I was sent on a Royal Caribbean press trip in November. My experiences and my opinions are mine alone.
Before we experienced what it’s like to cruise with Royal Caribbean, we heard a whole lot of tips, tricks, advice and anecdotes from our friends and family who had been on a cruise (or 7, in the case of my older brother). But one theme was consistent from person to person: everyone raved about how great the food is. And especially so on Royal Caribbean.
I will tell you that having a break for several days from having to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner was a HUGE treat. I would have been pleased as punch with mediocre food as long as I didn’t have to prepare it.
But friends, NOTHING is mediocre on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Every meal is perfection and so much fun. We had breakfast one morning in our room (room service is free of charge for the vast majority of the day!) and also enjoyed a character breakfast with the likes of Shrek and Fiona one morning. And don’t get me started on the waffles!
The chefs on Freedom of the Seas, the ship we sailed on, were so thoughtful about presentation. Eating happens with your eyes, as well as with your taste buds. I was smiling before I took my first bite!
We also enjoyed the lunch options, which were casual but, that doesn’t mean they weren’t excellent! As you can see below, attention to detail wasn’t spared. And the taste? Delightful!
This is the main dining room, where we enjoyed our extravagant dinners, as well as a few lunches and one special breakfast. You can’t help but feel totally spoiled eating in a room like this!
Our evening meals were true events: I particularly enjoyed taking time to “dress” for dinner (even though on most nights the suggested attire is on the casual side). We had 3 course meals that surprised and delighted us. And we were encouraged to let our server know if anything was less than stellar so that it could be swapped out for something different. One of my favorites was the seafood pasta I enjoyed. Since Tim doesn’t care much for seafood, I rarely make it at home. What a treat!
The desserts, as you can imagine, were their own little treasures. On our first night I enjoyed a cobbler that truly is one of the best I’ve ever had (and I’m from the South, where we don’t mess around with our cobblers, so that’s really saying something!).
And I also snapped a shot of my very favorite dessert of the entire cruise. Would you believe that it was served to me at lunch?! This flan was AMAZING!!!!!! Best I’ve ever had by leaps and bounds. I totally regret not asking for another one.
From the grab-and-go dining options on the promenade (pizza and pastries available around the clock, Ben & Jerry’s, and even a cupcake shop!), to the spectacular dining options at the Windjammer and main dining room, I really thought I had seen it all.
And then we had dinner at one of the specialty restaurants on board, Portofino’s.
I’ve had people ask me why you would pay an extra charge to eat at a restaurant on a cruise ship when the dining options are already so wonderful. Honestly, it’s a valid point. You certainly won’t be feeling shortchanged t by sticking to the complimentary options.
But now that I have had the experience, let me tell you what makes the specialty restaurants so darn special. First and foremost, there’s an intimacy about it that you won’t experience in the beautiful but vast dining rooms. It truly feels like a tucked away, quiet, romantic restaurant. Such great atmosphere!
The food is also a notch above what you’ll find in the main dining halls. I found that hard to believe since I was so wowed by everything I ate. But it’s true! You’ll find very premium dishes in these restaurants. And the presentation is just over the top!
I would recommend that you book one meal at one of the specialty restaurants during your cruise. The prices are quite reasonable when you consider the food quality and the service you will receive. It will also stand out as a #RoyalWow moment that you’ll remember for a long time to come.
If you’ve never experienced the joy of cruising with Royal Caribbean, and if you’ve never dined like a celebrity for a week (that’s what it felt like to me!), then let me suggest that you take a look at how to book a cruise with Royal Caribbean. The value, in my opinion, is simply unbeatable, unless you happen to have your own yacht, and your own house on a Caribbean island, I suppose. And if that’s the case, we should totally hang out on your yacht sometime!
Have you ever been on a cruise? What was the food like???