- The food on this ship was shocking. Typically it was to a standard I wouldn’t accept if I was cooking at home. On the plus side, nobody I knew gained weight from eating on the cruise. Deserts were limited and when ... Read More
- The food on this ship was shocking. Typically it was to a standard I wouldn’t accept if I was cooking at home. On the plus side, nobody I knew gained weight from eating on the cruise. Deserts were limited and when available, nothing to write home about!
- The only drinks available were water, tea or coffee. Some juices were available with breakfast
- Waiters at breakfast and lunch were of Indian extraction and had very poor command of English, leading to poor service.
- The entertainment was very 'Carry On', as though people's taste hadn't progressed in 60 years. It was often offensive on many levels.
- I tried lodging a complaint after the cruise but none of the e-mail addresses for communication were working. All my e-mails bounced back and the help line is only for pre-cruise communication. They only communicate with people before a cruise.
- My mother is an active 82 and she had been looking forward to this cruise. There are few pleasures in life when you are senior but food is one of them.
My mother (who is 82 and has blurred vision and poor hearing) would attend breakfast sitting at the Kensington Restaurant. The canteen on deck 10 was too much busy for her. She is careful not to trip and fall.
1. The eggs when requested were typically served hard when boiled (with a black ring about the yoke) or the omelette included ingredients, such as peppers, not requested.
2. The porridge was closer to concrete than pre-soaked oats. My mother eats porridge regularly and is not convinced that the raw material was, in fact, oats. She believed it to be some type of gruel. On one occasion an attempt was made to ‘top’ the offering with canned fruit cocktail.
3. The fruit ‘compote’ offered was actually canned fruit cocktail.
4. None of the pastries offered in any restaurant were freshly baked.
5. Accessing fresh drinking water was an issue in the Kensington. Water had to be requested and then was served luke warm. I don’t drink tea or coffee. The reluctance to put a jug of water on the table at all meals was not appreciated.
6. Juice was removed from the ‘bistro’ after breakfast and so for all other meals, water was the only beverage available to me.
Most of the staff in the Kensington restaurant during breakfast / lunch have poor little English. Explaining to them that when ‘fruit compote’ was ordered, the guest didn’t expect what arrived, was an unnecessary burden. Indeed attempting to explain a problem was often likely to yield no benefit and cause further frustration to everybody involved.
Again, my mother sought to have lunch, as much as possible, in the Kensington. If the quality of the food on offer was not good enough for her to contemplate eating, she found herself hunting for a meal on deck 10.
In general, the hot meals served in the ‘bistro’ were of canteen quality – over cooked, lacking in flavour, stodgy and closer to the kind of food served at a busy truck stop or in a good café frequented by builders.
A number of times, because of entertainment and excursion commitments, my mother was unable to lunch in the Kensington and so attempted to lunch in the bistro. However, the only food offered when she attended late was pizza, not food she has ever chosen to eat before this trip. While younger people with a different digestive system might welcome pizza, it is not suitable for an older person, who needs to ingest as little processed food as possible.
Based on the demographic make up of the ship, why is pizza offered as the only food to bridge the lunch / dinner gap? Surely it is for the convenience of the kitchen than the comfort of a group who mostly senior citizens. Even an omelette, while also part of the breakfast menu, would be a soft, nutritious and freshly prepared food.
For a lady of almost 82 to find herself moving from restaurant to canteen, seeking food, when she has paid so much for the service, is unsatisfactory.
On the day of the BBQ, I was looking forward to, what should have been a good meal for her mother. This was a pool side event on Deck 10. Unfortunately, because the management were busy ‘upselling cocktails’, many guests who had been off the ship on excursions, were unable to find seating to enjoy this meal. The chaos of people hunting for chairs and tables as well as the noise generated by the team tangoing with cocktail shakers, detracted from what should have been an enjoyable occasion. The meat and vegetables on this occasion were satisfactory. Some more dry madeira cakes with various flavours were also presented. Indeed, ladies who were experience bakers offered their opinions on why the fruit fell to the bottom in one of the deserts.
On the third day of cruising, when the new group of British guests boarded, a manager inquired at our table (Waldorf, 31 on the first sitting) if we were satisfied with the food. This was the first full day for the British guests to be on board and there was a marked improvement on the food offered in the restaurants on that particular day.
I explained to the manager that, while the food that particular evening was adequate, the quality, on the whole, was not satisfactory. I noted that the potatoes offered in the bistro were overcooked so that they were unrecognisable. Other Irish guests had also wondered about potatoes served in the bistro that day. While I thought they were just boiled to mush, many agreed they were from a box.
The people at the table were introduced to a cook and he listened to our concerns. When I discussed the quality of the food with the cook at the outset, he asked what could be improven upon. Not having any professional cooking qualifications, I was not in a position to advise the gentleman. I encountered that cook during the trip, but was never in a position to agree that the quality had improven on the whole.
Often cheese or a cream sauce was put onto an element of the meal, for no apparent reason. It was assumed by the guests that this was to disguise something.
Occasionally items appeared on the dinner menu that caused comment and guests to dare each other – the most amusing being Marmite Soup Henry IV. There was also a salad that was described as ‘greens with potatoes, turnip and carrots’.
Most of the deserts offered both in the bistro and in the restaurants were not made on board and were very industrial. Frequently we would see a cheesecake with a pastry base or a variety of very dry madeira-based cakes (with pieces of quince and various other additions, in an effort to create flavour). Brownies were served in the bistro on the day when the British guests boarded and were never seen again.
Toward the end of the trip ‘Chocolate afternoon tea’ was provided in the bistro. It appeared that the deserts missing throughout the trip had materialized in one fell swoop. Pretty looking deserts could be purchased in the coffee-shop next to ‘Sinatra Bar’ on deck 9 throughout the trip. However, I believed that we had paid for the food and were not about to pay more. Indeed, I learned that people who did pay more for the ‘surf and turf’ dinner, did not receive a satisfactory meal either.
On the last night of the cruise, a ‘feast’ was held at 11 pm. Guests were invited to photograph this, including the ice sculptures and displays with company logo’s nearby. While the food was pleasant, it seems a poor idea to offer such a meal to people, mostly in advance years, at that time of night. Certainly, some elements of the ‘feast’ including the salmon and chocolate cakes could have been served earlier in the day to facilitate the guests. The infrequent presentation of food of an adequate quality demonstrated that the staff could perform but less for the benefit of the guests and more to make an impression worthy of photographs.
It appears to me that strange menu choices, coupled with poor ingredients and limited skill resulted in the low-quality food offered on the Magellan. Strong flavours were routinely used rather than light subtle, natural flavours of the food.
Occasionally effort would be expended to create a ‘display’ (such as the chocolate tea, Feast or the BBQ) but these served to highlight the poor quality of food offered on the other occasions.
When discussing the food with guests, many people, including our clients, agreed that they could and did, cook better at home themselves.
For many people food can be a pleasure but during this cruise, no meal was enjoyed to any degree because of the food served. It was nutrition with without the pleasure that food can bring. No meal included anything new or inventive. There was no culinary excitement but apprehension before each meal.
There was no place on the comment card, provided at the end of the journey to outline issues with food, specifically and in details. The politeness and competence of the hotel management and captain were queried, in detail.
It must be noted that hygiene on the ship was to a very high standard. However, poor nutrition can also leave an elderly person vulnerable to infection and this needs to be considered, particularly given the demographic of the ship. Read Less