Sunday, January 19, 2014
Dining at Sea Part 5
Looks Too Good to Eat
We've already talked about how presentation is a key ingredient of the cruise ship dining experience. From the time you get onboard the ship and head to the buffet for the first time, to your first dinner at the main dining room, to the evening you dine at one of the specialty venues, the food you eat is on display.
Your sense of sight is delighted by the food displayed in front of you each and every time you sit down to eat while on the cruise. The crew spends hours in preparation to make sure that everything is just right, not just the taste, but also the way it appeals to you even before you take that first bite.
Did you ever have a plate put in front of you that looked too good to eat? Perhaps when you went to a local diner, they had a display case of desserts just inside the entry way. If you are like me, you want to skip the main course somehow and get to those tempting treats that were on display.
Norwegian Cruise Line is known for their Freestyle Dining which allows you to dine any time you want (within some boundaries) and at any venue on the ship. Some of the options are included in your cruise cost while others have a modest fee, which is an extra gratuity for the special service and quality of food that you are given.
Another thing they are known for is their Chocolate Buffet. The image above shows some of the creative treats that the crew prepared for us on one of our recent NCL cruises. Next time you are on Norwegian, be sure to find out when that buffet occurs and at least take some pictures.
Very similar to NCL's Chocolate Buffet is Holland America Line's Dessert Extravaganza. As the name suggests, dessert items are prepared and put on display for you to enjoy, first by taking pictures, and of course, you can eat until your heart is content.
In years gone past, cruise lines had a special midnight buffet which usually had a name like "Grand Buffet". It was held sometime around midnight, which often became one of the jokes of the Cruise Director ("what time is the midnight buffet?"). Thirty minutes to an hour before the official start of the buffet, the main dining room doors would be open to allow for picture taking.
With the advent of multistory dining rooms, this was quite impressive, as you would enter from the top level, walk down the staircase which would give you a birds eye view of the entire setup. Perhaps we'll go through our archives and share some of those past memories with you. Do you remember them?
Always read your daily paper during your cruise so that you can find out about any special treats thatthe crew has in store for you. The culinary staff is quite talented and they love sharing their handiwork. Several lines have cookbooks that even share some of the recipes.