The food has been great on all the cruise ships except the Princess Grand. It was reeally bad. Not tjust my opinion butf fellow cruise mates. It was about a year ago. I have been on other princess cruises and it was good.
Why not Bill? This is the gripe board. She had a gripe. It certainly was a bit ago, but was valid then and if you read other boards, it is probably about the same today.
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I was on the Regal Princess in May and the Sapphire Princess last November and found the food in the main dining room and anytime restaurants to be disappointing on both ships, particularly the steaks which were what I consider a "Denny's quality". Surprisingly, though, I really enjoyed the buffet on the Sapphire and ate there for every meal after the first few days of being disappointed in the restaurants.
I always wish people would qualify "really bad" food gripes. What speficially is "bad" - quantity? consistancy? flavor? spicing or lack thereof? presentation? too cold? too hot?
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I always wonder why folks expect a good steak on a cruise ship. Food is being cook for 2 or 3 thousand people, do you think they have a guy on a grill looking after your steak?
The meat will be frozen and prbably cooked from frozen. The steak will be mostly cooked beforehand then warmed at the last minute before sending it up to be served.
Prbably 10 to 15 minutes from completion to serving sitting on a very warm plate drying out the remaining juices.
If you want staek on a cruise ship, eat at their specialty restaurant.
I didn't expect much from the food on the cruiseship, but I did expect it to be at least a little better than what I can get for $6.99 at Denny's (and up until my 2 most recent cruises, the food always was quite good). These steaks were from what appeared to be the cheapest beef available. They were fatty and grisly and just not worth eating. I would also expect steak to be cooked the way the customer ordered it. That isn't hard to do and doesn't take any extra time. I would always order rare, but I never once got it rare. Sometimes it was so well-done it was like eating leather and other times it was served at what best can be described as RAW.
I live on a tight budget so when I buy steak at home I buy the cheapest cut of beef I can find. I rarely pay more than about $1.50 per pound for my beef. I also can put a full steak dinner on the table in about 15 minutes start to finish, so I know that cooking a good steak doesn't have to be very expensive or time consuming. There is just no excuse for the poor quality on these two cruises. This was most disappointing on the Sapphire since I had been looking forward to trying their Sterling Steakhouse (NOTE: This is the Sterling Steakhouse anytime restaurant found only on the Sapphire and Diamond. Not to be confused with the Sterling Steakhouse specialty restaurant found on the other Princess ships.) If you're going to call yourself a steakhouse, you just gotta do better than that!
Also, everything (not just the steak) was very bland, as if they forgot to add any seasoning or spices.
Aside from the dining room food, these two cruises were otherwise excellent. And I really did enjoy the buffet on Sapphire and didn't mind eating there every night at all. In fact, Sapphire is now my all time favorite ship and I look forward to sailing her again. But this thread was about bad food and I thought the food on these two cruises (other than the Sapphire buffet) was bad.
Pappa Bill it looks like Judy has received a decent steak on the other ship. It appears that she only had a bad one on the cruise ship mentioned. What are the odds of getting a good steak on other ships when they are so massed produced? She didn't even say that she expected a good steak, just that the one she received were not good.
I was on the Grand Princess last year and the Dawn this year - both times the food was wonderful.
I manage a very upscale golf club/restaurant and steaks are the most difficult thing to "get right" - from a huge menu, the few things that get sent back are steaks. People's ideas of "rare, medium rare, medium well", etc., can vary just enough to make a huge difference in their satisfaction. Add to that perception a few cocktails pre-dinner and the Chef is always wrong.
Papa Bill is correct in saying that expecting a perfect steak on a ship is a bit unreasonable. Steak is not something that can be mass-cooked properly. With all the wonderful seafood, pasta, fowl and other items available on ships, the only place I would order a steak would be in one of the speciality restuarants. I've dined in them on both HAL and Princess and found them to be wonderful.
Despite the fact that I'm in the restaurant business, I still marvel at the quality, presentation, service and sheer volume they do at such a high level every day and night.
Hoping that Judy has some better luck in the future.
My feeling is that expecting anything "cooked to order" when a kitchen is putting out 3000 meals in 3 hours is not a reasonable expectation. One of the reasons we see gripes is that we all have different tastes and expectations. How often do you read a rave review or a complaint and immediately see the opposite opinion posted here. It is what makes the world go around.
I stay away from steaks, lobster (it has to be frozen and will almost always be way over cooked), eggs to order (unless at an omlet bar on the Lido deck).
On a cruise ship I expect good food, not gourmet. I expect a nice variety.
One thing is especially true. Your Waiter and head waiter are there to serve, please and assist you. If the food is not right, send it back and get another or get something else. Don't complain about it a year later on a gripe board.
Belique and PapaBill have hit the nail on the head. Expecting cooked to order food when you are one in 3000 is setting your expectation far too high. You should expect good quality food but it is basically very good banquet quality food. Like Bill, I stay away from dining room steak and the lobster for the same reasons. However, I did have to find out if the Ranch Steak (RCI) rumors were true and tried it. I found out the rumors are true, it's terrible. I guess they've renamed it to something else hoping to find new victims. <VBG>
My expectations increase when I go to a surcharge restaurant. So far the only ones that have had a lasting impression are, the Olympic dining room on Millennium, Chops on Serenade of the Seas and the Sterling Steakhouse on Ocean Princess. The Sterling Steakhouse was purely on the steak because there was no ambiance. It was just a section of the buffet they roped off during the evening.
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My wife often orders steak when the menu items don't excite her. She's never had a complaint, and she will speak up if necessary when things aren't to her satisfaction. The last time out, she got a filet, and a darned good one, too.
I was on the grand in2001 and 2002 and the sun in 2004,both times on the grand found the food to be very good,can't say the same for the sun princess.I have been in food service for 29 years and found the food on the sun to be terrible.I was a cook in the navy for 10 years,we put out meals better then some of the ones on the sun.I posted a tread on this site when I came back from my cruise on the sun.I had a number of issues on the sun.cold food,dirty plates,dirty silverware.same exact items on the breakfast buffet 7 days in a row,I could tell you by the 6th day with my eyes closed what was on the line and where on the line it was.my wife had hair in her food once,I did go to the person in charge of the buffet several times about the cold food.when you have eggs that are almost cold just stirring them aroud in the pan is not going to get them hot.when I did complain about the temp that is what was done each time just stirred,not removed and replaced with a hot item just left there.so someone one the grand had a bad time with the food,well I guess it can happen on any ship.to me the responce you get from the staff is more important then the item itself.
just to prove the point that everyone has a different idea of good.. We sailed on the grand in 2000 and I ordered a steak. The flavor was very strange. Not a spice but very different flavor than what I am used to having in a steak. My sister in law said maybe because we are from the midwest and are used to corn fed beef that it was different if they buy the beef in florida. She used to be from the midwest also and moved to florida and said she hasn't had a decent steak since she moved. So this may account for the "poor Quality of the beef" All of the other food on the grand was wonderful. I just stay away from beef.
I do agree that you can get a good steak. I had a fillet on Celebrity, Mercury that was excellent, but alas that was the last one. I have tried three other times to order a steak in the main dining rooms on Celebrity, Princess and Carnival (other than the Ranch Steak) and while they were ok, they were not to my liking. The main problem was that they were over cooked for me. It really is a matter of taste.
Mike (A good chef can surpass the quality of his ingredients, but only so far.)
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I also agree, and find that when I order steak in the dining room as the stand by from what is available on the "main menu" as none of the main courses appeal... It is really hit or miss..maybe they let the trainee chefs deal with "alternative orders"
I feel the need to clarify a few things about my prior posts about my dining experiences on the Regal and Princess.
First, I need to clarify that I am not Judy (the OP), as several people seem to be confused and think that I am. I just posted my experiences with being disappointed with the food on my two cruises in response to Judy's post about bad food on the Grand.
Second, I did not expect a perfect steak. In fact, I never expect a perfect steak when I go to any restaurant because I very rarely get it. When I do, I am pleasantly surprised. I realize that everybody has a different opinion of rare, medium and well done, so it is difficult for any restaurant to please everyone. My complaint about the Sapphire and Regal is not that the steak was not "perfect", it's that it was not edible.
It was of the cheapest quality possible that I would never expect to find in any restaurant above a Denny's. More importantly, they appear to not even try to cook it as ordered. Everybody has a different opinion of what makes the perfect rare steak, however, the steaks I were served could not possibly have met anybody's definition of rare. At times, they were so well-done that they were like eating leather. At other times, they were served RAW to the point of being unsafe to eat. Why bother asking me how I want it cooked, if you're not going to even try to comply? And there is no excuse for any restaurant to ever serve meat that is undercooked to the point of being unsafe. They did on several occassions. This appears not to be a problem only with the steak. My nephew was served chicken that was way undercooked on two separate occassions and my father received undercook fish once and overcooked fish once.
We only ate in the dining room twice on each cruise for a total of 4 dining room experiences. Each time, my father ordered fish, my nephew ordered chicken, and myself and the other 3 adults in my family ordered steak. Of those four times, the steak was always bad, the chicken was unedible twice (undercooked and unsafe to eat both times), and the fish was unedible twice (undercooked once, overcooked once). Not a good batting average. That's why we gave up and ate at the buffets which we really enjoyed on the Sapphire but found to be barely passable on the Regal.
Also, the baked potatoes were always overcooked to the point of being unedible. And as I mentioned previously, everything was very bland and unseasoned.
I never expect gourmet on a cruise. In fact, I probably wouldn't like it if it was gourmet as I don't care for fancy foods with alot of sauces and stuff. I just want simple, well-prepared (not perfect), edible food. The fact that I enjoyed the buffet on the Sapphire so much should clearly show that I am not difficult to please. I would be very happy with good banquet quality. But on these two cruises, in my opinion, the food (with the exception of the Sapphire's buffet) did not even come close to that of a good banquet.
No, we didn't. We are generally not people who like to complain alot. Also, we had several young children with us. Dinner in the dining rooms are already quite long for young children without having to wait for additional meals to be served or problems to be corrected.
If it had only been one bad meal, then it would have been easy to overlook. But since almost every meal was bad, it was clearly a pattern. Having to complain each night to get good food sort of takes the fun out of it. Much easier to just go to the buffet where we can pick and choose what we like.
I agree - if the dining room does not please you and the children, the buffet might just be the answer.
I found the Lido Buffet on the Dawn Princess most enjoyable last March. The selections were plentiful, the presentation beautiful, the staff most helpful and friendly and there was no "rushed" feeling or time considerations. If you have enough to eat, you simply leave when you are finished.
We just returned from the cruise on the Grand Princess, from Venice to Rome,
where we thoroughly enjoyed the food. For example, the last two evenings
the dining room served delicious crab legs with drawn butter; and for formal night,
superb lobster was served. We have eaten all over the world, Europe, Southeast
Asia, all over the US, and we were pleased. We were also able to get two appetizers, etc., if we chose to. The pizza was excellent, and I am use to good 'ole New York style
pizza. Sounds to me like you are a little hard to please!
In my twenty plus years of cruising, I have never had a bad meal or buffet! 25 cruises and 7 diffent lines. If my steak or wasn't done right, I had it done over. If I dis liked the dinner, I was given something else. The staff did everything,except stand on their head to please. I don't have to buy, prepare, cook and serve it. We were on the old ship Regal Empress, that many many people complained about. Their food was just as good as Celebrity. I don't know what some people expect. I think some just find a need to complain. I keep going on cruises and enjoy all the meals. I love the breakfast and lunch buffets on the lido decks too. We have even skipped the dining room to eat dinner at the buffet. Happy Saliing!
I'm glad you enjoyed all your meals on your 25 cruises. But please don't assume that because I didn't enjoy mine on the Regal and Sapphire that I like to complain or that I am hard to please. I'm sure you would not have enjoyed being served undercooked chicken or fish either (as my nephew and father were) or raw steak as I was. There is a big difference between just not liking the food and being served food that is unsafe to eat! Yes, we could have sent the food back to be re-cooked, but we don't like to complain (and we didn't want to make the already long dinners any longer) and that's why we just quietly moved to the buffet and enjoyed the rest of our cruise without complaint. I still tell everyone that both the Sapphire and Regal are wonderful ships and about the great times that we had on both. Despite my disappointment in the dining room food, the Sapphire is now my all time favorite ship and I look forward to sailing her again, so I definitely don't think I'm much of a complainer. I only brought it up here because this is a thread about bad food, so I thought I'd relay my experiences on these two otherwise great ships.
I agree that expecting 5 star quality food in mainstream cruiselines dining rooms is unrealistic. It should be as someone above said "banquet quality" since they are serving so many at once. The speciality restaurants cook for a limited number of people so I believe (and my experience has been) that the quaility is better.
As far as letting your server know your likes, my brother prefers his lobster steamed rather than baked. He asked the waiter to leave the baked lobster and please bring a steamed lobster tail. No problem (and of course we tipped the servers well for excellent service throughout the week).
Finally, when it comes to steaks, I recently ate at MORTONS Steakhouse and had a NY Strip steak. Know what? Just Ok and this from a high end steak house.
I always judge the food on a ship based on the overall not just one dish (worst food I had on a cruise was Carnival Paradise in 2000, very bland all week, also worst cruise experience).
Everybody handles situations differently. We choose to just eat at the buffet. Since we don't really cruise for the food, it just didn't seem worth making a big deal about it. Especially since it wasn't likely to make us enjoy the meals any more since being undercooked was only a small part of the problem. The other part being the overall blandness of everything and the very poor quality of the steaks (I am a big lover of steak and would eat it every night if I could so this was a big issue with me. But like I said previously, I buy only VERY cheap beef at home, so I am not difficult to please when it comes to my steaks. These steaks did not even live up to the quality of the $1.50 per pound ones that I buy at my local discount supermarket).
Dinners in the dining room are way too long to sit through (especially with children) if you aren't going to enjoy the meal anyway. The only reason why I am complaining here is because the topic of this thread is bad food. And, well, this is a gripes board.