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Keith1010

Crystal River Cruises - The Art of Food

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We had the opportunity to experience the wonderful cuisine on board Crystal Mozart in May of this year.

 

Keith

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I wonder if they really go to the market and buy food like that.  Looks like they were shopping at Whole Foods.  The budget for food would be insane.  

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49 minutes ago, kent9xxx1 said:

I wonder if they really go to the market and buy food like that.  Looks like they were shopping at Whole Foods.  The budget for food would be insane.  

 

They fly Maine Lobsters in from the US. Caviar flowed freely one afternoon. I would not put it past them.

 

I thought that many river cruises went to "local markets" and that was a benefit of a river cruise. I guess I was thinking farmers markets when I heard that. The fact that they grow their own herbs on deck says something.

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1 hour ago, Coral said:

 

They fly Maine Lobsters in from the US. Caviar flowed freely one afternoon. I would not put it past them.

 

I thought that many river cruises went to "local markets" and that was a benefit of a river cruise. I guess I was thinking farmers markets when I heard that. The fact that they grow their own herbs on deck says something.

 

For those who know me, they know I'm a Crystal fan. However, I do want to correct something for those who have never sailed Crystal river and are reading about it here. Only the Mozart has the herb garden and starting in the spring of 2020 the Mozart will be marketed through Genting's Asian operation, so probably very few westerners will be booking it. That being said, the food on the Crystal river boats (I've done the Mozart and the Bach) is every bit as good (if not better) than what is served on the ocean ships. The 4 river boats that will be sailing starting in 2020 hold 106 passengers maximum, so you can see how they are able to serve the highest quality food.

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1 hour ago, Texas Tillie said:

 

For those who know me, they know I'm a Crystal fan. However, I do want to correct something for those who have never sailed Crystal river and are reading about it here. Only the Mozart has the herb garden and starting in the spring of 2020 the Mozart will be marketed through Genting's Asian operation, so probably very few westerners will be booking it. That being said, the food on the Crystal river boats (I've done the Mozart and the Bach) is every bit as good (if not better) than what is served on the ocean ships. The 4 river boats that will be sailing starting in 2020 hold 106 passengers maximum, so you can see how they are able to serve the highest quality food.

Thanks for saying that. I wasn't sure if the other ships had the herb garden!

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At least some of Uniworld's river cruise ships have a herb garden as well - there was definitely one on the SS Antonette.  I just got off the Crystal Ravel and the food was absolutely wonderful!   I'm a huge fan of Crystal now as well!  Our Danube cruise on the Ravel was possibly the most perfect vacation we've ever had!

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I took a 16-day river cruise on the Crystal Mahler last month and the food was superb. Even better than on the ocean ships— and that’s saying a lot!

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We've sailed on Crystal Ravel and Crystal Bach.  The food was exceptional on both.  Interesting menus, quality ingredients, superb flavours and artistic presentation.  We also thought it was better than Crystal ocean.

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On a typical river cruise they take a large delivery of items a couple of times during the cruise and frequently pick up additional items as needed at local markets.  In fact, they picked up a couple of items for us.  

 

The food was superb.  Some items are the same that we've had on board other Crystals vessels and thought they were even better on board the river vessel.  The crew told us that part of the reason is where the ingredients come from.  Yes, Europe and they are quite fresh since unlike an Ocean Vessel items do not have to last very long.  An example was the rolls.  Same ingredients for several of the rolls yet much more flavorful on the River Cruise vessel.  They make even more items such as the ice cream themselves.  

 

Keith

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We were on the Bach a few months ago and also found the food to be consistently delicious! Combined with the beautiful presentation and impeccable service by the staff, meals were always something to look forward to on our cruise.

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Reading many threads it would seem that quite a few river cruise companies include for example shop with a chef. Scenic will change their menu for a local delicacy that becomes available so I am sure that other lines will do the same. The availability of fresh produce must vary from region to region and season to season so flexibility must be the key. It all depends on the quality of the galley staff especially the chef, thank goodness we have some fabulous ones in Europe. CA 

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Currently on The Crystal Bach and the food is equally good compare to Crystal Mozart.  
Wine, OTOH, is a miss.  They have a new bdx, which is ok.  The white options are undrinkable.  Most of the red options are just as bad.  
We brought our own wines based on previous experience.  

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We were just on the Debussey......The food was beyond great!!...The choices, the presentation, and it was ALL delicious.......

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we were on Ravel a few weeks ago and talked to the chef. He told us that they use about 4 tons of food products a week on the ship, that makes it difficult for the "farm to table" concept to work.  They buy some items locally, but the majority of it is scheduled from suppliers at selected ports

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One other reason for the difference in food quality apart from preparing food for significantly less people is that on the ocean ships 99% of the kitchen crew are Asian- they do an awesome job but on the river ships they can only employ people from the EU and thus the kitchen crew all have European culinary training and this can make a huge difference. This was explained to us by the GM on the Crystal Mozart when we sailed her a couple of years ago.

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1 hour ago, tfred said:

we were on Ravel a few weeks ago and talked to the chef. He told us that they use about 4 tons of food products a week on the ship, that makes it difficult for the "farm to table" concept to work.  They buy some items locally, but the majority of it is scheduled from suppliers at selected ports

 

Watched the reprovisioning on the Bach last spring. It was fascinating as about the entire crew formed a "bucket brigade" from land to the boat and down the circular stairway from deck 2 to deck 1. This included the stewardesses, waiters, deck crew, etc. The muscular big men were in the circular stairway as they had to reach up over their heads and then pass things down to the next guy above his head. There was everything - much produce, cases of drinks, big bags of flour, you name it. I've watched the fork lifts load food supplies on the ocean ships before, but this was much more interesting! 

 

Patty

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8 hours ago, Texas Tillie said:

 

Watched the reprovisioning on the Bach last spring. It was fascinating as about the entire crew formed a "bucket brigade" from land to the boat and down the circular stairway from deck 2 to deck 1. This included the stewardesses, waiters, deck crew, etc. The muscular big men were in the circular stairway as they had to reach up over their heads and then pass things down to the next guy above his head. There was everything - much produce, cases of drinks, big bags of flour, you name it. I've watched the fork lifts load food supplies on the ocean ships before, but this was much more interesting! 

 

Patty

We enjoyed watching it as well Patty.

 

It was a true team effort.

 

Keith

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Personally I think there are several reasons for the quality of the food.

 

First is that the food is fresh.  On an Ocean Vessel with long itineraries most of the food comes on-board day 1 with very little food being provisioned until the cruise ends.  Just like home when you can by local and fresh items this makes a big difference.

 

Everything is pretty much prepared on board the ship.  Even the ice cream.

 

I did buy into the quality of the local ingredients including milk, butter, etc.

 

Cooking for less people I believe helps just as you find in specialty restaurants.

 

I also think offering less choices is helpful as well.

 

Regardless of the reason(s) we thought the food was superb and I can name some items that if you blind-folded me I could tell the difference between the taste of them on the River Vessels versus the Ocean Vessel.

 

Keith

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On 11/19/2019 at 5:46 AM, kent9xxx1 said:

We brought our own wines based on previous experience.

 

Bearing in mind you'd already paid for the wines on board - what wines of your own did you bring?

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On 12/12/2019 at 11:23 PM, Keith1010 said:

We enjoyed watching it as well Patty.

 

It was a true team effort.

 

Keith

I missed it entirely! Must have been on tour.

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4 hours ago, pontac said:

 

Bearing in mind you'd already paid for the wines on board - what wines of your own did you bring?

 

A few vintages of Montrose and a Cliff Lede Poetry.  

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23 hours ago, kent9xxx1 said:

A few vintages of Montrose and a Cliff Lede Poetry. 

 

One is unlikely classed growth claret offered among the included wines 🙂

 

All the same, 'undrinkable' is a pretty damning indictment of the wines on offer. I have been on only one cruise where I thought the house wines were sub-standard. Luckily as we were in wine country (not a co-incidence)  I bought local wines to enjoy on board.

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Food and wine are very personally specific as to what one person thinks of the quality versus what the next person thinks. Having done 4 Crystal river cruises, I'd be surprised if one person on each cruise would find the included wine "undrinkable". The specific poster who used that word has posted his opinion before and has yet to find anyone in agreement with him. That being said, he has every right to his opinion.

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54 minutes ago, Texas Tillie said:

Food and wine are very personally specific as to what one person thinks of the quality versus what the next person thinks. Having done 4 Crystal river cruises, I'd be surprised if one person on each cruise would find the included wine "undrinkable". The specific poster who used that word has posted his opinion before and has yet to find anyone in agreement with him. That being said, he has every right to his opinion.

Agreed. We were on the Mozart last December and I found all the beverages and food to be fine. Great time on that boat, seemed like the other passengers enjoyed it too. But you never know who onboard is secretly bitter about being unable to gargle a 1963 bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild in the morning after hydraulically irrigating their diamond encrusted donkey choppers.

The only thing I didn't get to do on the Mozart was talk to the Captain more and I understand, he was busy. It's all good.

 

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