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A first look at the Koningsdam Menus


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1 hour ago, KroozNut said:

 

You're right about depending on how one cooks at home, and I'll be the first to admit that no matter how much of an accomplished cook I think I am, my at home cooking typically doesn't even come close to what is on a typical HAL menu.
 

And apparently my bar for the menus being inspiring is much lower than yours. In fact, I'm just thrilled to be going back to sea again (hopefully), and seeing these menus inspires me to anticipate even more, the exciting prospect of dining on a ship once again. 

You still haven’t answered that question.  What is inspiring?  I don’t go on hal for the food unless it’s in the specialty restaurants.  I’d have to say the food I cook at home is equally good if not better than what is served in the mdr.  I go n a cruise for peace and quite and to get recharged which is something that is in short supply at home.  Also for warmer weather.

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On our August 28th Nieuw Amsterdam cruise all the meals were great, including our dinners in the MDR.  I found many menu items to be “inspiring” and many I would never make at home. 
 

There was only one dish that I didn’t care for and it was probably just me-it was the Mushroom Strudel.  I sent it back.  I see it’s on the menu for our upcoming Koningsdam cruise:

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So I sure won’t order that again!  I’m not vegetarian but I do sometimes prefer a vegetarian entree. The vegetarian Chile Relleno was excellent and better than I’ve had in any restaurant, and that says a lot because I live in a city filled with great local Mexican restaurants and I consider a good Chile Relleno to set a standard for a good restaurant. Here’s the Relleno from the Nieuw Amsterdam:

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Food is an important part of our vacation experience and we seek out good restaurants and plan our days around meals. 
 

However, I truly believe it comes down to personal preference. What I enjoy may not be what someone else enjoys. Glad we have options on board!

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I am trying to think of something positive and nice to say about the MDR Dinner menus.  Still thinking...  thinking....thinking.......zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.    Also notice that HAL has finally reached the point that they serve "mystery seafood."  What on earth does "Fresh Market Seafood"  mean.?   Never heard of that kind of fish.  Canned cat food would probably meet that description.   Why not something like "Pacific Salmon?"  Sea Bass Filet?  Trout Almadine?  etc.

 

I do recall it was not that long ago when HAL had a steak on their everyday menu.   So just for comparison purposes I pulled up a typical MDR menu on Oceania (a line that has attracted many ex HAL cruisers)

Grand-Dining-Room-Dinner-Menu.pdf (oceaniacruises.com)

 

I will mention that I have never cruised on Oceania (that will change in December) but it was easy to find their menus.   

 

 

Hank

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The cruising public is all different ,some like the special restaurants & can afford to eat in them every night of the cruise while others only go to the MDR & then there are those who use both the special restaurants & main dining room for dinner .Some people even use Pinnacle restaurant for their lunch . Deep pockets always has the better selections 

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7 hours ago, mcrcruiser said:

The cruising public is all different ,some like the special restaurants & can afford to eat in them every night of the cruise while others only go to the MDR & then there are those who use both the special restaurants & main dining room for dinner .Some people even use Pinnacle restaurant for their lunch . Deep pockets always has the better selections 

Well I definitely don’t have deep pockets 😛but the 50 percent off certainly helps.   

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7 hours ago, Hlitner said:

I am trying to think of something positive and nice to say about the MDR Dinner menus.  Still thinking...  thinking....thinking.......zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.    Also notice that HAL has finally reached the point that they serve "mystery seafood."  What on earth does "Fresh Market Seafood"  mean.?   Never heard of that kind of fish.  Canned cat food would probably meet that description.   Why not something like "Pacific Salmon?"  Sea Bass Filet?  Trout Almadine?  etc.

 

I do recall it was not that long ago when HAL had a steak on their everyday menu.   So just for comparison purposes I pulled up a typical MDR menu on Oceania (a line that has attracted many ex HAL cruisers)

Grand-Dining-Room-Dinner-Menu.pdf (oceaniacruises.com)

 

I will mention that I have never cruised on Oceania (that will change in December) but it was easy to find their menus.   

 

 

Hank

Oceania is more expensive so it should be better.  I’m just hoping not to hear how bad it is from someone again for the hundredth time.  Yes the mystery seafood is strange.  Let’s hope it isn’t cat food 😛.  I’m sure it will be inspiring though 😉 whatever that means.

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1 hour ago, Florida_gal_50 said:

Oceania is more expensive so it should be better.  I’m just hoping not to hear how bad it is from someone again for the hundredth time.  Yes the mystery seafood is strange.  Let’s hope it isn’t cat food 😛.  I’m sure it will be inspiring though 😉 whatever that means.

Until recently, we had never booked "O" because it never seemed like a good value when compared to HAL, Princess and even Celebrity.  But a few months ago we found a good deal (on O) for an 18 day decent itinerary and it was on one of "O"s newer ships (they have larger cabins).  As we have learned more about "O" (mostly from old HAL cruisers) we have figured out that there are quite a few decent deals with that line that are no more expensive then the SS cabins on HAL.   Another thing about "O" is that they offer the size ships that many of we HAL fans used to love about HAL.  But HAL is gradually getting rid of all their smaller vessels (we truly miss the Prinsendam).

 

It is hard to find anything wonderful about these posted K'Dam menus.  Even the Everyday menu has been degraded.  We have seen a similar situation on Princess where they used to have a decent steak on their everyday menu and then it suddenly became an everyday hamburger!   DW and I have understood for many years that one no longer cruises on mass market lines for the cuisine.  But HAL used to be somewhat above other lines (except for Celebrity) in terms of their cusine.  

 

Hank

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I will be disappointed if I get on Koningsdam in 10 days and they don’t have steak (or chicken breast) on the everyday menu. I have ordered steak many times when the MDR menu doesn’t accommodate my dietary needs. I may end up dining in the Pinnacle every night.

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12 hours ago, Hlitner said:

I am trying to think of something positive and nice to say about the MDR Dinner menus.  Still thinking...  thinking....thinking.......zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.   

 

Well, let's see. For me, dining on a HAL ship?

 

Do I have to scour the grocery store flyers finding food that fits in our budget and accounts for all the  allergies/intolerances/preferences in our family? No

 

Do I have to go out and acquire that food, making sure I don't overspend our pretty restrictive budget? No

 

Do I have to actually COOK the food and listen to the complaints that are likely, with our kids and ourselves pretty sick of eating what meets our nutritional needs AND stays within our budget?  Also no

So.... after being effectively housebound for 18ish months, taking care of all the food needs for the household, I'd be happy if someone offered me pretty much anything that is on any of the HAL menus.  Do I think it is likely I'll be fortunate enough to select something from a HAL menu in the next year?  That's a VERY BIG no

 

I'd do pretty much anything to be able to sit in the MDR, and choose one of the offerings. And I would be delighted.

Edited by VennDiagram
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51 minutes ago, VennDiagram said:

 

Well, let's see. For me, dining on a HAL ship?

 

Do I have to scour the grocery store flyers finding food that fits in our budget and accounts for all the  allergies/intolerances/preferences in our family? No

 

Do I have to go out and acquire that food, making sure I don't overspend our pretty restrictive budget? No

 

Do I have to actually COOK the food and listen to the complaints that are likely, with our kids and ourselves pretty sick of eating what meets our nutritional needs AND stays within our budget?  Also no

So.... after being effectively housebound for 18ish months, taking care of all the food needs for the household, I'd be happy if someone offered me pretty much anything that is on any of the HAL menus.  Do I think it is likely I'll be fortunate enough to select something from a HAL menu in the next year?  That's a VERY BIG no

 

I'd do pretty much anything to be able to sit in the MDR, and choose one of the offerings. And I would be delighted.

You make a fabulous case for being on a cruise ship and with that we completely agree.  But while a starving person would be very happy to be able to go to McDonalds they might be much happier to be in an upscale restaurant.

 

Hank

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I actually like the HAL choices on the posted menus more than the posted Oceania menu.  Having said that, we typically eat in the specialty restaurants about 50% of the time.  Of the specialty restaurants, we like the Pinnacle Grill the least.

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Okay...the soap box for a few minutes.

 

I just want to give some praise for the talented chefs who put together these menus.  I think they were "inspired."  While, yes, I can make very good fajitas, short ribs, or pasta at home, so I'm not thrilled to see them on the menu rather than roasted veal chop or rack of lamb, these chefs are tasked with creating menus within a certain budget, and IMHO they have done a great job of creating solid offerings within a given budget.  They are using new grains and modern flavor profiles to give new twists to rather homely dishes.  Rudi Sodamin is an amazing chef.  

 

Also, there was a year or two when it seemed as if they were clinging to old recipes, but trying to save money on them.  Give me a good chile rellano instead of a tough steak any old day.  It seems as if they decided to double down on high-quality, more streamlined offerings and smaller portions.  This seems to be true in PG as well as MDR.  PG portions are smaller, but the food is good.  Again, this suits us very well.

 

Honestly, with the addition of extra specialty restaurants, the ships are offering a full range of food to suit all tastes.  Nobody is going back to dressing up for dinner, so I don't mind if MDR is a comfortable place with simpler offerings, and then I can choose from all kinds of other options if I want something with more "wow."

 

I seriously can't see anyone going away unhappy, if they explore options and keep an open mind.  Plus, these simpler MDR offerings are keeping our cruise fares within our reach.  More cruises for us.

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14 hours ago, Hlitner said:

I    Also notice that HAL has finally reached the point that they serve "mystery seafood."  What on earth does "Fresh Market Seafood"  mean.?   Never heard of that kind of fish.

 

Hank

Thanks for mentioning that. As  primarily a seafood eater, I too have been mystified by this wording since I first saw the HAL menus posted when  they restarted cruising.

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I will start by saying that I am English and English culinary tastes are in some ways different from American. We are 6 time HAL cruisers but over the years have noticed a marked deterioration in the quality taste and choice of the food offered in the MDR. We are not ‘rich’ and appreciate the value of a £/$ - we save hard for our cruise holiday and expect the experience to be quite special. The nadir for us came on the Eurodam when the MDR menu offered Meatloaf and fried chicken. Without in any way criticising those who enjoy those dishes - they could not be described as fine dining as is claimed in the brochures. For the rest of that cruise we dined in Tamarind which we thought outstanding - but of course at extra cost.

We have not returned to HAL but have since enjoyed cruises with Celebrity and Cunard.

Reading now that HAL has done away with Wine stewards, expecting the poor waiters to assume those duties as well as food service, confirms my belief that the Management have a plan to move the company downmarket. It is such a shame as the ships are gorgeous and the crews are largely outstanding.

It may be that I am a dinosaur and hankering for times past - but other companies that were peers of HAL seem to be managing to keep standards up  

 

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3 hours ago, dmcfad2 said:

I will be disappointed if I get on Koningsdam in 10 days and they don’t have steak (or chicken breast) on the everyday menu. I have ordered steak many times when the MDR menu doesn’t accommodate my dietary needs. I may end up dining in the Pinnacle every night.

The New York Strip Steak was available every night in the MDR on the NA last week.

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3 minutes ago, Mickb said:

I will start by saying that I am English and English culinary tastes are in some ways different from American. We are 6 time HAL cruisers but over the years have noticed a marked deterioration in the quality taste and choice of the food offered in the MDR. We are not ‘rich’ and appreciate the value of a £/$ - we save hard for our cruise holiday and expect the experience to be quite special. The nadir for us came on the Eurodam when the MDR menu offered Meatloaf and fried chicken. Without in any way criticising those who enjoy those dishes - they could not be described as fine dining as is claimed in the brochures. For the rest of that cruise we dined in Tamarind which we thought outstanding - but of course at extra cost.

We have not returned to HAL but have since enjoyed cruises with Celebrity and Cunard.

Reading now that HAL has done away with Wine stewards, expecting the poor waiters to assume those duties as well as food service, confirms my belief that the Management have a plan to move the company downmarket. It is such a shame as the ships are gorgeous and the crews are largely outstanding.

It may be that I am a dinosaur and hankering for times past - but other companies that were peers of HAL seem to be managing to keep standards up  

 

 

I don't know if it's "downmarket" or a different market.  HAL is known for longer itineraries.  And on those, things like meatloaf can be quite appealing.  What we are experiencing now is short cruises, and for those, we all want each day to count in a big way, so fried chicken and meatloaf don't cut it.  Personally, I'm taking a long view.  I know I'm not going to want to be on Celebrity big ships, or the Princess new ships, for that matter.  I can't wait for the day to board a HAL still-relatively-mid-sized ship and embark on a long journey.

 

Different people have different needs.  Our young professional kids cruise other, more expensive lines, for shorter periods of time when they can get away from work.  They pay more per day, eat very well, and that makes them happy.  We are older and shop first for itinerary, and are glad we can tailor our cruise to our budget.  Which may vary, depending on the cruise and how much importance we place on it.  We go to Mexico all the time, so being able to have a "cheap" getaway with "fish of the day" is okay by us.  For our hope-to-be Japan trip, we'll step it up.

 

To each his own.

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23 minutes ago, Mickb said:

I will start by saying that I am English and English culinary tastes are in some ways different from American. We are 6 time HAL cruisers but over the years have noticed a marked deterioration in the quality taste and choice of the food offered in the MDR. We are not ‘rich’ and appreciate the value of a £/$ - we save hard for our cruise holiday and expect the experience to be quite special. The nadir for us came on the Eurodam when the MDR menu offered Meatloaf and fried chicken. Without in any way criticising those who enjoy those dishes - they could not be described as fine dining as is claimed in the brochures. For the rest of that cruise we dined in Tamarind which we thought outstanding - but of course at extra cost.

We have not returned to HAL but have since enjoyed cruises with Celebrity and Cunard.

Reading now that HAL has done away with Wine stewards, expecting the poor waiters to assume those duties as well as food service, confirms my belief that the Management have a plan to move the company downmarket. It is such a shame as the ships are gorgeous and the crews are largely outstanding.

It may be that I am a dinosaur and hankering for times past - but other companies that were peers of HAL seem to be managing to keep standards up  

 

I feel the same.  If I got the cruise for free or a couple of thousand that would be different.  If mediocre food works for some so much the better.  I  know posters love to beat down others that dare to be critical of anything saying things like "I don't have to cook or clean" or "you must be unhappy".  How dare anyone have standards that differ from their own.  I'm not married to hal and it's not my child so I don't need to defend it.  If this downward spiral continues I will go elsewhere.  If mediocrity is all people care about so much better for hal.  They are going to need those people.

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15 hours ago, mcrcruiser said:

The cruising public is all different ,some like the special restaurants & can afford to eat in them every night of the cruise while others only go to the MDR & then there are those who use both the special restaurants & main dining room for dinner .Some people even use Pinnacle restaurant for their lunch . Deep pockets always has the better selections 

Yeah, we all come from very different communities and we all have completly different tastes. I mean, I am one of those people who want to try something new. I always do my best to go to new places and try new dishes and etc. It is life, we have to enjoy it fully 

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37 minutes ago, Florida_gal_50 said:

If mediocre food works for some so much the better.  If mediocrity is all people care about so much better for hal.

 

Of course, when discussing the quality of food in any scenario, the inherent subjectivity of those discussions renders common adjectives such as 'mediocre' and 'uninspiring' as truly in the eyes of the beholder, and every beholder's eyes are different.

Edited by KroozNut
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21 hours ago, Hlitner said:

What on earth does "Fresh Market Seafood"  mean.?   Never heard of that kind of fish. 

If you ask they will tell you what the specific fish is that night. I too was curious about the fish description, but waited until the last night of the 7-day cruise to try it (we had 3 specialty dinners). The waiter said it was "halibut" that night. He didn't say so, but I think they may leave the fish name off the menu so they can see what fish is available in a given port for that day or the next. My dinner was pretty good, but I'm not really a halibut fan, unfortunately. I like salmon, but we get lots of that at home, and I like the way I make it, rather than restaurants, so usually don't order it out.

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20 minutes ago, PSR said:

If you ask they will tell you what the specific fish is that night. I too was curious about the fish description, but waited until the last night of the 7-day cruise to try it (we had 3 specialty dinners). The waiter said it was "halibut" that night. He didn't say so, but I think they may leave the fish name off the menu so they can see what fish is available in a given port for that day or the next. My dinner was pretty good, but I'm not really a halibut fan, unfortunately. I like salmon, but we get lots of that at home, and I like the way I make it, rather than restaurants, so usually don't order it out.

There is very little, if any fresh fish bought in port by HAL, perhaps in AK but not so much in the rest if the world unless things have really changed. So, perhaps they could be a bit more specific in the menu. Plus, now that the menus are available in advance, choices by paying "guests" are frequently made prior to arriving the dining room. And there are some fish varieties and preparations that are more to some people's liking than others. Just saying............

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36 minutes ago, PSR said:

If you ask they will tell you what the specific fish is that night. I too was curious about the fish description, but waited until the last night of the 7-day cruise to try it (we had 3 specialty dinners). The waiter said it was "halibut" that night. He didn't say so, but I think they may leave the fish name off the menu so they can see what fish is available in a given port for that day or the next. My dinner was pretty good, but I'm not really a halibut fan, unfortunately. I like salmon, but we get lots of that at home, and I like the way I make it, rather than restaurants, so usually don't order it out.

You can choose to believe that if it makes you feel better :).  But HAL gets nearly all their fish and meat from the USA (shipped via refrigerated containers) and it is all frozen.  As I said earlier, nearly all the fish is "farmed" here in the USA and definitely meets the definition of sustainable.  When we live in Puerto Vallarta we routinely (sometimes daily) get fresh fish (usually Red Snapper or Mahi Mahi) which are caught off the coast by commercial fishing boats.  That fish is also "sustainable" but actually has good flavor which seems to be something that happens with wild fish as compared to carefully farmed fish.  But this is not unique to HAL.  We know (from a long dinner with a Hotel Manager) that Celebrity gets all their meat and most of their fish shipped from the USA.  Smaller ship lines apparently have more flexibility.  On Seabourn they do get some of their fish locally and when it happens that stuff is often featured at lunch or dinner.  So when we were recently cruising in Greece they were able to get some good local Sea Bass.   When was the last time you have seen sea bass on HAL?  You might even find some fresh grilled sardines on a European cruise on smaller upscale ships but you would likely never get that on HAL or other mass market lines unless they were truly European lines.

 

Hank

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