Dining on board the Explorer of the Seas means an endless array of food choices, from complementary a la carte dining, specialty restaurants, buffet style meals and snacks, a classic burger joint and of course room service.
Since our cruise was a short one, dining themes and attire were mostly casual, although dressing to impress is always an option.
We dined mostly at the Sapphire Dining Room, located over three decks (decks 3, 4, 5), yes 3 decks of lavishly decorated space with an awe-inspiring grand staircase and imposing columns. The floor staff there will go an extra mile to deliver a genuine service.
For dinner, we opted for the My Time Dining at 8:30 p.m. as opposed to the anytime dinning from 6 to 9:30 pm. The menu consist of The Chef’s Inspiration – a select three course dinner, otherwise you can choose from the Starters, Main Courses, Classics, Dessert and Premium Selections with surcharge fee.
Night 1 dining – what a better way to start the evening with the classic French favourite, Escargots Bourguignonne – Snails (less shell) drenched in melted garlic herb butter with a piece of bread. The dish was warm and served in a petite baking dish. The cheese and garlic top was toasted to a golden crust, it is as delicious as the tender snails itself.
For the main course, we tried the Rosemary Lamb Shank, barely clinging to the bone, served with haricot verts, mashed potato, caramelised onions, roasted pumpkin and cabernet jus, hitting all the right notes. The jus with its noticeable wine flavour has the complexity and elegance to complete the dish.
We couldn’t resist the Dessert Sampler, a trio of exquisite cake and confectionery.
We like the relaxed breakfast atmosphere at the Sapphire Dining Deck 3, open from 8:00 to 10:00 am. A selection of both hot and cold breakfast delights from the menu or from the buffet that was set up in the middle of the dining area.
For lunch and in between, who could say ‘no’ to the ever-popular Windjammer buffet and all those easy pick me up selections at Cafe Promenade. Windjammer serves breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. The casual atmosphere and the variety of food offered makes these two places the hottest spots during the day.
Our meals were washed down by unlimited white and red wines through our Deluxe Drink Package – (US$ 55 a day excluding gratuity) that we availed, this include beer, premium coffees, bottled water and most cocktails. Other premium drinks attract additional fees so always check with the wait staff. Dinner menu at Sapphire dining changes every night so prepare for all the surprises.
We didn’t get to dine this time at the specialty restaurants but on our previous cruise with Voyager of the Seas, we dined at Chops Grille, where we experienced meat and seafood at the next level of the dining experience.
The night finishes off at Sapphire dining with a parade of orchestrated waiters and floor staff, a nightly tradition, where they get the chance to thank you, and you thank them. As the show starts, diners wave their napkins in the air as the staff make their way through the floor to the grand staircase, where they give you an overview of the ships catering feats, and introduce key members of staff, then renditions of old favourites are sung by this talented crew. ‘I still call Australia home’ was a big hit on our last cruise, bringing the house down, but an ominous reminder that we will be docking at the cruise terminal the following morning, Sydney once again…
Thank you Royal Caribbean International , we shall see you again soon.