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Mike981

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

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We've taken 3 cruises on X, all in Aqua.  #4 is coming up next week. 

 

We've NEVER eaten in the MDR. LOL.  We did take an NCL cruise last summer with friends.  They were in Haven suite, we were in an aft Balcony( right next door to our friends suite).  We joined them for 1 breakfast and 1 dinner in the Havens restaurant( for an additional cost).  I noticed a few things.    They had fresh berries( strawberries, blueberries, raspberries).  None on the Buffet for the regular folks.  The melon in the Haven restaurant was cut up nicely into small cubes.  It was in wedges in the buffet.  ( So uncivilized). LOL.   We had 1 dinner in the MDR on NCL.  Not impressed. 

 

The buffet on X is much better than NCL.  I was not even impressed with the speciality restuarants on NCL.  The Ocean Blue was an additional 39.00 a person.  We had a 3 night specialty package included with the fare.  The Cirque show was also additional.  The food was ok, nothing to write home about.   I don't think their specialty restaurants are on the same level as X's. 

 

I will say that the desserts in the buffet on X are not good.  I'm a baker so I have high expectations.  I do enjoy the coconut cake in Cafe El Bacio.  

 

 

 

 

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Our last cruise on Silhouette, we decided to join friends on board for dinner in the MDR instead of dining in Blu. The dinner was very good, and other than the MDR being a lot busier and noisier than Blu, the food and menu was very good. We fondly remember 20+ years ago when we first started cruising on X and yes, there has been a decline in both food and service in the MDR, but we still find it superior to the experiences we've had on other mainstream cruise lines in recent years. I also think, that because we've cruised a lot, our expectations have changed. I remember being wowed the first couple of cruises because of the newness of the experience. The ships at that time also carried about half the passenger load of the current S and E-class ships. That increase in passengers would absolutely make a difference.

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21 hours ago, calicakes said:

We've taken 3 cruises on X, all in Aqua.  #4 is coming up next week. 

 

We've NEVER eaten in the MDR. LOL.  We did take an NCL cruise last summer with friends.  They were in Haven suite, we were in an aft Balcony( right next door to our friends suite).  We joined them for 1 breakfast and 1 dinner in the Havens restaurant( for an additional cost).  I noticed a few things.    They had fresh berries( strawberries, blueberries, raspberries).  None on the Buffet for the regular folks.  The melon in the Haven restaurant was cut up nicely into small cubes.  It was in wedges in the buffet.  ( So uncivilized). LOL.   We had 1 dinner in the MDR on NCL.  Not impressed. 

 

The buffet on X is much better than NCL.  I was not even impressed with the speciality restuarants on NCL.  The Ocean Blue was an additional 39.00 a person.  We had a 3 night specialty package included with the fare.  The Cirque show was also additional.  The food was ok, nothing to write home about.   I don't think their specialty restaurants are on the same level as X's. 

 

I will say that the desserts in the buffet on X are not good.  I'm a baker so I have high expectations.  I do enjoy the coconut cake in Cafe El Bacio.  

 

Calicakes, You have brought up an interesting point.  What is it with the desserts in the Oceanview buffet on Celebrity?  They look good but in general are disappointing in taste.  What is your opinion as a baker?  More sugar maybe?  The cookies are usually all we will enjoy there as they are pretty good.  But outside the buffet in Cafe al Bacio the desserts are much better so Celebrity knows how to make them tasty.  But why not in the buffet?  We have found the mediocre desserts on every Royal C ship we have sailed in the Windjammer Buffet too.

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23 minutes ago, TeeRick said:

Calicakes, You have brought up an interesting point.  What is it with the desserts in the Oceanview buffet on Celebrity?  They look good but in general are disappointing in taste.  What is your opinion as a baker?  More sugar maybe?  The cookies are usually all we will enjoy there as they are pretty good.  But outside the buffet in Cafe al Bacio the desserts are much better so Celebrity knows how to make them tasty.  But why not in the buffet?  We have found the mediocre desserts on every Royal C ship we have sailed in the Windjammer Buffet too.

I don't know if this is true, but I wonder if the Oceanview desserts come in frozen and are defrosted.  There are a lot of mouselike things/cheesecake type desserts.  I feel like they are a lower quality.  Why?  Maybe they think people who eat at the buffet will stuff themselves silly with entrees/breads/salads, etc and will not notice by the time they get to dessert.   However, those with a beverage plan(getting coffees) or paying directly for a coffee expect a great dessert to go with it.   To my palette, the desserts at OceanView are flavorless. I don't know if its lack of sugar.   Like you, I'll grab a cookie, but after 2 years trying OceanView desserts, I learned to skip them completely.   Believe me, I love cake( look at my user name) those are pretty to look at, but no substance.   Sometimes I'll get a scoop of vanilla ice cream and make a float with coke zero. 

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My opinion is that the MDR food is definitely not as good as 20 years ago but the buffet is better than it used to be and dinner in the buffet is definitely an option.  The service in the MDR seems to have slipped but maybe because the wait staff is responsible for more tables but they try hard.  There doesn't seem to be the selection of really good entrees on the MDR menu compared to years ago though I can't give any specific examples.  The food choices around the ship are still plenty good enough to keep us cruising. 

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We like to mix nights between MDR, buffet and specialty restaurants. That seems to make each night fresh and fun.

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23 hours ago, calicakes said:

I will say that the desserts in the buffet on X are not good.  I'm a baker so I have high expectations.  I do enjoy the coconut cake in Cafe El Bacio.  

 

 

No need to respond, I saw your thoughtful reply above. Thank you.

Edited by Mike981

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Back in the days of Michele Roux, when the MDR waiter brought our that evenings dessert choices all displayed on a large tray for inspection things were very very different.

 

The items were of the highest quality and beautifully presented unlike a menu showing pie ala mode, crème brulee or a slice of cheese cake with a few different sauces.

 

Puff pastry swans, Napoleons and so many others with so much variety over the course of a 12 day cruise.

 

Cruising IS STILL our number one choice when deciding how and where to spend our vacation time and money.

 

Just like everything, things change with the times, some for the good and some no so. 

 

 

 

 

 

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No would be my answer. Food on my last 2 cruises(Summit in July and Equinox in February) was as good if not better than our 1st Celebrity cruise 20 years ago.

Never cruised on Carnival but have been on Princess and even my kids thought the food was better on Celebrity.

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7 hours ago, Atwell said:

My opinion is that the MDR food is definitely not as good as 20 years ago but the buffet is better than it used to be and dinner in the buffet is definitely an option.  The service in the MDR seems to have slipped but maybe because the wait staff is responsible for more tables but they try hard.  There doesn't seem to be the selection of really good entrees on the MDR menu compared to years ago though I can't give any specific examples.  The food choices around the ship are still plenty good enough to keep us cruising. 

 

We noticed a definite dip in quality at the buffet this year on the Infinity.  On our last cruise on the Eclipse 3 years ago - there were some good themed evenings in the Buffet (Seafood, Chinese, Indian, Grill Night).  This year the themes seemed much more basic and slight  - German Sausage, Nachos, Crepes are the ones I recall

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It appears to me that too many Oceanview desserts rely on gelatin instead of heavy cream and eggs for their structure. 

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11 hours ago, TeeRick said:

Calicakes, You have brought up an interesting point.  What is it with the desserts in the Oceanview buffet on Celebrity?  They look good but in general are disappointing in taste.  

Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity it doesn't matter. The desserts all look pretty, delicious and sweet until you put them in your mouth and they taste like wax. 

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1 hour ago, jasm8449 said:

It appears to me that too many Oceanview desserts rely on gelatin instead of heavy cream and eggs for their structure. 

ding, ding, ding..... we have a winner.  Exactly right.  The mouthfeel is so strange to me.  You think you're biting into cake, but its a wobbly flavorless nothing.   It saves me a bunch of calories. 

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On 9/5/2019 at 7:41 AM, nancyshaw said:

 

well here is one that is still surprised by my posts but not others...so many have said Celeb food in MDR is now inferior but only my posts get attention...interesting...

inferior and inedible are not the same

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13 hours ago, calicakes said:

ding, ding, ding..... we have a winner.  Exactly right.  The mouthfeel is so strange to me.  You think you're biting into cake, but its a wobbly flavorless nothing.   It saves me a bunch of calories. 

They do have very good desserts in general in the specialty restaurants, in Luminae and at Cafe al Baccio.  Sometimes in the MDR but sometimes hit or miss.  But never in the buffet.  So it seems to be a conscious choice by the executive chef and powers that be.  Lousy wobbly flavorless gelatinous.  Just get a cookie or ice cream in the buffet or go later to al Baccio. 

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I prefer to drink my dessert. Chocolate martini.key lime pie martini,etc. Much more flavorful.

 

Laura

Edited by Laurab23
spelling

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On 9/7/2019 at 9:44 AM, calicakes said:

I don't know if this is true, but I wonder if the Oceanview desserts come in frozen and are defrosted.  There are a lot of mouselike things/cheesecake type desserts.

Were you on a Disney cruise....?? 😉 (sorry, couldn't resist!)

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On 9/7/2019 at 10:20 AM, Atwell said:

My opinion is that the MDR food is definitely not as good as 20 years ago but the buffet is better than it used to be and dinner in the buffet is definitely an option.  The service in the MDR seems to have slipped but maybe because the wait staff is responsible for more tables but they try hard.  There doesn't seem to be the selection of really good entrees on the MDR menu compared to years ago though I can't give any specific examples.  The food choices around the ship are still plenty good enough to keep us cruising. 

 

I agree, a little over 20 years or so Celebrity did not have a buffet for dinner.  Buffet was only open for lunch and dinner, you either ate in Room Service or the MDR.   After they instituted the buffet it was not really great but at some point they initiated a Casual Dining option in a certain portion of the buffet   This was a great option and for only $2.00 PP you got a sit down waiter dinner, 3 courses I believe that was a different menu than the MDR.   This was technically Celebrity's first Specialty restaurant.  This was discontinued several years ago when Celebrity upped their buffet offerings and I believe have continued to do so until this day.   

Edited by dkjretired

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1 hour ago, dkjretired said:

 

I agree, a little over 20 years or so Celebrity did not have a buffet for dinner.  Buffet was only open for lunch and dinner, you either ate in Room Service or the MDR.   After they instituted the buffet it was not really great but at some point they initiated a Casual Dining option in a certain portion of the buffet   This was a great option and for only $2.00 PP you got a sit down waiter dinner, 3 courses I believe that was a different menu than the MDR.   This was technically Celebrity's first Specialty restaurant.  This was discontinued several years ago when Celebrity upped their buffet offerings and I believe have continued to do so until this day.   

So, I'm curious, for long time cruisers.....  When I was a kid, I would watch The LOVE Boat in awe, in awe of all the food.  Especially, the MIDNIGHT Buffet.  Was that such a thing?  On the Promenade deck. LOL. 

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Yes, as a Celebrity cruiser for 25 years, the dining experience in the MDR is not what it once was, but we still find it enjoyable. Also, the food options have multiplied since our first Cruise on Zenith. 

 

I don’t understand the relevance of comparing, for instance, the MDR on Viking or Oceania. It’s been my experience that generally, the cost of a Veranda cabin on those lines are 2 to 3 times the cost of Celebrity. 

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On 9/7/2019 at 12:44 PM, mason525 said:

No would be my answer. Food on my last 2 cruises(Summit in July and Equinox in February) was as good if not better than our 1st Celebrity cruise 20 years ago.

Never cruised on Carnival but have been on Princess and even my kids thought the food was better on Celebrity.

 

Carnival cannot be compared to Celebrity by any means. Entry level cruising.

With Princess... I thought Princess was pretty close to X in MDR. Buffets on newer ships Regal and Royal beat all other 7 lines we sailed with. 

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44 minutes ago, Tatka said:

 

Yours: Carnival cannot be compared to Celebrity by any means. Entry level cruising.

 

Mine: It sure can compare.

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4 hours ago, dkjretired said:

 

I agree, a little over 20 years or so Celebrity did not have a buffet for dinner.  Buffet was only open for lunch and dinner, you either ate in Room Service or the MDR.   After they instituted the buffet it was not really great but at some point they initiated a Casual Dining option in a certain portion of the buffet   This was a great option and for only $2.00 PP you got a sit down waiter dinner, 3 courses I believe that was a different menu than the MDR.   This was technically Celebrity's first Specialty restaurant.  This was discontinued several years ago when Celebrity upped their buffet offerings and I believe have continued to do so until this day.   

 

Unless  you cruised 20 years ago it would be hard to understand how different it was...

 

Back then  there was so much more to the whole dining issue.

You had a waiter and he had an assistant who had a reasonable number of tables to serve.

There was a sommelier AND a bartender to take care of your beverages.

The nightly amuse bouche to cleanse the palate.

The variety of menu offerings over the course of even the longer cruises was amazing.

White gloved staff and fully dressed tables and chairs on formal nights with live music.

The nightly dessert presentation..

Everyone on the ship had the same food and service, so different than the SUITE LIFE of today.

The meals in the MDR were Excellent and there was no need for "Special Dining".

 My only special culinary treatment from a butler was plate of shrimp at 4 pm each day.

 

All that was THEN and not now.

Everything  changes including what people are looking for, what they are used to and what they feel is essential for them.

 

We will continue to cruise as often as we can but NO LONGER will Celebrity be exceeding our expectations as Royal Caribbean has really closed the gap.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by boscobeans

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On 9/4/2019 at 3:57 PM, DYKWIA said:

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

Glad to hear this! I am doing a transatlantic on Infinity in October, and it will be our first Celebrity cruise.

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Of the current cruise lines we have sailed:

 

1. Tie Celebrity and HAL though Celebrity wins for a much better buffet.

2. MSC

3. RCCL

4. Princess, food budget has been drastically cut.

5. Carnival, 1 time and never again.

Edited by MISTER 67

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