Over February Break, G and I took our first cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, a floating city that had me geographically challenged for the first 6 (of 7) days onboard! While onboard, we experienced the gamut of good, bad, outstanding, and awful food and service. Here goes nothing:
Part of the enjoyment for me in cruising is food. And drinks. And dessert. And food service.
When we boarded, we headed directly to the Windjammer Café, the buffet on the top floor of the ship. To say I was underwhelmed is a huge understatement. We navigated quickly through the buffet before the crowd. It was a challenge to find some gluten free items for me-there was no available waiter to walk me through so I grabbed some quick carved meat (bad, just bad!), seafood salad type item (worse), and a small salad (edible), tracked down some waters for us, and sat down. G grabbed a hot dog (not his first choice, but what he would eat), and 5 minutes later, we were done and headed out to the pool deck, still mostly hungry. I figured it was only a few hours before our My Time Dining reservation at dinner, so we could get more food then.
Reservations that night were at American Icon, one of the main dining rooms. G’s pizza was “fine”, my steak came out grey and tasted fishy. In my life, I have never had bad crème brulee, until that night. Dinner was inedible, and trying to find our waiter was an exercise in futility. Ah, well. Time to have fun, and thankfully we tracked down chocolate chip cookies for G and some nice gluten free dessert for me at the Windjammer that night!
The next morning, we had a DreamWorks breakfast reservation. Food was good, service was still terrible! It took 5 requests from 4 waiters and about 30 minutes for G to get milk! It was the same food served in the other dining rooms for breakfast, but what we lacked in service, we made up for in character experiences, and had a blast taking pictures with Gloria, Alex, and King Julien from Madagascar!
Lunch at Sorrento’s was spectacular, and it became our lunch place almost daily! The pizza was true NY style, and the gluten free pizza was the best I’ve had since I was diagnosed years ago with celiac! You can’t go wrong with outstanding pizza!
That night was our first specialty reservation, and we ate at Giovanni’s table! Outstanding octopus appetizer and super tender steak dinner, which made up for the subpar beef the night before. Service still left a bit to be desired, which I found common in most restaurants!
The third night, we found a spectacular secret spot: The Bistro in the Solarium! It was an included dinner, and the quality of food was top notch! Lots of health options! G tore up half a lemon pepper rotisserie style chicken and I hit the buffet for grilled calamari and green lip mussels…and lots of it before enjoying a lovely salmon. We wound up eating the same items the last night of the cruise and enjoying it just as much! Service was much better, since there were very few people there, and the ambience with flowing water, nestled in the adults-only Solarium area was relaxing and lovely. We had windows surrounding us, and fresh fruit for dessert. It was a light yet tasty meal!
Night number 4 is when things became complicated! We had made reservations for Chops Grille, where lobster is an upcharge on top of the signature dining, but the ship was abuzz with excitement for “lobster night”, so I wanted to bump my reservation back one night. It took over an hour (and I became impatient 20 minutes in) for Guest Services to find a dining manager to modify our reservation. Off to main dining we went, and the lobster was good, however, G found HAIR in his dinner-YUCK-and it wasn’t short like his or blond like mine-VERY YUCK! After this, we were the F&B Manager’s guest at Chops Grille the following night, which was hands-down the best food onboard! The filet was tender, the champagne delicious, and the sautéed mushrooms were beyond compare! A top-quality meal all around, with our first attentive server-Decan-onboard (This was almost the end of our vacation!) Needless to say, I was finally thrilled that we found the type of food you’d expect on a ship (even though it was an upcharge) with quality service! My most important suggestion: avoid the main dining room and pay the upcharge! The Windjammer had themed nights (like Jerk and Curry after our trip to Jamaica) but after the first lunch, we only headed there for dessert. I loved that they had a dedicated gluten free table, and throughout the ship, I was not sick from cross-contamination, which was more important to me than anything else!
The bars onboard had great drinks! I had a pina colada and midori mojito at the pool, champagne and a margarita at the Rising Tide bar, and a few others. They did not disappoint! Check out the Solarium for sure!
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