Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Camelia-

HAL buffets - a question please

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone,

 

Though I've cruised on a few lines I've never had the pleasure of cruising with HAL. I hope to remedy that in the next year.  I've been reading some reviews and I understand that the buffet is not self serve. There are staff to serve you. Is this true of all HAL ships? I think that this is a great idea. I'm really curious to know whether this results in less cases of norovirus on board? It's logical to me that if only one person is handling the tongs - rather than many (some of whom may not have bothered to wash their hands)..there is less   chance of spreading of germs from person to person? I like the idea of lowering the odds!!

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Camelia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had our first cruise on the Westerdam in June, the Lido Buffet had people serving the food.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have cruised on many HAL ships, all have servers for the food on the buffet on the lido.  It also helps for keeping down food waste, and passengers helping themselves to a huge stack of bacon!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Camelia- said:

Hello everyone,

 

Though I've cruised on a few lines I've never had the pleasure of cruising with HAL. I hope to remedy that in the next year.  I've been reading some reviews and I understand that the buffet is not self serve. There are staff to serve you. Is this true of all HAL ships? I think that this is a great idea. I'm really curious to know whether this results in less cases of norovirus on board? It's logical to me that if only one person is handling the tongs - rather than many (some of whom may not have bothered to wash their hands)..there is less   chance of spreading of germs from person to person? I like the idea of lowering the odds!!

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Camelia

Oceania is one of the most stringent lines in regard to not allowing customers to self serve in the buffet.Out of 40+cruises we have taken on a number of cruise lines, the only one in which we encountered Noro virus was (you guessed it!) on an Oceania ship. While my experience is anecdotal, I do not believe there is any empirical evidence that ships with non self serve buffets have any better track record when it comes to Noro, than ships which allow self service. Overall, HAL buffet service is pretty efficient, with notable exception of made to order breakfast item areas which are notoriously understaffed. So be prepared to wait a long time for toasted breads, poached eggs and omelets if you have breakfast at a busy time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you all for your thoughts. I look forward to a new experience on a new (for me) cruiseline!

 

Camelia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is only one of many many things I LOVE about HAL!   No fear of nasty people who don’t wash their hands handling my food!!  Very, very few things in the Lido are self serve.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The exception is the breads, which are self service.  You share utensils there but its close to hand cleaning stations.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, BJzink said:

I have cruised on many HAL ships, all have servers for the food on the buffet on the lido.  It also helps for keeping down food waste, and passengers helping themselves to a huge stack of bacon!

 

Does this mean you can’t ask for a large portion of Bacon?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Poulsbo Cruisers said:

Does this mean you can’t ask for a large portion of Bacon?

You can ask for as many pieces as you want.  We like ours extra done and crispy, so they throw ours back into the fryer for a couple minutes extra cooking time.  The slices come out wonderfully crisp.  Yum-m-m.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my experience the servers are more likely to give you a large than a small portion of anything. And they'll happily add to it if you'd like more. 

 

One thing I also really like about HAL is the many items already plated that you can just grab. Sushi, some of the salads, fruits, desserts and in the AM, yummy yogurt parfaits are in small "grab and go" plates or containers, which cuts the lines down. Pre-made sandwiches and chips were in individual wrapper bags. Wish Celebrity did more of that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, BJzink said:

I have cruised on many HAL ships, all have servers for the food on the buffet on the lido.  It also helps for keeping down food waste, and passengers helping themselves to a huge stack of bacon!

 

Not exactly:  all you have to say is "more, please", and the stack emerges!  😁

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Kirsten T said:

In my experience the servers are more likely to give you a large than a small portion of anything. And they'll happily add to it if you'd like more. 

 

One thing I also really like about HAL is the many items already plated that you can just grab. Sushi, some of the salads, fruits, desserts and in the AM, yummy yogurt parfaits are in small "grab and go" plates or containers, which cuts the lines down. Pre-made sandwiches and chips were in individual wrapper bags. Wish Celebrity did more of that.

Looooooove their sushi.  It's not every day, but I look for it every day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Poulsbo Cruisers said:

Does this mean you can’t ask for a large portion of Bacon?

No, it means he's not into bacon as much as some of us..................................

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Poulsbo Cruisers said:

Does this mean you can’t ask for a large portion of Bacon?

 

Yes and I've always been accommodated with a smile. 

They clearly could detect that every day is a better day when it begins with bacon 😋

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Several years ago HAL had typical self-serve buffets but would sometimes practice what they called "code orange" which meant that the staff took over most of the serving duties and there were some restrictions on the areas around the drink station.  Like many lines, HAL had their share of Noro-virus problems and other GI related issues.  So HAL decided to essentially reinvent their Lido Buffet and make it Code Orange all the time.  There are some advantages to this system and there are some downsides.  Whether or not this change has reduced the incidence of Noro and other bugs remains to be seen.  We cruise many different lines and nobody else has adopted a similar policy.

 

Looking at government reports is interesting,  In 2018 (the most recent complete year) HAL reported two significant GI outbreaks (Zaandam and Volendam).  Princess (with more ships and larger ships) reported only a single incident.   Celebrity also reported a single incident.  Both Princess and Celebrity have a very expansive traditional buffet system.  What is really interesting is that RCI and Carnival (both with many large ships and self service) had zero reportable incidents.  So far in 2019 RCI, Princess and Carnival each had one reportable incident....and HAL has zero.   Is any of this statistically significant?  I have no clue :).

 

What I also found interesting is that MSC, which has 2 self serve buffets on their ships, has never reported a single incident since coming to the USA market.  They are still a pretty small player in the US market (4 ships this season) but they seem to have a pretty impressive record.  And before you laugh about MSC I  think they are currently operating 17 ships (a lot more then HAL) and adding two new vessels a year.  

 

Hank

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, pcur said:

Not exactly:  all you have to say is "more, please", and the stack emerges!  😁

When HAL used to have a real sandwich bar (in the Lido) I would watch the sandwich maker put on a couple of slices of meat and then I would tell him/her...."please make it like a New York Deli."  That would always get a laugh and a lot more meat :).  It is very true that if you want more of anything...just ask.   By the way, now that HAL used pre-made sandwiches I have adopted a new technique.  I will take 2 or 3 of those pre-made sandwiches, disassemble them all...and reassemble one REAL sandwich.  Sometimes I will add additional items from other areas of the buffet.  It is really a terrible waste of bread (and the unused items) but it sure gets me a decent sandwich.

 

Hank

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

When HAL used to have a real sandwich bar (in the Lido) I would watch the sandwich maker put on a couple of slices of meat and then I would tell him/her...."please make it like a New York Deli."  That would always get a laugh and a lot more meat :).  It is very true that if you want more of anything...just ask.   By the way, now that HAL used pre-made sandwiches I have adopted a new technique.  I will take 2 or 3 of those pre-made sandwiches, disassemble them all...and reassemble one REAL sandwich.  Sometimes I will add additional items from other areas of the buffet.  It is really a terrible waste of bread (and the unused items) but it sure gets me a decent sandwich.

 

Hank

That's funny! 

 

I always take my veggies and ask for the day's pasta sauce over them.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I take some veggies on a plate from the Lido out to the NY Pizza bar and give the plate to the order-taker.  I tell him to add these to my pizza.   I have also done that with bacon strips.   Real bacon on a pizza is yummy.   Bacon on anything is yummy !!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

When HAL used to have a real sandwich bar (in the Lido) I would watch the sandwich maker put on a couple of slices of meat and then I would tell him/her...."please make it like a New York Deli."  That would always get a laugh and a lot more meat :).  It is very true that if you want more of anything...just ask.   By the way, now that HAL used pre-made sandwiches I have adopted a new technique.  I will take 2 or 3 of those pre-made sandwiches, disassemble them all...and reassemble one REAL sandwich.  Sometimes I will add additional items from other areas of the buffet.  It is really a terrible waste of bread (and the unused items) but it sure gets me a decent sandwich.

 

Hank

 

How do you make a decent sandwich out of 2 or 3 soggy buns?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

 

How do you make a decent sandwich out of 2 or 3 soggy buns?

LOL.  It depends.  If the buns are soggy (sometimes they are still OK) I might look for a decent roll or bread on the buffet.  There was one time when I took two sandwiches and deconstructed them to discover that both buns were very soggy with loads of mayonnaise.  Unfortunately all that food was wasted (I found something else to eat).  The waste is a shame, but it was HAL's decision to eliminate a made to order sandwich bar that could minimize waste.  HAL used to sometimes have a half decent Rueben occasionally on the mdr lunch menu (on one of the few days it is open).  But on our last HAL cruise I needed a magnifying glass to find the corned beef and the bread was completely soggy and fell apart (I guess it had been sitting in the galley too long).

 

I admit to being a sandwich freak!  I truly love a decent deli-type sandwich which to an ex New Yorker means it has lots of meat.

 

Hank

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Poulsbo Cruisers said:

Does this mean you can’t ask for a large portion of Bacon?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Poulsbo Cruisers said:

Does this mean you can’t ask for a large portion of Bacon?

?definition of "large"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, BJzink said:

?definition of "large"?

Large is in the stomach of the beholder. For me it’s probably about six pieces. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...