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on the food issue-which is the topic of this thread

 

last night I read an article about summer camps in the NE closing down  since they cannot get food delivered as companies like Sysco (restaurant and institutional supplier)  have constraints.  We know supply chains are being constrained on just about everything now, and with cruising starting up that adds to the resurging demand for food.

 

Can anybody add "flavor" to this that might be in the "know"?

 

And how does this affect cruise ship provisioning. I am under the impression that cruise lines do a lot of provisioning out of the US even for non US cruises and only locally provision for certain items. eg, a lot of pallets of food is air shipped to other ports.

 

Since I will have a lot of not refundable OBC on my next cruise, which is a TA, perhaps I should take one of the internal ship tours, although with covid and normal health restrictions, the kitchen would be off limits and probably most other areas too. I've never taken one of those.

 

One of the resosn for either Aqua or Suite class is you get away from the institutional food prep, even though its all coming out of the same kitchen. Our first cruise was on a ship that had less than 1,000 capacity, and we were impressed by the food quality and service. As time went on and the ships got bigger, food service became institutionalized. and as ships further grew we saw upscale classes of service (eg Blu and Luminae) , and then specialty restaurants that more or less both  give us the old style quality and service.

 

I also like Blu and Luminae for the intimacy of dining and meeting interesting folks.

 

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30 minutes ago, HMR74 said:

Can anybody add "flavor" to this that might be in the "know"?

 

I can't give you any first-hand knowledge for a couple of weeks or so, but recent reviews that mention Luminae are positive. 

 

Food prices are up, for sure, but so are cruise prices (and especially suite prices).

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, DCPIV said:

 

I can't give you any first-hand knowledge for a couple of weeks or so, but recent reviews that mention Luminae are positive. 

 

Food prices are up, for sure, but so are cruise prices (and especially suite prices).

I will look for your review when you get back.

 

Over the years the  frequent "X"  cruisers have been pointing out the slow but steady decline in food and service, especially noted after the Current CEO dd some cost cutting.

 

With so many moving pieces now who knows  what to expect on future cruises, however I would think they want to protect suite class as much as possible.

 

Prices went up I seem to recall summer 2019-we had nice pricing on a Nov Dec B2b out of Singapore (Jim Jain above was on those two also) but we had  cruising friends who were on  the TA from Sydney to Hawaii, spring 2020 and by the tine we looked at that one, the already high balcony prices of 6500 per cabin for 6th level on Solstice were sold but we could have snared a regular balcony cabin for something like 8800 (15 day cruise if I recall  correctly) and our  B2B on Eclipse was 10k for Aqua  28 days.-that was cancelled.

 

So I think pricing was going up before covid. And I believe the upcharges for Aqua and at least Sky Suites have stayed proportionate to what pricing was pre covid. Upper level suites , who knows? not on my radar. (although I wish Oasis class ships had suites large enough for the entire family with grandkids to be comfortable in real beds-thats better than 5 balcony cabins).

 

 

Edited by HMR74
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Haven't sailed with X since Luminae began, and although I've read through our 5 pages, still wondering about a couple of things.

 

First, when I look at the stock photos of a Luminae on the X site, it appears that the entire restaurant is set up in 2 tops.  One of the things we do enjoy on our cruises is getting to know some of our fellow travelers, and much of this happens over the dinner table in the MDR.  As we aren't traveling with friends on this cruise, that would seem to limit our options for interaction.  Anyone able to comment upon this?

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they can and do move tables together--however, depending when you cruise, what will covid rules do to that.

Once concern I have that nobody has commented on yet since the restart is capacity in Luminae and Blu, because  those tend  to be fully booked on reduced capacity cruises. If they have to keep tables apart, how do they do it (perhaps they have not really booked all sky suites as one of my cruise cabin maps indicates)

Of course, Celebrity will have few kids anyway so the  ships wil be nearly 100% vax'd.

 

 

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1 minute ago, HMR74 said:

they can and do move tables together--however, depending when you cruise, what will covid rules do to that.

Once concern I have that nobody has commented on yet since the restart is capacity in Luminae and Blu, because  those tend  to be fully booked on reduced capacity cruises.

 

There wouldn't be any reason to not put tables together that I can imagine.  The MDR still supports 8 tops.  I suppose that one approach would be to befriend others in our roll call that are suite guests and see if we can arrange a dinner or two together in order to get to know them.  It's just a very different paradigm than we're accustomed to for dining on X ships.

 

I also had noticed that on reduced capacity cruises, one could see entire blocks of forward OV and similar cabins remaining open (on our cancelled Reflection cruise, there was actually a pattern on deck 3? where every other cabin was open, too), and that they were selling 'top down'.  That would surely keep Luminae heavily booked in spite of any reduced capacity booking policies.

 

We have the option of eating where we like, and will be on a non-Rev M class (Constellation).  All of our TA's kept blowing up, so we booked a B2B for this November.  The original 'specialty restaurant' back in the day on Constellation was Ocean Liners, which we used to enjoy very much.  It appears that Qsine has taken over that space.  Am assuming Luminae will become our 'replacement' for that venue.  So where DOES one go for goat cheese souffle these days???

 

 

 

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we know the suites, Aqua and Concierge are the most profitable bookings for cruise lines, so  on reduced capacity cruises they take it out of the inside cabins. And Silstace and edge class have lower numbers of inside cabins than ther used to be.

But that was the reason for my question. If Suites are completely booked and they have to increase the space, what issues will there be?

 there are several places for Luminae to put groups together. One is the row as you enter and another is the "back" section. also easy to put tables together elsewhere for a "4 top"

 

 I just have a feeling its not a problem, but do not want to be surprised.

 

 

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52 minutes ago, canderson said:

Haven't sailed with X since Luminae began, and although I've read through our 5 pages, still wondering about a couple of things.

 

First, when I look at the stock photos of a Luminae on the X site, it appears that the entire restaurant is set up in 2 tops.  One of the things we do enjoy on our cruises is getting to know some of our fellow travelers, and much of this happens over the dinner table in the MDR.  As we aren't traveling with friends on this cruise, that would seem to limit our options for interaction.  Anyone able to comment upon this?

I wouldn't find a communal table attractive when in Blu or Luminae.  I could meet people in the Retreat lounge.  As I get older the idea of having to talk loud for everyone to hear at an 8 top is not a fun thing.  2 and 4 tops are good - more than that is a chore.

 

Looking at new to cruising pax, I dont think that a communal table exists at any land based restaurants which is where most new people would be previously vacationing.  In the MDRs I could see it, but not in AQ or Suites

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2 hours ago, HMR74 said:

on the food issue-which is the topic of this thread

 

last night I read an article about summer camps in the NE closing down  since they cannot get food delivered as companies like Sysco (restaurant and institutional supplier)  have constraints.  We know supply chains are being constrained on just about everything now, and with cruising starting up that adds to the resurging demand for food.

 

Can anybody add "flavor" to this that might be in the "know"?

 

And how does this affect cruise ship provisioning. I am under the impression that cruise lines do a lot of provisioning out of the US even for non US cruises and only locally provision for certain items. eg, a lot of pallets of food is air shipped to other ports.

 

Since I will have a lot of not refundable OBC on my next cruise, which is a TA, perhaps I should take one of the internal ship tours, although with covid and normal health restrictions, the kitchen would be off limits and probably most other areas too. I've never taken one of those.

 

One of the resosn for either Aqua or Suite class is you get away from the institutional food prep, even though its all coming out of the same kitchen. Our first cruise was on a ship that had less than 1,000 capacity, and we were impressed by the food quality and service. As time went on and the ships got bigger, food service became institutionalized. and as ships further grew we saw upscale classes of service (eg Blu and Luminae) , and then specialty restaurants that more or less both  give us the old style quality and service.

 

I also like Blu and Luminae for the intimacy of dining and meeting interesting folks.

 

For reasons you cited regarding Aqua and Suite class, that is why we love Azamara. We love the small ship atmosphere and have found it quite easy to make acquaintances with many couples during our cruises.  We also usually travel alone.

We’ve also hit it off quite nicely with some couples eating at nearby two tops in Blu. 

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19 minutes ago, tfred said:

I wouldn't find a communal table attractive when in Blu or Luminae.  I could meet people in the Retreat lounge.  As I get older the idea of having to talk loud for everyone to hear at an 8 top is not a fun thing.  2 and 4 tops are good - more than that is a chore.

 

Looking at new to cruising pax, I dont think that a communal table exists at any land based restaurants which is where most new people would be previously vacationing.  In the MDRs I could see it, but not in AQ or Suites

I  was not thinking communal tables.

 

I think we all were talking about meeting people and deciding to dine together.

 

and even the pictures show tables of 4

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36 minutes ago, midwestchick said:

For reasons you cited regarding Aqua and Suite class, that is why we love Azamara. We love the small ship atmosphere and have found it quite easy to make acquaintances with many couples during our cruises.  We also usually travel alone.

We’ve also hit it off quite nicely with some couples eating at nearby two tops in Blu. 

One of the  things we like about the bigger ships is the choices for example, on entertainment.

On S class, on the way to Quisine, Blue and Tuscan Grill, right next to Michaels Club, is a bar where the atmosphere is great for us, regarding the  setting and music. So we can sit and talk , have a leisurely drink or late coffee. etc. It  is rarely overcrowded and after dinner is not crowded at all. There are several quiet bars on top. I love the bar outside the Oceanview cafe  on most of the S class ships for hanging around in the afternoon on sea days while wife plays mahj jong. . A drink, my ipad with music , books or internet and headphones, and of course fresh air and wonderful sights. 

On longer cruises, or B2b, the bartenders get to know you and they have fun getting me to try different creations, as do I.

 

All on a bigger ship, you create your own little world, and the downside of a bigger ship, getting on and off, is offset by being in Suites or status. Esp at a tender port.

 

 

 

These amenities are  not always available on the  Azmara type ships, and even on Oceana for example, the dining is real good,  however choices are limited. It will be interesting to see how a hedge fund runs Azmara and how soon they flip it.

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35 minutes ago, HMR74 said:

One of the  things we like about the bigger ships is the choices for example, on entertainment.

On S class, on the way to Quisine, Blue and Tuscan Grill, right next to Michaels Club, is a bar where the atmosphere is great for us, regarding the  setting and music. So we can sit and talk , have a leisurely drink or late coffee. etc. It  is rarely overcrowded and after dinner is not crowded at all. There are several quiet bars on top. I love the bar outside the Oceanview cafe  on most of the S class ships for hanging around in the afternoon on sea days while wife plays mahj jong. . A drink, my ipad with music , books or internet and headphones, and of course fresh air and wonderful sights. 

On longer cruises, or B2b, the bartenders get to know you and they have fun getting me to try different creations, as do I.

 

All on a bigger ship, you create your own little world, and the downside of a bigger ship, getting on and off, is offset by being in Suites or status. Esp at a tender port.

 

 

 

These amenities are  not always available on the  Azmara type ships, and even on Oceana for example, the dining is real good,  however choices are limited. It will be interesting to see how a hedge fund runs Azmara and how soon they flip it.

Oh yes, agree with that too but when we do Azamara, we normally do port intensive cruises so we’re usually exhausted after dinner.  That makes a big difference as to what you feel like doing. We’ve only done one TA and it was on  Azamara. Our next TA is on The Edge and in a Suite.  We’re doing that cruise to mostly experience the ship.  Happy sailing. 😊

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2 hours ago, HMR74 said:

I  was not thinking communal tables.

 

I think we all were talking about meeting people and deciding to dine together.

 

and even the pictures show tables of 4

From my experience, the Luminae is two top centric.  But they move tables around to create four tops as needed.  They also set up larger configurations as need.  I always see one of two groups of six.  I also see larger groups occasionally.  I try to stay far away from those tables from the large groups and it is always very noisy.  On the S class, they put the large table if needed  in the back section.  

 

The two tops are close together, so they are close to being a four top with each twosome ordering separately. Certainly easy to engage in conversation.  
 

I view it has a dining room of two person tables configured for your group size as needed.  Maximum flexibility if you meet up with some people.  A vast majority of tables will two people.  
 

This has been my observation.

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My experience in Luminae, only on S class ships, mirrors what has been said above. Tables are predominately 2-tops. If they know they have a group of more than two traveling/dining together routinely, they will set the table up in advance to accommodate them. On my last cruise, on Equinox, there were two couples traveling together.  They always ate around 8:00. The table was set up and waiting for them each evening.
 

Larger parties are usually put in the back room. On one of our cruises, we became friends with two other couples and  always sat together in Michael’s Club every evening. On the last evening, spur of the moment, we decided to all have dinner together. By the time we got thru including others that we all knew, we were a group of twelve. The Concierge called Luminae  and asked that they seat us all together. The Luminae hostess said to tell us to come around 8:45. We were seated at a long table in the back room. We had the room to ourselves and it was good thing. I am sure we were loud! 
 

My point is that they are very accommodating. 

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Posted (edited)

the other funny thing, is that as was pointed out just above, couples traveling together are set up in bigger table situations, everybody else as twos, . As the cruise progresses, and people get to meet, there is a conversion to 4's and 6;'s some 8's.

 

It is a ritual of sorts. The crew must get some giggles out of it.

in the MDR there is a shortage of 2 tops. And speaking of tops, we sometimes would like high tops, like you see in the bars. and they could  save floor space by going vertical. Good higher chairs woudl likely be more comfortable too, and easier for the  servers. Not good in a choppy Ocean.

Edited by HMR74
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3 minutes ago, HMR74 said:

the other funny thing, is that as was pointed out just above, couples traveling together are set up in bigger table situations, everybody else as twos, . As the cruise progresses, and people get to meet, there is a conversion to 4's and 6;'s some 8's.

heh, we saw that happen in real-time. Someone eating solo struck up a conversation with a group that she had met earlier on the cruise while walking to her own table. By the time they decided to dine together the maitre'd had anticipated it and was already standing behind her with an an extra chair to pull up to the table.

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3 minutes ago, Sykes said:

heh, we saw that happen in real-time. Someone eating solo struck up a conversation with a group that she had met earlier on the cruise while walking to her own table. By the time they decided to dine together the maitre'd had anticipated it and was already standing behind her with an an extra chair to pull up to the table.

well, on a longer cruise or B2B, you get to know the people who dine at the time you do so it becomes a natural.

Then my wife plays Maj and the wifes want to dine together, whether MDR, BLU or Lum. So we, the men follow. Not sure why the men don't do the same bringing wives along. Maybe we need to get private pokers games going.  Nah, quiet time on a ship  out at the bar at the aft is priceless.

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2 hours ago, Straughn said:

Larger parties are usually put in the back room.

Anyone know what a Luminae looks like on M class?  Your comment about a 'back room' on S class reminds me of the old wine room outside of what each M class ship once had as its only 'specialty dining' area, Ocean Liners, SS United States, etc.  But those areas on M class are Qsine now, I think, and it doesn't look like that little room is there now.  We surely did enjoy a number of nice dinners in that room with friends over the years.  But back to the Q...

 

Is the M class Luminae configured with a 'back room'?  I'm not seeing it on the current Constellation deck plan... just one open area.  One gripe I have with X these days is that they use generic pictures for everything on their web site.  If you pull up a dining room or a cabin class when viewing a particular ship 'page', what you see could come from any of the ship classes, are often very different in reality, looking nothing like the one you're about to sail.

 

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23 minutes ago, canderson said:

Anyone know what a Luminae looks like on M class?  Your comment about a 'back room' on S class reminds me of the old wine room outside of what each M class ship once had as its only 'specialty dining' area, Ocean Liners, SS United States, etc.  But those areas on M class are Qsine now, I think, and it doesn't look like that little room is there now.  We surely did enjoy a number of nice dinners in that room with friends over the years.  But back to the Q...

 

Is the M class Luminae configured with a 'back room'?  I'm not seeing it on the current Constellation deck plan... just one open area.  One gripe I have with X these days is that they use generic pictures for everything on their web site.  If you pull up a dining room or a cabin class when viewing a particular ship 'page', what you see could come from any of the ship classes, are often very different in reality, looking nothing like the one you're about to sail.

 

There is a back room sometimes used for poker games and a lot of smoking.  Oh, thats another story. It just a partitioned area, same ambiance etc.

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2 hours ago, canderson said:

Anyone know what a Luminae looks like on M class?  Your comment about a 'back room' on S class reminds me of the old wine room outside of what each M class ship once had as its only 'specialty dining' area, Ocean Liners, SS United States, etc.  But those areas on M class are Qsine now, I think, and it doesn't look like that little room is there now.  We surely did enjoy a number of nice dinners in that room with friends over the years.  But back to the Q...

 

Is the M class Luminae configured with a 'back room'?  I'm not seeing it on the current Constellation deck plan... just one open area.  One gripe I have with X these days is that they use generic pictures for everything on their web site.  If you pull up a dining room or a cabin class when viewing a particular ship 'page', what you see could come from any of the ship classes, are often very different in reality, looking nothing like the one you're about to sail.

 

 

I agree with your observation with the generic pictures on the Celebrity website.  Some newbies must be mightily surprised when they board their actual ship!

 

Luminae on M class is basically all one room.

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20 hours ago, HMR74 said:

they can and do move tables together--however, depending when you cruise, what will covid rules do to that.

Once concern I have that nobody has commented on yet since the restart is capacity in Luminae and Blu, because  those tend  to be fully booked on reduced capacity cruises. If they have to keep tables apart, how do they do it (perhaps they have not really booked all sky suites as one of my cruise cabin maps indicates)

Of course, Celebrity will have few kids anyway so the  ships wil be nearly 100% vax'd.

 

 

 

On 7/3 Edge cruise there was no extra space allocated for distancing in Retreat or Luminae or anywhere on the ship for that matter.   Luminae was full.   We and several others were seated in the back on the first night where there was a very loud group so we were all moved to the front after that.  We ended up being seated at the same 4 top by ourselves every night.  We chatted with an adjoining table one day.  The next night they came in right after us and joined us at our 4 top.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/21/2021 at 10:26 AM, HMR74 said:

I am under the impression that cruise lines do a lot of provisioning out of the US even for non US cruises and only locally provision for certain items. eg, a lot of pallets of food is air shipped to other ports

Years ago on a Princess ship cruising around Australia and New Zealand, I commented to our waiter that I was looking forward to some meals this week of New Zealand lamb. He replied that we will, but it will first go from New Zealand to the US, because Princess gets most of its food containerized from the US. That prompted us and our new table mates to get off the ship and try to get reservations for dinner at world famous Sails Restaurant {I had never heard of it}. When we arrived earlier in the day to book for later that evening they were booked solid. We returned at 6 pm and were immediately seated. Must have been a cancellation and we 'lucked out,' so we thought. The cuisine was better in the MDR of our Princess ship, was our collective thoughts. The view was more memorable.

 

Edited by morpheusofthesea
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6 minutes ago, morpheusofthesea said:

Years ago on a Princess ship cruising around Australia and New Zealand, I commented to our waiter that I was looking forward to some meals this week of New Zealand lamb. He replied that we will, but it will first go from New Zealand to the US, because Princess gets most of its food containerized from the US. That prompted us and our new table mates to get off the ship and try to get reservations for dinner at world famous Sails Restaurant {I had never heard of it}. When we arrived earlier in the day to book for later that evening they were booked solid. We returned at 6 pm and were immediately seated. Must have been a cancellation and we 'lucked out,' so we thought. The cuisine was better in the MDR of our Princess ship, was our collective thoughts. The view was more memorable.

 

Interesting

 

I saw a you tube episode about the Solstice 2-3 years ago when in its winter port in Austraila, where some people were complaining about the repetitive buffett, so the head chef, or whatever they are called took ships  cash at a port  to buy local seafood, and when on to make a special presentation in the buffet.

 

That you tube is where I learned a bit about provisionng.  Its just interesting from a business persective.

 

I do not know if its cost, or legal reasons (concerns about the safety of food in the processing and packaging) however, for example we know menus are on a 1 or 2 week cycle, however, it would be "cool" (or "premium" as "X" wants to say) say in Luminae if sailing in intriguing or exotic areas, they would source fresh entrees when in a local port to have one choice thats really different and local flavor. Perhaps they already do and I have not noticed it.

 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, HMR74 said:

whatever they are called took ships  cash at a port  to buy local seafood, and when on to make a special presentation in the buffet.

I bet that idea came from the film crew. Haven't seen anything like it ever fed to passengers and filmed before.

 

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8 hours ago, HMR74 said:

... would source fresh entrees when in a local port to have one choice thats really different and local flavor. Perhaps they already do and I have not noticed it.

Part of the problem is coming up with *enough* of things to be prepared to serve to quite a few people, even in a restaurant as small as Luminae.  They'd need a pretty large wholesaler if they were going to server very many people.

 

I do know that where a SMALL group is concerned, they provide excursions that include meals prepared by ship crew.  Example - St. Maarten (I'm not clear where the dinner is actually served aboard ship) has an excursion with the following content:

 

One of the 'highlights' reads:

  • Enjoy a private, island-inspired dinner created by our Celebrity Chef.

and in the tour description,

 

"Join our Celebrity Chef and head to the Simpson Bay Fish Market where you'll experience the hustle and bustle of everyday fisherman and your chef will purchase locally caught fish. With our Catch of the Day we head over to the Marigot Market. You'll stop here to taste Cane Juice with or without rum and your guide will explain the benefits of this very old product. A short walk over the market takes us to Olive and her fruit, vegetable, spices and rum stand. Here the chef can purchase his goodies to compliment your Chefs dinner!"

 

 

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