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Ladesign
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Hi there

We are new to NCL , having sailed on a dozen of so Celebrity.  Our Canadian friend has refused to join us on a 15 night Oanama canal as he says the food & service in the main dining areas is “lousy”

 

I am fairly confident this is a bit of an overstatement and would welcome views from others .  We already have a 5 night spec restaurant package and will upgrade to more if the main dining room isn’t up to our tastes

 

Would also welcome any thoughts /tips on sailing with NCL 

 

Thank you in advance 

 

Chris 

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I was on the Spirit in Dec 2019 and used the MDR and Taste for 4 nights, I found the food to be well flavoured, well cooked and well presented. If course the speciality dining is better but the MDR is just fine

 

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I did the 15 day Panama Canal cruise on the Bliss a couple years ago. Main dining room was just fine .... perhaps not up to Celebrity standards but I also ordered two entrees every night and got something I liked and enjoyed every time. 

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we've been on  about 18 ncl cruises  since 2010. while i truly enjoy the specialty restaurants, i find the food in the main dining rooms to be more hen adequate. you have a slew of  choices and i'm sure you can find something you'll enjoy. for 15 nights, i might add some more specialty dinners since i dont think i'd want to eat in the mdr for 10 nights, but before you upgrade, check the menus for all the specialty restaurants you are interested in, and see if the sit down separate price per couple costs more than the total upgrade.  it might be cheaper in the long  run if you just pay separately for the dinners you want.

 

in the end, i dont think the main dining rooms are to be shunned, and remember  if you book extra dinners, and dont use them, the money is gone

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15 hours ago, Ladesign said:

Hi there

We are new to NCL , having sailed on a dozen of so Celebrity.  Our Canadian friend has refused to join us on a 15 night Panama canal as he says the food & service in the main dining areas is “lousy”

 

I am fairly confident this is a bit of an overstatement and would welcome views from others .  We already have a 5 night spec restaurant package and will upgrade to more if the main dining room isn’t up to our tastes

 

Would also welcome any thoughts /tips on sailing with NCL 

 

Thank you in advance 

 

Chris 

The main dining is perfectly fine. I would not waste my money on specialty dining when perfectly good food is available in complimentary dining rooms. 

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No problem with Main Dining Rooms on NCL, always have had something to our liking.  We do Specialty Restaurants  also, to mix it up. Just wish I was onboard and would be happy at this point to eat in the Buffet!  lol

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i'd give the mdr's a strong "B", they have such a variety, if you dont like what you ordered, you can get something else with no hassles. youcan order as much as you want, main menu, or just fillup on appetizers.

 

if you cant find something you like at either of the mdr's, i believe then it's on you,not the ncl kitchen or it's cooks.. remember, they are trying to accomodate  a few 1000 people with 5-6different entrees every night

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NCL Main Dining room food quality is good and enough variety for a 15 day sailing. The menu consists of 3-5 entrees that are available everyday and 3-5 specials, plenty to choose from. If you book with the promotion you'll have a Specialty dining package, so you can mix it up a bit between a variety of dinner options.

 

A main dining room is also available for breakfast and on certain days/times lunch. 

 

I don't really find the food on NCL lousy, maybe some things I don't like, but that doesn't mean it's lousy, just not what I like. Service wise to each his own, but I've had a rude experience on NCL, maybe a little slow but I'm on vacation so it works. We've had officers stop by the table to check in, get feedback and I've even gotten a thank you gift in the cabin later in the cruise. Being visible and connecting with guests is an extension of the commitment to good service/experience; nothing lousy about that.

Edited by Nola26
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5 hours ago, Nola26 said:

NCL Main Dining room food quality is good and enough variety for a 15 day sailing. The menu consists of 3-5 entrees that are available everyday and 3-5 specials, plenty to choose from. If you book with the promotion you'll have a Specialty dining package, so you can mix it up a bit between a variety of dinner options.

 

A main dining room is also available for breakfast and on certain days/times lunch. 

 

I don't really find the food on NCL lousy, maybe some things I don't like, but that doesn't mean it's lousy, just not what I like. Service wise to each his own, but I've had a rude experience on NCL, maybe a little slow but I'm on vacation so it works. We've had officers stop by the table to check in, get feedback and I've even gotten a thank you gift in the cabin later in the cruise. Being visible and connecting with guests is an extension of the commitment to good service/experience; nothing lousy about that.

well said!

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I like NCL's MDRs.  Matter of fact, there's been times when I dined in them because I was particularly fond of the dish they were having on particular evenings.  Service has always been good.

 

I chuckle sometimes about how people can be so damning of a cruise line that either isn't their favorite, or one that they've never even sailed.

 

Overall, I find NCL to be as good as any other cruise line out there.  I've sailed HAL, RCCL, Carnival, Celebrity, in addition to NCL.  They all have little  differences.  But, none have been bad.  I have had weather affect my cruise (both with NCL).  One cruise our ship was hit with a sudden wind that listed our ship 8º-11º.  The other we had to sail around a hurricane, which still had some rough seas.  Neither were NCL's fault, and considering the circumstances, both were handled well by NCL.

 

Entertainment is where NCL shines.  Their shows are the best at sea.  

 

Celebrity is a different vibe...way more laid back...as is HAL.  If that's what you want, steer towards those cruise lines.

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2 hours ago, graphicguy said:

I like NCL's MDRs.  Matter of fact, there's been times when I dined in them because I was particularly fond of the dish they were having on particular evenings.  Service has always been good.

 

 

We do this as well. We book our specialties, but once we are on board we ask to see the menus for the week and adjust the reservations as needed. There are a couple of entrees my husband really likes.

 

And although you won't have an assigned table/server for the cruise, if there is someone you enjoy, don't hesitate to request that server. We had the same server for three nights on the Dawn. She was awesome and we made sure we wrote her a nice Hero card at the end of the cruise.

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On 2/5/2021 at 3:22 AM, NW Pacific said:

No problem with Main Dining Rooms on NCL, always have had something to our liking.  We do Specialty Restaurants  also, to mix it up. Just wish I was onboard and would be happy at this point to eat in the Buffet!  lol

I agree the buffet on NCL etc was great. the variety was amazing and quality was great

Edited by life is to be happy
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The MDR in NCL on the Epic was fine...we did one speciality restaurant but can't remember what it was again which was also nice

but the buffet was also amazing... I actually preferred the buffet on NCL as so much to chose from but to answer your question the MDR is fine to eat in without having to book any speciality restaurants id say imo

enjoy

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I've never sailed Celebrity but it's reputation is more upscale.  I've sailed NCL, Carnival and RCCL and I like things and dislike things about each.  I find NCL to be kind of in between those three.  Carnival is more of a party and RCCL is more laid back and appeals to an older crowd, NCL is kind of in between. So I like it.   To me a cruise is what you make of it, and at least in my experience, there's no such thing as a bad cruise.

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Wife and I have been on 25-30 cruises (lost count), including several with NCL.  We tend to have dinner in the MDR, but occasionally eat at a specialty restaurant.  Although every meal isnt always perfect, we have generally been pleased with the food and experience in the NCL MDR's.  And if you dont like something, dont eat it; order something else.  We typically go on 7 day sailings, and never get sick of the MDR. 

 

We like NCL for its freestyle cruising.  I have to dress up for work every day, and hate having to do so while on vacation.  But the food on NCL is generally as good as the other mainstream lines.  Each company does some things better or worse than the others, but it is fun to be able to compare the pros and cons while sailing.   And cruising is like pizza and s_x; even when they are bad, it is still pretty good.  I doubt you will be disappointed with the NCL cruise.

Edited by brovol
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X serves a better meal than NCL, that is the consensus. But.. NCL is not bad in any way, so it might be a soft product, the ambiance or even a mind thing.. I might not even be able to tell the difference blindfolded.

 

edit: X can take a lesson in specialty dining venues from NCL btw :classic_smile:

Edited by FreestyleNovice
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Feel qualified to chime in here.   ~30 sailings on Celebrity, ~20 sailings on NCL.

Positives on Celebrity;  Food and service probably a small tick better.  Never had a problem.

Positives on NCL: More variety than Celebrity. Food well prepared.  Never had a problem.

 

Food in the MDR would NOT be a reason to not sail NCL.  Yes, that is very overstated by your potential cruising buddy. 

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you need to take into consideration not only the amount of people eating  at any given time, and also the fact that ncl is freestyle, you can walk into the mdr most any time. also, they give you an abundance of choices every night.

 

all things considered, i believe they are owed a round of applause for being able to pull this off, rather than have someone complain. try to fix dinner for a few 1000 of your closest friends, multiple times per night, and hope nothing goes wrong

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On 2/4/2021 at 3:41 AM, Ladesign said:

I am fairly confident this is a bit of an overstatement and would welcome views from others .  

I would have to agree with your Canadian friend. We’ve sailed on Celebrity and NCL (and every other mass market line) multiple times, and NCL is the only MDR we’ve ever walked out of. We’ve never had an issue with Celebrity MDRs, and the food has a more creative vibe in comparison. Keep in mind, we live in NY so our food perspectives may not align with lots of cruisers. 
 

After multiple poor experiences in the NCL MDRs, we buy a dining package for the entire voyage and eat in specialty restaurants when sailing the line. They’re not spectacular,  but can be quite good and a significant improvement. 

 

I’ll also say that Carnival MDRs far exceed NCL in flavor profiles and variety in comparison.

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have you ever noticed, however, that whenever a cruise line gets bad press (other than the unfortunate death of the little  girl on rcl) it's usually a carnival ship?

 

my requirements for a  cruise, are  (1) itinerary (2) price (3)cabin. ncl meets these criteria, and my least concern is the food. i may never have had an outstanding meal in the mdr, but i've never had a truly bad one either, and certainly not to the extent where i had to walkout.  sometimes, even high class restaurants get it wrong, and they're not feeding 1000's of people, multiple times per day. only dining i'm down on is le bistro, i feel they have a major attitude problem, and o'sheehans, which i avoid like the plague. if lousy food was an olympic event, i'm sure o'sheehans would get the gold medal.

 

by the way,i've mentioned in other posts, we try and book a haven, to avoid the little minor annoyances

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@complawyer Same.  Food is not a super high priority for us.  We never do buffets, don’t eat breads or desserts, and were really pleased with the meals off the menus in MDRs on the Epic in 2020.  Cagney's was not up to par on the night we were there, and the meals at the other two specialty restaurants we chose were only marginally better than MDR for us.  Caveat: We did a lot of fine dining in the 80’s and 90’s, but today would rather have a simple and thoughtfully prepared meal at a small family owned Indian or Thai restaurant than a fancy multi-course French dining experience.

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On 2/11/2021 at 11:33 AM, graphicguy said:

I like NCL's MDRs.  Matter of fact, there's been times when I dined in them because I was particularly fond of the dish they were having on particular evenings.  Service has always been good.

 

I chuckle sometimes about how people can be so damning of a cruise line that either isn't their favorite, or one that they've never even sailed.

 

Overall, I find NCL to be as good as any other cruise line out there.  I've sailed HAL, RCCL, Carnival, Celebrity, in addition to NCL.  They all have little  differences.  But, none have been bad.  I have had weather affect my cruise (both with NCL).  One cruise our ship was hit with a sudden wind that listed our ship 8º-11º.  The other we had to sail around a hurricane, which still had some rough seas.  Neither were NCL's fault, and considering the circumstances, both were handled well by NCL.

 

Entertainment is where NCL shines.  Their shows are the best at sea.  

 

Celebrity is a different vibe...way more laid back...as is HAL.  If that's what you want, steer towards those cruise lines.

 

I'm glad you posted this. As you can see from my signature block, I am booked on "the big 3" mainstream cruise lines, NCL, RCCL & CCL. Also, I will have to "step up my game" as I have just booked the Celebrity Apex (I'm glad you said Celebrity is "laid back" Not to stodgy, I hope).

 

I am looking forward to trying/comparing all these cruise lines and seeing what their strengths & weaknesses are. The only negative about trying all the different cruise lines is that I won't get very far with any one particular loyalty program. Oh well...

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6 hours ago, complawyer said:

have you ever noticed, however, that whenever a cruise line gets bad press (other than the unfortunate death of the little  girl on rcl) it's usually a carnival ship?

 

Why no, I haven't noticed.

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I have to agree that (for us) the MDR food on NCL was merely adequate.  The buffet was very repetitive and boring especially at breakfast.  We were on the Getaway, and other than the French restaurant (which we had mixed luck with), the specialty restaurants were some of the best we have ever eaten at.  Personally, when we travel NCL again, we will eat the majority of our meals in specialty restaurants.  

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