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Food Quality on Long vs Shorter Cruises

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Has anyone noticed a difference in food quality on shorter 4 to 7 day cruises compared to longer 10 to 21 day cruises? Is the food selection more limited on longer cruises? Is the food better on longer cruises because they are able to correct mistakes or issues that arise and come closer to perfecting the preparation? 

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I wouldn't say it is better or worse. they do tend to reinvent certain dishes towards the end. Still better than me cooking it at home.

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I would echo that.  the menus get a touch repetitive on long cruises (or for that matter on repeated short cruises!)  IME (and this can be line specific) all ingredients are sourced internationally so there are no "mistakes" etc. to correct.  Everything is produced in exactly the same way from exactly the same ingredients on more or less every ship in the line.  There are exceptions with some smaller lines who source some ingredients locally, and possibly river cruises in Europe are also slightly different.  But for the larger sea going lines - no difference.

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6 minutes ago, GastroGnome said:

I would echo that.  the menus get a touch repetitive on long cruises (or for that matter on repeated short cruises!)  IME (and this can be line specific) all ingredients are sourced internationally so there are no "mistakes" etc. to correct.  Everything is produced in exactly the same way from exactly the same ingredients on more or less every ship in the line.  There are exceptions with some smaller lines who source some ingredients locally, and possibly river cruises in Europe are also slightly different.  But for the larger sea going lines - no difference.

On our 33 night cruise we only had one menu in the MDR make an encore, some dishes did, but only one complete menu, I don’t know about you but I’d say at home the menu repeats a lot more than that.

 

and of course we could always have eaten elsewhere on the encore night, as we did anyway.

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On a back to back Alaska cruise, the southbound portion tends to have less fresh fruit and vegetables.  It makes sense, as very little is grown in Alaska, so most or all produce goes onto the ship before it heads to Alaska.  Expect fresh watermelon on the way up, canned peaches on the way down.  Not a big deal.

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I think we had better food and better service on the smaller, older ships, but we prefer to go on the Oasis class ships because there is much more to do, and not because of food quality. That being said , our all time favorite was the Ovation!

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The answer depends greatly on the type of cruise line you choose.

If you go mass market, the answer is easy.

The majority of mass market cruisers try to eat their money's worth for the first 72 hours of a cruise.

On day 4 they all realize at the same time that they are going to die soon if they continue at that pace.

From day 4, food consumption drops considerably.

Mass market lines load the menus with the cheaper items for the first 3 days of the cruise to save a lot of money.

From day 4, the better quality items start appearing.

That's the same time that most mass market cruisers are on a self-imposed "diet", which lasts until the final day or so of the cruise. Then they pig out on the final 24 hours to save money for the trip home.

 

If you cruise the premium or luxury lines, there is a completely different pattern.

Most of these cruisers do not feel the need to eat themselves sick, just because it is "free'.

Food consumption starts quite low, and continues low until the end of the cruise, when the Chef puts out all the luxury items he wants you to remember when you fill in your cruise rating forms. The final 1 or 2 nights see an increase in food quality and consumption - but nothing as shocking as on the mass market ships.

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On 6/10/2019 at 6:33 PM, papadave said:

On a back to back Alaska cruise, the southbound portion tends to have less fresh fruit and vegetables.  It makes sense, as very little is grown in Alaska, so most or all produce goes onto the ship before it heads to Alaska.  Expect fresh watermelon on the way up, canned peaches on the way down.  Not a big deal.

 

So true...it all depends on where the ship has been.  I was on a Caribbean repo from Boston and the ship (RCI Jewel Of The Seas) had just done a northern cruise up to Canada.  We lucked out as the ship was loaded with lobster from Canada and it was some of the best we ever had on a ship.  And yes that was a longer 12 day cruise.

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On ‎9‎/‎20‎/‎2019 at 7:48 PM, Donald said:

 

Mass market lines load the menus with the cheaper items for the first 3 days of the cruise to save a lot of money.

From day 4, the better quality items start appearing.

 

 

 

This is one of the most ridiculous things I've read on CC in a long time......

Edited by bouhunter

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1 hour ago, bouhunter said:

This is one of the most ridiculous things I've read on CC in a long time......

I have been a F&B Director and Hotel Manager on 29 different cruise ships for 11 different cruise lines over the past 38 years.

Ridiculous - yes.

True - yes.

 

There are many more stories that you probably will not believe:

On one of the companies I worked, we announced free bloody marys and free pizza in every bar starting 30 minutes before dinner on "Lobster Night". Everyone stampeded into the bars to get the free drinks, each of which consisted of nearly a liter of tomato juice, a tiny hint of vodka, and lots of spices. Then we gave them a massive slice of pizza, with lots of toppings. After 2 of the "free bloody marys" and 2 huge slices of pizza, they moved to the dining room - so full of tomato juice and cheap pizza that they could not eat any lobster or steak. We saved millions in food cost over a year's time. Nobody ever caught on.

Ridiculous - yes.

True - Yes.

Clever - very.

 

Bear in mind that the mass market lines have very limited food cost budgets. Typically they budget between US$7 and US$9 per person per day for the 8 meals you choose to eat every day. With the predictable high consumption on the first 3 days of a 5 or 7 day cruise, they cannot stay within cost targets if the better food items are on those first 3 days' menus.

 

If you take a longer mass market cruise - with the same high consumption during the first 3 days - they have more lower consumption days in the middle of the longer voyage to average out the higher initial costs.

Edited by Donald

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2 minutes ago, Donald said:

I have been a F&B Director and Hotel Manager on 29 different cruise ships for 11 different cruise lines over the past 38 years.

Ridiculous - yes.

True - yes.

 

There are many more stories that you probably will not believe.

On one of the companies I worked, we announced free bloody marys and free pizza in every bar starting 30 minutes before dinner on "Lobster Night". Everyone stampeded into the bars to get the free drinks, each of which consisted of nearly a liter of tomato juice, a tiny hint of vodka, and lots of spices. Then we gave them a massive slice of pizza, with lots of toppings. After 2 of the "free bloody marys" and 2 huge slices of pizza, they moved to the dining room - so full of tomato juice and cheap pizza that they could not eat any lobster or steak. We saved millions in food cost over a year's time. Nobody ever caught on.

Ridiculous - yes.

True - Yes.

Clever - very.

Wow - interesting! :classic_tongue:

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Hi Donald,

 

Great to hear of your extensive experience.  What would you say were the best ships or lines, in your time, for food service?  

Edited by CGTNORMANDIE

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