Sunday, September 29, 2013

Manila Bay Dinner Cruise FAIL

My hubby's younger brother from the States is in town (because he got married in Cebu yesterday!) so we've been very busy the past few weeks going around the metro, touring him and his wife's family around town. One of the things on our itinerary was a Manila Bay Dinner Cruise, which my mother-in-law booked through a group buying site. It departs from the CCP Complex near Gloria Maris at 6pm (which is the time we went in order to see the sunset) and 8pm, and has a cruise time of 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Well, the weather that day was very windy. We were already having a bad feeling driving to the venue since we could see the trees really whipping around and the waves seemed really strong. There was no rain though so we just hoped for the best. Unfortunately, when we got there, we were informed that the ship wouldn't be able to cruise around Manila Bay since the coast guard didn't allow it. And of course since the winds were so strong, the passengers wouldn't fully enjoy the experience since they might just end up dizzy from motion sickness. The buffet dinner would still push through though, but the ship would remain docked.

It would have been best to reschedule, but since our guests were from out of town and there was no other time but that day, we just decided to have the buffet dinner. We could still come back next time though to take the cruise, but then we wouldn't avail of the dinner anymore.

the cruise ship

I don't know if you can see, but there's trash around the vicinity of the boat (well, what can you expect from Manila Bay). Thank goodness it didn't smell bad or we would have totally lost our appetite! And at least when it got darker, you couldn't see it anymore.

Ok, let me share was was written on the description of the deal:

In days of global brands, faceless corporations and international food chains there’s nothing more appetising than food experiences that leave a lasting impression. Boarding from CCP Complex, enjoy the experience of a lifetime with a heavenly Manila Bay Eat-All-You-Can Dinner Buffet Cruise on the Prestige Cruise Ship, operated by Prestige Cruises, the pioneer of dinner cruises in the Philippines. The setting while the boat takes you through the waters of the Manila bay is a world-apart from your modern-day shopping mall restaurant. The dinner cruise is softened by gentle lights, creating an evocative atmosphere. There is attention to detail in all aspects of the ship's delightful restaurant.

Hmmm, it sounds so wonderful and nice noh? But honestly, the ship itself wasn't that impressive...

The ship had 3 levels, but only the first 2 levels were set-up for the dinner. According to the sign, there is an additional P100 charge per person for guests who want to be seated on the top deck. The photo below shows the set-up of the first level, where the buffet was served (there were actually a lot of people who ate dinner but I took this photo just before we left so no one was there anymore). I don't think this really shows "attention to detail in all aspects of the ship's delightful restaurant". I mean look at the tables and chairs! The whole setting just seems so dismal and sad.

Here's the other part of the description:

The restaurant's extravagant dinner buffet celebrates traditional Asian  recipes, all of which is presented freshly on the premises by their experienced and talented team of chefs. The buffet is packed full of flavour, using top ingredients and classic Filipino technique to form the modern approach to the enjoyment of food. This is fine-dining on the sea without it being stuffy.

Well, in my opinion this is definitely the WORST part of the cruise for me. The food was not appetizing at all. They served about 5 dishes and it definitely was not extravagant nor fine-dining. It just seemed like cafeteria food. And drinks were not included, so you had to pay an additional P70 per drink! Total rip-off!

tahong & tonkatsu
pancit & hubad na lumpia

They also had live entertainment on the 2nd level...

The only redeeming quality was the view which was really gorgeous. We went to the top deck to take pics and we momentarily forgot about the setting downstairs...

If the cruise pushed through, I think we would have actually enjoyed ourselves since the views would have been really nice. But definitely don't expect much in terms of the food or the setting. You're better off eating at Gloria Maris which is right in front of the docking area. You're really paying for the experience of seeing the sunset and skyline while on the ship.

Maybe we'll come back to avail of the cruise next time during the Christmas season, when it isn't rainy anymore. And hopefully, well have a much better time than this. ;p

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