two Guys from Brooklyn,Houston,Texas

I could go on if necessary

 

Don’t bother going on - having experienced RCI pizza, which in my mind is just fair, I now know of a few more to grade a tad below fair.  

 

I suggest you try Colony or Remo’s  in Stamford;  or for the truly superior (New Haven style, naturally),  Sally’s or Frank Pepe in New Haven or Red Tomato on the Guilford-Madison town line on U S 1.  

 

Then come one back and discuss pizza. (Perhaps the understandable euphoria of being on a cruise impacts your sense of taste.)

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I know Ct has great restaurants . I had a friend who lived there ,he since relocated to Fla ,but every year my wife and I would travel from NY to Ct just for lunch and conversation .

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I am so glad that I have read this thread.  A year or two ago we vowed never to sail with RC again due to the quality of the food and thought that it was just RC that was affected.   We have just booked a HAL Alaska cruise for the end of May. For us, the food is very important.  We like to feel that we are having a “dinner party” each evening and eating food that we would not necessarily have at home.  One dinner option with our last RC cruise was cottage pie (stewed minced beef topped with browned mashed potato), which is a very low budget meal in the U.K.  So disappointing.

 

If the food on our upcoming HAL cruise is not a bit better than RC then we will not be cruising ever again as we cannot afford what we want. And I love cruising.

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1 hour ago, Sue's Mom said:

...

 

If the food on our upcoming HAL cruise is not a bit better than RC then we will not be cruising ever again as we cannot afford what we want. And I love cruising.

 

In my experience, the food on HAL has regularly been superior to that on RC — however the quality on HAL has been deteriorating over the past dozen years.  At the beginning of this century, HAL was generally (and rightly) recognized as destinctly superior to other mass market lines:  clearly above Carnival, NCL and Royal Caribbean, and a notch above Princess and perhaps Celebrity.  Their pricing, while clearly below the recognized “luxury” players, seemed a bit higher than the mass market’s average.

 

 Sadly, their management elected to leave that niche and to compete on the basis of price - they have succeeded in holding down price, while having largely lost what made them worth a slightly higher price.

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The only truly great cruise line food for us was on a Cunard ship

Edited by lenquixote66

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5 hours ago, lenquixote66 said:

The only truly great cruise line food for us was on a Cunard ship

Which I guess just shows how subjective food is, Cunard food didn’t impress me, at all.

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53 minutes ago, GUT2407 said:

Which I guess just shows how subjective food is, Cunard food didn’t impress me, at all.

And we certainly agree with Mr. and Mrs. Gut..regarding Cunard food.  It was very disappointing.  Friends of ours who were on the same crossing also were not pleased with the food they got in the "Grill" which used to be a legendary venue.

 

Hank

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53 minutes ago, GUT2407 said:

Which I guess just shows how subjective food is, Cunard food didn’t impress me, at all.

We have cruised on 6 different lines.Cunard ,the best followed by Celebrity,RCI,HAL,NCL and Carnival.Taste is solely a matter of opinion.

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On 1/24/2019 at 11:04 AM, lenquixote66 said:

Being overweight has always been a negative to me. I endeavor to eat healthy ,exercise and be happy. 

 

It's a negative for you if others on the ship are overweight?  Wow, life must be hard for you if you're spending so much energy being emotionally involved in the way other people look. 

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I have to wonde: where do all the gourmets, who are so dismissive of cruise ship meals, eat out when ashore?   It strikes me as strongly probable that the people who frequent mass market cruise ships are likely to be the same people who frequent land based mass market restaurants.  I have never found any mass market restaurant to provide meals (or service) equal to what is provided in mass market seagoing MDR’s (NCL excluded).

 

How are the Olive Gardens, Red Lobsters, Ponderosas, Long John Silvers, Bertuccis, etc. (not to mention McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, IHOP’s, Denny’s, etc.) able to attract the obvious millions of customers who daily keep them in business - in spite of the fact that those millions eating ashore have other options (bag lunches, eating at home, etc.) — those millions obviously including the gourmets who find cruise ship food so unsatisfactory - yet still flock in their millions to those shoreside establishments?

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On 1/24/2019 at 8:04 AM, lenquixote66 said:

Being overweight has always been a negative to me. I endeavor to eat healthy ,exercise and be happy. 

 

Me too.  Sadly, I agree with you that a lot of people tend to over eat on cruise ships -- too easy.    

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7 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

those millions obviously including the gourmets who find cruise ship food so unsatisfactory

Why is that obvious? 

There are also millions and millions of people who don't go to those restaurants, and maybe the "gourmets who find cruise ship food so unsatisfactory" are among those millions instead. 

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We are definitely not gourmets. We just know what we like. We do not visit any restaurants, save for eating in a pub (public house) once every two weeks to keep in touch with our gang of friends.  On board we just like to eat well cooked quality food that we would not normally cook at home and not something that we consider low budget food.  

 

I agree about passengers eating way too much. The number of times a person can eat in one sitting overflowing plates of food is phenomenal!  And we find that quite sickening.

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9 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

I have to wonde: where do all the gourmets, who are so dismissive of cruise ship meals, eat out when ashore?   It strikes me as strongly probable that the people who frequent mass market cruise ships are likely to be the same people who frequent land based mass market restaurants.  I have never found any mass market restaurant to provide meals (or service) equal to what is provided in mass market seagoing MDR’s (NCL excluded).

 

How are the Olive Gardens, Red Lobsters, Ponderosas, Long John Silvers, Bertuccis, etc. (not to mention McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, IHOP’s, Denny’s, etc.) able to attract the obvious millions of customers who daily keep them in business - in spite of the fact that those millions eating ashore have other options (bag lunches, eating at home, etc.) — those millions obviously including the gourmets who find cruise ship food so unsatisfactory - yet still flock in their millions to those shoreside establishments?

The only chain restaurant I get food from is Chipotle, only because my kids love it, and that’s about 6 times a year, tied with a school fundraiser. I live in an area with so many great restaurants (dd22 and her boyfriend’s just used the $300 gift certificate I gave them at our favorite local restaurant, which offers a seasonal tasting menu). We also have great inexpensive restaurants, there are a lot more independent restaurants here than chains. I love to cook, don’t work, and won’t make the same meal more than twice a month. My kids are pretty adventurous eaters.

 

That said, I’m fine with the MDR food. I’m not expecting to be wowed, I’m expecting banquet food, but with more options. I also don’t order pasta.

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9 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

I have never found any mass market restaurant to provide meals (or service) equal to what is provided in mass market seagoing MDR’s (NCL excluded).

Our local Longhorn has much better food and service than what we experienced on Norwegian Getaway in December. And, apparently, RCI's food took a nose dive since 2014 (our last time with them and we didn't enjoy the food all that much then either), so I am sure it's not going to be as good. We'll find out in a couple of months.

 

I do find Regal Princess's MDR food up to November 2017 to be much more superior to NCL, RCI and Longhorn. But, apparently, Princess just switched up the menus and ingredients this summer, so we'll see how it fares in November 2019.

 

P.S. We do not eat at Olive Garden, Red Lobster or Outback anymore, because the quality of food has become unsatisfactory to us. We do eat Wendy's and Chick Fila weekly because it's fast food, and our local Wendy's is pretty good. The quality of food is inconsistent across other Wendy's restaurants around here. Chick Fila is always consistent, and we like their food.

Edited by Itchy&Scratchy

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Hi,

 

So navybankerteacher raised a good question when they asked (I'm going to paraphrase) - where do foodies go out to eat?.

 

This is a question I some insight into, but I'd like to tell you a bit about me so you can understand how I have come to form my opinion.  I live in a small university town, where the total metropolitan area is around 235,000 people (i'm extrapolating from 2010 census data). As a university town, in spite of our geographical location we have a very large population from the east and west coasts along with large numbers of people from Europe and Asia.

 

In this town my wife owns a gourmet grocery store.  By gourmet we carry whole fresh grade A Foie Gras, Duck Confit, Iberico de Bellota, we fly in Grade 1+ Sushi/Sashimi Grade Tuna from Japan, Loup de Mer from France, Dunbarton Blue, Black Truffle Gouda, 3-8 year old parmigiano reggiano, we make fresh pasta in house, we carry an exclusive curated selection of wine and spirits.  Therefore, the gourmet's/foodies who live here tend to shop at my wife's store.

 

We don't make much money running the business, but we really love sharing the finest food on earth with people.  We also know most people in town do not shop with us.  The idea of paying $125.00/lb for ham is insane to many people.  We understand that, but - the idea of paying $6.00 for 6 slices of this amazing spanish ham, spending $4.00 on a quarter pound of Cabrales (An incredible Spanish blue) and $4.00 for a fresh french baguette give's you an amazing lunch for 2 for less than $15.00.  

 

And yet - only about 20% of the people who live here shop with my wife.

 

Food is a significant value to her customers.  And frankly, food just doesn't matter like this to most people.  Here's an example, there's a fellow here in town that I know, worked hard and built up an amazing business.  Sold it for a few hundred millon.  He's absolutly shocked that my wife is still in business because he's just as happy with a hot dog and a piece of velvetta as he would be with an imported Italian salami and fine italian cheese.

 

My point is that it's not about money.  It's about values.  

 

So far I've illustrated that 20% or less of the population seems interested in gourmet food and that while expensive money isn't always a driver.

 

So back to navybankerteacher's question.  Where do these people go out to eat?  They eat at food trucks, they eat at quick service dining restaurants, they eat at fast casual restaurants and yes - we also eat at Daniel, Per Se, and Osteria Francescana.

 

It's not about the money.  Yes, we need to budget for Per Se (we are not wealthy people) - and while some people wouldn't bat an eyelash about having a couple of car payments totaling $600.00 a month - those same people would never consider a $600.00 dinner.

 

For us - we choose no car payment but we do choose crazy awesome dinners.  We choose the memories of great food over things.  

 

We are weird people.

 

Most people don't make this choice in this fashion.

 

I will admit, when I booked our cruise I did make the mistake of assuming that by dining in the specialty restaurants all 4 days we would have a somewhat better experience than we did - therefore I started this thread and I asked where's a better meal.  

 

Again - food wasn't bad (the ragù alla bolognese at Jamie's Italian was the finest I've ever had, the mushroom soup at Chop's was great, the Main Dining Room's Duck Mousse was awesome, the FREE coffee on the promenade restaurant was perfectly acceptable).  But yes, overall we were disappointed with the quality of the food. 

 

We were willing to pay Royal Caribbean more for food (we ate all of our on-board lunches and dinners at specialty restaurants, and all breakfasts in the main dining room.

 

This being said - we have had some of our best food ever at food trucks (Shrimp Trucks Hawaii) - we love good food.  We don't care if it's expensive or not, we're just looking for awesome.

 

So gourmet's eat everywhere.  We simply make an effort to eat well regardless of where we are eating.

 

I did not mean to come off as dismissive of Royal Caribbean, I will say again we enjoyed some of the food and over they exceeded our every expectation.  We will cruise again and soon, we loved it.

 

Just please god don't tell me you are giving Buffalo Mozzarella and then put an ordinary piece of cow's milk domestic mozzarella on the table, don't tell me it's a prime steak and serve me choice.

 

Thanks for the all the responses.

 

Bart

 

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10 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

I have to wonde: where do all the gourmets, who are so dismissive of cruise ship meals, eat out when ashore?   It strikes me as strongly probable that the people who frequent mass market cruise ships are likely to be the same people who frequent land based mass market restaurants.  I have never found any mass market restaurant to provide meals (or service) equal to what is provided in mass market seagoing MDR’s (NCL excluded).

 

How are the Olive Gardens, Red Lobsters, Ponderosas, Long John Silvers, Bertuccis, etc. (not to mention McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, IHOP’s, Denny’s, etc.) able to attract the obvious millions of customers who daily keep them in business - in spite of the fact that those millions eating ashore have other options (bag lunches, eating at home, etc.) — those millions obviously including the gourmets who find cruise ship food so unsatisfactory - yet still flock in their millions to those shoreside establishments?

 

I don't see that many people posting here who claim to be gourmets. The OP is clearly someone with knowledge of food and the food industry and who has a passion for it.  Many others who post about food are complaining more about the degradation of quality from previous levels than about a desire for truly gourmet food.

 

I enjoy good food and do not frequent any of the chains you name. I live in a large city with several large ethnic populations and a thriving food scene (though not by any means Manhattan). 

 

However, I know more or less what to expect from food on cruise ships and will freely admit that I cruise for the ports and the adventure, not really for the food (though I expect it to be relatively good and tasty). I like real foie gras and caviar, I like authentic Asian food, I adore truffle shaved over a perfectly cooked egg, etc. -- but the likelihood of getting these on most ships is small, and I'm okay with that. One thing I will do is try to eat the occasional meal ashore and experience good local cuisine.

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Sue's Mom said:

We are definitely not gourmets. We just know what we like. We do not visit any restaurants, save for eating in a pub (public house) once every two weeks to keep in touch with our gang of friends.  On board we just like to eat well cooked quality food that we would not normally cook at home and not something that we consider low budget food.  

 

I agree about passengers eating way too much. The number of times a person can eat in one sitting overflowing plates of food is phenomenal!  And we find that quite sickening.

 

With respect to low budget food, I prefer to think of it as "comfort" food (macaroni & cheese, hearty soups, cottage pie, etc).  Some cruisers are not adventurous eaters and like to have "safe" options like the comfort foods that they are familiar with from home.  The nice thing about most MDR's is there are several menu options hopefully providing a good choice for everyone.

 

I find mainstream cruising to encourage over-indulgence on all levels, including but not limited to food.  I know we eat and drink more on vacation than we do at home, and suspect others do too.  We also nap more often, stay up later, and spend more time in the sun than we would in a normal week at home. 

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The same night as cottage pie was on the menu, there was also steak. The waiter suggested I ordered something else as the steak was tough and not nice!

Edited by Sue's Mom

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1 hour ago, Bart Basi said:

while some people wouldn't bat an eyelash about having a couple of car payments totaling $600.00 a month - those same people would never consider a $600.00 dinner.

 

For us - we choose no car payment but we do choose crazy awesome dinners.

well, yeah, when I lived in a small college town (80K people), I didn't even need a car. Now that I live in a 4M people metro area without public transportation or sidewalks, I must have a car. And no, I would never pay $600 for a dinner, even if I didn't have a car. But 3 years of $400/month car payments paid for a car I can use for the next 10-15 years. This car will deliver me to my work place, where I will earn the money to pay for mortgage and $60 dinners.

Edited by Itchy&Scratchy

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