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Are menus the same on all ships ?


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Do all of a cruise line's ships have basically the same rotating menus or is each ship different , depending on the chef?

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Does every restaraunt have the  same menu  on land? I don't even think the menus rotate that much - I don't remember seeing the same menu twice on a 14 day Cunard cruise in the MDR

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If it's a chain (on land) they all have the same menu, but most are one-offs, all different owners, so all different menus. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, sjde said:

Do all of a cruise line's ships have basically the same rotating menus or is each ship different , depending on the chef?

There are many selected dishes in the cruise line's repertoire.  The executive chef chooses what's actually prepared/served on any given ship, based on the availability of products to create those meals and (sometimes) themeing of any given dinner service.

 

While you won't see a totally identical menu on longer cruises, specific dishes may be repeated from time to time.

Edited by Shmoo here
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58 minutes ago, sjde said:

Do all of a cruise line's ships have basically the same rotating menus or is each ship different , depending on the chef?

 

Good question.   I've seen the same menu items across ship's in a given cruise line, but I wouldn't say the menus are identical.  But my experience from one ship to another would be with at least months of time passing.  So while the menus might be different, it is possible they were all modified across the board and I wouldn't know.  

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2 minutes ago, Shmoo here said:

There are many selected dishes in the cruise line's repertoire.  The executive chef chooses what's actually prepared/served on any given ship, based on the availability of products to create those meals and (sometimes) themeing of any given dinner service.

 

While you won't see a totally identical menu on longer cruises, specific dishes may be repeated from time to time.

 

You remind me, we also see the regional flare in the menus.  

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Cruise lines have a basic set of menus.  If a line only does seven day cruises, there will be a seven day rotation.  The first day menu will be the same on every ship.  After that it might vary with the itinerary and when the ‘formal’ nights are.  On longer cruises the rotation will be 8, 10, 14 days with perhaps a few dishes repeated but not the identical menu.  If there is some alteration of the itinerary, some lines can create a new menu for that occasion.  But some can’t adapt.  In September 2019 we were on MSC Armonia and the cruise was lengthened by two days due to a hurricane (Dorian).  Day 8 saw the day 1 menu repeated, and day 9 the day 2 menu.  EM

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With Princess, both when I worked for them and laterly cruised with them, they had standard menu rotations for the normal lengths of cruise - 7, 10, 14 days. When I did 7-day Alaska, the only thing that changed on the daily menu was the date.

 

When our son worked for them, every time we visited the ship in Vancouver, the welcome aboard menu was the same every time.

 

On the Princess World Cruise, the same menus were repeated on each of the 4 segment The longer segments had additional repeats.

 

With Viking Ocean, throughout the entire cruise, we never had a menu repeated. Yes, some dishes were obviously repeated, but not an entire menu. They also have a destination section, in addition to the standard menu, where they offer local dishes from the region we were cruising.

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But will one Viking ship have the same menu as the others, or one Princess ship as another, maybe the others in its class?

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48 minutes ago, Essiesmom said:

Cruise lines have a basic set of menus.  If a line only does seven day cruises, there will be a seven day rotation.  The first day menu will be the same on every ship.  After that it might vary with the itinerary and when the ‘formal’ nights are.  On longer cruises the rotation will be 8, 10, 14 days with perhaps a few dishes repeated but not the identical menu.  If there is some alteration of the itinerary, some lines can create a new menu for that occasion.  But some can’t adapt.  In September 2019 we were on MSC Armonia and the cruise was lengthened by two days due to a hurricane (Dorian).  Day 8 saw the day 1 menu repeated, and day 9 the day 2 menu.  EM

Sounds like you work(ed) in the industry?

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1 hour ago, sjde said:

But will one Viking ship have the same menu as the others, or one Princess ship as another, maybe the others in its class?

Most likely 

The rotation schedule may change depending on the length of the sailing

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1 hour ago, clo said:

Sounds like you work(ed) in the industry?

No, I’ve just cruised a lot.  Longest single cruise was Star Princess inaugural, 26 days Singapore to LA.  No menu was repeated, although some dishes were, maybe with different sides.  Which was remarkable as once in LA she did 7 day Mexico cruises.  On HAL if you book a collectors cruise, which can also be booked as two cruises, the menus do not repeat.  EM

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14 minutes ago, Essiesmom said:

No, I’ve just cruised a lot.  Longest single cruise was Star Princess inaugural, 26 days Singapore to LA.  No menu was repeated, although some dishes were, maybe with different sides.  Which was remarkable as once in LA she did 7 day Mexico cruises.  On HAL if you book a collectors cruise, which can also be booked as two cruises, the menus do not repeat.  EM

Have you found this true on Oceania?

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2 hours ago, sjde said:

But will one Viking ship have the same menu as the others, or one Princess ship as another, maybe the others in its class?

I am not sure why one would expect all cruise lines to follow the same policy on this, or any other topic.

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Availability of local produce will have a bearing on it as well.

When we were on an Australia / New Zealand to the Arabian Gulf style of trading pattern then most of the stores were loaded ‘down south’. We had a lot of lamb 🙄 All the beer was Australian as it was cheap 🤮 and of course not available in the Gulf. Frozen cheeses cakes seemed to be freely available as well. I seem to remember one catering officer ordering some spreadable paste and they supplied Bloater Paste ... vile would be a polite description.
Trading around the NW coast of the USA, or S Africa would mean a surfeit of seafood 😁

Any half decent catering department should be taking advantage of what is available.

India with an Indian crew was always good ,

 

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11 hours ago, sjde said:

But will one Viking ship have the same menu as the others, or one Princess ship as another, maybe the others in its class?

 

With Princess, our experience is every ship had the same standard menus. Every one had the same menu on day 1, but then the rotation on some ships changed based on sea/port days, formal nights, etc.

 

On Viking, I'm not 100% certain, as I have less experience with them, but being more destination focussed, the Executive Chef has standard recipes, but also has the ability to create local dishes from locally sourced ingredients. Best guess is no, all ships would not have the same standard menus.

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Pretty much the same menu...but the "interpretation" by each chef may make a difference.  Some "specialty cruises", like repositioning cruises, may have a few special options thrown in.....but for the most part, the menus are pretty standard.  The cruise lines buy in BULK...and standard menus simplify things greatly!

 

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Posted (edited)
On 3/3/2021 at 5:24 PM, Shmoo here said:

There are many selected dishes in the cruise line's repertoire.

 

I have even seen the lines produce cookbooks as another item for sale. Based on my own experience, I do believe the Executive Chef has some latitude in what they serve as long as they meet budgetary targets for the ship.  It also seems that some basic items never change and are available everyday on all ships.  This is certainly the case on RCCL where I have done the vast majority of my cruising.

 

Below is a link to cruise line cookbooks on CC:

https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=5261

Edited by SelectSys
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I also noticed about ten day rotation on longer cruises. The luncheon menu seems to have a much smaller rotation- sometimes only three days. Everything depends on the cruise line policy.

 

The only time you will see a difference is when a new menu is floated out on a few select ships. They fine tune things and then come up with a new menu fleetwide. 

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6 hours ago, SelectSys said:

I do believe the Executive Chef has some latitude in what they serve as long as they meet budgetary targets for the ship.  

 

On HAL and Carnival Cruise Line ships which I have sailed and have done Behind the Scenes Tours, the Executive Chef for each ship has the ability to "tweak" the corporate recipes as he/she desires.  My cruising experience has taught me that there are Chefs who are better "tweakers" than others.  

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On 3/4/2021 at 6:59 AM, MBP&O2/O said:

Availability of local produce will have a bearing on it as well.

 

On 3/4/2021 at 6:59 AM, MBP&O2/O said:

Any half decent catering department should be taking advantage of what is available.

 

That has been my experience as well.  When one sails on a long cruise, there will be trailers at the dock in some ports loading carrying cases and cases of many of the standards:  toilet paper, soft drinks, etc.  But, there will also be pallets of fresh, locally produced produce, meats, cheeses, and seafood.  I have observed Executive Chefs, Culinary Operation Managers, and Hotel Directors opening such boxes as they examine the contents and trying to determine if they meet the quality standards for their Company.  I saw a Chef "plug" a watermelon to determine if he approved of the fruit.  

 

I think a good amount of effort is expended to provide the best quality products that are obtainable at a port for the benefit of the ship's guests and crew.  

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Following up on my just posted comment, there has to be some interesting experiences among CC members about when supplies did not reach their ship on schedule.  

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Just now, rkacruiser said:

Following up on my just posted comment, there has to be some interesting experiences among CC members about when supplies did not reach their ship on schedule.  

 

They gave us SPAM.  

 

OK, OK, to be serious.  I've never had that happen.  But I have seen the lugs of fresh produce, fish, etc stacked up at the docks.  Pretty impressive.   

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1 hour ago, ldubs said:

They gave us SPAM.  

 

2002, Asia Pacific Cruise on the Volendam, docked at some port in China expecting a trailer load of supplies from the United States.  A West Coast dock strike prevented the supplies from arriving.  Locally sourced items needed to obtained.  Not a Coke aficionado, but have learned to prefer Charmin or such T.P., the Coke folks were not happy with what had to be substituted and the Chinese T.P. was surely different.  Just another "travel adventure".  

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On 3/3/2021 at 6:44 PM, sjde said:

But will one Viking ship have the same menu as the others, or one Princess ship as another, maybe the others in its class?

Each cruise line has a basic “cook book” with set menu items. How much can be modified, added to, rotated all depends on which cruise line.

If food is really important to you, consider Oceania and what numerous food critics/publications (e.g., Saveur, Bon Appetit) refer to as “the finest cuisine at sea.”™️

Beyond the exceptional quality of its ingredients, the executive chef of each ship has great latitude (and a discretionary budget) to tailor some days’ offerings to regional cuisine or special opportunities (e.g., a haul of fresh tuna). And, on longer cruises, you may not see significant menu item rotations happening from itinerary segment to itinerary segment. We’ve often seen little rotation over as much as 21 days.

 

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