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- Introduction – My “Free” Holland America Cruise on the Eurodam
- Embarkation Day on day Holland America Eurodam and The Amazing HAL App
- Do You Have to Dress Up on Holland America Cruises And do Men Have to Wear a Suit
- What are Main Dining Meal like on Holland America Cruises – It is True What You Hear About HAL
- Do You Have to Share a Dining Table on Holland America Cruises? What about Set Dining Times or Flexible Dining?
- Are Specialty Restaurants Worth the Cost on Holland America Cruises
- Cabin Review Holland America Aft Cabin 6168 on the Eurodam
- Review of “The Retreat” on the Holland America Eurodam
- How Does Onboard Entertainment on Holland America Compare to other Cruise Lines
- Holland America Disembarkation Day Plus Do Back to Back Cruisers Have to Get Off the Ship?
- Final Thoughts From my First Ever Holland America Cruise on the Eurodam
I really was surprised by the reactions of so many when I told them I was going on a Holland America cruise. Some were like: “you guys are not THAT old to cruise HAL” or “way too slow for me” or about every other old person type joke you can come up with.
But the one thing I had been told by almost everyone before booking as well as once they learned about our trip was: “oh I hear the food is really good on HAL”. So was it that good? It really was and I was so impressed I would consider the meals comparable to some specialty dining on other cruise lines (yeah it was that good overall). Let’s look at a bunch of photos and see.
Embarkation day was a joy as I already talked about and main dining was open for lunch. We only had a few days to enjoy this type of sit-down lunch as only sea days offered this and we had many ports of call on this voyage. The above shrimp cocktail was good and the aioli was refreshing but maybe not as good as a traditional cocktail sauce. The other item I ordered I simply can not remember what it was but was very good and I ate every bite (other than the hot pepper).
While we are on lunch I will cover one of my only disappointments of the main dining offers. They had a fish sandwich and we were, at this point of the 11 day voyage, wanted to limit a bit how much we were eating so we ordered it with no bun and it came as requested after a LONG wait. The only problem was the fish was nearly raw and it was at this point almost 1PM and we had dinner at a specialty at 5PM so we just left it as-is.
On to breakfast. This really was the weakest part of our cruise. The first few days the service was on the slow side and the food was just OK. We quickly found the house potatoes were a better choice than hash browns that were on the oily side. Things did improve however throughout the sailing.
Let me run down some of the appetizers. Some were simply remarkable and most of the rest were very good or good. I will also say that one thing we were both so impressed with HAL was the portion size of everything that is enough to enjoy but not so much that you had no room for dessert or needed a wheelchair to get moving afterward that can be the case on other lines. The above, Thai Beef, was my favorite that was only offered once in main dining but also on the menu at a specialty (more about that later).
Next up we have two more appetizers. The first I should have ordered two, that is, the crab cake. It was very impressive. The next coconut crusted meatballs was a 50-50 split. My wife loved them but I thought they were good but a bit too bread forward.
The next one I just had to try because I have never ever had beef carpaccio before. I found it somewhat boring but maybe that was just me as I like my steaks medium to medium plus but even so the flavor was just meh. But presentation was impressive.
We did have a few salads along the way and my wife very much enjoyed the Coconut Crusted Shrimp Salad Chive Dressing. Again, the portion size was just perfect – not too much and not too little. Now to main courses first with some beef.
Roasted Spice Crusted Prime Rib with Wild Mushrooms? Yes please! Perfectly cooked and tender and I would have ordered it again had it been presented. New York Strip Loin with Shrimp? You bet and again I would have had the surf and turf again and again. Red Wine Braised Brisket? Sure and thank you may I have more!
Again just so impressive that in a main dining room such top quality meals were presented. There have been few NCL cruises where I eagerly looked forward to my next main dining meal with anticipation. What else?
My wife and I both had the Mahi-mahi and it was perfectly cooked (unlike the lunch fish). Flavorful and flaky and the veggies were crisp and delicious. While the next meal may not look amazing that is the Fettuccini with Beef Short Rib Bolognese my wife said it was just num! A few more.
We believe these were both Wiener Schnitzels but my memory may be a bit mixed up but both were good but not stunning. For the first some kind of aioli or tartar sauce would have helped. But overall both good choices. Now some desserts.
Not to sound like a broken record again but the size of these were all perfect. A sweet flavorful bite each one of them. One of my favorites was this apple crumble tart and my wife very much enjoyed the simple apple pie with ice cream. She also could not finish the rich double chocolate tart and many nights we chose the ice cream sundae that was simple but perfect.
Lastly for dessert a few nights I had a cheese plate. Not only was the presentation fun but also just enough to enjoy with cognac and conversation.
So to end – what you have heard is true – Holland America main dining meals are very good. Service at dinner was perfect each night and meals were hot and flavorful. Lunches were good and breakfast was acceptable. I know one reader who has been following this ship review was not as impressed with the meals as my wife and I so I would love more reader feedback. Have you been impressed with HAL main dining meals? – René
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