We found this summer that the quality of food (on the Golden Princess continues to decline.) Overall, the quality, industry wide, is far inferior to what it was 15 -20 years ago. The quality in the specialty restaurants was fine. I would gladly pay an additional $30 per person per day to have top quality food for every meal every venue!!
Landlocked in Denver, but cruisin every chance we get.
Polynesia, Carib. '86
Cr. Odyssey, Scandinavia, '91, 30 Day S Pac. 2002
Crystal Harm, Aust., N.Z., '94
Royal Odyssey, AK,'96
Old Cr. Pr. Canal, '97
RCCL, Carib, 1998
Volendam, Car, 2000
Ryndam, 35 day S. Am., Antarctica, '03
Is. Pr., Canal, 2004
Statendam, 34 day China, Japan, AK '06
Cr.Pr., Carib. 08
Eurodam, Atlantic, Med. '10
I have managed cruise ships for over 30 years.
Prior to that I opened and managed the most expensive and highest rated restaurant in America. I really know exceptional food and service.
You and I would be willing to pay extra for better food EVERY day.
But not everyone agrees with us.
We are generally talking mass market here - Middle America.
When you look at many of the posts on these cruise boards, the bulk of cruisers today seem most concerned with the lowest possible cruise fares, pizza and hot dogs, smuggling alcohol in mouthwash bottles, and wearing baseball caps and wife beaters in the dining room.
The cruise lines are very aware of the situation.
For those who truly appreciate good food, we offer 2 options:
1. Upscale cruise lines that offer high quality every meal - for those willing to pay for it.
2. Mass market lines that offer high quality in alternative venues for those willing to pay for it.
Well I have met people who NEVER use the MDR never mind any speciality venues, people who actually think you are bonkers to pay for food "but it's all free". I do wonder of the quality of MDR food has declined BECAUSE of the introduction of alternative venues?? I find the alternate venues are nice for a change but not every night.
Some answer questions...I also question answers
I will probably be flamed for this but: I don't blame the cruise lines I blame the cruisers.
People accept mediocrity and if they accept it then the cruise lines will be more than happy to give it to them. It increases the bottom line and that makes management and the shareholders (large shareholders) very happy.
I too have found that overall food quality has dropped in the MDR and buffets of most ships and cruise lines. The food you once knew is now served in the alternative dining venues and the cruise lines are making money off of these venues.
Cruise passengers, who will eat whatever is put in front of them as long they don't have to cook it or wash the dishes, must preserve that $399 inside cabin price and walk off the ship with an on board bill of $23.95 are what have caused the decline in food quality and the decline in service.
I have no real problem with that on most mass market lines. There has to be broad based appeal but I see it happening on the Premium (or whatever they are called this week) lines. When Celebrity opened the Olympic on the Millennium it was truly a culinary and service experience that was more than worth the surcharge. The Pinnacle Grill was also a special place but now they are what the MDR once was with a little better cut of beef.
You get what you tolerate.
A number of years ago there was a thread where someone wanted a "Cracker Barrel" type of restaurant instead of the fancy MDR. There was a lot of support. I knew this was the beginning of the end.
On most cruise lines I often eat more in the alternative restaurants than the MDR because I want the dining experience I had five to ten years ago. I can have meat loaf at home.
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I can't say food quality has declined over the years because I have not cruised that long.
However, of the lines I have sailed, the only line with an acceptable MDR food quality IMHO was Azamara. I recently sailed Celebrity and the quality of the fish,especially, was very poor.
I agree that the speciality restaurants have probably led to a decline in MDR food standards. So I know I am going to get flamed - I would close all the MDRS and only offer alternative venues - yeah I know it is not going to happen.
I would love to book a cruise line that based their rates on bed and breakfast only and included gratuites in their fares and yeah I know that is not going to happen either.
On a port intensive itinerary I would dine ashore.
Remember folks before you start flaming, I cruise for itinerary - (the ship is not the vacation) and my favourite meal of the day is breakfast.