Best Cruise Ship Food 2011 / 2012 - U.S. Ports / Caribbean / Mexico
It seems that most TOPICS on CRUISE SHIP DINING are sorely OUT-OF-DATE on chow, even though many cruise lines are reinvigorating their kitchens with new menus and even famous chefs. (see article: http://www.travelandleisure.com/artic...
From my little bit of research, of the major cruise lines, CELEBRITY CRUISES seems to be DOING THE BEST with food compared with Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess, Crystal, Disney, and Holland America. Although at the same time, new ships are frequently hitting the water, so it may not be possible to generalize an entire cruise line's fleet.
Has anyone set sail from a U.S. port in 2011 and have any insight?
OK, I'll bite on this post.
Back a month ago from two weeks on Seabourne Quest, cruising from Quebec to Ft Lauderdale. Food was very good, and a variety of entrees always available, in a number of dining facilities. Menus distributed the evening before, so pick and chooose where to go depending on your whim, except for Restaurant 2, a tapas event, which requires a rez (make them early in the cruise). Room service also available at no extra charge.
Food quality was very good, Entrees are prepared to order in the Restaurant. Servers appeared to "hurried", but this did not detract from the meals. Enuf choices among the various venues to satisfy my appetite. Only thing is that I thought the portions were "small", but I never went away hungry. Guess i can't "put it away" like I used to (at my age I can't eat the amounts I could 50 years ago), but i did add 9#'s in two weeks. But you can order a double portion of anything on the Restaurant menu if you like.
An aside, At one port of call, they were reprovisoning supplies, mainly produce, and i happened to be on deck watching, and the Head Commissary person was standing next to me, frustrated. For some unknown reason, he could not go onto the pier to inspect the provisions. "How do I know the quality if I can't inspect it before it comes on the ship, so that if it doesn't meet my standards, I can send it back." was his comment. So I think that is an indication of the quality passengers can expect on board.
Damissus and I choose Seabourn for our infrequent cruises primarily based on the quality of the food, and the service we receive. I can't compare food quality to other lines, haven't cruised with them, only talked to friends who have, and I have concluded that Seabourn is at least a head above the others you mentioned, for the cost.
i did notice on the latest cruise that the economy is catching up. Champagne flowed more freely on our previous cruise, hors de' oevs were not as plentiful in the pre dinner showroom as before, nor were there as many servers. Not to say that we could not indulge, it just required more requests, rather than a server dispensing as on our previous cruise.
Summary: Food quality very good, wide selection, a choice of venues and menus. Service, compared to previous cruises on this line was not as good, but I don't say it was bad.
My .02, we did 3 cruises in 2011 but only one left from a US port, in 2010 we were lucky enough to have done 4 cruises with 2 from a US port. We also speak to a lot of cruisers about food.
Best food in 2010 and 2011 was on the Silversea Silver Spirit, the ship, staff and dining impressed us so much we took another cruise on them in 2011 and have booked a 2012 trip.
A very close #2 was the Crystal Serenity and we are planning another trip on them in 2013
Celebrity, Regent Seven Seas and Sebourne get high marks but are below silversea and Crystal. (Note we did not sail on RSSC or Celebrity in 2010 or 2011 but have been on them in the past - these comments are from cruisers who were on silversea's or Crystal and comparing them to those lines within the last year or two.
As far as middle of the road cruise line's go - most people we talk to feel RCCL has the best of the mass marketed cruise ships.
Hopes this helps.