TRAVEL HERE: NICE TO MEET YOU!
Even though the Embarkation Buffet on Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas was a disaster, it was still early in the cruise, so I gave them a pass. I blamed us for being so last minute and hoped better meals were ahead. I was also interested in who we’d end up with for table mates.
Matches Made in Heaven
When it comes to our table assignments, so far we’ve been pretty lucky and thankfully, for this cruise, our luck held. I’m not much on names, but Couple #1 was a youth pastor and his stay-at-home wife. Couple #2 was a pair of coffee shop/truck entrepreneurs. Couple #1 was on their first cruise to celebrate an anniversary. Couple #2 seemed to be frequent cruisers. He liked to gamble.
I happen to enjoy formal dining arrangements, a holdover from traditional cruising. One of the big reasons is because I don’t like training a new waitperson for each meal, but I also like the opportunity to get to meet new people, even if though no one may become my new best friend.
We’ve been through a variety of seating arrangements, from formal, timed meals with assigned seating, to Norwegian’s Freestyle. My least favorite was Freestyle. We were traveling with friends, so we really didn’t miss the chance to meet people, but having a new waitperson every night was not so much fun.
Not Exactly Heavenly Food
I was looking forward to our first meal, because first nights at sea are traditionally lobster night. Not on this cruise. You could get lobster, but it was over there on the part of the menu where you had to pay a surcharge. I like lobster, but not enough to pay extra for it. Instead I had escargot for an appetizer, lamb shanks for my entree and a pear concoction for dessert. It was a decent meal.
The escargot was off the charts. Not even the hint of a complaint in that department. The entree was OK. I would have preferred lobster, but nothing wrong with what I had. Dessert was a disaster. If you ordered a Pear Chocolate Crisp, what would you think you were getting? Well, probably not what I got – a row of mousse-y squirts with puree’ed pear in the middle of each squirt and a hardened chocolate decoration stuck in the center of the plate.
They really liked mousse-y, pudding-y desserts on this cruise. Like the Chocolate Sensation they always had in the buffet. It was kind of a chocolate fluff with a chocolate crumb crust. If you saw my face while I typed that, you’d know how bad it was. The Pear Chocolate Crisp was in the same category. With their penchant for mousse and pudding you might think their Creme Brulee would have been good. Well, it wasn’t. It was better than the Pear Chocolate Crisp, but so runny that I would have been embarrassed to call it Creme Brulee.
Instead of beating you up day after day with how bad the meals were, I’ll do some summarizing here. The Lobster Bisque was awful. No cream was used in the making of that soup! Campbell’s cream of tomato soup is thicker and at least as tasty, if not more flavorful. Two guys at our table would order steaks cooked exactly alike, but only one of the steaks would come out with grill marks on it. How did they even do that? The carrot cake was so dry that you could have choked on it. Each meal was an exercise in how not to cook! What a disappointment!
As bad as what we were eating was, one of the ladies at our table required a gluten-free menu and she was having a very hard time. This was no fad thing. Gluten made her sick and caused her hair to fall out. She was not the kind to make a big deal out of it, the way I see some people do. She was very gracious and appreciative of the efforts expended to accommodate her, but I noticed she would look hopefully at every dish delivered, give it a taste and then quietly push it away.
It was time for bed, at least for me. Come back next week for the next chapter of our adventure.