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zentraveler

Coffee quality on HAL/Nieuw Amsterdam-- inquiring minds....

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We are on the Nieuw Amsterdam 7 day Alaska out of Vancouver at the end of June. A short 2 weeks from now 😎!  It is our first HAL cruise. so of course, I am spending time reading up on all the wisdom from the pros here. 

 

Is the coffee on these ships really that bad? And does it matter which boat you are on, or is this system wide? I realize I keep stumbling into many comments here and there in more general HAL reviews about how bad the coffee is. My experience is that coffee quality has a decent margin or error (i.e. most people not big connoisseurs and are fine with mostly what they get), which makes me think that it must be bad enough to stick in people's minds. Or HAL cruisers are  real coffee connoisseurs.

 

Since I appreciate my 1-2 cups in the morning a lot should I be prepared to switch to tea? Are there better places than others on NA to get a good early morning coffee? (since I am paying for the food/beverage part of the trip would prefer not to have to buy it, but also fine)  I also often travel with mini-moos because I truly hate artificial coffee "whitener" or coffee-mate. (I buy them for $10 for 128 through a big box retailer and they are truly handy for traveling.) Do I need to bring a few of those?  

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This is like food, you'll get tons of different answers.  Having sailed on almost all the HAL ships, I've never had a bad cup of coffee.  And I do love my coffee, so am pretty particular.  Too weak?  Ugh.  Bitter?  Yuck.  I prefer it on the strong side, I'm guessing those who say it's terrible like their coffee weak -- but who knows.  I will say that it's way better than the coffee on Celebrity.  I've never had a "good cup" (again, IMO) on a Celebrity cruise.

 

HAL has real milk and cream in dispensers, I see no reason to bring your mini-moos.  

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2 minutes ago, Cruising-along said:

This is like food, you'll get tons of different answers.  Having sailed on almost all the HAL ships, I've never had a bad cup of coffee.  And I do love my coffee, so am pretty particular.  Too weak?  Ugh.  Bitter?  Yuck.  I prefer it on the strong side, I'm guessing those who say it's terrible like their coffee weak -- but who knows.  I will say that it's way better than the coffee on Celebrity.  I've never had a "good cup" (again, IMO) on a Celebrity cruise.

 

HAL has real milk and cream in dispensers, I see no reason to bring your mini-moos.  

Thanks Cruising-along. I am generally not very persnickety and assume it will be good enough, but there just seemed to be so many comments! Also love strong coffee so undoubtedly should be fine. 

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Room service  cofee on most HAL ships is not their strong suit  MDRi  s beter on most ship.

 

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13 minutes ago, sail7seas said:

Room service  cofee on most HAL ships is not their strong suit  MDRi  s beter on most ship.

 

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I agree about the room service coffee!  Also the Lido, IMO, has good coffee.  I also like the Explorations specialty coffees -- not because the regular coffee is bad, but I just like to change it up once in awhile 🙂  

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We ordered a large pot from room service every morning on the NA in Feb. We wrote "STRONG" next to coffee on the room service breakfast card and it was excellent every time. MDR coffee seemed good too. We like good strong flavorful coffee so had it been warm brown water as we have had in the past, we would have just had to settle for coffee from the Explorations coffee bar (which also was good.) 

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Yup, like food,  highly subjective.  We did not like the coffee in the MDR or Pinnacle grill at breakfast,  strong, burnt, and usually not hot enough for us.  We were on the Nieuw Amsterdam 2 weeks ago. We were in a suite so had access to the wonderful coffee machine in the Neptune lounge and a pod maker in our cabin.  Explorations cafe could be your savior if you don't like the restaurant coffee.  😁

 

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22 minutes ago, zentraveler said:

Thanks Cruising-along. I am generally not very persnickety and assume it will be good enough, but there just seemed to be so many comments! Also love strong coffee so undoubtedly should be fine. 

And remember, people probably would be more likely to mention something they don't like (than say "the coffee was great!")  😄

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We take Starbucks instant with us.  And we befriend the steward at Explorations Cafe, spend some time trying various amounts of hot water added to a double-shot espresso there.  And when we find one combo that works, we continue to order that.

I am very picky about my coffee.  🙂  And I manage fine once we figure out the recipe 😉

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We just returned from Oosterdam Alaska cruise.  The regular coffee in the Lido was much too strong for us as it usually is.  We found the Decaf to be not as strong.  One morning I woke at 4 and couldn't go back to sleep so slipped out to the Lido for coffee and I think it had been there all night.  It was undrinkable.  And no milk or cream.  I had to make tea.  The Pinnacle Grill's coffee was better, but still strong. 

 

We were in a Neptune suite which had a coffee maker with different types of coffee.  We found one that we liked so asked the steward for several of those for our morning coffee.

 

  Next cruise we're taking our Keurig single serve maker.

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Pretty sure no heating appliances other than hair dryers and curling irons can be taken aboard. The keurig type machines in the highend suites are supposedly tested regularly.

 

The coffee in Lido is pretty bad! And I like strong coffee. I believe it is made from a syrup, not grounds (the standard on mainstream lines). Americano from Exploration Cafe is worth the upgrade.

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8 minutes ago, twentyknots said:

We just returned from Oosterdam Alaska cruise.  The regular coffee in the Lido was much too strong for us as it usually is.  We found the Decaf to be not as strong.  One morning I woke at 4 and couldn't go back to sleep so slipped out to the Lido for coffee and I think it had been there all night.  It was undrinkable.  And no milk or cream.  I had to make tea.  The Pinnacle Grill's coffee was better, but still strong. 

 

  Next cruise we're taking our Keurig single serve maker.

 

Clearly I found the right group of people to ask and just my style traveling! There is usually a strategy for getting what you need if you pay attention, so thanks for the tips and a heads up on places in the ship to look. I live in San Francisco and here in foodie heaven it really is hard to find bad coffee. There are the Blue Bottle type places on every corner it seems and one would go out of business anywhere serving bad coffee 😊.

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I've yet to have a good cup of coffee on any cruise line, including HAL, unless its in a latte or some other specialty coffee.  

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, VennDiagram said:

We take Starbucks instant with us.  And we befriend the steward at Explorations Cafe, spend some time trying various amounts of hot water added to a double-shot espresso there.  And when we find one combo that works, we continue to order that.

I am very picky about my coffee.  🙂  And I manage fine once we figure out the recipe 😉

 

@VennDiagram,  I also bring Starbucks Via as my emergency backup in suitcase +  1 spare  Starbucks Via in my purse.  It's quite decent. 

 

Q:  What is the ratio you liked re: espresso + water on your last cruise? 

 

ps:  Ruta Maya https://rutamayacoffee.com/  " EST. 1990 | Chiapas, MX - Austin, TX" is my current overall fave. 

I've had to switch to decaf coffee and coke zero.  Ruta Maya is by far the best decaf I've ever tried.    

With shipping, Costco becomes the best way for me to order. 

https://www.costco.com/CatalogSearch?dept=All&keyword=Ruta+Maya+Whole+Bean+Coffee

If you're in New Jersey, New York, or Pennsylvania, they will be coming to a road show near you with samples.

https://rutamayacoffee.com/pages/ruta-road-shows

image.png.80d276123abbd5f9321f17c94814c4dd.png

 

Edited by SempreMare

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Since we are talking coffee and this is a cruise to Alaska, Raven's Brew is a fabulous Alaska brand that we discovered in a small town in Alaska after a 2 week rafting trip down the Tatshenshini River from the Yukon into Alaska:    https://www.ravensbrewcoffee.com/our-coffee/.

 

Fabulous coffee and even better names.Deadman's Reach is our favorite but they are all good. It was started in Ketchikan.  We mail order it. 

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zen traveller, I think you can buy Raven's Brew in Ketchikan in Soho Coho 🙂 possibly along with a t-shirt emblazoned with a Raven's Brew label.

 

sempre mare we usually end up with 2 shots espresso, and hot water to the bottom of the top line of text on the cup in the smallest paper cup ....

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5 hours ago, crystalspin said:

Pretty sure no heating appliances other than hair dryers and curling irons can be taken aboard. The keurig type machines in the highend suites are supposedly tested regularly.

 

The suite coffee maker is similar to a Keurig but not nearly as good in our opinion.  Much better than the Lido though.  Thanks for the comment about not being allowed to bring Keurig on board.  Will confirm that before we bring one.

 

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I thought the coffee in the Main Dining Room was great.  Strong but not bitter and real cream (or probably half and half really).  I usually get coffee from the Explorations Cafe daily but only did one time this past cruise and it was great as usual.  You might be more picky about your coffee than me though.  I am strictly a Kuerig Starbucks Pike Place iced coffee drinker at home.

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7 hours ago, twentyknots said:

We were in a Neptune suite which had a coffee maker with different types of coffee.  We found one that we liked so asked the steward for several of those for our morning coffee.

 

Hi Harry!  Would you be able to use Kuerig pods in the Neptune suite coffee maker?  If you could you might just bring those next cruise.

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Not Harry but Kuerig pods will not work in the coffee machines in the Neptune Suites.

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50 minutes ago, freestyling said:

Not Harry but Kuerig pods will not work in the coffee machines in the Neptune Suites.

That is too bad..........  😞

 

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9 hours ago, Sharon in AZ said:

 

Hi Harry!  Would you be able to use Kuerig pods in the Neptune suite coffee maker?  If you could you might just bring those next cruise.

Hi Sharon.  So enjoyed meeting you and the others.  The suite coffee maker is similar in concept but freestyling is right; it uses a much smaller cup than the Keurig.

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I am not picky about coffee and have found the HAL coffee to be fine.  We have always refused to buy expensive coffees (I.e. Starbucks) on land or sea.

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17 hours ago, crystalspin said:

Pretty sure no heating appliances other than hair dryers and curling irons can be taken aboard. The keurig type machines in the highend suites are supposedly tested regularly.

 

The coffee in Lido is pretty bad! And I like strong coffee. I believe it is made from a syrup, not grounds (the standard on mainstream lines). Americano from Exploration Cafe is worth the upgrade.

I was on a tour and asked about the coffee and was told HAL uses grounds.  I have also been there in the Lido when they are “making the coffee” saw the filter and grounds.  Like everyone else has said tastes are subjective, I find the coffee too strong so I just cut it with a couple ounces hot water and for me tastes great.

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I actually like the coffee served at the lido so I found out the brand they use (it’s not syrup but regular ground coffee). It’s Beukenhorst and comes in 2 lb bags - decaf and regular. I order a couple bags at a time from the distributor in Florida - 561-514-3559. Ask for Robin.

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