I've sailed on 4 out of the 5 lines in the poll. I voted for Carnival as having the best. The food on my MSC Cruise was good too, but different. I can say that the portions on MSC were larger than what I have experienced on other lines.
Location: Greater Tampa Bay area (south of the BIG BRIDGE!)
Jeezzzzzz ..... I never thought I would say this, but after the FABULOUS food on Carnival Liberty last February, I have to vote for CARNIVAL. They ran circles around anything that I have had on Princess in the past 9 years!..........wish the 'mother ship' would let the good food trickle down throught the company chain!!!!!!
I also have to say Carnival - though it has been a few years since I sailed on them. They come accross as surprisingly good.
However - it is important to mention that for alternative dining it is hard to beat NCL with their 10 restaurants on board. I will tell you their Japanese food is wonderful. The food in the Le Bistro was excellent, too. But we are talking about regular restaurant food.
I must say I was surprised at the votes. I thought the food on Carnival was mediocre at best.
Judy and I were just on the same Carnival cruise... which goes to show just how objective rating food is, because I thought the food overall was VERY good, though it lacked the artisitic presentation of other lines.
But that doesn't make either one of us right or wrong. Everyone has their has things that please or displease their own taste buds.
I have only cruised Carnival and Celebrity and the now defunct Home Lines. Carnival in later years has been outstanding.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.“
This one of the greatest surprises of my cruising life. The food on Carnival was excellent. Not just good but, damn good. I can only judge it on one encounter but I was basically stunned by the overall quality of the ingredients, the use of vegetables in sauces a mixture of spices and flavors and fish that wasn't dry and overcooked. They also had a variety of foods that mixed different tastes from Asian to Western and rice that wasn't Uncle Ben's but had flavor and texture. I would put them up against Celebrity or Princess in flavor and innovation but a tad lacking in presentation.
I left the ship with a new found respect for them. Now if they would just lose the, dancing waiter show, in the main dining room, for at least four nights out seven, I would be happy. It is strange that one thing would bother me so much. However, that's my problem and to many people that is what draws them to Carnival and has nothing to do with the food but a lot to do with the atmosphere.
The NCL Asian offerings of a Tepanyaki or Sushi were fairly good but the offerings of sushi in the "all you can eat" were very limited and the portion sizes, for the price, were smaller than most land based sushi bars and not well cut or rolled. However, the Italian La Trattoria is a good, no charge, restaurant for those who enjoy pasta that can be done fairly well. On my two "real" freestyle ships it was better than Sabatini's on Princess.
The most disappointing of all has been on the Royal Caribbean ships. I haven't sailed on them since 2004 but on the four I have sailed in the last four years, I have been very disappointed. Everything from "Ranch Steak", my fault I knew it was bad, to actual soups and chicken were bland, cold, and underwhelming. Chops steakhouse is a good alternative and I loved it more out of having a good tasting meal among a number of mediocre ones that made it special. Once again, if you like a hunk of good meat, you'll like Chops.
I am eager to try Royal Caribbean again as I have heard the food has vastly improved. Perhaps the downturn at Celebrity has created an upturn at Royal Caribbean and they will eventually meet at the high end of mediocrity.
All of this food talk has made me hungry: I think I'll go broil a hunk of good meat.
__________________ Cruisemates Community Leader/Moderator
"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me
My vote is for Carnival.
I have been on HAL and thought the food was good to.
On Carnival go to the deli on the port side of the Lido deck.
The Pastrami, Ruben, and all the sandwiches are very good.
The main dining was good.
but not as good as the food and service in the Morano's on the Century.
We've cruised carnival, ncl, dolphin, and disney.
In the main dinning areas my opinion would have to be carnival has the best food. But if you were to include NCL's Alternatives then I would have to say NCL. The food in the main dinning areas on NCL are hit and miss....Some are excellent while others are just ok. But Service in all the dinning areas on NCL is far better then Carnival.
We have sailed on 36 cruises on all the popular priced lines (most on Princess-16) as well as the Seven Seas Mariner (now Regent).
The best buffet in my opinion was Carnival. The multiple area by type of food as opposed to the one=-stop all food area means less congestion.
Best overall food was the Mariner but you are paying premium prices for it. Also, food was like that served in better restaurants on shore-excellent but very small portions.
Best general food overall was on Princess. This surprised me since years ago Celebrity was the winner but if our last two cruises with them is any indication, their quality has declined.
I've only sailed Carnival and RCI (and RCI only once), but Carnival's food was hands down better (a lot better) than RCI's.
In addition to having a slightly better presentation, Carnival's food just TASTED better.
At the buffet, Carnival had a slight edge - their grill is better, and the fish and chips wonderful. Carnival's pizza also beat out Sorento's IMHO.
CarnivalSensation February 2015
Carnival Dream November 2015
Carnival Fascination April 2014
Carnival Elation March 2011
Carnival Imagination Sept 2007
Carnival Sensation Dec 2006
RCI Sovereign of the Seas Sept 2006
Carnival Miracle Sept 2005
Carnival Glory Sept 2004
Carnival Fantasy Jan 2004
RCCL's presentation, service and desserts are much better than Carnival. But for taste and selection Carnival beats them hands down. IMHO
I have only done NCL America (Hawaii) and their food is just awful. The only enjoyable food on this ship was in the Japanese restaurant where the chef cooks the food right in front of you. That food was delicious. All the rest was lacking. I believe the Freestyle concept has a lot to do with the lousy food b/c so much has to be pre-prepared not knowing when people will show up for what dish.
(cruzin' solo by design)
Freedom ('09), Imagination ('08), Victory ('08), Destiny ('08), RCCL Navigator ('08), RCCL Majesty ('08), Glory ('07), Liberty ('07), Fantasy ('07), Destiny ('06), NCL PofAm ('05), Fascination ('04), Victory ('04), Fascination ('04), RCCL Voyager ('03), Fantasy ('99)