Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Delicacies of Cruise Ship Cuisine

The Delicacies of Cruise Ship Cuisine
Margherita Pizza, Fish & Chips, Beef Wellington, Lobster, Ice Cream, and Chocolate Molten Lava Cake… Is your mouth watering yet? I know mine is just from reading that list of amazingly delicious foods. Now, a regular person could never find a place that would serve all of these dishes, but I am not a regular person. You see, I like to think of myself as a “cruiser”; someone who is well-versed in the realm of cruise ship vacationing (at least that’s my definition of the word).  That also includes knowing my foods when it comes to cruise ship cuisine.
On one specific night, the crew creates these unique pieces from an array of food. Here you have a lobster and a chicken!

I don’t know about Royal Caribbean or any of those other cruise lines, but Carnival cruises offer some of the best food selections you could ever imagine. From the moment you step on board, the various aromas capture your senses and you feel as if you are literally being drawn to the Lido deck. Up there, you will find a smorgasbord of food.  Every culinary, cultural cuisine (like my alliteration there) can be found, and the best part about it all is you can have all you want and more.
Outside by the pool, each and every day, you will usually find a line of people waiting for a slice of Italian delicacy. Whether it is pepperoni, cheese, or supreme, adults and children alike line up in droves to taste the pizza that is baked right before your eyes. This is the kind of pizza that when it enters your mouth, that warm, gooey cheese is the kind you have to pull and pull at in order to separate it from the pizza; that’s only the best kind, am I right?
If you’re not in the mood for pizza, you can always enter into the food lover’s haven.  There you will find everything from good ol’ American hamburgers and hot dogs, England’s well-known fish & chips, Chinese noodles and egg rolls, and even Mexican tacos and burritos; whatever you crave, the Lido Deck on Carnival will deliver. Oh, and did I mention that after you’ve filled your belly full of deliciously good food, you can mosey on over to the massive dessert bar that they provide? Yes my friends, this is where you will need to take a few breaths, kick that belt back a few notches (oh who am I kidding, it is a cruise ship…whose wearing a belt?) and make way for that second stomach that is often used during the holiday season. Here at your all-you-can-eat dessert buffet, you will find decadent chocolate cake drizzled in hot fudge, creamy cheesecakes with strawberry toppings, flavorful pecan brownies, jiggling Jell-o is a variety of colors, and finally, the greatest dessert of all…ice cream. And you may gripe and complain that there are only three flavors but in my book, chocolate, vanilla and swirl only exist. This is where you grab yourself a sturdy cone (or cup for those who are weird) and pull on that lever. Pile it as high as you’d like because trust me, some kid is running around with it piled higher than yours!

Tell me all of that doesn't look good...

This type of eating can be enjoyed in the afternoon and at night. The mornings bring biscuits and gravy, bacon, sausage, pancakes, waffles, omelets, cereal, and basically any other type of breakfast food you can think of. If you’re dieting, there are always low-fat yogurt selections, gorgeous fruits that shine of bright red apples, yellow bananas, and a delicious mix of honeydew and cantaloupe. No matter what you choose, walking away from breakfast, lunch, or dinner should be a filling occasion.
For those who choose more of a fine dining experience, you can venture away from the buffet-style eating and instead, dress in more suitable attire and make your way to one of the cruise ships two dining restaurants. The great thing about Carnival is they offer an early and late seating. For those who like their meals earlier, they can choose the 6:00 dinner; however, my family and I have found that the 8:00 seating allows for more time spent out in the sun and immediate nightlife after dinner. There’s really no waiting around.
Of course, before dinner, Carnival offers the most fabulous array of sushi; all made to order, right before your eyes. The chef stands behind a small glass window and as you point to your sushi of choice, he quickly works his magic; transforming rice, fish, and seaweed into your very own, perfectly cut sushi. My taste buds usually favor mackerel, crab, salmon, and shrimp; however, for the more daring (this not including my sister), you can venture out and try an octopus tower. Yes my friends, you see the little suckers still attached to its tentacles in this sushi concoction. For me, this is just a bit too much…so I’ll settle for other fine choices that are available.
After eating our semi-sushi appetizer, we make our way towards the doors of the dining room where guests are treated to either a private table (just enough for your party) or a larger table that requires you to sit with other cruising guests. Over the years, we have tried both; however, after a few experiences with some interesting people, we now opt for a table of our own.  While looking over the menu, you are provided a basket of bread which my mother and I both feel is probably the most dangerous item at the table. You see, the bread on this ship…there is something about it, something that makes it so good that you simply cannot stop eating it; hence the groan you might hear when we see the waiter coming with it.

Isn't that pretty? All of it is fruit!!!!

Each night, the types of food you can order are different and range from Prime Rib to Lobster. Chicken and beef can always be found on the menu but my personal favorite…well, that is definitely, without a doubt, the lobster. Large, shelled lobster tails are delivered to your table with your very own cup of piping hot butter, just waiting to coat the yummy goodness. Of course, you cannot have lobster without your side of creamy mashed potatoes and an assortment of colorful vegetables. Let’s not forget that before you get your main entrée, you are given the choice of another appetizer (don’t forget, our family has sushi before dinner) and a salad. Fruit plates, crab cakes, soup (lobster bisque being my favorite), and your choice between two salads are just a few of the incredible starters you will find.

Now let’s not forget that during your meal, you can order anything else you would like, pretty much at any time. If you ordered the prime rib but want lobster afterwards, you are certainly able to do so. My dad is notorious for that. While you’re enjoying your elegant meal, the bread continues to be refilled, causing menacing glances to occur between my mom and me.  However, once our waiters see that each of us has made a happy plate, because let’s face it…you’re on a cruise and you absolutely refuse to let any of this delicious food go to waste; they arrive and clear your table, only to present you with yet another menu, only this time, it is filled with chocolate, cake, and pastries…time for that third stomach that you pull out only for dire times like these.
Unfortunately for me, the rich and chocolaty goodness that is present in the chocolate molten lava cake is something I cannot consume (Chocolate gives me migraines). However, there are cheesecake, crème brulee, ice cream, cheese and fruit plates, and even a diet-friendly cake that you can choose. Never in my life have I been surrounded my so much food. I’m dead serious here because if you’ve ever seen my family at Thanksgiving or Christmas, you know that we definitely do not skimp on food; however, Carnival Cruise Ship food takes the cake.
If I were to give you any advice prior to your cruise ship getaway, do not eat the entire week before you leave. You may starve and beg for something to fill your stomach, but the minute you step on that boat, you will fill it right back up to the point that it is screaming for you to run away and never feed it again by the time you are coming back to the mainland. For those who are picky, this is the perfect time to try new cuisine and tempt your taste buds. If you don’t like it, go get something else…no questions asked. (I did that with a langoustine, which is a crawfish. It came out whole and I simply could not crack open the head...sorry, not going to happen). This is your chance to branch out and taste what the world has to offer. Oh, and while you’re at it…have that ice cream cone at breakfast…you know you want to!


Fatty Cake Heather said...

Ncole you are very cruel luring my fat butt over to your page to read about all of that delicious food! Sigh. The self control I am having to use to keep myself from signing up for a cruise, just to eat, at this very moment is staggering! :) You make it sound heavenly! Sigh. Alas, I must resist. I've fallen off of my weight loss wagon so many times I don't think there is an uninjured part of my body left. This time around I am so determined I can taste it!

Anonymous said...

I am a Loyal Royal but omg you just made me wish for a cruise right now. I LOVE cruising.

I totally agree about branching out with food. On our first formal night, they had escargot, and even though I had always been not so fond of the idea, i tried it and it was SO good.

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