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Food on HAL

Discussion in 'Holland America Line' started by janet, Sep 8, 2002.

  1. janet

    janet Guest

    We are really looking forward to our upcoming Ryndam cruise, but I have a question.

    We were on the Statendam the first year it came out. Loved the cruise, but found the food to be very bland and pretty tastless. Also the waiters did not seem to speak enough English to carry on any kind of conversation. This has been our only HAL experience til now.

    Everyone keeps raving about the food on HAL today, from those of you who have done a lot of them over the years, do you see a big improvement in the food and dining room service?
  2. Judi

    Judi Guest


    I would have to say ABSOLUTELY!

    When I first started to sail them in 1975 and right on up until 1993, I would have categorized the food as regular homestyle cooking...not much spice, but a lot of gravies.

    Since that time, the food, at least as far as we're concerned, has steadily gone up in quality and flavor.

    Please remember, though, that the food I have on a ship this week can be very different than the food you have on the same ship next week if the chefs change.

    Hope this helps a bit!
  3. tomc

    tomc Guest

    I have always found the food excellent. Yes, you might say it can be a bit on the non-spicy side (I don't say "bland," because it's certainly not that). In recent years, HAL has introduced dishes that are a bit hotter and are so noted on the menu. Remember that the average age on their longer cruises, or during the school year, is way up there and the older crowd isn't going to be looking at hot, spicy stuff. Even at my age, the Four Basic Food Groups are bran, bran, bran and Metamucil.
  4. Stargazerm31

    Stargazerm31 Guest

    Haven't been on HAL yet (39 days and countint) but I find that this type of question is difficult to answer because everyone has very different tastes. I can't say I have ever had any bland food on any of my 9 curises.

    I agree with others in that food and be different from sailing to sailing and from server to server depending on who cooks it.

    I know that doesn't help, but it is a hard questions.
  5. AnneS

    AnneS Guest

    It is interesting that the answers here have involved a long period of time! THIS might be a factor in the apparent difference in what is served on HAL [ or any OTHER cruiseline] Look in the frozen foods section of your grocery story [ and think back to Swanson's TV dinners] Look at the fresh produce section [ and think what was available in July? In December? In March? ......Look at "Freeze-dried" - look at Microwave ovens [ and think what canned peas looked like on your table in 1965 ] Certainly the chef matters - and the consistancy matters - but progress in ALL aspects of kitchen have changed DRASTICALLY in the last - 10 years? I know MY cooking has- and I LOVE to cook! Anne:daisy:usa:CO
  6. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    You are so right, Anne. When we first started cruising HAL, we found the food good but sometimes inconsistent and the menus not that varied.

    The food on today's HAL, IMO, is so very much better in every respect. It is of high quality, many different choices, and each cruise we enjoy it more and more.

    We very much enjoyed every dinner we had on our last cruises this year on Maasdam (6 cruises) and on Zaandam(2) . That was a total of eight cruises in the last 14 months so it was a pretty accurate sampling of what is "today's norm" in HAL dining rooms.
  7. AnneS

    AnneS Guest

    Wow, Judi -That's a LOT of cruises!! I retired 4 + years ago- and that year we had 4 cruises; I was a little leery -thinking I might just be ruining cruising for myself [ you know "Ho hum- another cruise;" yawn ] But our cruises were ALL different and ALL wonderful. This year my cyber-buds and I cruised on the Jubilee in February, Dick and I cruise CAronia repositioning to LOndon -[ and 4 GLORIOUS days in LOndon] and in July we took our girls, husbands and 3 Grands on the Millie in the Caribbean. Next month -Singapore and a 34 day Singapore, Australia,NZ, Tahiti, Marchessas, and back to LA - That's 66 cruising days in one year! NOW I can't even imagine ever feeling "Bored" with cruising ever! Tho I do find when we get home I'm sure not in a rush to go out for dinner.....You are treated too deliciously well on board ships -to settle for McDonalds! To each his own about the SUBJECTIVE topic of food - but give me shipboard dining EVERY time!!!!!!!! Anne:daisy:usa:CO
  8. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    Anne...that's alot of cruising YOU'VE been doing, as well!!!
    Are you doing the Volendam for the 34 day Singapore? That 62 dayer sounds fabulous...my husband can't possibly be out of his office that long for a single cruise...that's why we have to break it up into many cruises.
  9. AnneS

    AnneS Guest

    Judi- Dick retired last December - President, First Nat. Bank Longmont. His schedule would not have allowed that long either! I was library Director in a small public library; no WAY could I have been gone that long! We are 64 & 62 now - and are vacationing as we can and really enjoying this life. I retired earlier -so knew the pitfalls of "loss" - but that also meant I cruised twice without Dick. We'll also spend a month on Maui during whaling activity -Jan 15-Feb 15 2003 and 3 cruises already booked for next year. It seems like a LOT [ it IS a lot ] but the kids college years are paid for......I honestly think these years AGE "Golden" and we are taking advantage of a PREPARED for schedule [ many many years of "Oh -lets go to EStes Park to "the Cabin" {family owned} for 2 weeks for vacation] ......We may not be YOUNG young - but our philosophy is "Cruise NOW- While we're young" - of course we had to BREAK all our mirrors to DO this!!!!
    Anne :daisy:usa:CO
  10. JOHN(NJ)

    JOHN(NJ) Guest

    Don't know if "all" the above pertained to food, I got hungry reading the stories though. I have found the only place HAL still needs to improve is with their beef dishes. IMHO the other lines to beef a whole lot better.
  11. Judi

    Judi Guest


    Bless you, you and Dick have the right attitude. I've seen too many people (my Parents, for example) who work and work and think they'll take vacations when they're retired, yet never make it to that point. It's sooooo sad. :(

    Michael and I try to do as much as we can now. One never know what tomorrow may bring.

    Truth be told, the time off from work is more of a problem than paying for the cruises!

    Now, if we hit the lottery and could quit work, we'd be cruising "gypsies!" :lol :lol :lol
  12. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    Anne...you are definitely YOUNG! We are youngER but also know that none of us come with guarantees and decided long ago we would not wait until "someday" to travel and do the things we enjoy. For far too many people...."someday" never comes.

    We love our cruises and long before we started cruising we enjoyed very many trips to Europe, Caribbean resorts, American vacation travel etc etc

    Each time I cross a gangway to board a ship and begin another cruise...I always think to myself..."No guarantees, lady, that this won't be your last! Enjoy every moment of it"....and that is exactly what we do.

    Wishing you (and everyone here at @ddicts) many, many years of many, many wonderful cruises.
  13. cruzman

    cruzman Guest

    Here, here!!!! As for HAL's food prep., I have only been on 2 HAL cruises, once on the Ryndam, and once on the Maasdam. In both cases I found the food to be outstanding. We are booked on the Zaandam in Dec. and expect nothing less.
  14. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    cruzman..... Go with high expectations! Zaandam's food was terrific in November and February. We had to fabulous cruises on her in the last year. Enjoy
  15. janet

    janet Guest

    I love all of the responses, and the turns they made in the middle. My husband is 62 and I am 61. Fully retired for over a year now, and we too are trying to travel as much as we can, while we can. We have been doing one "big" trip a year with lots of weekenders and week long ones along the way. We have really explored some places closer to home that we had always taken for granted. If it is Tuesday and we decide to drive someplace 60 miles away and spend the night and play tourist for 2 days, we just do it. Really fun.
  16. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    janet...great attitude. So many of us have wonderful spots to visit within three hour drive of our own homes and we never spend any time visiting these places. So much to see....near and far. Enjoy
  17. rick

    rick Guest

    we're going on 4th HAL cruise in Jan. We love the food, always something on the menu we enjoy. Also I've never met a dessert I didn't like. But we found the dining experience really enhanced by our table mates. I belive that's what the difference is between a restaurant and cruise dining experience.
  18. Peter

    Peter Guest

    We just sailed on the Zaandam in August to Alaska. We found the food to be good but not great. We expected more from HAL foodwise due to their reputation. Cold baked potatoes, chewy lobster, tough steak. The exception was the Marco Polo alternative restaurant. The food and service in the Marco Polo is outstanding. We ended up having 3 dinners there.

    I thought the food on the Norwegian Sky from our previous cruise was equal to HAL.
  19. linon1968

    linon1968 Guest

    we sailed on Rotterdam in May, the food we found was below our expectation, the Infinity and Summit IMHO is better!
  20. bOB

    bOB Guest

    We never have a problem, we just bring our own menus...............

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