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Camelia-

HAL buffets - a question please

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51 minutes ago, Poulsbo Cruisers said:

Large is in the stomach of the beholder. For me it’s probably about six pieces. 

In the serve-your-self buffets I have seen 15 or so pieces - seems excessive?

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6 hours ago, edgee said:

Oceania is one of the most stringent lines in regard to not allowing customers to self serve in the buffet.Out of 40+cruises we have taken on a number of cruise lines, the only one in which we encountered Noro virus was (you guessed it!) on an Oceania ship.

 

You had me laughing at this one.  I’ve only sailed on O once (once was enough, I think) and stringent was not the word I would use.  The food is out early and anyone can go and touch the breads, etc.  Waves has all the condiments out silverware, glasses, etc for all the people passing by in the pool area to play with.

 

And yes, we had Noro, big Noro that they couldn’t even begin to control let alone beat.  It didn’t take much for me to see why.  I got flamed on the O board for my live report on what I saw.

 

HAL handles Noro and Noro prevention far better than O IMO.

 

Back to the topic at hand, the serving of food works well on HAL.

No guarantee it prevents Noro for sure, but it definitely doesn’t hurt and they don’t leave condiments out day and night 😉 

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4 hours ago, Hlitner said:

When HAL used to have a real sandwich bar (in the Lido)

 

HAL was still offering the real sandwich bar on at least one ship.  And I believe they had the made to order on the Rotterdam as well back when I was on.

 

Unfortunately they chose to sell that ship earlier and she has left the fleet 😞 

 

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36 minutes ago, kazu said:

HAL was still offering the real sandwich bar on at least one ship.  And I believe they had the made to order on the Rotterdam as well back when I was on.

 

Unfortunately they chose to sell that ship earlier and she has left the fleet 😞 

 

Yes, you are referring to my favorite HAL ship...or I guess I should say ex ship.  DW and I loved the Prinsendam.  To the best of knowledge HAL had a real sandwich bar on every ship of the fleet until about 3 years ago when they revamped the Lido.  I guess many of us might agree there was good and bad with the change.  They went to the permanent Code Orange concept, eliminated the sandwich bar, changed the old eggs benedict station that had about 8 options to a new smaller concept with only 1 rotating daily special plus the regular eggs benedict.  They also completely eliminated the entire salad bar and replaced it with salad bar stations where one has to wait in line to have a crew member assemble one's salad.  This kind of salad thing seems to be unique in the cruise world as we have never seen it on any other cruise line.

 

Personally, I think HAL's lido is just OK.  Not great, not awful...but just OK.  Other lines have implemented much better concepts (IMHO).  Princess has opened up their Lidos and are still in process of implementing some new stations.  On our recent Caribbean Princess they had an excellent Mongolian BBQ station which generated very long lines.  You took a bowl, loaded it up with all kinds of goodies (self service) and then handed it in to be cooked.  They gave you a beeper so you could do other things, sit down, etc...until your BBQ was custom cooked in a wok.  At breakfast that same station (actually 2 stations) became an expansive Omelet bar.  You took a cup and filled it from a large selection of omelet items.  Once you were finished you turned in that cup, were given a beeper, and then later summoned when your omelet (which you configured) was ready.  One morning when I was sitting at a table waiting for my omelet the beeper went off.  Before I could get out of my seat a crew member asked if he could go get my Omelet :).  What was nice was folks did not have to stand around waiting for their custom made eggs.   You just went about your business, got other things to eat, drink. etc.  Only when your eggs were ready did you need to go...and then there was a separate pick-up station with no line.  And this was on a ship with over 3000 passengers!

 

Hank

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4 hours ago, kazu said:

HAL was still offering the real sandwich bar on at least one ship.  And I believe they had the made to order on the Rotterdam as well back when I was on.

 

Unfortunately they chose to sell that ship earlier and she has left the fleet 😞 

 

And she had the premade sandwiches on her final voyage.

Edited by TiogaCruiser

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13 hours ago, Poulsbo Cruisers said:

Large is in the stomach of the beholder. For me it’s probably about six pieces. 

I make a BLT for breakfast, very satisfying IMO.

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11 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Yes, you are referring to my favorite HAL ship...or I guess I should say ex ship.  DW and I loved the Prinsendam.  To the best of knowledge HAL had a real sandwich bar on every ship of the fleet until about 3 years ago when they revamped the Lido.  I guess many of us might agree there was good and bad with the change.  They went to the permanent Code Orange concept, eliminated the sandwich bar, changed the old eggs benedict station that had about 8 options to a new smaller concept with only 1 rotating daily special plus the regular eggs benedict.  They also completely eliminated the entire salad bar and replaced it with salad bar stations where one has to wait in line to have a crew member assemble one's salad.  This kind of salad thing seems to be unique in the cruise world as we have never seen it on any other cruise line.

 

Personally, I think HAL's lido is just OK.  Not great, not awful...but just OK.  Other lines have implemented much better concepts (IMHO).  Princess has opened up their Lidos and are still in process of implementing some new stations.  On our recent Caribbean Princess they had an excellent Mongolian BBQ station which generated very long lines.  You took a bowl, loaded it up with all kinds of goodies (self service) and then handed it in to be cooked.  They gave you a beeper so you could do other things, sit down, etc...until your BBQ was custom cooked in a wok.  At breakfast that same station (actually 2 stations) became an expansive Omelet bar.  You took a cup and filled it from a large selection of omelet items.  Once you were finished you turned in that cup, were given a beeper, and then later summoned when your omelet (which you configured) was ready.  One morning when I was sitting at a table waiting for my omelet the beeper went off.  Before I could get out of my seat a crew member asked if he could go get my Omelet :).  What was nice was folks did not have to stand around waiting for their custom made eggs.   You just went about your business, got other things to eat, drink. etc.  Only when your eggs were ready did you need to go...and then there was a separate pick-up station with no line.  And this was on a ship with over 3000 passengers!

 

Hank

I agree about the Mongolian BBQ station - so nicely organized and efficient since they introduced the beeper system. Waiting around for your dish to be cooked is no fun and you simply become another body taking up space and getting in everyone's way !! Better to use that time to find a table or get started on your meal. It's interesting though that (like HAL)  the Caribbean Princess also started introducing pre-made sandwiches and there was alot of criticism about that. Some was valid I think: too cold..too dry..I think if they executed it a little better it would be more successful. There were lots of interesting combinations of sandwiches that I thought worth sampling..but then again I like the "exotic" aspect of the Marketplace and many people don't!!

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1 minute ago, Camelia- said:

I agree about the Mongolian BBQ station - so nicely organized and efficient since they introduced the beeper system. Waiting around for your dish to be cooked is no fun and you simply become another body taking up space and getting in everyone's way !! Better to use that time to find a table or get started on your meal. It's interesting though that (like HAL)  the Caribbean Princess also started introducing pre-made sandwiches and there was alot of criticism about that. Some was valid I think: too cold..too dry..I think if they executed it a little better it would be more successful. There were lots of interesting combinations of sandwiches that I thought worth sampling..but then again I like the "exotic" aspect of the Marketplace and many people don't!!

I have never been a fan of pre made sandwiches anywhere especially in an airport!  I never bought any with mayo, it could have had dire consequences IMO.😲

 

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We are booked on the Rotterdam for back to back Panama Canal cruises in February 2020.  Have not received any word about a ship change.  Rotterdam still showing on HAL's booking website.  The Statendam was sold a few years ago and is no longer a HAL ship.

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I actually asked one of the Senior Lido supervisors (on HAL) why the line had eliminated the sandwich stations.  His answer was that he did not have the answer other then it was done.  Some speculation was that it was done to free-up a cook/sandwich maker for other tasks.  But consider that when HAL replaced the salad bar with salad stations they had to assign 4 people (full time during lunch) to handle the two salad stations on Vista Class ships (not sure how many do it on smaller and larger ships.  We have heard other speculation that much of what HAL has done is about "portion control" which is code for reducing the amount of used food (and the associated cost).  So a pre-made sandwich has a lot less meat then one that is custom made (when the passenger can say, more more more).  Or a crew made salad at the salad bar generally uses less product (although an assertive passenger can certainly ask for more.  It also seem like dessert portions (mostly pre plated) have shrunk to mouse-size portions.  Even my personal favorite fuit tart seems to get smaller every year.

 

Like many (perhaps most) HAL cruisers book the longer voyages, I am a senior and eat a fraction of what I would eat when young :).  So I do not go away from HAL's Lido hungry although I have left some MDR lunches hungry enough to later go up to the Lido to get a "real lunch." 

 

Perhaps HAL is doing all of the passengers a big favor in shrinking portion sizes since it is pretty obvious that many passengers could stand to do some of their own shrinking :).  But DW reminds me of when she ordered Mussels (a dinner starter in the MDR) and got a soup bowl that contained 5 mussels, 3 of which had not even opened!  Most mussel eaters follow a rule of not eating unopened mussels (whether this is necessary has been debated).  The cook/server who dished out those 5 mussels had to be aware that most of the mussels were unopened..but yet they were still plated and served.  And I would challenge anyone to show me a land restaurant that would serve 2 open small mussels as a starter.  If a restaurant did that they would likely be out of business within a few weeks.

 

Hank

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1 hour ago, jebhoward3 said:

The Statendam was sold a few years ago and is no longer a HAL ship.

Sadly, at least for me. Along with the Ryndam, too. I miss them both, as I would love to be able to sail on them. They were the perfect size ships. 

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5 hours ago, jebhoward3 said:

We are booked on the Rotterdam for back to back Panama Canal cruises in February 2020.  Have not received any word about a ship change. 

We will be on the Rotterdam in Feb.  There will be no ship change. 

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22 hours ago, pcur said:

No, it means he's not into bacon as much as some of us..................................

giphy.gif

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23 hours ago, Hlitner said:

When HAL used to have a real sandwich bar (in the Lido) I would watch the sandwich maker put on a couple of slices of meat and then I would tell him/her...."please make it like a New York Deli."  That would always get a laugh and a lot more meat :).  It is very true that if you want more of anything...just ask.   By the way, now that HAL used pre-made sandwiches I have adopted a new technique.  I will take 2 or 3 of those pre-made sandwiches, disassemble them all...and reassemble one REAL sandwich.  Sometimes I will add additional items from other areas of the buffet.  It is really a terrible waste of bread (and the unused items) but it sure gets me a decent sandwich.

 

Hank

Simply ask for a fresh sandwich, made to your specifications.  We've never had a problem asking one of the staff to make a fresh sandwich with extra meat, condiments, and veggies that we like rather than grabbing one of the pre-made sandwiches.  BTW, we have no idea how long that sandwich has been sitting there.  Depending on what condiments are spread on the bread, those sandwiches could be soggy. 

 

To be fair, however, we rarely choose a sandwich for lunch on a cruise.  Out of 30+ cruises, we've probably had less than ten sandwiches, three of them at New York Deli on Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam.  Those freshly made reubens (with extra corned beef) can't be beat.  Oh-h-h, now I'm craving one.

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2 hours ago, sevenseasnomad said:

Simply ask for a fresh sandwich, made to your specifications.  We've never had a problem asking one of the staff to make a fresh sandwich with extra meat, condiments, and veggies that we like rather than grabbing one of the pre-made sandwiches.  BTW, we have no idea how long that sandwich has been sitting there.  Depending on what condiments are spread on the bread, those sandwiches could be soggy. 

 

To be fair, however, we rarely choose a sandwich for lunch on a cruise.  Out of 30+ cruises, we've probably had less than ten sandwiches, three of them at New York Deli on Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam.  Those freshly made reubens (with extra corned beef) can't be beat.  Oh-h-h, now I'm craving one.

You remind me of our last HAL cruise (Zuiderdam) when I asked the egg cook (in the Lido) to please make me an omelet with real eggs (which were sitting near him in a bowl).  His response was that if used real eggs to make an omelet he could lose his job!  Or course everyone understands that scrambled eggs and omelets are only made with boxed commercial egg mix (which is homogenized and pasteurized).   So when I am on my next HAL cruise (Westy) with your post in mind I will ask somebody, anybody (since there is no sandwich station to please make me a decent Reuben with lots of corned beef.  And I suspect I will be told to go to a different cruise line :).

 

Hank

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On ‎10‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 2:32 PM, Kirsten T said:

In my experience the servers are more likely to give you a large than a small portion of anything. And they'll happily add to it if you'd like more. 

 

One thing I also really like about HAL is the many items already plated that you can just grab. Sushi, some of the salads, fruits, desserts and in the AM, yummy yogurt parfaits are in small "grab and go" plates or containers, which cuts the lines down. Pre-made sandwiches and chips were in individual wrapper bags. Wish Celebrity did more of that.

But what drives me nuts are the people who want 2 dishes of fruit or dessert, then combine both to one plate and leave the dirty plate on the buffet line. ERG!...….

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10 hours ago, Hlitner said:

You remind me of our last HAL cruise (Zuiderdam) when I asked the egg cook (in the Lido) to please make me an omelet with real eggs (which were sitting near him in a bowl).  His response was that if used real eggs to make an omelet he could lose his job! 

 

I learned that the term the crew use is ‘fresh’ eggs (at least that’s what it was on my last cruise).  I was able to get an omelet or scrambled eggs with them in the Pinnacle or MDR.  That might be an option for you for breakfast next cruise.

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2 hours ago, kazu said:

 

I learned that the term the crew use is ‘fresh’ eggs (at least that’s what it was on my last cruise).  I was able to get an omelet or scrambled eggs with them in the Pinnacle or MDR.  That might be an option for you for breakfast next cruise.

Did you actually see them crack an egg?  I would certainly hope that the Pinnacle would at least use a real egg (you know, the kind that comes in a shell) but you are not going to get that in the MDR unless you order something like sunny side up, over easy, etc.  It is not just on HAL.  All the mass market lines rely on the less expensive easy to store/ship boxed commercial eggs.  The shelf life of commercial eggs is measured in years (thanks to chemical additives).  I think they taste OK, but the texture is different.   But not an option on our next cruise or our next 6 cruises since we have not booked any with X.  Too many other better options in the market these days.  But the truth is that it is not because of eggs that we choose our cruise and ship :).

 

Hank

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2 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Did you actually see them crack an egg?  I would certainly hope that the Pinnacle would at least use a real egg (you know, the kind that comes in a shell) but you are not going to get that in the MDR unless you order something like sunny side up, over easy, etc.  I

 

Hank

 

Sorry Hank, but yes, I got fresh eggs in both those locations.

 

Did I see them crack the egg?  No.  Do I need to ?  No.  I know the difference in the taste and the liquid concoction and I don’t get along.  So, if they weren’t fresh eggs, believe me, I would have known.  

 

Happened on the Rotterdam a couple of years ago and two cruises on the Prinsendam this year and last.

 



 

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On 10/10/2019 at 6:24 PM, Hlitner said:

LOL.  It depends.  If the buns are soggy (sometimes they are still OK) I might look for a decent roll or bread on the buffet.  There was one time when I took two sandwiches and deconstructed them to discover that both buns were very soggy with loads of mayonnaise.  Unfortunately all that food was wasted (I found something else to eat).  The waste is a shame, but it was HAL's decision to eliminate a made to order sandwich bar that could minimize waste.  HAL used to sometimes have a half decent Rueben occasionally on the mdr lunch menu (on one of the few days it is open).  But on our last HAL cruise I needed a magnifying glass to find the corned beef and the bread was completely soggy and fell apart (I guess it had been sitting in the galley too long).

 

I admit to being a sandwich freak!  I truly love a decent deli-type sandwich which to an ex New Yorker means it has lots of meat.

 

Hank

 

When we were on the Eurodam and the Westerdam we had no choice but the pre-made sandwiches.  They were awful.  And there were very few choices of rolls or buns and no bread.

 

We noticed many people just left the soggy sandwiches on the tables after one bite.  

 

There was a lot of waste.

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On 10/10/2019 at 4:23 PM, Poulsbo Cruisers said:

Does this mean you can’t ask for a large portion of Bacon?

My experience has been they will give you as many strips of bacon you ask for.

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We were on the Zuiderdam several months ago when there was a minor noro outbreak, not even enough sick people that it showed up on the cdc.gov website.   As someone previously mentioned,  HAL had their Lido employees serving the bread rolls as well as the cold beverages (tea, water, lemonade, which are usually self serve), etc.  Our server in the MDR told me they wipe down the menus after each use.  HAL did everything possible to contain it and we were impressed.

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On 10/10/2019 at 11:51 AM, BJzink said:

and passengers helping themselves to a huge stack of bacon!

 

 

Then throwing most of it away! 😏

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On 10/12/2019 at 9:54 AM, Krazy Kruizers said:

 

When we were on the Eurodam and the Westerdam we had no choice but the pre-made sandwiches.  They were awful.  And there were very few choices of rolls or buns and no bread.

 

 

Interesting.. I thought the pre-made sandwiches on our recent Eurodam cruise were awesome! 😋 In fact, the sandwich station at the Lido buffet quickly became my go-to place for a good sandwich onboard.

 

Isn't it funny how subjective people's food preferences are? Which is exactly why comments about food quality, taste, etc. made in forums like this should be taken for a grain of salt. 🙂

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On 10/11/2019 at 5:34 PM, Hlitner said:

You remind me of our last HAL cruise (Zuiderdam) when I asked the egg cook (in the Lido) to please make me an omelet with real eggs (which were sitting near him in a bowl).  His response was that if used real eggs to make an omelet he could lose his job!  Or course everyone understands that scrambled eggs and omelets are only made with boxed commercial egg mix (which is homogenized and pasteurized).   So when I am on my next HAL cruise (Westy) with your post in mind I will ask somebody, anybody (since there is no sandwich station to please make me a decent Reuben with lots of corned beef.  And I suspect I will be told to go to a different cruise line :).

 

Hank

Oh no, you said "real eggs".  How long will it be before you are reminded that egg mix is "real eggs"?

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