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7 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

Perhaps.  But HAL does have to remain competitive with their "close" competitors Princess and Celebrity.  I view these three lines as being in the market for the same passenger base, more or less. I think a good number of cruisers monitor these three lines -- since they all seem to go up and down based on our own individual value assumptions. A few years ago Celebrity clearly seemed to have the best food of the three, but lately I have been hearing more praise for HAL. 

 

It's a bit unfortunate for the cruise lines that food has become a major touch point and preoccupation for many -- I see it slightly less in older passengers but among those in my age group and younger, food is an important component and one that will receive a lot of consideration when planning a vacation.  I say it's unfortunate because at the same time ALL cruise lines have made certain reductions in the quality of ingredients provided for most meals as well as simplifications in the number of courses presented and the removal of most items that are labor intensive (or replacement with pre-made, frozen, or similar).

 

However, I'm quite sure that each of the three lines named above monitors every step taken by the competition and how well those changes (positive or negative) are received....

 

All good points, CruiseMom.  A difference I see is that Celebrity, for example, has a more tiered system, with "better" restaurants for certain stateroom categories.  (Perhaps HAL is heading that way with Club Orange.)  In any case, with HAL putting a dollar figure to its entrees, it seems they become more accountable for the quality of those entrees.  Ultimately, of course, they have to dish up something "okay" or they lose their customers.  I just hope "okay" doesn't become good enough for HAL guests..

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I will occasionally order a second entre because I want to try the meat. I have only cruised RCI and one time Princess.  I have asked at times if I could only have the protein part of the entre because I generally don't want the additional veggie/grain on the plate.  Other than lobster, I have always been served the extras regardless of my request.  Right there is a way to cut back on food served and then wasted.  I realize it is easier for those serving to make each plate the same and not worry about special requests, but it is a food waste.  Someone at another table might look at my plate and think I am wasting food and not realize I actually asked for it not to be served.  So please, don't always judge what you see at another table. 

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35 minutes ago, AncientWanderer said:

 

All good points, CruiseMom.  A difference I see is that Celebrity, for example, has a more tiered system, with "better" restaurants for certain stateroom categories.  (Perhaps HAL is heading that way with Club Orange.)  In any case, with HAL putting a dollar figure to its entrees, it seems they become more accountable for the quality of those entrees.  Ultimately, of course, they have to dish up something "okay" or they lose their customers.  I just hope "okay" doesn't become good enough for HAL guests..

 

You're right that Celebrity is going for a more tiered experience, and not just in dining. I have to say it's a trend that's currently keeping me away from them as I am not a big fan...

 

If the only way to have access to what I consider decent food on mainstream lines is to book higher cabin categories, there will be no reason for me to not book higher-priced lines since -- as a solo -- the price I'd pay for a suite (at 200% solo supplement on HAL or Celebrity) would be roughly equivalent to a Crystal cruise (at 120% solo supplement) with many more inclusions -- and better food for everyone, not just a select few... Plus, I prefer smaller ships.

 

Edited by cruisemom42
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Celebrity does have higher tier restaurants, however food is their MDR is not worse than in HAL's MDRs. It is very good to great.

 Line that really disappointed us in terms of food for regular pax was Cunard. Everything else was perfect, but quality/variety of food in Britannia restaurant.

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On 3/2/2019 at 4:20 PM, rkacruiser said:

 

I agree with your opinion about menu description.  Sometimes, what sounds promising surely isn't!  (On Royal Princess,  their celebrity chef's entree of Roasted Pork Belly was on the menu that sounded good and I have never tried Pork Belly; I ordered it.  When my Steward served it, the entree didn't look appetizing.  After 3 bites, I knew if I attempted to eat, my digestive system would revolt because of the grease.)

I hate that you had bad pork belly! When done right it is amazing so please try again! 

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25 minutes ago, racnwdow said:

I will occasionally order a second entre because I want to try the meat. I have only cruised RCI and one time Princess.  I have asked at times if I could only have the protein part of the entre because I generally don't want the additional veggie/grain on the plate.  Other than lobster, I have always been served the extras regardless of my request.  Right there is a way to cut back on food served and then wasted.  I realize it is easier for those serving to make each plate the same and not worry about special requests, but it is a food waste.  Someone at another table might look at my plate and think I am wasting food and not realize I actually asked for it not to be served.  So please, don't always judge what you see at another table. 

DH being on low carb diet has requested veggies instead of carbs for the sides on HAL and they're always happy to comply.   On Princess, I asked for a main dish sized entree once, and  got it.   Having food allergies, they usually insist I pre-order everything.

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On 3/1/2019 at 8:57 PM, NSWP said:

But after the MDR you could go to the buffet for a top up., lol.

But only if you don't have a late dinner in the MDR. If you go after 7:30ish, I'd imagine the Lido would be closed before you finished in the MDR. 

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When HAL has roast turkey on the menu, you usually get one, thin slice of turkey, with a big lump of stuffing under it to make it look big.  Or with London Broil, maybe 2 or 3 skinny slices of the beef.   I don't want a whole 2nd entree, I just want a 2nd slice of the turkey, or maybe an extra slice of the London Broil.   No extra plate, no extra veggies, no delays to the other people at the table.   Would this be subject to the $10 fee ?

HAL is saying that the extra $10 charge will allow them to maintain their food quality.  Total BS !!   The total amount of additional revenue they would get by this extra charge would be a drop in the bucket compared to the food wasted in the Lido Buffet.   If they were concerned about food waste, then target the biggest offender, the Lido.   But doing that would require food police monitoring your consumption,  checking your key card when you enter the lines, generate arguments with the servers, and cheapen the whole cruising experience.   

If they wanted extra revenue, why not start charging a fee to sit and eat your lunch in the Lido pool area ?   They could put up curtains and private tables, and have waiters just for you...... and....and..... Oh. wait, I forgot, they already do this, they are called the Lido Cabanas.

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

You're right that Celebrity is going for a more tiered experience, and not just in dining. I have to say it's a trend that's currently keeping me away from them as I am not a big fan...

 

If the only way to have access to what I consider decent food on mainstream lines is to book higher cabin categories, there will be no reason for me to not book higher-priced lines since -- as a solo -- the price I'd pay for a suite (at 200% solo supplement on HAL or Celebrity) would be roughly equivalent to a Crystal cruise (at 120% solo supplement) with many more inclusions -- and better food for everyone, not just a select few... Plus, I prefer smaller ships.

 

Other than the smaller ships part, I don't really understand this post.  It's not like Celebrity's MDR is worse than HAL's.  In fact, I think its better.  Just because there is a suites-only restaurant on board doesn't mean the MDR is any different.  Otherwise, you can still book the specialty restaurants just like you can on HAL.  

And besides, doesn't HAL have Club Orange?

Edited by Aquahound
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23 hours ago, Tampa Girl said:

 

No, a test is not policy until it is officially implemented as a regular, ongoing practice.  My understanding of the present testing is to try it for a limited time (1-2 weeks) on two occasions during the month of March.  The first test is to limit the one-entree to gala evenings only.  The second test, on four different ships, is to test it on all MDR dinners.  

Gala night is probably the only night when I know we will be ordering an extra entree. I'll get whatever the main beef/lamb dish is and have some lobster tails added for the wife and I to share. So to me implementing it for Gala night seems a pure Cash Grab. Adding the lobster tail to regular main is almost like an additional appetizer, as when we order it, we say Tails Only, none of the other associated sides listed on the menu with them.  

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Although I probably won't sail with them, I'm seeing Virgin has the right mindset on cruising. It's a vacation. You should be able to enjoy it fully without worrying about a big bill at the end of your stay. A look at the model that Richard Branson is rolling out sounds promising. 

1.) All onboard dining is included. There isn't a buffet, but guests can dine at any of the onboard restaurants for free.

2.) No separate gratuity.

3.) All beverages included.

The price point is a bit out of my range right now, and the adults only factor is going to keep a lot of folks out as well, but still, not a bad way to run a line.

 

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22 minutes ago, Aquahound said:

 

Other than the smaller ships part, I don't really understand this post.  It's not like Celebrity's MDR is worse than HAL's.  In fact, I think its better.  Just because there is a suites-only restaurant on board doesn't mean the MDR is any different.  Otherwise, you can still book the specialty restaurants just like you can on HAL.  

And besides, doesn't HAL have Club Orange?

 

I was responding to the fear that if HAL rescinds the $10 charge for an extra entree, they might instead choose to reduce the quality of the food available in the MDR. 

 

Personally I find the MDR food on Celebrity has decreased over the last couple of years, although we enjoyed it very much previously. Princess last year was just terrible.  So yes, I do think quality in the non-suite/non-specialty dining areas has every chance of continuing to decline.

 

Despite a few changes, HAL has not largely espoused the idea of segregated spaces for certain passengers. Club Orange is their first real foray other than the Neptune lounge. These are nothing compared with the various areas that Celebrity is carving out for certain passenger levels with Edge and the "Revolution" of older ships...

 

 

Edited by cruisemom42
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I was annoyed to read that HAL is testing a $10 charge for ordering an additional entree in the main dining room.  The article I read said it was to prevent food waste, which is ridiculous.  Obviously it's to increase revenue.  The article also said a lot of people order an extra entree and don't finish it.  Well: Maybe they didn't finish it because it wasn't good!  The entree portions in the main dining room are not large, and my spouse and I sometimes order a third entree to share between us when we can't decide on just two entrees.  HAL: It's a bad, tacky idea.  FWIW:  When we were on the Nieuw Statendam recently, we took the main dining room up on its offer to order lobster for an additional charge (there's a card on every table advertising this option).  We had to wait 45 minutes (!!!) for the lobster.  We assumed they would comp the lobster after that long of a wait but all we got was a "sorry" from the embarrassed server and the head waiter.  We'll not try that again.  

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On 3/3/2019 at 11:03 AM, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

"a la minute" would improve some of the food item, but there are costs to that, as it requires more cooks to do the last-minute cooking. And it would also require more kitchen space, and that's a limited resource. 

 

I agree that there is a lot of potential waste that is not changed by the second-entree fee.' Food that has been prepped but not cooked and served can be "repurposed" for lunch items. DH and I used to joke about "cream of yesterday's vegetable soup." A good cook can make leftovers look new.

 

 

 

Oh  so correct.   Cooking 'A la minute is  called cooking to order.   And with the passengers of  500-600 for a 2.5 hour sitting  would  require  1.  that they  vastly enlarge the Galley. 2. drastically restrict the menu to a  2 items  per course.   3 double the number of line cooks   and thats for starters.    .     Using leftover everything to serve, in the next meals,  is a kitchen division called the Garde..    Soup, salad, canapes, appetizers  all get crafted with any waste. 

Then there is the Prep-cooks  who pre slice, dice, chop weigh, measure the food products necessary  for the Line Cook to assemble. 

The you have the Line cook divisions..  Grill, Saute, Sauce,  guys...     Its a small army       A good high class place  that seats 80 people might have 15 to 20 kitchen staff.   

 Real high mike Michelin*** might have 30 people. Paying for that level of quality is EXPENSIVE     People commonly pay $150 to $400 pp

You  want cook to order.... cool.   Just be prepared to dig deep into your wallet... $10 will be chump-change.. look at maybe 25-30 pp    Paying for

 Waste is the enemy of the kitchen brigade 

Serving banquet style means efficiency and half the cost of cooking to order.     In the old days, some restaurants  even scraped the leftovers on peoples plates into a big soup pot...

 

We are in changing times, costs of labor, food, everything, is going up.   We have 2 choices.  accept the changes that have to be made for the line to survive.    OR.... accept a big reduction in quality  and everything in order to not charge more. 

You can't have it both ways.... I wish   people could understand these are difficult times.   

 It can not stay as it was.   Hey  back in 1966  I could buy a corvett loaded... for $3600   now they are 50,000+

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My husband and I don't usually order a second entrée, except for on Gala Night because I usually order the surf and turf and give him my lobster tail.  Which leaves me with the small filet mignon, so I will usually order another entrée, since the filet is so small.  Can I order one of the other main dishes as an appetizer and have it brought at the same time?  Can you order an appetizer sized portion of the New York steak that is usually available nightly?

 

Is there somewhere I can find the Official Rules for this testing period? 

 

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1 hour ago, SailorJeff66 said:

Although I probably won't sail with them, I'm seeing Virgin has the right mindset on cruising. It's a vacation. You should be able to enjoy it fully without worrying about a big bill at the end of your stay. A look at the model that Richard Branson is rolling out sounds promising. 

1.) All onboard dining is included. There isn't a buffet, but guests can dine at any of the onboard restaurants for free.

2.) No separate gratuity.

3.) All beverages included.

The price point is a bit out of my range right now, and the adults only factor is going to keep a lot of folks out as well, but still, not a bad way to run a line.

 

 

Regent, Seabourn, are currently doing this...   The fare PP/PD  is  between $ 500-900   !!!!     Even Partial Inclusive like Viking, Oceaina, Azamar  its going to run $230 to 400 pp pd      Ya' know  10 bucks is not so bad is it  in reality with a $89- 139 pp/pd HAL cabin

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2 minutes ago, spirit-wedding? said:

My husband and I don't usually order a second entrée, except for on Gala Night because I usually order the surf and turf and give him my lobster tail.  Which leaves me with the small filet mignon, so I will usually order another entrée, since the filet is so small.  Can I order one of the other main dishes as an appetizer and have it brought at the same time?  Can you order an appetizer sized portion of the New York steak that is usually available nightly?

 

Is there somewhere I can find the Official Rules for this testing period? 

 

I've never heard of an appetizer sized portion of a NY steak.  Usually it's the entrée pasta that's served as an appetizer, or something like risotto.  On the first or second page of this thread, someone posted a photo of what it says on the menu.  I doubt you're going to find something called Official Rules.

 

Roz

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

I was responding to the fear that if HAL rescinds the $10 charge for an extra entree, they might instead choose to reduce the quality of the food available in the MDR. 

 

Personally I find the MDR food on Celebrity has decreased over the last couple of years, although we enjoyed it very much previously. Princess last year was just terrible.  So yes, I do think quality in the non-suite/non-specialty dining areas has every chance of continuing to decline.

 

Despite a few changes, HAL has not largely espoused the idea of segregated spaces for certain passengers. Club Orange is their first real foray other than the Neptune lounge. These are nothing compared with the various areas that Celebrity is carving out for certain passenger levels with Edge and the "Revolution" of older ships...

 

 

 

Ah yes the C:ASS system... people pay to feel better than the  other cruise trash..  I'm special, I am Elite, I am better.......What a bunch of garbage.    Cunard with their multi class  is  a bygone feudal system.. of have and have not's

  .   Classy lines like the inclusive dont do this   everyone gets treated the same outside  the cabin...

I wont sail Celeb or Cunard  because of this segregation ......

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2 minutes ago, Roz said:

I've never heard of an appetizer sized portion of a NY steak.  Usually it's the entrée pasta that's served as an appetizer, or something like risotto.  On the first or second page of this thread, someone posted a photo of what it says on the menu.  I doubt you're going to find something called Official Rules.

 

Roz

 

I haven't either.  I was just wondering if maybe they would serve it by itself without the sides.  Thank you I did see the blurb posted on the menu.  I think I will contact HAL directly since I will be on one of the participating ships during this testing period.

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

...

I was responding to the fear that if HAL rescinds the $10 charge for an extra entree, they might instead choose to reduce the quality of the food available in the MDR. ......

 

 

 

That’s my first thought on this also.

The really large shrimp in the shrimp cocktail of the past were gone from the MDR formal night, (much smaller) and the number of the really large shrimp in the PGs shrimp cocktail were reduced on my cruise last March.

 

The cost of food has gone up quite a bit in the past few years, so it bears looking at for cost control. I do it at home......

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3 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

You're right that Celebrity is going for a more tiered experience, and not just in dining. I have to say it's a trend that's currently keeping me away from them as I am not a big fan...

 

If the only way to have access to what I consider decent food on mainstream lines is to book higher cabin categories, there will be no reason for me to not book higher-priced lines since -- as a solo -- the price I'd pay for a suite (at 200% solo supplement on HAL or Celebrity) would be roughly equivalent to a Crystal cruise (at 120% solo supplement) with many more inclusions -- and better food for everyone, not just a select few... Plus, I prefer smaller ships.

 

 

You kiddo...have discovered reality.... and will profit from it on Crystal  or the other inclusive.  I too prefer ships under 1000  more like 700. tops.     I laude  your wisdom.

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Please see " one main  course"    a very lively discussion on peoples reaction to HAL'a decision to start charging  by first saying it is a test...     My take is its a done deal.. no matter how loud people yell.

 Your welcome to draw your own conclusion

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52 minutes ago, MarkWiltonM said:

I was annoyed to read that HAL is testing a $10 charge for ordering an additional entree in the main dining room.  The article I read said it was to prevent food waste, which is ridiculous.  Obviously it's to increase revenue.  The article also said a lot of people order an extra entree and don't finish it.  Well: Maybe they didn't finish it because it wasn't good!  The entree portions in the main dining room are not large, and my spouse and I sometimes order a third entree to share between us when we can't decide on just two entrees.  HAL: It's a bad, tacky idea.  FWIW:  When we were on the Nieuw Statendam recently, we took the main dining room up on its offer to order lobster for an additional charge (there's a card on every table advertising this option).  We had to wait 45 minutes (!!!) for the lobster.  We assumed they would comp the lobster after that long of a wait but all we got was a "sorry" from the embarrassed server and the head waiter.  We'll not try that again.  

You're a day late and a dollar short, as my father used to say.

 

Roz

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Although I have never ordered a second main course, I think this test is a problem. I remember some attempts to change something in the "food department" that failed miserably. And the shipping companies have rowed back.

 

For example:

Holland America has tried to change its tea brand. There was a big outcry and they reversed the change.

 

I think it was NCL who wanted to ban guests from taking food from the buffet restaurant. Allegedly for security reasons. Reversed too.

 

I fully understand that the shipping company wants to avoid wasting food. But to add an extra fee to normal food in the main restaurant is very difficult in the price segment where Holland America operates. The guests feel cheated.

 

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