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Thread: Cruise Ship Coffee. Yuck.

  1. #1
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Cruise Ship Coffee. Yuck.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    From the outset, this post relates solely and wholly to the espresso coffee on the Golden Princess cruise ship.

    The International cafe in the Deck 5 Piazza is one of the most popular spots on the ship...sadly it also serves up the worst espressos, in my opinion.

    Each time I asked for a single shot, I got a very black, very bitter brew, without even a hint of crema. It tasted burnt.

    A spoonful of sugar and some milk was mandatory to make it drinkable --and I don't generally have either in my espressos.

    On the final night of our 14-day cruise Melbourne to New Zealand and back last night I couldn't hold back any longer.

    Am I drinking Robusta? But no crema. Maybe very stale? Dunno.

    The bean hopper was full of black, oily beans.

    I asked the two "baristas" what beans they were using. Robusta? Arabica? They didn't know what I was referring to.

    I asked about the Simonella's temperature. One of the guys opened the water tap into a cup and stuck a thermometer into it. I politely explained that was not relevant.

    He pointed to the pressure gauge...Was that the temperature he asked me? Nope, I said. But at least the 9 bars was in the ball park.

    The two did however acknowledge the oily beans and lack of crema as signs something was amiss.

    I'm not blaming them for the terrible coffee. They just work there. But the hierarchy should know better and do better.

    The food and service on this ship is amazingly good. Better than the best I've had in many a restaurant. Princess cruises goes out of its way to uphold a high standard. The coffee should be too. But sadly it's not.

    I asked a waiter whether I was the only one to complain. No surprise to me, I was.

    From my limited observation I was probably the only passenger ordering espresso, too. Lattes, cappuccinos, for all else. But even after a couple of those, my wife stopped ordering them.
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  2. #2
    338
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    That is a real spoiler. Must have been quite a decision whether to board the ship or not, knowing a sister ship was in quarantine.

  3. #3
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    We booked the cruise a year ago. We weren't worried about the Diamond Princess quarantine, although we did feel for its passengers, imprisoned in their cabins while we enjoyed the freedom to move and enjoy the vast spaces on this luxurious 290 metre-long monster. We walked briskly bout 10-13 km a day as exercise, enjoyed unlimited extremely good, delicious food and service...while on the Diamond Princess nightmare it obviously was the worst experience imaginable. The Diamond P. is due back in service on April 29, with all passengers getting a refund and free future cruise, and crew given 2 months time off with pay I believe.

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    I had a similar experience on a cruise ship a few years ago, after the second day I gave up on any of the coffee on board and went without. However since then I have read a bunch of stuff on the absolutely terrible environmental impact of cruise ships. If I had known beforehand I would not have gone.

  5. #5
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    Robusto glad to hear you didn't have to second guess before getting on. You surprised me with the 10-13km a day of brisk walking, didn't expect that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    'Robusto .... You surprised me with the 10-13km a day of brisk walking, didn't expect that'.


    Ooo... not hard when your taste buds are dragging the rest of your a..e around seeking the Espresso those same taste buds are craving!
    And can't understand whats goin on with the sudden cold turkey withdrawal symptoms at play....

    On a another point Robusto did said ship only have one espresso machine on board?
    Yes of course if yes I know they will have all served up the very same crap....

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    As one who frequents a number of cruise ships every month for service work I have a pretty good take on the cruise ship coffee.
    The free all you can drink coffee you find in the restaurants (think giant hot water urn) is terrible. It's watery, thin and bitter. They do this so that passengers will sign up to a drinks package, which may include free flow barista made coffee.

    Generally, on any cruise ship, the main lobby coffee bar has the best baristas and the best tasting coffee of all the coffee bars.

    Consistently though, the best coffee is from the officer's private espresso machine, usually found in the kitchen close to the navigation bridge, and the guy making the coffee - some little Filipino guy (usually the window washer) who pulls shots all day long for the European bridge officers.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    We did an Alaskan inside passage cruise last year and the coffee was pretty average, with foresight I took a kg of Volcan Galeras Especial filter roast accompanied by my Clever Dripper and trusty Porlex grinder. Each morning the steward would deliver a large flask of hot water to produce our morning heartstarter!
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Never had any desire to do a 'cruise' but this thread is the final nail in the coffin.
    If I can't get a 'great' coffee EVERY day - forget it!
    If I have to take my own coffee making gear - that's not even a possibility.

    Sounds like they recruit their "Baristas" from McDonalds.
    I was watching one of their TV ads and wondering if "Barista-made coffee" is false advertising.
    Does being 'taught' by another person who calls themself a "Barista" make YOU a "Barista"?
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
    Never had any desire to do a 'cruise' but this thread is the final nail in the coffin.
    If I can't get a 'great' coffee EVERY day - forget it!
    If I have to take my own coffee making gear - that's not even a possibility.

    Sounds like they recruit their "Baristas" from McDonalds.
    I was watching one of their TV ads and wondering if "Barista-made coffee" is false advertising.
    Does being 'taught' by another person who calls themself a "Barista" make YOU a "Barista"?
    I'm with you Rocky. Looks like a floating RSL club to me If I did go for it I'd want a balcony. Maybe one of those European river cruises with 'no riff-raff', Basil Fawlty style painted on the gangway. I like houseboats though.

    EDIT: I should note that I have no particular objection to RSL clubs and the like.....I just like the idea being able to go home when I've seen enough.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member speleomike's Avatar
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    Hi

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    I'm with you Rocky. Looks like a floating RSL club to me
    .....
    I just like the idea being able to go home when I've seen enough.
    There is a reason why cruise ships look like floating RSL clubs inside. They are marketing to the same people. Glitz, glamour, gambling, grog and some food thrown in.

    Mike
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by speleomike View Post
    There is a reason why cruise ships look like floating RSL clubs inside. They are marketing to the same people. Glitz, glamour....
    We must have been to different RSL clubs
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    #Meetwo....I'm with Rocky 'n Bazzer

    ps.. I kinda thought smorgasbord's went out in the nineties...
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  14. #14
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    Robusto glad to hear you didn't have to second guess before getting on. You surprised me with the 10-13km a day of brisk walking, didn't expect that.
    Interesting. Just curious, but why is it a surprise? We do 4 km a day every day at home, but we don't consume anywhere as near the amount of calories as on the ship, either. Hence the need to walk those calories off before they linger around the waist.

  15. #15
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    I'm with you Rocky. Looks like a floating RSL club to me If I did go for it I'd want a balcony. Maybe one of those European river cruises with 'no riff-raff', Basil Fawlty style painted on the gangway. I like houseboats though.

    EDIT: I should note that I have no particular objection to RSL clubs and the like.....I just like the idea being able to go home when I've seen enough.
    It's easy to describe how unlike an RSL club these floating cities are. Food is unbelievably good. Unbelievably good. Wait service is as good as you'll get in top restaurants. When you've had enough you go to your cabin and do what you like, ask for free room service if still hungry, watch movies etc.

    But the no riff-raff Fawlty Towers approach I do like!! Can't believe how most men have no sense of style, clueless what to wear and when. Conversely, women do make an effort at night to change into elegant clothes...with their comparative slob dress husbands in tow with the outmoded baggy cargo shorts, thongs and tank tops, elbow bent carrying their precious beer bottle comforter.
    Last edited by robusto; 26th February 2020 at 11:06 PM. Reason: Correct spell correct

  16. #16
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    Robusto the surprise was the distance. I didn't realise the ship was 250 metres, but even at that makes for 26 full laps to do 13km. You would wave at the same people a lot!

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    We did an 8 night cruise a year or two ago now from Brisbane to Vanuatu and a few other spots. The coffee was OK about the level of a good hotel, the beans seemed pretty decent and reasonably fresh. I can't recall machine and grinder setup but looked good. The ship was Pacific Dawn and from memory there was a small cafe just off the main top deck with the best coffee.

    Food was much better than I expected and it was less buffet and more themed sections e.g. Italian, Mexican, Chinese in the main food area. Each would rotate their dishes each night. Dining in the restaurants which are included in the fare was as other mentioned much better service than you would get at home (Gold Coast for me). We had an inside cabin 4 berth with our two kids and I found the cabin a bit claustrophobic as for a larger human there isn't much space and I am only 6 foot tall. Wife and kids are barely 5 foot so didn't notice so much.

    I agree far from a floating RSL club but much more crowded at peak times. But the evening show/trivia and stuff were really enjoyable even though that is not normally my thing.

  18. #18
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    Robusto the surprise was the distance. I didn't realise the ship was 250 metres, but even at that makes for 26 full laps to do 13km. You would wave at the same people a lot!
    I should clarify...Ship is 290 metres long by 36 metres beam. 2.5 laps of the promenade on deck 7 is 1.6 km. We'd do maybe 3 laps if the weather was good and the deck was not closed for safety. Later we might repeat. Or do several laps on the inside thoroughfare from the back, to as far as possible up front. We never took the lifts, so several times a day climbed from deck 5 '"piazza" cafe area to deck 14 restaurant, pool, or even up to the 17th deck' s amazing disco. So, not all at once, but all up 10 to 13 km.

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    Hmmm...

    When I go to sea, it's on a sailing boat/ship for the actual experience of sailing, not to be served " la carte" from every global menu imaginable. I don't even like staying in 5 Star Hotels any longer than I absolutely have to and one day/night is usually more than enough. Each to their own of course but have never been mesmerised by the explosion in fascination of cruise ships/cruising that seems to be grabbing an ever expanding clientele willing to spend their dough on them...

    A couple of my siblings and even my Mum regularly partake of 10-14 day cruises all over the Pacific but the attraction just mystifies me.

    Mal.
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  20. #20
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    I think the best thing about being on a ship is watching the wake. I can do that for hours and the fresh air.

    Corona on ice I will give a miss.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Whilst we have traveled overseas frequently over the years, never have and never will go on a cruise, being cocooned in a floating city, hitting a port and doing organized bus tours etc is not my idea of travel, guess a lot of people like the feeling of security the experience offers

    Much prefer to choose a destination, get my feet on the ground gain a smattering of the language, and, experience as much of the local cuisine and culture as possible.

    Like to see what I wish to see, not what some tour guide thinks I should see.

    Researching and planning is a big part of the enjoyment.

    Getting on in years but am still able to fend for myself in a foreign environment, in fact DIY is half of the enjoyment, we also take care of our own travel and accommodation bookings.
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    100%. I couldn't think of anything worse.

  23. #23
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    I guess attitudes/tastes to cruising is like coffee...some prefer espresso, others lungos, and others tea!

    I just love it. What's not to like?

    I like being on the ship, with its luxurious lounges, wide open spaces, the best food I'll eat all year--- far more than visiting ports.

    In other words, we cruise for the actual cruising, not to visit faraway places with strange sounding names.

    Most days and nights you're not aware, or barely aware, the ship is cutting through 3 metre swells at 40 kmh.

    Three massive indoor theatres for entertainment, the main one, Princess Theatre, seats almost 1000.

    So, have relaxing pre-dinner or post dinner cocktails with lovely live music played by a pianist or violin duo, then dinner at any of 7 large restaurants (or free room service), and then a show, all within a quick walk. No traffic snarls to negotiate.

    Apart from the 2 speciality restaurants (cost there $29 and $35 respectively for 4 courses including Maine Lobster tails) all food everywhere on board, all entertainment is free--that is, included in your fare.

    You pay for alcohol ($8.50 beer, $13ish glass of wine, $10-16 cocktails) and the terrible espressos ($3)

    You don't have to take the organised onshore excursions. We don't. You don't even have to disembark.

    We disembark, walk into the city area if it's close by, or take a free shuttle bus, sometimes a pay one hop on/off for about $20.

    Features on the ship are as good if not better than 4 and 5 star hotels. The 3-storeys high atrium with spiral staircases is breathtaking.

    Several indoor and outdoor fresh water pools and spas, gymnasium.

    I'll post some pictures later.

  24. #24
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caffeinator View Post
    100%. I couldn't think of anything worse.
    I can, a cruise (Yes, that's what it was actually called, a cruise, typically named after the body of water you were sailing in.) on an amphibious assault ship. The quarters are much more cramped. (Can you say tine of sardines boys and girls?) The food and beverages are nowhere near as good. You see a port once a month with half of them in 3rd world countries where you're there to show the flag. Then under the pretenses of whatever local celebration is happening at that time the entire force parades down whatever it is that passes for main street politely displaying enough firepower to level the city they're in. In between ports lucky you you get to go exploring in a air or amphibious assault vehicle as the unit practices invading some piece of real estate. Or if it's not your lucky day the sh!t has hit the fan and you're doing it for real. This all goes on with minor variations on a theme for not 10 or 14 days but for 9 months.

    Been there, done that, many decades ago, have never been on another cruise of any kind ever since.


    Java "Gimme a sailboat any day" phile
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    I am currently on a cruise ship (Silversea Spirit) on a cruise from Manila to Singapore. We are on the last leg from Bangkok arriving in Singapore on Saturday i.e. day after tomorrow.

    The coffee on board is all Illy using that company’s Iperespresso capsules. There are Illy machines of varying capability with cabins having standard units and the restaurants and bars having larger double headed ones. The quality of the coffee is limited to what the capsules can offer. The bar staff are not baristas as the coffee is produced without any intervention from them other than pressing a button.

    By way of contrast we did a cruise last year on The Seabourn Encore. Seabourn have installed not only good espresso machines they also have a coffee roasting machine in the coffee bar on each ship. Coffee is roasted fresh in small batches as required - usually several times each day. The roaster is on full view and the lounge is filled with the aroma of freshly roasted coffee. I was not able to find out where the beans came from but the coffee was of good quality and very, very fresh. So lots of crema. The crew told us they all had to undergo proper barista training too.

    So - not all coffee on cruise ships is bad.

    Somewhat off topic but I wanted a recommendation of a good coffee place in Saigon. I looked in the NotAU Forum and several members suggested a visit to Saigon Coffee Roasters. My wife and I enjoyed two very good coffees and I also got a large “take away” of espresso which I smuggled aboard. So we have been able to make some iced coffees from our smuggled supplies as a contrast to the Illy.



  26. #26
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Some pics I took on the Golden Princess. She's ageing, 19 years old, and in a few months departs the Princess fleet and goes over to P&O.

    Her ex-Melbourne routes will be taken over by the slightly younger but almost identical twin, Sapphire Princess (sister ship to the quarantined Diamond Princess). Sydney gets the Majestic Princess, almost brand new, much larger (50 metres longer at 340 metres, 3560 passengers v 2600)
    Pics are concourse, dessert bar, external pool area with movie screen against Milford Sound backdrop, Princess Theatre, Vista lounge
    Attached Images Attached Images
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  27. #27
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    We cruise for the music, entertainment, dining and destinations, but mostly because it's a holiday for me!
    We don't do ship tours - I can usually source much better for about half the price, e.g. we are doing a Holland America 14 day Norway, Iceland & Scotland in August, the ship is offering the Edinburgh Military Tattoo @ US$309ea. I've been booked the same section for AU$380 for the 2 of us. We might have a 5km walk back to the ship, but well have 4 hours to do if we need to, and would add to the experience. And where is the exhillaration of crossing a half washed away fast flowing culvert in a 45 seat coach when you get to do it in a Corolla station wagon with 20 burly Fijians as your guard fence.
    I agree that the cruise ship coffee is underwhelming, and have found the dining rooms to have the best? of the brewed/stewed offerings.
    Most companies source all their supplies from the U.S. including roasted beans and long life milk, so I don't even try it as a milky espresso.
    Last edited by coffee_mum; 28th February 2020 at 11:54 AM. Reason: Spelling
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  28. #28
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Every time my Wife mentions a cruise I suggest we book into a good Sydney hotel for a week. Book a room that faces a brick wall so we can simulate an endless boring sea view. Maybe stick a picture of the open sea on the window.
    We can eat only in the hotel and swim in the pool. She can lie on the bed and read as many books as she likes and watch lots of in-house entertainment on the widescreen TV. We can go down to the basement Gym to work-out as much as she likes. But the best part is that we can check-out anytime we like, or go out and find somewhere with decent coffee or see a hit-show at a local theatre.
    And we won't have to rub shoulders with hordes of rude geriatrics or get infected with the current virus rampaging through the captive on-board population. If we do catch something in the smogasboard dining where the geriatrics refuse to wash their hands before serving themselves, then at least we can get a taxi straight to the hospital rather than having to be carried off in a bodybag at the next port. Speaking of which, that could be a good thing rather than having to endure yet another third-world tourist trap with the same 'made-in-China' souvenirs that were on offer in the last three ports-of-call.
    ...and it would help out our local tourism operators suffering as a result of the latest pandemic.
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  29. #29
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Well said Rocky.

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    Wow this is getting heated!

    Keep an open mind folks and don't dismiss others peoples views or preferences out of hand. Some people love cruises, some camping, some hotels, some guided tours, some backpacking.

    If you haven't been on a cruise maybe you shouldn't be assuming they all suck.
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    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    It's particularity difficult to convey tone through text. I think if you're reading something and you think it's quite harsh, have another read of it and see if it could be read in a more jovial light. If it can don't assume the worst.
    Last edited by level3ninja; 4 Weeks Ago at 09:06 PM.

  32. #32
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Let's keep it civil folks.


    Java "" phile
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    Poor cruise ships. It is not a good year for cruise ships.

    We have friends who booked for this month and rather than leaving from Singapore, it leaves from Greece. Italy is in bad shape, Malta has turned away cruise ships and most of Europe is in trouble, forget SE Asia for the moment and then there was the cruise ship bobbing off California.

    I have nothing against cruise ships but the massive passenger numbers make them a target in all sorts of ways as when one pulls up in a port, it overloads the port. Friends of ours were in Egypt on a cruise ship and 200 buses showed up to take people off several cruise ships in port to various destinations although mainly the pyramids.

    It may be it is too much of a good thing and now the thought of 3200 passengers being in your port with one Corona Virus case is a massive liability as the local government then has a massive and costly exercise to quarantine.

    I think bye bye to cruise ships definitely for 2020 and maybe 2021 too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roosterben View Post
    If you haven't been on a cruise maybe you shouldn't be assuming they all suck.

    Keep an open mind folks and don't dismiss others peoples views or preferences out of hand. Some people love cruises, some camping, some hotels, some guided tours, some backpacking..
    Some people Luv coffee ! ...so can you get decent aaah Coffee ?

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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    I did re-read your Rocky's post and I can see it is mostly sarcasm not anything personal.

    EspressoAdventurer: Yeah I could get decent coffee on the one cruise I have been on so it wasn't much of an issue for me. But by the sounds of it lots of cruises with bad coffee have been other peoples experiences. No problems theirs views and experiences are valid and add to the conversation.

    I didn't like the rough seas or the small cabins but the food,entertainment, kids club and coffee were all good. Most stops we did were pretty casual as in you get dropped off somewhere and pretty much spend a day snorkeling, swimming or exploring the town/city on your own.



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