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What Line Has the Best Food?

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I have only been on Oceania's Marina last spring but the food was wonderful! The more casual Terrace Cafe Buffet has servers and all the food is delicious. My favorites are the eggs benedict, chocolate croissants made on board with French flour, sushi and sashimi, crab claws, and chocolate bread pudding. The specialty restaurants were all great although I found many of the dishes in Jacque’s French Restaurant bland and with strange consistencies. The Asian fusion restaurant Red Sage has the best Chilean Sea Bass I've ever had! They also serve a watermelon and duck salad which is fantastic! The Polo Grill Steak House has wonderful MD crab cakes as an appetizer that should not be overlooked. Toscana has a large menu of many delicious pasta dishes. The Grand Dining Room on Oceania's Marina is gorgeous and the food is good if you have the time for the slower paced service. I was sailing in May and the Grand Dining Room was never crowded but my husband and I preferred the more casual Terrace Cafe which included all you could eat steak and lobster several nights.


One of the reasons we are sailing Oceania again this summer with the rest of our family are the Culinary excursions. Visiting local markets in ports, getting to taste local delicacies off the beaten path, having gourmet chefs prepare outdoor meals at vineyards, and later in the day taking a cooking classes on board is fun. This year we are doing these excursions in Corfu Greece and Venice Italy. Last year we did similar excursions in Livorno Italy and Marseilles France. At first we thought the excursions were pricy but with the 25% volume discount they turned out to be reasonable for what the whole days consisted of for the money.


Oceania has a speciality restaurant LaReserve where Wine Dinners are held. They are an extra cost but are really fun. The wines pair well with each course which tastes great and is elegantly presented. On Oceania you can dine whereever, whenever you want at regular meal times in several of their venues so my husband and I dined alone on most of the trip. It was nice to sit at a large table getting to know other passengers at the wine dinner.


If you are a "foodie" , you really should try an Oceania Cruise!

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  • 1 month later...

I have only sailed on Oceania's Marina but the food was fantastic. The Terrace Cafe which is open for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner has a huge buffet but all food is served by staff - you just tell them what you want at each station. The speciality restaurants which are included in the price of the cruise are delicious as well. The La Reserve wine dinners $95-$165 a person extra are a lot of fun and the wine tastings paired with each gourmet course are really something special.


My favorites on the ship are the Terrace Cafe sushi, eggs benedict, crab claws, fresh berries, and chocolate croissants; MD Crabcakes at the Polo Grille, Miso Sea Bass at Red Sage, Waves Milkshakes , and the lobster at different venues. My husband enjoyed beef at the Polo Grille including the Prime Rib 32 ounce cut!


What I love best about Oceania are the Culinary Tour excursions. They are a bit pricey but you get to go to local markets, buy vegetables for a later cooking class on the ship, try different local "off the beaten path" specilities , see how chocolate, cheese, specialty liquors, etc are made at local stores or factories, and usually a nice chef prepared sit down meal is provided. My husband and I did these tours in Provence France where a chef cooked us a meal while we sipped wine at a French winery , and Livorno Italy where we shopped the seafood/meat/ produce market and later learned how to fry the vegetable flowers we bought in town, that we had stuffed with cheese. On the Marina Chef Katie was our guide and she knew alot of the locals and really made thse excursions extra special.

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May I offer my two cents and say here that Crystal Cruises serves the best food, at least for me and my DW.


They have the right taste, right size, and beautiful presentation with flawless service. Their menu is varied, and we can even order off menu with one day notice.


Their specialty restaurants are 'no fee'.


However, I heard HAL has a special vegetarian menu so would love to try that.

Edited by anandaindonesia
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I've only sailed NCL, RCI, HAL, and Celebrity. Here are my opinions:



Celebrity - mostly good dishes, great service

HAL - some great dishes, service can be slow

NCL - nothing memorable, service is okay

RCI - good service, very mediocre food



HAL - free fresh squeezed orange juice

NCL - good Indian dishes on some ships

Celebrity - nothing stands out

RCI - cattle call



HAL - Night at le Cirque in Pinnacle Grill is best meal at sea

Celebrity - Okay but expensive and overrated

NCL - Lots of variety, a few good dishes

RCI - Sides were great but steak at Chops was tasteless



HAL - Love the taco bar, lots of good fillings

Celebrity - Best burger at sea (or land for that matter!)

NCL - Lots of quantity and variety at poolside BBQs

RCI - Nothing available on Navigator of the Seas


Overall: Slight nod to HAL over Celebrity. RCI is clearly the worst.

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We all have tastes that vary but my ranking of the 5 cruise lines I have been on would be as follows:


Cunard - by a wide margin. The rack of lamb doesn't get any better anywhere.


Princess - Good to excellent but the buffet area is poorly laid out


Celebrity - DW thinks they have the best deserts afloat. I can't comment as I seldom if ever eat them


Costa - if you like Mediterian cusine you might rank them higher. Lots of olives in stuff and I hate them!


NCL - did like their steak house but the rest was a slight cut above any fast food joint


No doubt others will take offence with this but it's my opinion and I'm sticking with it. Princess is now our cruise line of choice for the food and many other reasons.

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One thing I've noticed is that there can be some variability among the same line depending on the ship and the destination. For example, the food on my Caribbean Princess cruise to Canada/NE was excellent (but the head chef for Princess was on board that voyage) and only so-so for Sapphire Princess in Australia and really not very good on Crown Princess for Western Caribbean.


Celebrity: The food was awesome. Of course, this was in 1997, so I imagine things have changed a bit since then.


Princess: The goat-cheese souffle is, IMHO, the best food Princess offers. I also like their strawberry daiquiris (though I guess that's not really food). The chef's table was also excellent but is difficult to get seats for.


NCL: Specialty restaurants are good, main dining room is only okay. Their chocolate croissants at the breakfast buffet are my favorite NCL thing.


RCCL: Main dining room service is consistently good, but food is nothing special. I got food poisoning from one of their room service chicken salads. :eek:

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I've been on Princess, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean.


I definitely enjoyed the food on Princess the best! Yay fettuccine alfredo - the best ever!!! Royal Caribbean and Carnival are kind of a toss up, with Royal Caribbean edging Carnival out. Some friends were not impressed with Celebrity or Norwegian.


We posted food pics here from the different lines :)


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I've been on Princess, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean.


I definitely enjoyed the food on Princess the best! Yay fettuccine alfredo - the best ever!!! Royal Caribbean and Carnival are kind of a toss up, with Royal Caribbean edging Carnival out. Some friends were not impressed with Celebrity or Norwegian.


We posted food pics here from the different lines :)




i havent been on princess yet but I agree about rci and carnival.


i think rci is better but carnival beats them hands down in desserts. IMO nyways

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I have been on many different lines. Up until recently, I really loved RCCL, but until the last cruise, I would have said Carnival. Carnival is consistent and current on their menu. Having recently been on Disney, I would have to say Disney is spectacular w/ incredible service. I was just on Liberty of the Seas, and it was mentioned they are bringing back popular menu items and improving their menu. I remember trying foods on RCC I had never tried before which made it a culinary adventure. NCL is questionable, Celebrity, not impressed. Costa needs to get over their "European" mentality while in the US.

If given the choice, I will always pick Carnival or Royal Caribbean.


Hey, what do I know...am planning 23rd cruise this fall!!!:cool:

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We've cruised on Royal Caribbean, Holland, Celebrity and Princess and they are all good in different ways. We were on the Grand Princess twice, two years apart. The first time the food wasn't very good, one of our complaints. The second time it was fantastic, different head chef and new bakery section, we are still raving about it!


Celebrity Infinity, we were blown away with the buffet and all the choices, snack bar near the pool was great and spa meals appetizing, however we found the dinning room to just be ok.


We've enjoyed Holland but haven't been on them for several years, going this weekend to Alaska for 2 weeks so we will see.


Just enjoy it all. We have found that the specialty restaurants really aren't that much different than the dining room just massive meat portions which we don't really need.


see photos of the Grand Princess food below..... yummy! (I'm a camera fanatic)


Food photo fun.... just one quick click and then you can eat!  Welcome to my food photo pages.  See the amazing meals served on the Grand Princess Nov. 2012.  If you haven't sailed on this ship before you won't be disappointed.  Nothing is perfect in life but the meals are darned good, go to enjoy not to be critical, they are feeding "gazillions of hungry passengers" each day and it's 'free' and fancier than I'd be serving you at home!!  Makes me hungry again just looking at these photos!

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We have cruised on Celebrity, Royal Carribean and Costa and by far Celebrity's food is the best-the mushroom soup on the Equinox last January was to die for.-Celebrity Infinity, Constellation, Summitt, Century and Equinox-Royal Carribean Allure Of The Sea Cruising on the Infinity again in August-4th cruise on that ship

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What a great Idea!!! I loved the photos of the food and hope I can find some on carnival cruise foods. It helps to get a peek before voyage so you can have a better idea what might appeal to you. Thanks so much, Sasha

Middle of Ms :o

As another self confessed foodies with 30 Cruises under our belts (sorry about the pun) there is no doibt that Oceania cruises Marina and Riviera are the ultimate foodie ships. The grand dining room is a 5* a la carte restaurant, the fiur no cost alternative restaurants are all fabulous and the buffet is better than the main dining room on other lines. The afternoon tea is something else that no other line can match. The hosted food and wine dinner in Reserve is also a great experience and if you want to cook yourself you have the culinary academy with a fully fitted training kitchen.


Celebrity are our second choice with the Ocean Liner restaurants on the Millenium class ships being the best and Qsine being the most innovative.


Cunard would be third choice and RCI fourth.

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I have limited cruise experience. The whole family cruised on Carnival Imagination, and the food was good, but we recently cruised to Alaska on the Norwegian Jewel. The food was very good. The buffet had great variety for all tastes, with a grill, pasta station, omelet station, salad bar, hot foods including those from other nations, fruits and desserts. The main dining rooms had many choices and good service. Norwegian has several specialty restaurants which do charge a fee, but offer many options.

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Over the last ten years, my wife and I have sailed on Carnival, Holland American, Princess, RCCL and Celebrity. Summarizing these dining venues:


Cruise line MDR Service MDR Food Specialty Service Specialty Food


Carnival Average Average Good Good

Holland American Good Above Average N/A N/A

Princess Excellent Excellent Very good Very good

RCCL Very good Very good Excellent Excellent

Celebrity Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding


IMHO, Celebrity wins hands down. In particular, the new Solstice class ships offer unique and exciting dining experiences. The food at the specialty restaurants may vary from one to another, but overall they are uniquely outstanding.

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Where does MSC rate in the food at sea category?



We've been on MSC, Carnival, Costa and Royal Caribbean and have not found much of a difference in the food on any of them.

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Unless you've sailed a cruise line in the last 2 years you are rating food as it used to be on the cruise line, except, perhaps, for the truly luxury lines. Every line has changed, unfortunately not for the better, although I understand RCI has just debuted an upgraded menu.

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We've sailed with Princess, Celebrity, RCCL, Regent , P&O, overall Regents food was incredible, Celebrity also exceptional, RCCL ok, Princess really good, P&O awful on the P&O cruise even cruisers who won't sail with any other line complained about the standard of what was served!It was the Arcadia, hope there's been an improvement!!We'll be sailing with Oceania soon, their food has brilliant reviews so heres hoping it lives up to its reputation.

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