Is It All About The Food?
Written by: Kuki
Next to emotions, our taste buds may be one of our most personal tools for judging our levels of satisfaction. Simply put, we all (individually) know what we think tastes good.
Yet, as admittedly subjective as everyone agrees the topic is, there’s rarely a “professional” or “user” review of a cruise ship written that doesn’t discuss the food.
While there’s some room for variances due to one’s personal style, good – or bad – service, especially in reference to the hospitality industry, can be subjectively defined much more easily. There are books and guides available which clearly explain the “rules” of “good service”. And though circumstance and expectations cause some variances, it’s generally easy for anyone to recognize quality service.
So, from my perspective, when reading people’s reviews or trip reports people post on our message boards, I am surprised at how important the topic of food is to so many cruisers.
Whether people found the food on their cruise to be excellent or sorely missing the mark seems to have a dramatic affect on their overall view of the their satisfaction with their cruise experience.
However, the very best culinary journalists or critics can tell me how “incredible” or “inedible” food items are, yet each and every one us might just as easily view the dishes being described in a totally different light.
I openly admit I am no gourmand. I am not one who can help with opinions drawn from a highly developed sophisticated pallet. In fact I’m easily slotted into the “boring, fussy, and meat and potatoes guy” category.
Particularly when writing offering opinions on menu and food quality, I think it’s important to categorize and try to define my limited pallet, so the reader can better understand if the judgements I’m going to provide on the quality of the food is at all similar, or completely out of the spectrum, of what their pallet’s would be looking for.
When reading reviews or trip reports people post on our CruiseMates message boards I’m amazed how dramatic an affect their commentary on their judgement of their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) of the food offerings, has on their overall satisfaction of their cruise experience.
In so many cases (I’d hazard to say the vast majority ) the judgements made in the category of food seems to carry a sizable weight in people’s overall satisfaction ratings.
It is somewhat understandable I suppose. For some passengers on board the most important part of the experience might be the travel; other cruisers might find the activities and entertainment on board the primary driver for even choosing a cruise. But, whatever any one’s purpose for taking a cruise, everyone on the ship eats many times while on the ship.
You may never see a show in the ship’s theatre during your cruise; you may never attend a class or lecture on board; but you’re certainly going to eat at least a couple of times every day of your cruise.
Traditionally cruise lines used to have “main” Dining Rooms where guests gathered for meals, and a Lido Deck where more casual buffets were available for breakfast and lunch time meals. In the past decade there has been an explosion in the growth of alternate dining venues on all the contemporary cruise lines. Some offerings are intended to be more upscale, and carry an extra charge for passengers to indulge, but there’s also exponential growth in offering alternate dining options that are still included in the cruise fare.
No doubt none of this happened by chance. I’m sure it’s the result of a combination of things; The cruise line’s own consultations with their passengers (via surveys); focus groups with both experienced cruisers and those who have never cruised; and an eye on what their competition is doing.
It may be they believe that if they give you more options, if you’re not satisfied with the food in or two of those options, you’ll find that satisfaction in one of the others.
So… this week’s question… is the food department on board the most important aspect of the cruise to you? Can you estimate the percentage of the weight your judgement of the food quality is taken into consideration in your over-all evaluation of your cruise experience?
– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –
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Posted: July 3rd, 2012 under Kuki.