For this cruise, our dining review is focused on the specialty dining venues. We had both been somewhat disappointed with our main dining room experience on our past Royal Caribbean cruises, especially when compared to the food and service we experienced on our recent Celebrity, Holland America, Silversea and Seabourn cruises. We decided to splurge a little on this cruise and purchased the unlimited specialty dining package, which meant that we could enjoy nearly every meal in the specialty dining venues.
We did not dine in the ship’s main dining room for any meals on this cruise. We booked all our shows immediately upon boarding via the Royal Caribbean App, then we went to the specialty dining desk in the interior promenade space and worked one of the restaurant managers to book out nights at each venue, scheduled around the shows we had already booked. The location of our cabin on Deck 8 also made the specialty dining venues especially accessible for us as three of them were located right off Central Park, also on deck 8.
150 Central Park
This is probably the most “high end” restaurant on the ship, but with the somewhat limited menu we originally only booked one night here. The food was so good, that we immediately reworked our schedule so that we could return for a second night here. The Chateaubriand we had here for dinner may plain and simple, be the best beef I have ever had. It was tender, had wonderful seasoning and was cooked to a perfect medium rare. During our second visit I had the lobster, but the waiter knew how much I loved the beef so he snack a piece on the place for me. I also has a fantastic bisque.
During our second night back, we enjoyed both the beef again and I also got a lobster tail.
Sabor Mexican Cantina
The next venue we also enjoyed was the outdoor Sabor Mexican restaurant on the Boardwalk. Here we enjoyed Margaritas, beer, several kinds of ceviche, churros, burritos, chips and salsa. I have always been a big fan of Mexican food, so this was a great place for a casual bite.
Giovanni’s table was a favorite for lunch and dinner. We had lunch there three times and two dinners. Fresh pasta and a variety of sauces made this a wonderful authentic Italian experience. We’ve been to Italy several times and the experience brought back great memories. They also offered a variety of good wines to pair with the many different Italian dishes. We enjoyed Pasta Carbanara, Cacio e Pepe, and Fruti De Mari. I also loved the giant meatball with marinara sauce. I was even able to order linguini with clams in a red sauce instead of a white sauce.
Samba was the one restaurant with pretty good ocean views. It is located in the top level of the front of the Solarium so the entire area was framed in glass. This is a Brazilian Style steakhouse where they bring the skewers of meat and slice it off right at the table. If you are fan of meat and barbecue, this is the place for you. We loved the sunset views and relaxed setting.
We had dined at chops on a previous Royal Caribbean cruise and loved the experience. We were not disappointed in our return. A wonderful selection of steak, pork, and I even splurged the first night and got the lobster. The cappuccino mushroom soup was amazing and mile high desserts were an amazing end to the evening. Fabulous experience.
Located on the back to the boardwalk area of the ship, this fun venue has been popular across the Royal Caribbean fleet. Here, they serve old fashioned diner drive in food including burgers, hotdogs, fries, shakes and more. The servers even do a choreographed line dance about once every half hour. I enjoyed the grilled cheese and fries and hubby had one of their famous burgers.
Windjammer Market Place
I did grab breakfast in the Windjammer Market place one morning, but one of the reasons we pickedthe unlimited specialty dining package was so that we didn’t have to do the buffet. Here are some pictures of the Windjammer Market Place.