You have a good point. It probably doesn't take 10% to assure much better ingredients and choices in meals. I'm sure many people would pay that if they could be assured they really were going to get better food. Hype is hard to eat and much harder to digest.
Perhaps they could cut back other areas such as the Cap. Club calendar that was fairly useless & the glossy but uniformative brochures --although must admit I keep ordering them & they don't ever arrive, so this present crop may be bettr.
What Kuki said. Cutting back on the food budget can mean a lot of things other than quality. It can mean staff levels, it can mean number of selections, it can mean lower cost suppliers, it can mean less buffet choices, etc.
Let's wait and see before deciding dinner is not going to be any good.
It is very true that some people just have to complain. My husband and I were on Infinity last fall to Alaska. Everything was wonderful, yet at breakfast, the last morning, we ran into a couple complaining that the hallways were too narrow. Based on that fact alone, this couple clearly stated that they would never cruise with Celebrity again, or recommend the cruise line to anyone else. HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes, that is a good idea and maybe you can leave an envelope for me with the good and bad things about the cruise since I will be taking the cruise the day that you leave. Sorry that we will not get to meet since you have been so helpful.
The food on the 11/29 Century sailing.. was poor in both presentation and quality of foodstuffs... and sides were very repetitive.
On the "other board"... there are some less than positive food comments on a recent Summit sailing. I noticed someone mentioned only receiving three quarter sized scallops on their plate! Odd... I thought... as I just returned from the Carnival Legend. My dining companion ordered the Coquille St. Jacques... and the plate was full... 15-18 quarter-sized scallops. Food on the Legend far surpassed anything Celebrity has dished out in the past 14 years. Someone at 1050 Caribbean Way needs to sit up and take notice!!
Babette... welcome home! Happy to hear you enjoyed your Legend cruise. We sailed her last Jan, and we're on the Spirit next week for 8 nights.
I've been saying for 4 years that Carnival has been making great strides with their food. And the way the buffets stations are set up on Spirit Class is excellent. They are at least as good as most and better than alot.
The dining room service is perhaps more social than refined, but that can make the experience pleasant. If they'd just have the waiters singing performances on a couple of nights, rather than every night, it would improve it further.
On the 8 night cruise.. they only did three "performances".... thankfully. No flaming Baked Alaskas.. they served it.. but it wasn't paraded around. All at my table passed on the Baked Alaska except one person. The rest of us had the Grand Marnier souffle.
Friends I sailed with had been on the Legend last year.. they said it was toned down more... and the food was much better than last year.
And the beef....holy cow (excuse the pun)......excellent... especially that 24 oz porterhouse in the Golden Fleece!
Now it's back to Lean Cuisine.......sigh..........
There *are* positive comments in recent cruises on Celebrity about the food in the reviews on cruise-addicts, cruisereviews, and other review sides, and from Celebrity veterans. There *are* negative comments about the food on Carnival's Spirit, Pride, and Legend, as well as Glory and Conquest in recent reviews (say last 3 months). I've not seen anything, in total, that makes me think that both Carnival and Celebrity are consistent in food execution. [actually, in the Carnival Spirit class ships there were a lot of "good but not great" comments on the food] I'm looking more at your review as a getting your feet wet in Carnival, but I think you have to go on Carnival, at least for the next year, do as many cruises with Carnival as you do Celebrity, and then get a sense as to how representative your cruise was to the norm.
And, you also state that Carnival's food now is better than Celebrity's ever has been since Celebity's basically been around only for about 15 years. That's a strong statement and since Celebrity was rated top of the heap for mainstream type of cruises it would place their food over Princess and HAL, as Celebrity's food was almost unanimously rated over Princess and HAL in the early 1990s.
Regarding the situation of Celebrity, the line isn't profitable. Carnival, RCI, are. I think that explains a lot of some of the obvious cut backs and overall execution of the Celebrity product. I think the line should not have expanded to more than 2 Millennium ships and I'm not sure how the Xpedition fits into the Celebrity product profile.
Ben... I think consistency amongst the fleet has been stuggling for some time. When people ask me what my favorite cruise line is, I tell them NONE are my favorites, because none are consistent enough within their fleets, to warrant that type of loyalty.
RCI in particular seems to have had an awful time with their food quality. They seem to have to come to the point where they're happy with comments that the food wasn't awful.
Personally, I wonder if beautiful ships with mediocre food can carry them, but to this point, with all the amenities they're offering on the Voyager Class ships, they seem to be the currently popular draw to many.
years ago, Dickenson told us Carnival was examining all means of improving their food quality, while sticking to their overall ship's budget. I don't know what formula they've used, or which dept's they may have taken money from, but it seems to have been working. Seems I end up on at least one Carnival cruise a year, and the food has been very good.
It seems that "something" or an aggragrate of "somethings" has turned Babette off of Celebrity, and she's certainly enititled.
The food certainly could have been better on Legend than her last Celebrity cruise, or even a number of them, but better than anything Celeb's produced "anytime in the last 14 years" does seem like a stretch.
Though I was happy to hear the dining room staff dancing was limited to 3 nights.
I actually hope my cruise on Carnival Spirit next week bears out Babette's reports. Then I know I'll be in for a real treat.
sorry dave, but food for dollar value is a legitimate concern--one that makes cruising more affordable than some land-based destinations. If you have to pay extra for better food/dining several nights during the cruise, it evens out the expense in some instances & makes the alternatives a bit more attractive.!
i was on the constel 3/03 and found the food quality had diminished based on comparisons of a celebrity cruise 2 yrs ealier--
for example fish cakes on a cruise menu is not what i expect to see--but i did see it-
in reality i was on the norwegian dawn in sept 03 and found the food to be similar to celebrity--i do admit that i had high expectations for celebrity and low expectation for norwegian and it could all be in my mind
The cutbacks were slightly noticable on the 12/29 Mercury sailing. Little things like only non-dairy creamer for your coffee and although we thought the food was good, the presentation in the dining room wasn't as elegant as on past cruises. I don't think a newcomer to Celebrity would notice the changes, but to someone who sails them regularly, they were noticed.
I spent many years in food purchasing. The food "stuff" quality difference is readily apparent.... as well as preparation.
Now going back to 1990 and the start of Celebrity, were the line to offer their first menus to today's cruising public, I fear most would leave the dining room in disgust.. for they would not have recognized the menu items for what they were. Definitely NOT for mass market taste. Through the years, the menus have been "simplified"..... or down-marketed if you will to meet the taste of today's cruiser. Plain and simple... the menus were just not to the liking of many a cruise passenger. Funny.. but at one point in time I compared the old Celebrity menus to those I had from BIG U sailings in the 50's and '60's (first class dining room). Very, very French.....and well.....for real food snobs.
However, with the exception of the breads section, Celebrity excels in no food category either in terms of preparation, presentation or quality of food stuffs. Their cakes and cookies are pretty tasteless and more often than not are dry as bones. Most dining room desserts are based on a custard theme. Souffles for the most part banished to the specialty restaurants. The cuts of beef, lamb, pork.. are of commercial grade. Never in 29 cruises on Celebrity have I ever had a slice of roast from the Lido buffet which was palatable. Never!! On my last cruise I could not cut the prime rib served to me at the Hotel Manager's table. It was served medium. Just could not cut it. I even asked for another knife. Without exception every cut of meat... lamb, beef, veal, pork were wonderful on the Legend. Different vegetables every night.. not the carrot/broccoli, zucchini/summersquash vegatable rotation on Celebrity. When Legend did serve mashed potato it was piped onto the plate and browned on top... not just plopped onto the plate uncermoniously as Celebrity has been doing... and it was only served once.. not numerous nights as they did on the 12/8 Mercury CC reunion cruise.
1/2 and 1/2 is available at all times for coffee. It is no longer the case on Celebrity. While the butter may be French, it is still wrapped in those annoying little foil packages.
Carnival piped the butter and margarine into little ramekins.... as well as served jams and jellies on the room service trays in little ceramic pots. No ripping off the plastic tops off the Kraft jams.
The fresh fruit selections on Legend were far more extensive than any I have seen elsewhere. This included papaya. And the melon was sweet and ripe.. every morning.
I can't remember a time when I've had any ripe melon.. save perhaps watermelon... on Celebrity.
Just the variety of different food stuffs needed for the Lido alone.. surpasses what Celebrity would order and load for a 14 night cruise.
The whole point.. is that Celebrity's selling point has always been their food. Well.. they had better find a new selling point.. because their food is NOT the best at sea. It is still the only cruiseline I have sailed over the years where I have returned entrees to the kitchen because of the poor quality or poor preparation.
I've never gone on any sailing with any preconceived idea about how good or how bad the food might be. I take my chances. While Celebrity may have extended the hours of food availability.....that has been the only positive in the food arena.
>On my last cruise I could not cut the prime rib served to me at the Hotel Manager's table. It was served medium. Just could not cut it. I even asked for another knife<
This is really disturbing to read. Our last cruise on the Constellation was in the fall of 2002 and I had the most delicious prime rib I ever tasted. I requested an end cut and when it came without au jus, I was going to ask for some when I took a bite. I have never had an end cut that was so tender and juicy that it didn't need some additional au jus to chew it.
Every meal was like this and it was the main reason that we are taking the Constellation again this May with a group of friends as I had just raved about the food. I'm going to have a lot of egg on my face if we experience what has been mentioned in this thread. Needless to say, I'd just stick with Princess after that since I can get what sounds like similar food but at least the internet is free.
What I got on the Constellation, just a few months after your cruise in Dec. 2002, wasn't anything close to what you describe. Most of the people on the ship had complaints about the dry meat being served onboard the ship.
As for going to Princess, what makes you think that they are consistent right now? There are plenty complaints about the quality and consistency of Princess food as well, if not as dramatic a decline as Celebrity in some ways, still a noticeable one.
What we are dealing with is inconsistency. Perhaps Carnival can serve magnificent food on some of their longish cruises on their newer ships but go to Carnival reviews, and read about the meat of their cruises, the 5 to 7 nighters, and there's plenty inconsistency there, leading me to believe that they do not have standardized quality of food throughout the fleet.
Back to Celebrity, sometimes the best food will be on the Horizon ships, other times the Century ships, other times maybe two of the Millennium ships, just because the Connie is the latest doesn't mean she's getting the best food preparation, presentation, and the best quality ingredients.
I think the best thing to do with your friends is to tell them that the cruise industry realistically is inconsistent amoung the mass market lines in product delivery. If you feel you oversold the Connie, at least they'll go in prepared that their cruise may not equal the quality of yours and know that the product's quality varies.
I'll be checking out the Star Princess in about a week when we embark in Auckland and I'll see if they're food has taken another hit too. The last few sailings we noticed the specially prepared pasta courses were lacking and this was one of it's trademarks. One could still get them but as entrees.
There is another parameter that I think affects all of us and we don't recognize or want to admit - our tastes change as we get older. That could be a factor in why some items don't seem to taste the same but it doesn't color the fact that tough meat is tough meat.
My girlfriend and I are going on our first cruise next month, on the Century, so we don't have any cruise ship food experiences to compare to. Neither of us is a picky eater, i.e., we are happy at Macaroni Grill, etc., or just cooking a frozen pizza, so I have a feeling that she and I will probably not have much, if anything, to complain about regarding our food on the Century.
Sounds like part of the "cutback" on these ships is in the presentation of the food. Maybe for some people this is important, but in my book, it's not a big deal because I am more a "substance over style" kind of guy.
One of the aspects of Celebrity, vs. other lines, is that they are a line whose target audience, which unfortunately seems to be the greater mass market cruise audience as opposed to those more in tune to their product, is the substance of presentation. Chefs are always concerned with presentation, it is one of the aspects of cuisine. They are also concerned with quality and freshness of ingredients, proper preparation, pairing food. All of this has gone down the drain with Celebrity. They've standardized the vegetables they serve, no longer offering choices in vegetables and pairing them with meats and starches. They've cut down on the quality and freshness of ingredients. They cut down on *complexity* and *creativity* in their dining food. They do not plate meals in a way that people who used to choose the line use to enjoy and expect.
First cruise or no, when people used to pick Celebrity, they did so looking for an experience of refinement, fine dining, professional and polite service, to name a few. Now, they seem to pick it because of where a ship may be going, the price of a balcony cabin, and more practical reasons. Here's the whole point of this thread, that this line once treasured for its refinement and cuisine, is becoming more and more average and not even attracting customers interested in what was supposed to be what defined it.
this is hard for me to take.. i too will be going on my first cruise.. march 6 constellation... and the only reason i chose celebrity was for the expected quality and presentation of food.. i feel as if i am being sold on their old way of doing things.. i gave up the bigger boat (adventure of the seas) with more activities for what i thought was going to be a better dining experience and a nicer ship.. now i feel cheated...
I agree that the food on celeb is one of the main things that sets it apart from Royal--we do both based on the ship & itin we want to try, but the upscale dining experience has always been the big treat on Celebrity! Royal has better excursion organization generally , a bit more fun but could not compare with celebrity dining--I use dining rather than food because food itself is just a component of the experience. We have 2 celeb & 1 Royal trips booked so after those we will have a better idea of where we will go with our next trip!
There is a REASON that the passageways are narrow: so in rough seas you have something to hold onto, so you don't fall over. It's funny noone ever told that complaining couple that! And you would think they would figure that out logically. Maybe they were comparing it to a hotel hallway, which is different; no rough seas there! But in calm seas it is hard for people who have never endured rough seas ,like some of us Navy and Marine folks have been thru, to know what it is exactly like. I can remember times in the Pacific when I used to tie my web belt around me and the metal edge of my rack to prevent me from falling out while I was asleep. There were times on Navy ships when only mandatory personel were allowed topside, and then they had long ropes going from one place to another on the outside decks that you had to snap a safety harness on, to slide along while walking from one part to the next, unsnapping and then snapping onto the next rope, etc. We ate standing up, with one arm around a pipe that went thru each end of the table that was raised or lowered, depending how we ate, sitting or standing. During really rough seas we stood and held on. Anyway, that's the reason for narrow passageways on ship: to help you keep your balance in rough seas, which you don't see a lot of in the Caribbean except during a blow.
Mk- Before you feel cheated, go on the cruise first. Then give us a report back here on what your honest impressions were on what you saw and ate. remember also, if you love a particualr dish, you can order more than one. I always order two lobster tails! Good luck and Bon Voyage. Let us know what you find!
>There is a REASON that the passageways are narrow: so in rough seas you have something to hold onto, so you don't fall over.<
I don't know - the passageways don't seem too narrow to me. I can navigate even when they have the room steward's cart in the way. Maybe the individuals complaining also find the seats on the airplanes too small too? (G)