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Terrace Cafe for Dinner?

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We'll be on our first Oceania Cruise (Insignia) in October.  I've read a few posts recommending the Terrace Cafe for dinner.  On the mainstream lines, we usually avoid that as the area is pretty much the same as it is for lunch except perhaps with a few extra items added.   But, it is generally not a very relaxing environment compared to the other restaurants on board.

 

My wife loves lobster (I also enjoy it - but not like she does!) and, on the mainstream lines, once per week in the main dining room it's available as well as in the specialty restaurants for an ever-increasing extra charge.  But, it appears that lobster is often available in the Terrace for dinner.  How does the venue change for dinner compared to breakfast and lunch?

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They generally have all the same food as the Main dining room. Not only lobster every night but also cooked to order steak and other meats, I think sometimes salmon. 

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they have table cloths  & some nights it can be quite busy

they also serve you from the stations ..no self serve

If you are going to eat there  get your table first  then get your food  

waiter will get your drinks so no need to juggle glasses or cups

There is the Grill where  cooked to order  items such as lobster tails, shrimp, lamb , steak, pork chops etc.. plus they have a few items like baked potatoes

Sometimes if the line is long  they will take your order & someone will bring it to your table when ready

 

enjoy

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I think it’s best to try it early on in the cruise and see what you think.

We like it - more flexibility in what you eat and at your pace.

It is pretty civilized - different from mass market lines’ buffets.

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Lobster tails, prawns, and beef are available every night, grilled to order, in the Terrace. Lobster is also on the menu every evening in Polo and Toscana as well as all day in Waves (surf and turf).

 

Terrace can be very busy when it opens for dinner at 6:30. As someone already said it’s best to get your table first, order your beverages then get your food. If it is busy, crowds some time gather around the grill area, just wait a few minutes.

 

Terrace doesn’t change for breakfast and lunch other than time appropriate food. For breakfast Terrace has many different fruit including large bowls of berries.

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We eat there very occasionally on a cruise when we don't have time for one of the sit-down dining rooms. Standing in multiple lines doesn't appeal to us.

Thete are times when I couldn't get anything from the grill because there were 15 people waiting in line.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, LHT28 said:

they have table cloths  & some nights it can be quite busy

they also serve you from the stations ..no self serve

If you are going to eat there  get your table first  then get your food  

waiter will get your drinks so no need to juggle glasses or cups

There is the Grill where  cooked to order  items such as lobster tails, shrimp, lamb , steak, pork chops etc.. plus they have a few items like baked potatoes

Sometimes if the line is long  they will take your order & someone will bring it to your table when ready

 

enjoy

Preventing passengers from self-serving (except recently allowing some access to pre-portioned cold cuts/cheeses - IMO a big mistake) is a key element in making Terrace Café  dining a popular choice.

 

Don't forget the wok station and the sushi bar. Also watch for those special nites when the exec chef will do a la minute cooking on the fantail (fresh tuna steaks - yum!). Add the al fresco dining option (weather/conditions permitting) and it's easy to understand why many folks eat there more than at the GDR (e.g., on a cruise of several weeks, we may only eat at the GDR once or twice a week and, even then, only at an officer invitation or spur of the moment decision with new acquaintances met at some event).

Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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Not previously mentioned - they usually have most of the entrees that are being served in the GDR as well as soups, salads  and deserts. We sometimes cruise the buffet to see what the offerings look like before we go to the GDR 😀  Note that the lobster tails are pretty small but you can get as many as you want; like 3 or 4 and you can go back for more. They  are fresh cooked and pretty good.

 

Also, do get your table and drinks before food.  Wine service is often very, very slow.  That said, the buffet is a lot faster than the dining room especially after the 6:30 rush clears out.  7:30 or 8 is nearly always quiet.

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ClassicCruiser mentioned the surf & turf sandwich in Waves.  It's quite good, as are a few of the other sandwiches from the grill... like tuna that are served there.  Waves is a lunch favorite for us, especially on sea days when Terrace is crowded and you can't get any of the desirable outdoor tables.

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12 minutes ago, robbie21 said:

Not previously mentioned - they usually have most of the entrees that are being served in the GDR as well as soups, salads  and deserts. 😀

 

did you read post #2 🙄

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Stu and I rarely eat in the GDR for dinner although I like the Taste of The World for lunch there..we mostly eat in the specialty restaurants or the Terrace..

Jancruz1

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11 minutes ago, Jancruz said:

Stu and I rarely eat in the GDR for dinner although I like the Taste of The World for lunch there..we mostly eat in the specialty restaurants or the Terrace..

Jancruz1

That is pretty much what we do as well.

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26 minutes ago, Paulchili said:

That is pretty much what we do as well.

👍 Ditto for us 👍

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I like it mainly because dinner there takes very little time, compared to the MDR, where it can take over two hours if seated at a large table.  And all the other reason's mentioned above...

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17 minutes ago, bob brown said:

I like it mainly because dinner there takes very little time, compared to the MDR, where it can take over two hours if seated at a large table.  And all the other reason's mentioned above...

 

Agree ++

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I dislike the Terrace  for dinner

I dislike popping up & down to get my food   we will eat there a couple of times  a cruise only because we are too tired/lazy to go to the GDR

 

It frees up tables for those that like  to eat there  😁

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, robbie21 said:

Not previously mentioned - they usually have most of the entrees that are being served in the GDR as well as soups, salads  and deserts. We sometimes cruise the buffet to see what the offerings look like before we go to the GDR 😀  Note that the lobster tails are pretty small but you can get as many as you want; like 3 or 4 and you can go back for more. They  are fresh cooked and pretty good.

 

Also, do get your table and drinks before food.  Wine service is often very, very slow.  That said, the buffet is a lot faster than the dining room especially after the 6:30 rush clears out.  7:30 or 8 is nearly always quiet.

For the benefit of O newbies following this thread, I would avoid saddling the Terrace Café with the term "buffet" which (when it comes to cruise lines) has a somewhat negative connotation. Likewise, the term "specialty restaurant" on Oceania doesn't mean "better quality" food (as is often the case on mass market cruise lines like Celebrity or HAL or Viking). Rather, O's "Specialties" feature set, focused menus in more intimate settings.

Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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42 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

For the benefit of O newbies following this thread, I would avoid saddling the Terrace Café with the term "buffet" which (when it comes to cruise lines) has a somewhat negative connotation. Likewise, the term "specialty restaurant" on Oceania doesn't mean "better quality" food (as is often the case on mass market cruise lines like Celebrity or HAL or Viking). Rather, O's "Specialties" feature set, focused menus in more intimate settings.

That's a mindset that, after many mainstream cruises, I do have.  I enjoy the buffet on those, but they are not relaxing, especially not for dinner where you want the lowered lights and table cloths.  It is also true that the mainstream lines appear to be forcing many out of the MDR into the specialty restaurant by lowering the quality of both the food and the service in them.  I look forward to our first Oceania cruise!

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Posted (edited)

We did a 36 day cruise where we never ate in the GDR , just the Terrace Cafe and the specialty restaurants.

 

We don't care to spend the hours needed to eat in the GDR because of the ultra slow service, and we like being able to pick and choose a little of this and a little of that in the Terrace Cafe, particularly knowing that if the dinner entrees don't appeal to us we can always get lobster tail, shrimp, steaks, chops, or fish at the grill. 

 

I will quibble with a couple of things already stated though. I don't agree that "most" of the GDR entrees are available in the Terrace cafe. Some, yes, most no...at least by my observation. Many entrees just don't come out very well at a buffet and that's why you won't see them there. And yes, it is a buffet despite most stations having servers to put the food on your plate. And while it is an upscale buffet relative to what you see on the mass market cruise lines, the food at the Terrace cafe still suffers from the same problems that food does on any buffet...not staying hot enough and drying out while on hold.

 

One more observation...the Terrace Cafe on the R ships is way too small to accommodate everyone who wants to eat there at peak hours. The O ships are better in that regard.

Edited by njhorseman

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While timing and noise levels may be the main reasons for the MDR vs Terrace Café decisions for many, I like the quick sample approach and creativity possible with the Terrace Café.

 

I can request a very small cup of a new, to me, soup and go back and get some more if I really  like the sample.  I can also create a salad out of several basic choices and many add on choice items.   Oceania's Terrace Café usually(or always?) has a small serving plate of small unusual sandwich to try.  Desserts, you get to see and request the portion size you wish (the young server will often position the knife or ask the count to verify your request). A similar portion of carved meat exists as you can ask for more or less and often light or dark. They even served me the ear of a cooked pig  after verifying that I really wanted to try it. The aforementioned may be reasons why the Terrace Café may get crowded. 

 

 It is not unusual to see ship officers there later in the dinner hour.  I have also occasionally seen passengers leave the MDR for dinner desert at the Terrace Café.

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11 minutes ago, UDSpud said:

They even served me the ear of a cooked pig  after verifying that I really wanted to try it. 

Ooh,  sign me up.  I once made tacos out of a pig ear!

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We have only sailed once on O on the Riveria last January we LOVED the terrace.  

This was a Caribbean sailing that sole purpose is to escape the cold.  To be able to dine outside every night was fantastic.  We tried the MDR once and opted for the terrace when we weren’t in a specailty.  We have booked one of the smaller vessels this winter and are hoping the terrace will be just as enjoyable...(and the fresh baked cinnamon rolls in the morning )

 

 

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7 hours ago, ORV said:

They generally have all the same food as the Main dining room.

One of my favorite entrees in the GDR is the Jacques Pepin rotisserie chicken and I don’t ever remember seeing that in the Terrace Cafe but I could be wrong. 

 

I do like having dinner in the Terrace Cafe. It allows me to sample various items and the menu changes frequently. Additionally sometimes we just do not want to spend close to 2 hours having dinner. 

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I never look that close, maybe they don't have the Everyday choices. I do know that they generally have the featured MDR dishes for that evening, unless they're having a theme dinner. 

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Wine service can be very very slow in the Terrace  as stated above. It can also be non existent. Those are the two options.

 

Like Lyn, we prefer the GDR , its excellent service, and being served for dinner. We also enjoy the wonderful conversations with fellow passengers in the relaxed atmosphere of the GDR. 

 

Count us in on those with which you don’ have to compete with to get a table for dinner in the Terrace. 

 

 

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