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Total Food Snob - Is Oceania Right for Me?


All_About_Food
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15 minutes ago, ropomo said:

Everyone's experience will differ, but in my experience on my only O cruise in Sept of last year on a 21 day Miami to San Francisco cruise, I would rate the food as marginal.  There were three dinners that I sent the entree back as unacceptable. They ranged from salmon that was overcooked to the point that it was hard to cut with a knife to snapper that obviously smelled spoiled (three others at the table shared my opinion) and other more minor issues in between.  Other meals were edible, but not memborable.  If your primary goal is world class cuisine, my experience would not say this is it.  I should also note that we had a great time on the cruise, but unlike experiences on other lines (e.g. Viking) food was not a highlight. BTW, I am not a food snob, just like good food.

FWIW: a word with the F&B mgr or Exec Chef regarding a truly bad meal will assure it doesn't happen to you again. 

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37 minutes ago, ropomo said:

Everyone's experience will differ, but in my experience on my only O cruise in Sept of last year on a 21 day Miami to San Francisco cruise, I would rate the food as marginal.  There were three dinners that I sent the entree back as unacceptable. They ranged from salmon that was overcooked to the point that it was hard to cut with a knife to snapper that obviously smelled spoiled (three others at the table shared my opinion) and other more minor issues in between.  Other meals were edible, but not memborable.  If your primary goal is world class cuisine, my experience would not say this is it.  I should also note that we had a great time on the cruise, but unlike experiences on other lines (e.g. Viking) food was not a highlight. BTW, I am not a food snob, just like good food.

I am not doubting a single word in your post but your experience is definitely the exception rather than the rule IMO & IME.

We have almost 30 OCeania cruises behind us and have never experienced anything like what you describe.

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9 minutes ago, Paulchili said:

I am not doubting a single word in your post but your experience is definitely the exception rather than the rule IMO & IME.

We have almost 30 OCeania cruises behind us and have never experienced anything like what you describe.

Agreed.

I've had the occasional though rare food misstep and it's always been fixed (even without needing to escalate my concerns).

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9 minutes ago, Paulchili said:

I am not doubting a single word in your post but your experience is definitely the exception rather than the rule IMO & IME.

We have almost 30 OCeania cruises behind us and have never experienced anything like what you describe.

 

I do not doubt you.  It may have been that the ship was just on its second cruise out of dry dock and refurbishment (Regatta).  I could see that the effort was there, just not the results for me.  Other seasoned O cruisers (some with 10+) with us also stated that it was not up to the "norm".  Just stating my experience.

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9 hours ago, All_About_Food said:

 

This is just what I was looking for! Thank you so much for providing real world examples, as it helps me calibrate. I quite enjoy Commander's Palace so this is very encouraging. I've just been burned before by cruise marketing regarding food so am a bit wary. Thanks again!

 

Can you tell us which cruise lines / ships you have tried? 

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I am coming to this thread late but I did at least skim through all the comments ...

 

I'm a good cook -- NOT a pastry chef!  Friends who have had dinner here call me a gourmet cook.  I do not.  I just plan my menus carefully so that it looks like I spent three days cooking ...

 

That said, we've been very happy with food on Oceania ever since the early days,  Sure, there are some misses.  And I've seen complaints here where some people say the food is too salty, others say it isn't salty enough ... different tastes for different folks, I guess.

 

But in general we find Oceania's sea-going fare excellent.  I can't speak for your palate, of course.

 

In terms of the specialty restaurants on Marina/Riviera, we rank Jacques #1, Polo/Toscana #2 and Red Ginger #4.  But there are plenty of regulars who would but Red Ginger first and Jacques last ...  We have thoroughly enjoyed our La Reserve dinners, and also like the dinner buffet in Terrace VERY much.

 

I'm inclined to think that the suggestions that you take a short cruie to test it out and see what you think.  THEN you can better decide if you want a longer cruise to more exotic destinations.

 

Of course,these days, who knows when we will really be cruising again????

 

 

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13 hours ago, All_About_Food said:

 

I have cruised before, on Celebrity, 15 years ago. I greatly enjoyed the pace and ease of the trip and have always wanted to try it again. However, the only thing that I didn't particularly care for was the food, so I'm hoping to mitigate that as much as I can. That being said, I totally understand the limitations of the number of people dining and certainly wouldn't expect the best meal of my life. I just don't want to be eating to simply survive whilst on vacation. 

 

Thank you for taking the time to respond!

Thanks for your reply.    As you have cruised before my advice is give Oceania a go!   In the end only you can decide if the food is just right for you.  Good luck,   lets hope we will be able to cruise again one day.   J

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10 hours ago, Tansy Mews said:

 

Can you tell us which cruise lines / ships you have tried? 

 

I've been on Princess, Carnival, and Celebrity, but this was all 15 or more years ago. The landscape has changed dramatically. The food on Princess was adequate, Carnival was ... Carnival, and Celebrity was alright but I was eating for sustenance not pleasure. Essentially, I'm attempting through research to find the best food available from a city girl's perspective. Thank you for responding!

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9 hours ago, Mura said:

I am coming to this thread late but I did at least skim through all the comments ...

 

I'm a good cook -- NOT a pastry chef!  Friends who have had dinner here call me a gourmet cook.  I do not.  I just plan my menus carefully so that it looks like I spent three days cooking ...

 

That said, we've been very happy with food on Oceania ever since the early days,  Sure, there are some misses.  And I've seen complaints here where some people say the food is too salty, others say it isn't salty enough ... different tastes for different folks, I guess.

 

But in general we find Oceania's sea-going fare excellent.  I can't speak for your palate, of course.

 

In terms of the specialty restaurants on Marina/Riviera, we rank Jacques #1, Polo/Toscana #2 and Red Ginger #4.  But there are plenty of regulars who would but Red Ginger first and Jacques last ...  We have thoroughly enjoyed our La Reserve dinners, and also like the dinner buffet in Terrace VERY much.

 

I'm inclined to think that the suggestions that you take a short cruie to test it out and see what you think.  THEN you can better decide if you want a longer cruise to more exotic destinations.

 

Of course,these days, who knows when we will really be cruising again????

 

 

 

Oh, being a pastry chef just means I can produce a lot of product quickly. I appreciate the perspective of a fellow kitchen creative!

 

I'm leaning towards trying a short cruise on both Oceania and Regent to compare. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thorough and helpful post!

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Hello All_About_Food

 

Here are a few personal opinions.  If we were going to try another cruise line on an overseas cruise, we would not bother to pack our bags for anything less than 10 days.  Maybe a 7 day out of a US port.  (That is providing that Americans can grow up and get off the "naughty" list)

 

For us, especially my DH, there is a big difference between the smaller "R" ships (Insignia, Nautica, Regatta, Sirena)  and the 2 larger "O" ships (Marina & Riviera).  All specialty restaurants on Oceania are without a surcharge,  just a reservation.  The R ships will have 2 specialties, 4 on the O ships.  

 

Also available on the O ships are the 2 venues, La Reserve & Privee, both with a surcharge.  The wine pairings dinner in La Reserve is a wonderful evening in a beautiful dining room.  If you should decide to do this experience, we would recommend that you make a reservation online as soon as the available evenings are posted.  

 

We also booked our 40th anniversary dinner with extended family in Privee.  It was a memorable night with exceptional service.  Privee is a private dining room with seating for up to 10 people.  $200 for the entire evening.  Very special.

 

Let's not forget the Culinary Center.  You may find them a bit elementary, but I love them.  The teaching chefs are fun and personable, non-judgmental. ☺️  "Cooking wine" is also involved.  What's not to love.

 

The 4 R ships will not offer the Culinary Center, La Reserve or Privee and will only offer Polo Grill and Toscana specialty restaurants. (Sirena offers Tuscan Steak and Red Ginger)  No R ships will offer Jacques.

 

Regarding seating in the Grand Dining Room:  If you receive good service from a waitstaff team, make a note of the waiter's name.  You can request the maître de to seat you with your preferred waitstaff on subsequent evenings.  

 

So for a "foodie" our recommendation is take at least a 10 day cruise on Marina or Riviera and wear your "stretchy" pants!

 

Katie

 

 

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13 minutes ago, KatieBelle said:

Privee is a private dining room with seating for up to 10 people.  $200 for the entire evening.  Very special.

I agree that it is very special but I believe it is $250 whether it is just 2 or 10 people.

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2 minutes ago, KatieBelle said:

Thanks Paul.   I think that's right

On one of the cruises we had left over OBC and instead of trying to get some junk we invited some of our friends for a memorable evening.

One of the best uses of left-over OBC IMO.

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13 hours ago, All_About_Food said:

 

I've been on Princess, Carnival, and Celebrity, but this was all 15 or more years ago. The landscape has changed dramatically. The food on Princess was adequate, Carnival was ... Carnival, and Celebrity was alright but I was eating for sustenance not pleasure. Essentially, I'm attempting through research to find the best food available from a city girl's perspective. Thank you for responding!

It gives us a frame of reference.  Let's say those cruiselines haven't improved in the last 15 years.  If anything, the quality has dipped a little bit.  Oceania will be an improvement on those 3 cruiselines, but don't expect alot as you will probably be disappointed.  The Riviera or Marina will be the ships where your tastebuds may be the happiest.  The Red Ginger, an Asian Fusion Specialty restaurant aboard either of those Oceania ships, may be the one that will interest you the most.  

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On 8/12/2020 at 7:21 AM, All_About_Food said:

Hello! I've been poring through this board, hoping to get a real sense about the food. But the pictures I've seen lead me to believe that it's not quite up to what I'm looking for. However, pictures can be misleading so I thought I'd ask this wonderful group of people what you think!

 

I grew up in San Francisco, recently moved from the City by the Bay to New Orleans, and am in my 40s. I adore food and used to be a pastry chef. What are the chances that Oceania is able to produce food of world-class quality on a ship of hundreds of people? I know I sound horrid, but food is really, really important to me and I want to make the best choice I can for a cruise on the other side of all of this difficulty. Perusing cruise lines is keeping me sane. I have spreadsheets with every little detail to compare. 

 

Any insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated!

 

With that attitude where your already daring Oceania  to try and pleas you....NO 

 

   It has very fine cuisine , great variety and quality product.....It is for people who enjoy good food  not who sit in judgment of it. 

 I  too have kitchen experience and  learned at the CIA to be appreciative of foods  no matter whether rustic or sophisticate...    I love a good chili dog as much as a  tasting menu   with pared wines at a Michelin 3 star  ....its all relative to your outlook and attitude.  which is in reality the most important.  

Come expecting nothing and be surprised....  Or come ready to critique and  look for the bad and find it.            Enjoyment is a personal decision...a choice.

Your call........ 

 

 

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On 8/13/2020 at 7:19 AM, All_About_Food said:

 

Oh, being a pastry chef just means I can produce a lot of product quickly. I appreciate the perspective of a fellow kitchen creative!

 

I'm leaning towards trying a short cruise on both Oceania and Regent to compare. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thorough and helpful post!

Good idea.  My last cruise early in the year was on the Regent’s newer ship.  The food was the best that I have ever experienced.  (The high quality variety was amazing)  My only Oceania experience was when they were Oceania was first introduced.  
I have an Oceania Riviera cruise scheduled for January 2022.  Although I am surprised to hear that some people think the food is better on Oceania, I am looking forward to finding out for myself.  I do know that Oceania is less expensive and less all inclusive.  
 

I suspect they will both be excellent.

 

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, jagoffee said:

Although I am surprised to hear that some people think the food is better on Oceania, I am looking forward to finding out for myself

Once again, food is the most subjective topic discussed on these boards and food likes & tastes are very personal. Every upscale cruise line has their loyal customers that keep returning because they love the product, I am sure many would swear that Crystal or Silversea or Seabourn have the best food at sea. These are individual opinions and choices and each person is right but only for themselves.

FWIW, I have been on many O and several Regent cruises and for me the food on O is better overall.

That is not to say that Regent food is not excellent as well. The difference may be that food is O's pride and joy. This is one of the things they had built their reputation on and they spend more of their budget on food than most cruise lines. Regent has to spend some of your cruise fare on unlimited excursions and unlimited alcohol - perhaps there is not as much left for food?

Disclaimer - this is all based on my experiences BC (Before Covid) - what will the cruise lines be like AC nobody knows at this point.

Edited by Paulchili
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Paulchili, 

As I said you make me even more excited about my Oceania cruise.  The only thing related to Regent’s food that I did not particularly like was the breakfast buffet.  I just dined in the Dining room for breakfast more often than usual.  
 

Thanks

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26 minutes ago, Hawaiidan said:

 .....I love a good chili dog as much as a  tasting menu....

 

 

Did someone say "chili dog?"

Alas, The Wienery in East Sacramento appears to have closed its doors.

 

As for the continuing O vs R ships for food:

Because there's Jacques and LaReserve (as well as Red Ginger) and the Culinary Center on the O ships, we'll usually book a long O ship itinerary every couple of years.

 

However, we are R ship fans for all the obvious reasons (e.g., like 400+ less passengers on a more maneuverable ship - for small ports).

 

That said, it's worth mentioning that, as far as R ship food is concerned, our preferences are for Sirena and Insignia.

 

Sirena is unique in that it has combined Polo Grill and Toscana as Tuscan Grill which made way to add Red Ginger as the second specialty restaurant. The downside is that some of the dishes in the regular Polo Grill and Toscana are not on the Tuscan Steak menu. However, with some lead time and based on availability of ingredients, courteous requests to folks like F&B mgr, GM and/or maitre d's for missing items (e.g., Aragosta Fra Diavolo) will be honored. 

 

Though Insignia has the traditional Polo Grill and Toscana setup, remember that it is O's World Cruise ship and my experience with several multi-segments on Insignia world cruises, is that the Exec Chef has a better discretionary food budget, which results in greater variety over those long haul itineraries (including things like fresh line caught regional fish grilled out on the Terrace fantail).

 

And while Jacques is missing from all R ships, the GDR has a Jacques Bistro focus at lunch time. In addition, the 3 R ships without Red Ginger will often offer dinner items from that menu in both the GDR and the Terrace Grill. 

 

Bottom line: Regardless of which ship, it's still the "finest cuisine at sea"™

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23 minutes ago, jagoffee said:

Good idea.  My last cruise early in the year was on the Regent’s newer ship.  The food was the best that I have ever experienced.  (The high quality variety was amazing)  My only Oceania experience was when they were Oceania was first introduced.  
I have an Oceania Riviera cruise scheduled for January 2022.  Although I am surprised to hear that some people think the food is better on Oceania, I am looking forward to finding out for myself.  I do know that Oceania is less expensive and less all inclusive.  
 

I suspect they will both be excellent.

 

 

 

 

FWIW: Do the math.

For SOME similar itineraries, compare Regent's all-inclusive pricing to Oceania's O Life pricing to which has been added any options needed to equate the Regent inclusions (e.g., tours/booze/etc).

Though there still may be some experiential differences, our occasional comparative math exercise has most often shown the Regent bottom line "net daily cost" to be SIGNIFICANTLY higher (thousands for a 3 week+\- similar cabin category).

 

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I think the the way the OP's question was framed  put her in a box...the snob box. However I think her well thought out replies and thank-yous showed a different person.  And her comment...

"Unfortunately I think my attempt at poking fun at how I could be perceived as a snob backfired spectacularly. Ah, the joys of internet communication."

Poor internet communication is something we all experience on the internet at times... some even in this thread. I think she can find an eating experience, that while not perfect, will be totally acceptable to her on 'O'.

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6 hours ago, jagoffee said:

Paulchili, 

As I said you make me even more excited about my Oceania cruise.  The only thing related to Regent’s food that I did not particularly like was the breakfast buffet.  I just dined in the Dining room for breakfast more often than usual.  
 

Thanks

My mother converted us to breakfast in the Grand Dining Room when we took her an O cruise early in their existence.  Prior to that we'd always gone to Terrace or had breakfast in our room.  But we liked the leisurely service and additional menu choices in the GDR.  So if we have a sea day or a late departure for a tour, we'll go to the GDR for breakfast.  And if it's an early tour day, then we usually have breakfast in our room.  Only occasionally will we go to Terrace if we know it's going to be VERY crowded! 

 

Besides, those breakfast lamb chops are so good in the GDR ...

 

A few years ago we took a downsell to a B1 on Nautica and on that cruise we did often have breakfast in Terrace, even when crowded, and found it not so difficult as it had been in the past.

 

Mura

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8 hours ago, jagoffee said:

Paulchili, 

As I said you make me even more excited about my Oceania cruise.  The only thing related to Regent’s food that I did not particularly like was the breakfast buffet.  I just dined in the Dining room for breakfast more often than usual.  
 

Thanks

I think you will like their breakfast. We usually eat at the Terrace. They always have 4 types of berries which I love (I like that I can choose how many of each I want whereas in the MDR when you order mixed berries it is what it is). Their croissants and baguettes make you feel like you are in Paris. We also like their chocolate or almond croissants.

I hope you will have a nice experience where ever you eat on Oceania.

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1 hour ago, Paulchili said:

I think you will like their breakfast. We usually eat at the Terrace. They always have 4 types of berries which I love (I like that I can choose how many of each I want whereas in the MDR when you order mixed berries it is what it is). Their croissants and baguettes make you feel like you are in Paris. We also like their chocolate or almond croissants.

I hope you will have a nice experience where ever you eat on Oceania.

I was doing fine  not missing cruising too much  until now 😲😄

 love those croissants

Fresh berries  for breakfast  YUMMM

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