On the very first day I got this Triffle from the buffet, and it was sublime. The preparation looks easy but it’s not. The British dessert requires delicacy and love to caress your palate, and it was a good one. Fresh raspberries sunk in jelly, a delicate custard cream, and a lovely sponge cake, with light fresh whipped cream cake on top.
I had a look to the Daily Program. Eating on any NCL cruise ship is under the Freestyle Dining concept. So eat when you feel like. No fixed seatings like in the traditional cruising, or sharing your table with unconvenient guests. You just decide when and where. On a small ship, there’s always space for everyone at meal times. With 4100 passengers, you have to plan.
Some people find it stressful to watch at some reservation screens, you have everywhere showing the occupancy levels in each restaurant. It’s good to avoid surprises when you get at all the dining venues. It helps to save time. NCL gets reservations for some of the speciality restaurants. In other restaurants where bookings are not accepted, it works in a “first come, first served” basis.
a) Meals are included on:
There are two main restaurants. The Tastes and the Manhattan Room. You can book, but I admit that I didn’t; however I didn’t have problems with finding the right place. I was promptly served and shown my way to my table instantly. Both are noisy places, and they aren’t spacious enough. Forget the huge spaces in Royal Caribbean or the theatrical impact on the Celebrity Solstice Class. Low ceiling, packed tables, but good food, fast service, and they are not stingy when it comes to give complimentary regular water. Drinks service and the sommelier are quite subtle and never intrusive.
Drinks are not particularly cheap. A beer costs about 6 dollars, almost 10 for a glass of wine. Most meals were excelent. A salmon tartare was a perfect balance between fresh cucumber, and the delicate salmon; prawns were delicious and a New York Style Cherry Cheesecake simply succulent.
At the Tastes I had sushi, Vietnamese style chicken, and tempting truffle cake. Avoid seating at any of the table just below one of the lobbies. You will be watched by everyone from the balconies above. It is also perfect for breakfast. I opted for the Breakfast Express. Hot dish, muffins, juice and coffee.
Then I tried the Chinese Noodle Bar & Shanghai Restaurant. It looks a conventional one, with a bit tacky decoration; not a luxurious setting or service, but I admit that the level of the beef with orange sauce and the vegetarian rice was very high.
The O’Sheehans Pub offers casual pub food; it’s ok but nothing exciting at all. You must order the spicy chicken wings with celery sticks, and Roquefor cheese sauce as a starter.
The Buffet, called Garden Café is simply spectacular. I’d eat there every day. Perfect with a huge variety of salads, antipasti, good classic dishes, Indian options, American cuisine and special nights such as “Italian Night”. The H20 at stern is perfect for snacks with a good cocktail and spectacular views to the sea. At the main lobby, opposite the reception, there’s a coffeshop, to take a sweet, other snack and so on. We have another casual eatery at the pool area.
b) specialty, with nominal cost.
They have a nominal charge between 30 and 15 dollars. I did not try any because I had tried them on the Norwegian GEM and the Norwegian Spirit and I know they are awesome choices. These are a French Bistro, Teppanyaki and Japanese Wasabi, famous oriental cuisine cooked fresh on a hot surface in front of you; the exquisite Cagney’s brasserie, where you have eat the Surf & Turf, (weird but tender and yummy Steak and lobster combination); Churrasquería Moderno– Brazilian Rodicio the style, and the famous La Cucina, but I have to say that I am not very fond of Italian food, and this last one was not one of my options. Room service is complimentary in the case of the continental breakfast, but with a cost if you order something more elaborate.
At the buffets we have free coffee, tea, soft drinks, and iced tea. I recommend getting drinks packages, because they are individually outrageous expensive.
A Martini usually costs $ 14. An alarmingly price, closer to a premium, or even upper premium cruise line.
But let´s assume it. Food is one of the strongest point in Norwegian Cruise Line.