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Curly-Q

What happened, did I miss something?

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We did our first Holland on a trans-canal cruise on the Westerdam in December 2017.   We were excited with Holland-- there was nothing to dislike , the food was excellent and the service was great.  Holland has a few differences from the other cookie-cutter lines that stand out in our opinion.  We recently completed a cruise on the Eurodam and while the service was great as always, the food left a lot to be desired.  On the Westerdam we ate in the MDR most every night, there was always something appealing on the menu.  Sadly, on the Eurodam, we ate in the MDR maybe four nights, possible three nights.  The first night had the best first night menu I have encountered, but sadly it went downhill from there.  The next two nights were fine, but that was about it for us.  Even the Gala Night menus didn't do much for us, and fellow cruisers complained about the roasted duck served was tough and practically inedible.  We'd check the menu on the TV every morning only to be disappointed in the menu selections.  The menus appeared to be pantry "clean outs" with weird ingredients put together in some sort of edible concoction, definitely did not appeal to us.  

 

We believe the Dive In to be the best offering on the ship and the pizza was okay, not great.  We rarely eat at specialty restaurants, but had dinner in the Pinnacle one night which was good, but were sadly disappointed in Rudi's on another night.  The service in both was fantastic, but the food seemed sub-par.  Both cruises were about the same length, 15 and 16 day.   The Lido Market seemed to be meat & potatoes every night, nary a vegetable in sight anywhere--excluding the salad bar.  

 

We have three upcoming Holland cruises, one of which is fully paid and on the Zuiderdam.  However, the other two are on the chopping block at this time.  We'll see how the meals are on Zuiderdam, if the food appears unappetizing to us, we will cancel the other two cruises, none of which are short cruises.  We prefer not to eat in specialty restaurants, can't really rationalize the up-charge when a perfectly good meal awaits in the MDR (supposedly) and prefer to save them for special occasions.  We love cruising and are certainly not hard to please, food wise, and not picky eaters.  

 

I've read cruisers complaining about the food on Holland and didn't really understand based on our experience, but now we do.  I still like Holland, but being stuck on a cruise for 16+ days and not liking the food and menu selections can be rough.  BTW I submitted my survey noting our displeasure, but doubt it'll make any difference.  Don't get me wrong, we really do love Holland, but the food....not so much so.  

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Just now, Curly-Q said:

We recently completed a cruise on the Eurodam and while the service was great as always, the food left a lot to be desired.

That was my feeling on our March Eurodam cruise.  I chalked it up to the chef.  Don't know for sure, though.  Maybe it's what HAL has directed to be served.

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I find things can totally change depending on the management and staff.  Sometimes just a changeover of new contracts will screw things up for a while.  If you noticed who the Hotel Director was on your past cruises, and compare them to your next cruise, you may see a pattern.  That’s one of the reasons people ask about staff on upcoming cruises.  The good ones really do make a difference.

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We have always had very good food on HAL going back to 1997 including 2 on the Oosterdam  last November and again in March. Next up is the NA on Nov. 30,  you have me concerned.

Edited by MISTER 67

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5 minutes ago, *Miss G* said:

I find things can totally change depending on the management and staff.  Sometimes just a changeover of new contracts will screw things up for a while.  If you noticed who the Hotel Director was on your past cruises, and compare them to your next cruise, you may see a pattern.  That’s one of the reasons people ask about staff on upcoming cruises.  The good ones really do make a difference.

Miss G !!! Just was thinking if you! Was wondering what cruise you might be up to!

I so agree with you and we always want a heads up on Hotel Directors because we have seen how good it is when you have the best! Also how bad when we don’t 😞

Take care!

Denise😊

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I had great food on the K’dam this past March.  Has HAL’s food declined over the last 35 years, absolutely, I have been on a few HAL cruises where I struggled with the menu, but will say the last few HAL cruises I found it had improved, IMHO.....I found the Pinnacle Grill be the biggest disappointment.  I hope the OP’s experience on their next HAL cruise is better.  I do believe HAL does give a good experience for the money.......

 

With that said I also know that food is subjective too.......

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16 minutes ago, DeeniEncinitas said:

Miss G !!! Just was thinking if you! Was wondering what cruise you might be up to!

I so agree with you and we always want a heads up on Hotel Directors because we have seen how good it is when you have the best! Also how bad when we don’t 😞

Take care!

Denise😊

 

Thank you Denise!  I just got back last night from vacation!  I posted some pics in this thread if you’re interested.  It’s nice to be back in my own bed.  😋

 

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18 minutes ago, *Miss G* said:

 

Thank you Denise!  I just got back last night from vacation!  I posted some pics in this thread if you’re interested.  It’s nice to be back in my own bed.  😋

 

I’m happy your back and I am going to look at your thread! You know over the years on CC we make dear friends!

Thank you Miss G

Denise😊

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Food is subjective.  One man's yum-yum can be another passenger's yuck.  Out of 30 HAL cruises, only one failed to deliver good choices and less than tasty food.  BTW, others on that same cruise raved about the choices and the quality, including my husband.

 

OP, having to deal with poor choices or unappealing food can break a cruise, since food is a huge part of a cruise experience.  I hope your next cruise on Zuiderdam presents better selection and delicious memories for you.  If not, you have every right to take your vacation $$ elsewhere. 

 

Please, do not depend upon the survey, however, to register your displeasure.  Write a letter to CEO, citing your previous positive experience and making him aware of your disappointment during your last cruise.  We have found that a well-worded letter carries more weight than a survey, as a letter takes more time and effort.  We have always received a reply.  I hope you will receive one too.  Will this action remedy the quality/choices of food?  Maybe not, but at least you would have presented your concerns and let Ashford know you're walking with your vacation $$ to another cruise line if HAL fails to meet your expectations.

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20 minutes ago, *Miss G* said:

 

Thank you Denise!  I just got back last night from vacation!  I posted some pics in this thread if you’re interested.  It’s nice to be back in my own bed.  😋

 

I love the pictures!!! I so enjoyed our time there too! Many years ago. I’m glad your back and especially in your own bed!👍

Denise😊

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On my recent 12 night  Zuiderdam cruise, we ate in the MDR every night. There were two menus On which I could find nothing that I particularly wanted. But there is the always available items of Caesar salad, French onion soup, a steak, salmon, and I think chicken. And you can always request a baked potato. For some reason, they chef likes to serve white beans with veal. Don't know why. There seemed to be at least two fish options every night.

Edited by SJSULIBRARIAN

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I have noticed that there are not as many offerings as there once was in the Main Dining Room but I cannot complain about the food.

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I suspect that your experience is not that unusual.  On HAL or on any other mass market line.

 

The only constant appears to be inconsistency.  I have little doubt that you can have a fabulous dining experience on one ship and a very mediocre on on the same ship, different trip or on another ship of the same cruise line.

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We gave up a long time ago eating in the dining room.  My DH is not a picky eater but he couldn't find anything he liked on the menus.

 

So now we eat in the Pinnacle Grill.  And those ships that have the Tamarind (like the Eurodam) we split our time between the 2 restaurants.  The Canaletto has no appeal to us.

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5 hours ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

My DH is not a picky eater but he couldn't find anything he liked on the menus.

 

Not trying to be critical at all, but based on our experience with the selection and quality of HAL's MDR menus, I would characterize 'not being able to find ANYTHING to like on their menus' as a bit picky. 😉

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On 10/2/2019 at 3:56 PM, St Pete Cruiser said:

Nice to hear a positive review on Veendam.  Our friend, Tom, was aboard the Veendam from Lisbon to Boston in August and also said he was very pleased, so much so, that he booked another cruise on Veendam for this coming winter.  HAL has put some money back into this "S" class ship and it seems to have improved.

Veendam is coming back to Tampa Nov 2020 for the winter season, and I'm hoping may resume the Bermuda itinerary in 2021.

We are always happy to hear a positive review of the Veendam, happy to hear it will come out of Tampa in 2020, but most of all we have our fingers crossed for a return to Bermuda in 2021.  Right now I am beginning to count the days until our sail date in Dec. with the always delightful crew of the Veendam!

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15 hours ago, SJSULIBRARIAN said:

On my recent 12 night  Zuiderdam cruise, we ate in the MDR every night. There were two menus On which I could find nothing that I particularly wanted. But there is the always available items of Caesar salad, French onion soup, a steak, salmon, and I think chicken. And you can always request a baked potato. For some reason, they chef likes to serve white beans with veal. Don't know why. There seemed to be at least two fish options every night.

 

 

Thanks everyone for all the responses, I'm feeling better now about our upcoming cruise on the Zuiderdam.

 

 Another food note on Eurodam -- there was one night early on that nothing on the appetizer menu sounded appealing and I requested a green/garden salad and was told they couldn't do that, but you can order a Caesar which I did, but certainly would've preferred a garden salad; another night nothing in the desert section appealed so I asked for a scoop of chocolate ice cream and was again told this is not availabe - really??   All these items are in the Lido, why can't the MDR cover these very simple requests - it's not like I was asking for Baked Alaska?  Maybe it's a specific ship thing, I'll see how it goes on the Zuiderdam.  I'll look into the Hotel Director, good suggestion!  Thanks again everyone!

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After my Eurodam cruise last December, I could have written the same review of the food as the OP, literally word for word. When I cruise with my mother, she insists on eating in the MDR and even she had to send food back for the first time ever.  Both she and I love to have duck on a cruise. The duck breast that was served was literally unedible. For the first time, I saw her ask for replacement and the second piece was just as bad. One night I also had to return an appetizer. I was served a piece of fat instead of a piece of duck. Towards the end of the meal, the assistant chef came up to our table to apologize. He said that piece of meat should have never made it onto a plate and it should have been discarded.  Did the food experiences in the MDR ruin my cruise?  No, it didn't because the itinerary was great and service was superb, as always.  The dining experience is very important to me because I still work and with the long commute home, I usually eat dinner in front of the TV.  This December, I have a solo 14-day cruise booked on the NA. I love this ship but if my dining experience is as bad as on the Eurodam, I think my love affair with HAL will be at an end. I love my early cruise, but I may have to switch to a more expensive cruiseline and go every two years.

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2 hours ago, KroozNut said:

 

Not trying to be critical at all, but based on our experience with the selection and quality of HAL's MDR menus, I would characterize 'not being able to find ANYTHING to like on their menus' as a bit picky. 😉

 

I know you're not being critical, but that's pretty much what we experienced in Eurodam's MDR.  Maybe the food tasted better than it appeared on the menu, but the selections just sounded unappetizing with a mishmash of ingredients --- as I said earlier, like you're cleaning out your pantry and throwing it all together.  If I can find one thing that's appealing to me, I order it, I don't have to like everything on the menu, and at least one will do the trick.  Heck, I'll eat just about anything, no allergies so I'm game, but it's got to sound appealing!   I had to send back the lobster tail from Rudi's because it was soooo salty, they couldn't figure out why it was salty, but it was inedible.  They offered to replace it, but I turned it down and ate more bread and left room for dessert!  Oh, the bread on Eurodam was incredible, they got that right!

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Ok, I’m really getting worried about the Eurodam for an 18-day Hawaii cruise next year! It’s our 40th anniversary and first time on that ship.

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16 minutes ago, Caribbean Chris said:

Ok, I’m really getting worried about the Eurodam for an 18-day Hawaii cruise next year! It’s our 40th anniversary and first time on that ship.

I think you'll be fine, our cruise on the Eurodam was to Hawaii and for our 40th as well and our first time on the Eurodam.  It was a fantastic cruise; if you can,  do the Renewal of Vows, that was a wonderful experience.  My only complaint was the food, but by your voyage it may be better or maybe you'll find the food to be great, food taste is very subjective.  If not, do use the Dive In for burgers--fantastic; my only complaint, the Dive In closes at 5:30, I wish it would be open longer!  We didn't experience the other specialty restaurants, maybe they were good.  

 

Given the suggestion to research hotel directors, does anyone know how can I get the current list of hotel directors by ship?

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OK. I'll admit I don't think much about the food on a ship as I can always find something in the buffet to cobble together for a good meal.   But, if no one minds, a question or two:

How would/does a specific Hotel Director get involved in F&B?  

Are the menus not pre-set by Corporate?  I wondered about this when the OP said it seemed as if F&B cleaned out the stores and just threw things together.

 

I can see where certain items couldn't be offered - if more people than anticipated order a "garden salad", the specific lettuce may be used up and romaine is what is left, a major run on duck one night could leave only the less-desirable pieces for the next time it is offered, etc.  I can see where one could get bored with the "always available" steak and chicken - I want a little variety and a generic slab of red meat (I won't eat that), or the ubiquitous rubber chicken or a piece of fish every night for even 7 nights would be too much, let alone 14+ days.  I agree - one should not have to resort to the upcharge restaurants for a decent meal.  

 

As for the Dive In: I'd go crazy there, too, if all I could eat were the portobello or veggie burgers...   

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1 hour ago, slidergirl said:

How would/does a specific Hotel Director get involved in F&B?  

 

This might help.

 

1 hour ago, slidergirl said:

Are the menus not pre-set by Corporate?

 

Pre-set menus are separate and apart from ability and know-how.

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3 hours ago, Curly-Q said:

Given the suggestion to research hotel directors, does anyone know how can I get the current list of hotel directors by ship?

 

I believe there is a fairly recent “who is” thread somewhere on this board.  I will see if I can find it.  Hopefully someone who knows where to get the information reads your post.

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27 minutes ago, *Miss G* said:

 

This might help.

 

 

Pre-set menus are separate and apart from ability and know-how.

It didn't help, actually.  The description is the same for a hotel General Manager.  All the ones I know don't get their fingers into the actual managing of the menus and food production - they leave that to the Executive Chef - but monitor for budget and guest experience.  If she gets too many complaints, she will get together with the F&B staff to see if something can be changed.  

 

If pre-set menus are separate and apart from ability and know-how, why do so many people here ask to see them for their next cruise?  Large quantity cooking is definitely tricky.  I only have my hotel restaurants to go by, but, everything is hard-set on paper for how to prepare.  Now, those who have been around in that kitchen may have the recipes for their area down and don't look anymore.  But, when the Chef in Charge comes around, they better know to tell Chef exactly what they put in the recipe and how they prepped it.   If too many pieces of meat or soup or whatever is being returned and the next one is the same, the Chef in Charge isn't doing his duty...

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