Saturday, 13 April 2013

Pleasure Cruise Food.

P & O Pacific Dawn
7 Day Island Hopper Cruise

If you’re researching the many different cruise lines that operate around the world for your big ocean adventure, you’ll see that food seems to be, among many other things, the biggest draw card and indeed the greatest attraction to passengers.  For a quick example the Radiance of the Sea of Royal Caribbean Cruises boasts twelve restaurants.  That’s what we have our eyes on at the moment for our next cruise.  And although the high end fine dining venues all require a nominal fee which is well worth the money, they also have amazing food that is included in your fare.  That means that if you want to, you can eat every meal of your cruise, and in between meals, for no extra cost.      

On the Pacific Dawn, included with your fare, you will enjoy the most fabulous selection of dishes for breakfast lunch and dinner at the Plantation Restaurant from 6 in the morning until 9 at night, with a small break after lunch from 3 to 4pm (good time for a nap).  The Plantation is two huge buffet lines that takes you through a culinary journey every meal. 



They offer a fabulous hot breakfast that includes all the old favourites and many brilliant dishes that make the start of your day special.  For example Texas beans and Swedish meat balls complimented my fluffy scrambled eggs and waffles perfectly.  An array of healthy cereals, hot oats and fresh cut tropical fruits were in abundance.  Of course there are cold fruit juices and hot coffee and tea on offer as well.  Everything you can think of for a good breakfast is there every morning.

The lunch and dinner at the Plantation is almost overwhelming with the variety of dishes.  I would often arrive at my table with a portion of six different dishes on my plate, and go back for more.  A selection of beautiful deserts is always available.  Roast meats and seafood dishes, curries, house baked baguettes and cold meats and salads galore.  We were on board for seven days and I believe I wouldn’t get bored with the food if we ate there for a month.  The quality and freshness is first rate and the execution of each dish is equally brilliant.

Also included in our fare was the a la carte Waterfront Restaurant.  The dining room is huge with high ceilings and art deco d├ęcor.  It’s really a beautiful place to have a meal with a big table of friends.  The menu is made up of two parts.  They have a fixed menu that doesn’t change for the whole cruise and a menu that changes every day.  We ate there twice because I wasn’t really impressed with the food the first time and wanted to give the place another chance to shine.  The Waterfront is available for breakfast and lunch most days without a booking but you have to book a table for dinner as it is very popular at night.

For me, the plan was to try the dinner menu only, as we had plenty of other places we had to try during the voyage.  The presentation of the food is fabulous.  I couldn’t fault it.  But everything I ate including the deserts was way over cooked.  The fish was dry and unappealing, the meat was overdone and the chocolate cake was almost stale.  The sticky toffee cake was hard as a brick and I couldn’t eat more than a mouthful.  I am so disappointed.  Although, looking around the other tables and asking friends what they thought, I had the impression that most of the food was precooked and reheated before serving.  Every dish looked exactly the same and probably tasted just as bad. 

Many tables were families eating together and most people were having a great time.  I saw children ordering from a menu, perhaps for the first time, and being delighted with their experience of the Waterfront restaurant.  I did see quite a few unfinished plates going back to the kitchens but no one was complaining.  Is it a case of seeing everything through rose coloured glasses just because they are on the holiday of a life time?  Well not me, I didn’t want to make a fuss and even if I did it wouldn’t have changed a thing.  So I decided that I would stay away from the Waterfront assembly line and enjoy the other fantastic eating venues on board the Pacific Dawn.

The culinary highlight on the Pacific Dawn is the Salt Grill restaurant which is one of celebrity chef Luke Mangan’s creations.  We made a booking as soon as we got on board and its reputation precedes it.  We were really looking forward to fine dining at sea for a small fee and leaving the memory of the Waterfront restaurant behind us.  We also had reservations for the La Luna restaurants Thai banquet and the Chinese banquet.  I’ll tell you all about those experiences in upcoming articles.  Thanks for reading.  See you next time. 
Bon Appetite.

1 comment:

  1. Karl, I have read these with great interest. Your reviews have added to my desire to go on a cruise. Food sounds fabulous