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Mike981

MDR food - Do you feel Celebrity is living off its past reputation?

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No right or wrong answer, just what you have experienced.

For example I have seen people ask questions about the better/best MDR food on mass lines and many times someone will mention Celebrity.
Go ahead and tar and feather me, but I just don't see much of a difference from Celebrity, Carnival or Princess. I have not cruised other lines.
If a faithful Carnival cruiser wants to step up their food experience without specialty restaurants and asks the above question, I believe they would be disappointed.

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It seems to me that you're asking 2 different questions: How does today's X MDR compare with years ago? And. How does X's MDR currently compare with those of other mass market lines. One depends on how many years you've been sailing with X. The other depends on how many other lines you've sailed on, and how closely your taste preferences meshed with each of those lines.

 

I haven't sailed on X long enough to compare today with decades ago, but we quite like the quality and variety of food in the X MDRs. And their service has generally been very good to excellent.

 

We haven't sailed on either Carnival (and likely never will) or Princess, but have sailed on 4 other lines. We would put X in second place behind the QM2. 

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26 minutes ago, Mike981 said:

No right or wrong answer, just what you have experienced.

For example I have seen people ask questions about the better/best MDR food on mass lines and many times someone will mention Celebrity.
Go ahead and tar and feather me, but I just don't see much of a difference from Celebrity, Carnival or Princess. I have not cruised other lines.
If a faithful Carnival cruiser wants to step up their food experience without specialty restaurants and asks the above question, I believe they would be disappointed.

Based on our last cruise on the Summit 2 weeks ago, IMO opinion, Celebrity is definitely living off it past reputation. Forgetting about the Superior quality of the food on our first Celebrity cruise in 1993 when Chandris owned the line, and the Very Good to sometimes Excellent food on the Century in 1999 when RCI bought the line, the quality of the food in the MDR this last cruise was mediocre at best.

 

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I have been cruising on Celebrity since 1999 and have been on more than 100 cruises. At one time Celebrity was really known for the variety and quality of food. About the time Michael Bayley became CEO I noticed a real decline in food. Beef Wellington was replaced by Chicken Wellington, Osso Buco was removed from the menu and lobster tail was greatly reduced in size. After many complaints by passengers and staff these items were reintroduced and the food budget was increased according to several Maitre 'ds. Recently I've seen evidence that the cost cutting theme is returning with reduction in portion size and the elimination of items on the menu. I feel sorry for many of the very talented Executive Chefs who now are limited in what they can do. Unfortunately reductions have reached the Speciality restaurants. The French Onion soup in Tuscan was originally cream based, then it became a cheaper water base version, then it disappeared from the menu. I could go on and on, but I've said enough. This is not unique to Celebrity. Even some on the Crystal board claim a reduction in overall quality.

 

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The MDR on Infinity the last 12 nights  is the best food we’ve had in the MDR in the last 5 years (3 previous cruises on Eclipse) - superb, yes the usual menu, but a wide choice of veg and excellent large cuts of meat.  Tonight our final night prime rib must have been 16oz.

 

Buffet not as good

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Last spring I was on a HAL ship (Nieuw Statendam) and was wowed by their food in comparison to Celebrity (our prior cruises were on Silhouette and Reflection in the previous 2 years). It wasn't just the HAL variety, but also in the presentation. Going on Infinity in a few months and have reasonable expectations. But would love to be pleasantly surprised 🙂

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I agree with the two issues being asked:

1. Is Celebrity living off the past (MDR): yes, the MDR options have changed and although I enjoy the current menus, I think it’s not at the same level as years prior. But I’ll say that the options offered on the Edge’s 4 different DR’s were very good and was close to prior quality, in my opinion. 

2. Compared to other Lines (specifically Carnival/Princess): Although I found Princess and Carnival dining to be OK, I think Celebrity is a definite cut above. I’ve cruised with Carnival 4 times and Princess 3 times. I’ve cruised 25 Celebrity cruises so obviously I think X is a better package. But the way, this Does Not Make Me a Cheerleader, just someone who has found a good quality cruise line who also cruises with other Lines. 

 

By the way, I don’t really care that it was ‘better years ago’ because “So What”. I can’t go back and I find the current quality to meet my level of enjoyment. 

 

Den

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I'm not a "gourmet" nor do I claim to be one, far from it.

I have not been on as many cruises as most,. but, I have been on X several times and in my opinion I thought the food was quite good.

I am sure you could get "better" food if you went to a land based quality dining establishment but I think the food is very good being on a cruise ship !

I am sure I will get plenty of feedback, lol. 

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Bring  back Michael Roux...the pinnacle of X food and dining for us.! It was Modern Luxury.

 

Not terrible  now but went  in a diff direction from there....

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Back when we started cruising in 2001 there was NO NEED for a specialty restaurant to get a better meal. 

Sure we did go to the Olympic as well as the others when they were on board, but not for edible food but for the special ambiance they offered, almost theatrical to a degree..

 

The Michel Roux inspired menus and the service in the MDR was a complete world away from today's dining experience and was above some offered in today's so called Specialty venues.

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I got viciously attacked for saying that on the last 3 cruises in 2018,2019 the food was inedible on the two ships we sailed on, eclipse and infinity. After 3 nights in MDR  on the eclipse, we ate dinner in the buffet for the rest of the cruise.

 

Some here wanted me to explain every which way what inedible meant. I think it is pretty clear.

 

Since then , we have done a Viking O, cruise and are about to do some Oceania. Wonderful dining on Viking, no matter what stateroom you have. 

 

Here MDR is almost for those in steerage..after all what can we expect....if you want better, you have to spend and spend.....aqua, suites and above.....that is how classist Celebrity has become. 

 

are we still sailing Celeb? one out of seven cruises booked is Celeb..that says a lot, since we are elite plus and have spent many years and dollars with Celeb only.

 

for the one Celeb cruise I am prepared again to eat in Buffet...have no expectations..why then am I doing another celeb cruise...it is the only one I found that sails round trip to hawaii from LA.

 

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1 hour ago, m8zenblue said:

I'm not a "gourmet" nor do I claim to be one, far from it.

I have not been on as many cruises as most,. but, I have been on X several times and in my opinion I thought the food was quite good.

I am sure you could get "better" food if you went to a land based quality dining establishment but I think the food is very good being on a cruise ship !

I am sure I will get plenty of feedback, lol. 

You are right. Celebrity food is still decent, however this thread is about what it was in the past, when it was very different than it is today.

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2 hours ago, mom says said:

It seems to me that you're asking 2 different questions: How does today's X MDR compare with years ago? And. How does X's MDR currently compare with those of other mass market lines. One depends on how many years you've been sailing with X. The other depends on how many other lines you've sailed on, and how closely your taste preferences meshed with each of those lines.

 

 

I'm sorry if my question wasn't clear. I am talking about their reputation from the past proceeds them and some people going off of past events and stating it as fact today. Not comparing 1998 to today.

I honestly worry that some are being given old news. This is not a slam on Celebrity, just an observation that some have not updated to today's current product.

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While the quality of the food has dropped over the past few years, it hasn't been a significant decline IMO and we still enjoy dining in the MDR. Like all mass lines, Celebrity has to find ways to reduce costs in order to keep fare increases to a minimum, and food budgets aren't exempt.

 

As we haven't cruised on Princess or Carnival, I can't make a comparison. On the other hand, our other favourite line is HAL, and the same issue of declining food quality is discussed often and at length on the HAL board, with similar comments as you'll find here. I find the food on Celebrity and HAL to be quite similar, with a greater difference occurring ship to ship within a line than occurring line to line.

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We've been on Celebrity 3 times (2013, 2014 and 2019). Our perception was that the food was good but from 2014 to 2019 the quality did go down but it could have been a variance in how good the land based supply chain was or the chefs on the ship. We still rate it excellent and much better than I can make at home.

 

What I can tell you is last cruise we had the drink package so maybe the wine helped the food taste better?  It also helps that we had an excellent MDR waiter who steered us away from the food that got poor reviews and toward the better dishes. Our waited did tell us that over the past few years more salads have replaced the meat based starters so he recommended we order a non-salad so management would know there was still demand for it, which is good because our group wasn't a salad group anyways.

Edited by rjhelmes

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I am very surprised Nancy Shaw is again sailing Celebrity!?    Other ships regularly sail round trip to Hawaii including Royal and NCL.    Why spend money and time to be disappointed and eat in the buffet.   

 

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3 hours ago, hcat said:

Bring  back Michael Roux...the pinnacle of X food and dining for us.! It was Modern Luxury.

 

Not terrible  now but went  in a diff direction from there....

 

Agree about Michel Roux, we have been sailing Celebrity since early 90s and just got off Summit this week in Luminae.  We have eaten at most of the Specialty and several cruises in Blu.  I have said this before, we have not had a restaurant experience on Celebrity that matches the MDR in the 90s on Celebrity in terms of Food and Service.

 

As to living off their laurels, I think they do but not purposely.   If you  read various travel magazines they all still print almost the same wording on Celebrity food experiences that they did in the 90s up to now. 

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I can't speak for others, but given the right itinerary, I might be tempted to book knowing that I'd eat in the buffet. We've found that, as food quality has declined marginally in the MDR, the quality has improved in the buffet. 

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As you can see in my signature I have sailed on mostly all the mass market lines and have to say the quality of food on all lines has decreased. Some nights are better than other but all lines have been hit with the cost of doing business in this era. 

 

This is not just happening in cruise industry it’s pretty much all around us. 

 

These ship cost a fortune to build now and they are always thinking of ways to make money and food is one. In the past yes it was amazing to have those midnight buffet but when we think about it how much food was wasted. 

 

I also  believe that the decline in personal service has hurt more the experience than the food itself. We see that as soon as we get excellent service in the MDR suddenly the food seems to look and taste better. 

 

Was that decline in the MDR due to the reduction of crew members or possibly the automatic tipping ? That might be the real questions cruise line should ask themselves.

 

Virgin cruise line will have to be looked at closely with this new all inclusive approach on a mass scale .

 

The only thing that hasn't changed to me throughout the cut bakes are the rank of these lines.  They have pretty much  stayed the same as the past.

 

Will this stop me from cruising NO but I might consider branching out to other no mass market lines in the future.

 

Thanks 

Sea Ya 

Eric

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Yes it was better in 2002 (my first X) but those days are gone .Just got off Equinox and the M.D.R. food was very uneven prime rib ,rack of lamb very good . Other cut of lamb not very good, something  called a short rib (it was not) was one of the worst things  ever in an X M.D.R. Lobster was fine but we were not offered a second like the last couple of years . I do not think there is that much difference between lines these days . I do think the buffet is better at dinner than it has been .

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5 hours ago, nancyshaw said:

I got viciously attacked for saying that on the last 3 cruises in 2018,2019 the food was inedible on the two ships we sailed on, eclipse and infinity. After 3 nights in MDR  on the eclipse, we ate dinner in the buffet for the rest of the cruise.

 

Some here wanted me to explain every which way what inedible meant. I think it is pretty clear.

 

Since then , we have done a Viking O, cruise and are about to do some Oceania. Wonderful dining on Viking, no matter what stateroom you have. 

 

Here MDR is almost for those in steerage..after all what can we expect....if you want better, you have to spend and spend.....aqua, suites and above.....that is how classist Celebrity has become. 

 

are we still sailing Celeb? one out of seven cruises booked is Celeb..that says a lot, since we are elite plus and have spent many years and dollars with Celeb only.

 

for the one Celeb cruise I am prepared again to eat in Buffet...have no expectations..why then am I doing another celeb cruise...it is the only one I found that sails round trip to hawaii from LA.

 

I remember the threads to which you refer. It was my perception that while many posters completely disagreed with your opinions, there weren't "attacks." There were questions asked.  Food tastes are by nature personal preference, and individual. Just as you are entitled to your tastes and opinions, and are entitled to express them, others, with opposite opinions are also entitled to disagree.

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1 hour ago, nimiq said:

As you can see in my signature I have sailed on mostly all the mass market lines and have to say the quality of food on all lines has decreased. Some nights are better than other but all lines have been hit with the cost of doing business in this era. 

 

This is not just happening in cruise industry it’s pretty much all around us. 

 

These ship cost a fortune to build now and they are always thinking of ways to make money and food is one. In the past yes it was amazing to have those midnight buffet but when we think about it how much food was wasted. 

 

I also  believe that the decline in personal service has hurt more the experience than the food itself. We see that as soon as we get excellent service in the MDR suddenly the food seems to look and taste better. 

 

Was that decline in the MDR due to the reduction of crew members or possibly the automatic tipping ? That might be the real questions cruise line should ask themselves.

 

Virgin cruise line will have to be looked at closely with this new all inclusive approach on a mass scale .

 

The only thing that hasn't changed to me throughout the cut bakes are the rank of these lines.  They have pretty much  stayed the same as the past.

 

Will this stop me from cruising NO but I might consider branching out to other no mass market lines in the future.

 

Thanks 

Sea Ya 

Eric

 

 

I also agree that the service level and proximity of tables has made it worse.

 

1 hour ago, dkjretired said:

As to living off their laurels, I think they do but not purposely.   If you  read various travel magazines they all still print almost the same wording on Celebrity food experiences that they did in the 90s up to now. 

 

 

I don't want you to think I am blaming Celebrity. Yes magazines and people who do not have enough experience are giving advice from what they have read/heard.

 

1 hour ago, Fouremco said:

I can't speak for others, but given the right itinerary, I might be tempted to book knowing that I'd eat in the buffet. We've found that, as food quality has declined marginally in the MDR, the quality has improved in the buffet. 

 

Good advice, I am going to give that a go on our January trip.

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7 hours ago, Loracpin2 said:

Based on our last cruise on the Summit 2 weeks ago, IMO opinion, Celebrity is definitely living off it past reputation. Forgetting about the Superior quality of the food on our first Celebrity cruise in 1993 when Chandris owned the line, and the Very Good to sometimes Excellent food on the Century in 1999 when RCI bought the line, the quality of the food in the MDR this last cruise was mediocre at best.

 

The quality of food in general has gone downhill. Years ago, when I took the free galley tour on X, they told us they spend more per day on food than other mass market lines.

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5 hours ago, nancyshaw said:

I got viciously attacked for saying that on the last 3 cruises in 2018,2019 the food was inedible on the two ships we sailed on, eclipse and infinity. After 3 nights in MDR  on the eclipse, we ate dinner in the buffet for the rest of the cruise.

 

 

it is the only one I found that sails round trip to hawaii from LA.

 

Princess does too.

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I think the food in the MDR (and service) has declined over the years on X as well as on all of the other mass market lines, however I think it still remains a step up. In all of our cruises, both on X as well as other lines, although we often eat breakfast, lunch, snacks in the buffet, we've not eaten even 1 dinner in the buffet in 20+ years. We enjoy a leisurely served dining experience to the do-it-yourself buffet. That being said, we can't compare the MDR to buffet quality. I do know that if I felt a cruise line's MDR food options had declined to the point that we no longer enjoyed eating there, we'd move on to another. Thankfully there are many options, and options are wonderful.

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