JULY 2014 ;e Costco Connection 65
The Costco Connection
Costco Travel offers a great variety of cruises
around the globe. For details, click “Travel” at
Costco.com or call 1-877-849-2730.
By Ralph Grizzle
TWO DECADES AGO, dining aboard a
cruise ship was a straightforward affair:
Dinners were either early seating (served at
around 5: 30 p.m.) or late seating (at around 8
p.m.). Tables were set, and you dined with the
same guests and enjoyed the same waitstaff
for the duration of your voyage.
Today, the dining landscape aboard
cruise ships differs vastly from the days of old.
Cruise ships can—and often do—feature dozens of specialty restaurants, ranging in style
from Brazilian churrascaria (grilled meats) to
Japanese sashimi. Even the tried-and-true
hamburger has taken on a new twist. It’s
either gone gourmet, with burger recipes by
chef Guy Fieri, or stayed classic, like those
served with creamy milkshakes at Johnny
Rockets on Royal Caribbean.
With all the variety on ships today, you
can open your mind and your mouth to new
cuisines at some of the most innovative dining
venues at sea. Always wanted to dine at a tep-panyaki restaurant, where the food is cooked
on an iron griddle? Prefer the formality of a
French-inspired dinner? Have a taste for tacos?
The choices are sure to please your palate.
Royal Caribbean is testing a completely
new style of dining aboard the forthcoming
Quantum of the Seas. Instead of main dining
rooms, the ship will feature 18 different din-
ing venues, seven of which carry no sur-
charge. Four of the seven will be full service,
while the other three are being pitched as
casual eateries. Guests will use an onboard
reservation system to decide when, where
and with whom they’d like to dine.
Gone are the traditional early- or late-seat-ing dinners and the soaring, multistory main
dining rooms found on the line’s other vessels.
Royal Caribbean’s new approach to dining has a new name: Dynamic Dining. And
part of Dynamic Dining is choice, from
Michael’s Genuine Pub to Devinly Decadence
at Solarium Bistro. (It’s not a spelling mistake,
but rather a play on words: Devinly will be
headed up by Costco member Devin
Alexander, of The Biggest Loser cookbook
fame.) Wonderland promises to be an “
elaborate feast for the senses” run by chefs who
“twist their culinary kaleidoscopes to invent a
dreamscape of never-before-seen fare.” I’m not
entirely sure what that means, but it’s not hot
dogs: Wiener duty goes to the SeaPlex Dog
House, an honest-to-gosh food truck at sea
serving up gourmet hot dogs. Johnny Rockets
will also be aboard Quantum of the Seas.
Cruise lines have been pushing the
boundaries when it comes to dining. Celebrity
Cruises’ newest vessels feature Qsine, playful
foods ordered via iPads; choices include
Painter’s Mignon, Persian Kebob and Meatball
Trilogy. There’s also Tuscan Grille, an Italian
steakhouse with a nouveau twist, and Blu, an
exclusive restaurant for guests booked in
AquaClass accommodations. Blu serves up
healthful spa-inspired dishes that Celebrity
refers to as “clean cuisine.”
Princess Cruises has its Crown Grill, a
steakhouse experience, and Sabatini’s, which
places special emphasis on Italian and
Mediterranean dishes, with a focus on sea-
food. If you plan to eat dinner in the latter, you
may want to skip lunch; the portions are huge.
Crystal Cruises features Prego and Silk
Road on its two ships. Prego offers Italian cuisine coupled with a seasonally changing
menu that features signature dishes such as
scaloppine di vitello servite con capelli d’angelo
(veal scaloppine with angel-hair pasta) and
linguine con aragosta e zucchini (linguine with
lobster and zucchini). Meals are paired with
the same exquisite wines that are served at
chef Piero Selvaggio’s revered Valentino restaurants in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
At Silk Road, world-renowned master
chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa works his
magic. Well regarded for his innovative
approach to sushi, Matsuhisa blends classic
Japanese foods with distinct Peruvian and
European influences. While The Sushi Bar
offers an assortment of Matsuhisa’s inventive
sushi and sashimi, including salmon tartar,
tiradito Nobu-style and yellowtail sashimi
with jalapeño, Silk Road presents celebrated
dishes such as lobster with truffle-yuzu sauce,
grilled wagyu beef rib-eye with wasabi pepper
sauce, and his signature dessert, a bento box
filled with chocolate soufflé cake with shiso
syrup and sesame ice cream.
Cruise lines have come a long way since
the days of two-seating traditional dining,
and cruisers today have more choice than
ever about how they want to dine.
Sadly, one tradition may have been lost in
the quest for more varied cuisine: the Baked
Alaska parade once offered by many cruise
lines. However, cruisers have many new dining
options with which to console themselves. C
Avid cruiser Ralph Grizzle has dined his way
through more than 200 cruises during his two
decades of reporting.
on the high seas
Cruise lines create more varied
Blu (left), aboard Celebrity Solstice, offers
dining exclusively for AquaClass guests.