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melissa89n

It's all about the food (Jewel review 12/03)!

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Here is my food review...

 

First off, I want to say that I do not think the Freestyle dining concept works all that well. You really cannot eat when you want, because if you try to just walk in any sit-down restaurant past 6:30 pm, you will not get to sit down and actually eat unless you are very lucky or have a concierge making reservations for you. This will last until at least 8:00 pm.

 

Fortunately, I have this board as a resource to tell me to make reservations as soon as possible. We did Mama's on Sunday (but couldn't get in til 9 pm), Chin-Chin Wednesday, Le Bistro Thursday, Cagney's Friday, and Tango's on Saturday. We made them all for 6 pm. Many many other people were not so lucky. I had tried to pass this info on to my friends but they took no heed and tried to just walk into restaurants. It did not work. They ended up spending many a night snacking at the buffet until they could get in somewhere at 8:30 or 9. On Monday and Tuesday, we knew to get to Tsar's early to avoid a wait (but not too early, because there is a line then too! Timing is everything. :cool:

 

The other frustrating part of this is that even during the busier times at the specialty restaurants (usually when we were almost done), they were only about half full! There were many empty tables, and when I tried to find out why, I never could get a clear answer. On Saturday we were out wandering and tried to get into Tango's earlier. There were 5 tables that were full at 5:45, and they have at least 20. It was no biggie - we didn't mind waiting, but I asked her out of curiosity why she couldn't seat us and she said the table wasn't ready! The tables were as ready as they were going to get so I did not understand that. What I THINK happens is they leave those tables open so the people in the rooms up on deck 14 can get in immediately if they want to. I am not sure about that but it was a consistent trend I noticed, so I don't think it could be because they were short on waitstaff or anything like that.

 

One thing I did not notice (and I didn't realize I didn't notice it until Friday night) was what anyone else was wearing! All the talk on this board about what you can & cannot wear and what you should & shouldn't wear and I didn't even pay attention to anyone else but my family. I only realized it on Friday night because we were in Cagney's and this couple came in looking absolutely fabulous and all of a sudden I looked around to see if everyone was looking fabulous and they weren't. That lasted about 20 seconds before I went back to my great meal and not caring about flip flops or jeans or tuxedos.

 

Back to the timing thing - even in the buffet, you have to time it right. Don't try to get breakfast at 9 am and expect to sit down and eat it until it is cold. We went once at that time and determined to never again. I now finally understood why some people here said the food in the buffet was cold! It is NOT because it is being served that way - it is served fresh and hot, believe me. It gets cold because when you are jostling 200 people for food in the buffet area, then getting a drink, then finding a table, that whole process takes just long enough for the food to cool off so when you sit down, it's not that appealing. What I don't get is why those people who complained about cold food didn't understand that but whatever...

 

We made sure to go eat between 6:30 and 8 am. In any case, the breakfast buffet was wonderful! Made to order omelettes, really good waffles, Eggs Benedict, crispy bacon, all kinds of sausages, lots of fresh fruit, muffins (I liked the corn ones), danish, cold cereals, hot cereals, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, whew! Waiters walked around with carts of juice, milk and coffee. Very nice. We had breakfast once at Tsar's - it was everything you could get in the buffet, except it took 2 hours to get it. Although my brother did get salmon Eggs Benedict, which you couldn't get at the buffet. It's a trade off.

 

Lunch was also very nice at the buffet. Meats changed daily, yummy sandwiches, all the typical lunch stuff. We only ate twice there for lunch. We had lunch once at Tsar's, again a 2 hour tour, but it was nice. Not that spectacular. Dh had fish and chips, I had a ham & cheese sandwich, but they did have a very pretty fruit plate for an appetizer and Linzer torte for dessert.

 

I loved the Great Outdoors for midafternoon snack. They had tea sandwiches, fruit, scones with cream and jam, muffins, tea breads - mmmm! Loved that - with a hot cup of tea, sitting there at the rear of the ship or bringing it back to my balcony was really nice.

 

The grill by the pool actually had pretty good burgers - kids snacked there and enjoyed it.

 

Blue Lagoon was a big fave of my boys - dh & I ate there once and enjoyed it for a snack. I had potato skins and fish & chips. The fish came with little bowls of malt vinegar and tartar sauce with a few fries. It was really good fish - fried nice and crispy and not greasy. The tomato soup was good too.

 

Didn't have dinner at the buffet but I heard it was good. Friends who were on Carnival said this buffet was much better.

 

Room service was nice - we did use it to get breakfast items once but then decided to just get up to the buffet and get what we wanted and bring it down to dd who was still sleeping so she could wake up to fresh fruit and her beloved hard-boiled eggs. We used room service a couple of times to get snacks or sandwiches after returning from port. It did tend to take a long time.

 

I still have to write about the dinners!!! Whew! That will have to wait.

Hope you enjoy reading my review! Post any questions and I will do my best to answer them!

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Thank you for such detailed food (and your non-food) reviews! I look forward to reading more in preparing for our 12/24 Jewel sailing.

 

What did you mean you knew to go to Tsar's early on Mon. and Tues.? I haven't done much research into the menus yet. Is one of those lobster night?

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First off, I want to say that I do not think the Freestyle dining concept works all that well. You really cannot eat when you want, because if you try to just walk in any sit-down restaurant past 6:30 pm, you will not get to sit down and actually eat unless you are very lucky or have a concierge making reservations for you. This will last until at least 8:00 pm.

 

 

Loved your review but I am a little confused - I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that the above comment applies to the specialty restaurants rather than the main dining rooms. I have done 3 NCL cruises and never had a problem being seated in less than 10 minutes in the dining rooms (and we ate anywhere from 6PM - 7:45PM). Now on "lobster" night we were glad we ate early (I did see QUITE a line-up when we left shortly after 7PM that night.

I agree that one should make reservations for the 'specialty' restaurants.

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Loved your review but I am a little confused - I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that the above comment applies to the specialty restaurants rather than the main dining rooms. I have done 3 NCL cruises and never had a problem being seated in less than 10 minutes in the dining rooms (and we ate anywhere from 6PM - 7:45PM). Now on "lobster" night we were glad we ate early (I did see QUITE a line-up when we left shortly after 7PM that night.

I agree that one should make reservations for the 'specialty' restaurants.

 

Ditto Zeno!

 

Also, you make no mention of the Great Outdoors for breakfast. We were a group of 10 last August on the Jewel, always eating at peak times for breakfast and we never had a wait other than the time for the chef to cook our omelettes. And we never had a problem getting two tables for all. Did you try that?

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I stand corrected! You are right. I really didn't explain that well enough. It WAS only on the lobster night that there was a wait to get in, and that was my first impression of Tsar's so I figured that was how it was every night. I have to work on paying more attention to things! :rolleyes:

When my friends had to wait was when they were trying to get into Tango's or Mama's, which although they don't have the extra charge, are specialty restaurants. And there really was a wait if you didn't have reservations. Also it was hard because we could rarely get through to the reservation desk.

Perhaps because we were a larger group, we had problems with everyone finding a main entree they liked on the Tsar's/Azura menu. The specialty restaurants seemed to fit better for us so that is where we ate most of the time.

 

There wasn't really a wait at the Garden Cafe either, except at the drink stations. The problem was that you couldn't move around the area quickly because there were so many people in there when it was busy. And my experience was that it was hard to find a table during that time. The good part is that sometimes we shared with other people and that was fun because you got to meet someone new. You must have been lucky finding empty tables or maybe you didn't have a full ship. I think there were 2800 on our cruise.

 

I am just glad it worked for us to go early and sometimes later too! It was a pretty good buffet! :o

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We are just off the same cruise and I agree with you that the only night that lines were an issue was Lobster night.... the lines were long, and we were given a pager and told 35 minutes.... but then it was only 10 minutes, so not a big deal at all.

 

Otherwise, we ate at Azura/Tzar's most nights at "peak time" between 6:30-7:00 and did not ever wait. As to the empty tables, they are not saving them for suites, they are just managing their capacity and pacing of both the wait staff and the galley..... you will see restaurants at home do this too.... that is one thing about free-style is that the service must be more complex to organize than when everyone sits at once (like a banquet)... lots more has to be going on all at once...

 

I also agree that the buffet is a pretty good buffet..... we did have trouble finding a seat once.... but then I discovered another excellent little tip, which is that you can eat poolside - just bring your plate back out of the Garden Cafe, and take a table poolside..... there are service staff to assist and some mornings (busier ones, I guess) there was also a beverage cart (portable) next to the bar so getting fresh coffee/juice was instant.

 

I missed the scones and afternoon tea though.... Boo Hoo..........

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Joanne, the scones and tea were a happy discovery for me! Sorry you missed it but that was a good idea to eat by the pool. That must have been nice! I liked it out there - especially at night when all the palm trees were lit up.

 

So here are some of my dinner reviews. I will try to mention the highlights and lowlights of what we had.

It was so much fun watching my 3 kids (aged 17, 13 & 11) trying all sorts of new dishes! They were very adventurous! It was also neat being in such elegant surroundings. We don't do fancy too often!

 

Sunday we ate at Mama's Italian Kitchen. It was fun seeing the waitress pour the Olive Oil & Balsamic vinegar on the tiny plate with that neat carafe and then dipping our bread into it. I've had that before but the kids hadn't. Appetizers some of us tried were the fried squid and the antipasti platter. They enjoyed the squid, and the calamari and the vegetable salad from the antipasti cart. I passed on an appetizer. We had Caesar salads and they were good - crisp lettuce and crunchy croutons, not too much dressing. They appeared freshly made and we were eating at 9 pm. I had a side serving of farfalle carbonara and it was okay, but the pancetta wasn't real crisp the way I like it. Later in the week I tried Spaghetti Carbonara at Tsar's and it was crispy that time! yum!

2 kids had the Frutti di Mare pizza and loved it! Shrimp, scallops and crab for toppings. My kids really like seafood, apparently! I am not such a fan so I don't cook it often. The Land & Sea was enjoyed by many except the polenta cake served no purpose other than presentation - it tasted like nothing. I had the vegetarian manicotti and that was tasteful. The sirloin tips were also good.

For dessert, Tiramisu was good and a neat presentation, chocolate cake was typical, but the Macadamia nut ice cream was delish!

 

Monday was Tsar's for lobster night. Spring roll was fine, shrimp cocktail was okay, the scallops were not tasty though. Skipped soups, I had Beef Wellington and it was not too bad - the beef was cooked right, the pastry a little soggy. Everyone else had lobster (I am not a fan). My 11 yo daughter couldn't eat it because it was overcooked (dh likes to cook live lobster so she's had it plenty). Everyone else ate it though! For dessert, we were really surprised with the Creme Brulee because when we got it, it was about a 1/4" thick! I found out later by ordering it in other restaurants that there is supposed to be more in there but tonight we just had a tantalizing bit of it! I wonder if someone messed up and they were running low... Anyway, the Crepes Suzette were a little underwhelming, but the chocolate mousse cake was yummy!

 

That's it for now. Will post more dinner reviews later!

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Tuesday was our second and last night at Tsar's. The papaya, mango & kiwi cocktail was yummy. They do great things with fruit dishes. Just the right amount of sweetness to enhance the fruit. We tried the chilled melon soup - it was different! Not bad, just different. I liked it for it's uniqueness. The spicy tortilla soup was okay too.

My daughter enjoyed the strip steak for entree - we found the beef dishes were usually cooked just right for each of us. Dh & daughter like theirs rare and they were not disappointed. I had the chicken with garlic sauce and honey roasted root vegetables. It was the only thing on the ship that tasted terrible. I discovered most of the chicken dishes included a thigh and a half breast. Not being a fan of dark meat, it was not appealing. But the weird part was that the honey sauce on the vegetables (some squash & sweet potatoes I believe) happened to mix really bad with the chicken sauce. I am not picky but I could not eat it. The waiter came back and very nicely took it and brought me spaghetti carbonara very quickly. That I enjoyed, so all was well.

While I waited for my second entree, the manager came around and inquired why I had no food so I explained the problem. He asked me if I could explain what I did not like, so I did, and he asked my room number. I wondered why that was. Do they track how many times a room sends back entrees perhaps? In any case I thought it was very impressive that he actually cared about my opinion and even wrote what I said down in his notebook!

Finally, the grilled salmon was enjoyed by some of us as well. It seemed the salmon was always prepared well. For dessert, chocolate souffle was yummy! A lovely little cake that came unsauced in it's dish until the waiter pressed your spoon into the middle and poured a little Irish cream sauce onto. Mixed berry frozen yogurt was just that and Tiramisu was just like at Mama's earlier.

 

Wednesday was Le Bistro! TOO much fun! Everyone has to try this place! We went at 6 for half price and it was a great deal. We tried the lobster & scallop martini, basically a seafood salad but with nice chunks of lobster mixed in and served in a martini glass! The halibut was kind of bland. The kids HAD to try the escargot, and none went to waste! They said they liked it, go figure. My daughter had mussels too and loved them so much she had to order a second serving!

I had the onion soup, tasted just like it should. One of us had the mushroom soup in the bread bowl and liked it - lots of finely chopped mushrooms and a good earthy flavor. Dh had the watercress veloute with frog's legs. It tasted like a very fresh spinach soup with a little spice. VERY GOOD! The frog's legs were basically chopped pieces of meat scattered about in clumps that yes, tasted like chicken! :D

The beef tenderloin and short rib entree was very good, well cooked and good flavor. The salmon with shrimp crust was very good as well. The chicken - well, not so much. Again a thigh and half breast, but stuffed with a mushroom mixture that had little flavor. The vegetables with it were not cooked well. The Canard a l'orange was very good for duck - juicy and not gamey.

Desserts!! The chocolate mousse is faboo - order 2, they are small! :cool: Creme brulee much better this time - a lot of it and it had a shortbread cookie on top too. The apple tart was not bad, but mushy so not a good "mouth feel." Just get the chocolate mousse for Pete's sake!

The presentation here is great too - our charger plates were a lovely Versace butterfly pattern, very expensive I do believe! The entrees are brought out with silver covers on them (I know there is a word for that), and then all at once they lift them up with a flourish! GREAT fun! Waiters here (well everywhere actually) were super attentive and incredibly nice. Plus the ambiance is so elegant! You will love it here. If you are a small party, ask for the banquettes - tall curved benches with pillows and totally romantic! Enjoy!!

 

More reviews later!!

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How fun to read your reviews! I am enjoying every detail! Thanks for taking the time to post them!

Coka

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Thanks coka and cosmo and everyone for the compliments! :)

 

I still have to review Chin Chin, Cagney's, and Tango's. I will try to get to that today! It's fun writing these because it makes me remember details of my trip but it also makes me wish I were still there!

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Dinner at Chin Chin:

 

We actually ate here Wednesday night and did Le Bistro on Thursday night.

 

This was one of my fave meals! We were a group of 8 tonight, and started out by ordering everything on the appetizer menu plus doubles of potstickers, squid (or was it calamari? sorry don't remember but it was fried and spicy and the ones who ate it DEVOURED it!) and spring rolls. The other appetizers were lettuce wraps, shrimp and veggie tempura, and beef satay. ALL were VERY good!!! The sauces that came with everything were really good too - I was surprised no peanut sauce came with the satay, but the sauce they brought was very good!

I could have just continued with more appetizers but there were more interesting things so we had to move on. Soups were fine, my memory is fuzzy here but the egg drop soup I remember and it was just what it should be. The soup presentation was very nice too - small decorated bowls with lids and the funky japanese soup spoons.

My entree was Chicken Yakitori and I had a noodle side dish that I can't remember what it was but both were delish. There was another noodle dish that had some rather unusual ingredients that I tried but it had a weird taste. I'm sorry I can't remember this menu well! I used the Dawn menus that were posted to remind me of the other restaurants but this menu wasn't posted so I just can't remember. I remember everyone enjoyed their entrees - the steak teriyaki was very good and plenty of it. We all felt this was well worth the $10 surcharge so do try this place if you can. There were only 3 desserts - I remember the waitress said there should have been more but something happened so they only had 3. We mostly had the green tea ice cream which was yummy and served in an adorable lotus bowl. I think the other dessert we tried was a banana spring roll and it was okay, not memorable (obviously!).

 

Friday night was Cagney's Steakhouse. Shrimp cocktail was fine - 3 large chilled shrimp with a dab of cocktail sauce, Oysters Rockefeller was typical - spinach was a little mushy, but I am a fan of this appetizer so I am a little picky here. Crab cakes had good flavor, nice bite to them. Lobster Bisque had a slightly off flavor - but the big lump of lobster in the middle was very very good. Clam chowder was fine - thick with lots of clams. Dh got prime rib rare, which he enjoyed immensely and the salmon/crab leg entree. The salmon was a darne cut, which is a crosscut and not a filet like what is usually served. Hence it came with quite a few small bones, so be prepared for that if you are not used to eating salmon prepared that particular way! The crab leg was a little overdone. The other prime rib eaters here were also very happy with their cuts and method of preparation. I had filet mignon and ordered it medium rare, it came exactly that way and very tender. Daughter had wanted to order the live lobster, being a huge lover of whole lobster, but waiter came back to say they were out of whole lobster and only had tails left (this was Friday). She instead got surf & turf and we nicely asked them to please make sure to not overcook the tail as it had been on Monday. It came HUGE and perfectly succulent and she devoured it along with most of the steak that came with it. She had mashed potatoes as a side and they were not worth eating. The rest of us ordered "Cagney's fries", I guess expecting like a seasoned steak fry, but got the exact same french fries that are at the buffet except with a little seasoning thrown on top. I would go with a reg baked potato here next time. The asparagus was good though!!

Desserts! Cheesecake, good big slice; Bananas Foster, not bad - good flavor; Mocha Creme Brulee - FABULOUS!!!! Light mocha flavor, perfect portion size, really yummy. Sinful Chocolate Obsession - good, but very very rich - a very thick chocolate gateau (possibly) resting atop a slice of cake. Hard to finish, but chocolate crazed people will enjoy.

 

Speaking of chocolate craziness, this was the night of the Chocoholic Buffet. We went to the 9:30 show of Cirque Bijou and headed to the buffet. Obviously everyone else at the show had the same idea. Completely packed, we wandered around getting pics of the sculptures and eyeing the choices. Sad to say, and maybe it was because of the very fine Cagney's dinner we had enjoyed a few hours previously, we just couldn't find anything appealing here! It seemed like it was full of a lot of the same cakes in different variations. The only choco dipped fruit we could find was bananas. But it was fun to see all the sculptures and get pics. The Eiffel tower is amazing!!!

 

Saturday (our last night! boo hoo) we went to Tango's. I was not impressed but others in our group loved it. I tend to prefer more authentic Mexican which is a lot different than our Amercanized version of it so that is probably why. Also, we live near a very Hispanic populated area so it is easy to get very good food and fresh ingredients. The spring rolls were very greasy, nearly inedible. I think the flavor of the filling was good, so my complaint is a preperation error, not a complaint of the food itself. Crab meat & shrimp quesadillas were okay, also a little greasy. The soups were typical and the nachos were a cut above Taco Bell. The only entree worth eating is Il Popo, which was pretty good. The veggie enchiladas and burrito were very heavy, the fajitas were boring, the Mariscos en Banderilla (shrimp, salmon & swordfish) had no flavor. However that is only my opinion, others in our group and on the ship enjoyed it a lot so you will just have to give it a try - at no extra surcharge, it would be worth it! The ambiance is not as nice as the other restaurants, although you can hear the live band from the atrium so that could be fun.

 

We skipped Teppanyaki because we have some great japanese steakhouses nearby and knew the cruise would not compare, also skipped sushi but I spoke with some friends and they said they loved it and the sushi prep guy was a lot of fun. We ate at Blue Lagoon once but my boys ate here many times and loved it. I thought they had DELICIOUS fish and chips - fish was cooked very well, not greasy at all, and I loved the little cup of malt vinegar along with the tarter sauce to dip. I also got the potato skins and they were good too. Dh got tomato soup and liked it. This place has small portions and perfect for a midafternoon or late night snack - do try it!

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Melissa...we (DW & I) were on the same cruise. Thanks for the detailed descriptions; seems like I'm reliving many of those delicious meals.

One question: did some of the portion sizes seem odd? I thought the Chicken Yakitori entree was small, especially compared to either the chicken teriyaki appetizer of the steak teriyaki entree. I also thought the apps/entrees and Blue Lagoon were small.

It all tasted great, but sometimes the servings of certain foods were small, imo.

How about you?

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:)

Dinner at Chin Chin:

 

Friday night was Cagney's Steakhouse. Shrimp cocktail was fine - 3 large chilled shrimp with a dab of cocktail sauce, Oysters Rockefeller was typical - spinach was a little mushy, but I am a fan of this appetizer so I am a little picky here. Crab cakes had good flavor, nice bite to them. Lobster Bisque had a slightly off flavor - but the big lump of lobster in the middle was very very good. Clam chowder was fine - thick with lots of clams. Dh got prime rib rare, which he enjoyed immensely and the salmon/crab leg entree. The salmon was a darne cut, which is a crosscut and not a filet like what is usually served. Hence it came with quite a few small bones, so be prepared for that if you are not used to eating salmon prepared that particular way! The crab leg was a little overdone. The other prime rib eaters here were also very happy with their cuts and method of preparation. I had filet mignon and ordered it medium rare, it came exactly that way and very tender. Daughter had wanted to order the live lobster, being a huge lover of whole lobster, but waiter came back to say they were out of whole lobster and only had tails left (this was Friday). She instead got surf & turf and we nicely asked them to please make sure to not overcook the tail as it had been on Monday. It came HUGE and perfectly succulent and she devoured it along with most of the steak that came with it. She had mashed potatoes as a side and they were not worth eating. The rest of us ordered "Cagney's fries", I guess expecting like a seasoned steak fry, but got the exact same french fries that are at the buffet except with a little seasoning thrown on top. I would go with a reg baked potato here next time. The asparagus was good though!!

Desserts! Cheesecake, good big slice; Bananas Foster, not bad - good flavor; Mocha Creme Brulee - FABULOUS!!!! Light mocha flavor, perfect portion size, really yummy. Sinful Chocolate Obsession - good, but very very rich - a very thick chocolate gateau (possibly) resting atop a slice of cake. Hard to finish, but chocolate crazed people will enjoy.

 

Speaking of chocolate craziness, this was the night of the Chocoholic Buffet. We went to the 9:30 show of Cirque Bijou and headed to the buffet. Obviously everyone else at the show had the same idea. Completely packed, we wandered around getting pics of the sculptures and eyeing the choices. Sad to say, and maybe it was because of the very fine Cagney's dinner we had enjoyed a few hours previously, we just couldn't find anything appealing here! It seemed like it was full of a lot of the same cakes in different variations. The only choco dipped fruit we could find was bananas. But it was fun to see all the sculptures and get pics. The Eiffel tower is amazing!!!

 

Saturday (our last night! boo hoo) we went to Tango's. I was not impressed but others in our group loved it. I tend to prefer more authentic Mexican which is a lot different than our Amercanized version of it so that is probably why. Also, we live near a very Hispanic populated area so it is easy to get very good food and fresh ingredients. The spring rolls were very greasy, nearly inedible. I think the flavor of the filling was good, so my complaint is a preperation error, not a complaint of the food itself. Crab meat & shrimp quesadillas were okay, also a little greasy. The soups were typical and the nachos were a cut above Taco Bell. The only entree worth eating is Il Popo, which was pretty good. The veggie enchiladas and burrito were very heavy, the fajitas were boring, the Mariscos en Banderilla (shrimp, salmon & swordfish) had no flavor. However that is only my opinion, others in our group and on the ship enjoyed it a lot so you will just have to give it a try - at no extra surcharge, it would be worth it! The ambiance is not as nice as the other restaurants, although you can hear the live band from the atrium so that could be fun.

 

We skipped Teppanyaki because we have some great japanese steakhouses nearby and knew the cruise would not compare, also skipped sushi but I spoke with some friends and they said they loved it and the sushi prep guy was a lot of fun. We ate at Blue Lagoon once but my boys ate here many times and loved it. I thought they had DELICIOUS fish and chips - fish was cooked very well, not greasy at all, and I loved the little cup of malt vinegar along with the tarter sauce to dip. I also got the potato skins and they were good too. Dh got tomato soup and liked it. This place has small portions and perfect for a midafternoon or late night snack - do try it!

 

Great review!

 

I agree with your restaurant reviews (cruised the Dawn/Jewel) the shrimp and spinach..the same.

 

Prime ribs..they always get this right. Ditto for filet mignon:)

 

Chocoholic buffet...they need to add more chocolate and less cake....chocolate w/fruit better in the evening. Even good chocolate candy like Godiva:)

 

Tangos...I agree..I now go for the Tapas and Sangria.

Entrees never hit the mark...five cruises later.

 

Teppanyaki fun...if you are looking for a fun night.

 

Blue Lagoon...love their fish 'n' chips:)

 

Thanks for a great/informative review.

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Melissa...we (DW & I) were on the same cruise. Thanks for the detailed descriptions; seems like I'm reliving many of those delicious meals.

One question: did some of the portion sizes seem odd? I thought the Chicken Yakitori entree was small, especially compared to either the chicken teriyaki appetizer of the steak teriyaki entree. I also thought the apps/entrees and Blue Lagoon were small.

It all tasted great, but sometimes the servings of certain foods were small, imo.

How about you?

 

Thanks for the compliment! :D

I do agree on some of the portion sizes. Yakitori was small, but I filled up on appetizers plus I had the noodles so it was enough. Dh often ordered 2 entrees and had no problem finishing them usually.

 

Desserts were also really tiny but again, that is okay because we were usually pretty full and if not we could try 2! The Chocolate Mousse at Le Bistro was about 3 spoonfuls, but 3 very good spoonfuls they were! :p

I think on Monday night at Tsar's they messed up the Creme Brulee, because it was seriously a 1/4" deep. Later in the week when we ordered it there was a lot more.

 

Blue Lagoon had very small portions too - 2 small potato skins, 3 small fish pieces, etc. Definitely not a place where you could have dinner unless you ordered everything on the menu! :cool:

 

I wonder if they are just trying to get a feel of what people are able to consume without giving them too much. I know there is a lot of wasted food getting thrown away so I am all for giving people smaller portions and allowing them to order more if they want. We never had a problem getting 2 entrees, or anything else doubled up even at the restaurants that had a surcharge.

 

Anyway, it was a great cruise, wasn't it? Even with missing GSC, and some rollicky seas, we had a blast. Looking forward to our next one! We are cruisers now! yay!

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Thanks for a great/informative review.

 

Thanks! :)

 

It was fun to write. I hope it helps future cruisers the way everyone's reviews helped me. I also wanted to help clear up any misconceptions people may have from the negative posts about cold/awful food that contained no meat.

That was definitely NOT the case! :rolleyes:

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I too was on the Dec 3rd cruise and was confused by the empty tables. We did make reservations as soon as we got aboard the ship for 6pm for all the nights. See my review this Wed Dec 20th.

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I too was on the Dec 3rd cruise and was confused by the empty tables. We did make reservations as soon as we got aboard the ship for 6pm for all the nights. See my review this Wed Dec 20th.

 

Let's see if I can explain empty tables better.

 

i recently sailed on the Dream and booked a 5:30 dinner reservation, as soon as the Le Bristo opened. Only four tables were occupied at 5:30 pm, another four tables were occupied at 5:45 pm, and so forth every 15 minutes. By the time I finished my dinner almost two hours after arriving, all the tables were occupied.

Anyone looking for empty tables would have found some at 5:30 pm, 6:00 pm, and 6:30 pm. By 7:00 pm all the tables at the restaurant were being used.

If by chance you forced yourself to one of the empty tables at 6:00 pm, you would have displaced those who had already booked that table for 6:30 pm. There's no way you could dine within the 30 minutes.

 

So, while the tables may look empty at any certain point of time, they could be reserved for someone arriving in 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes, or possibily up to 120 minutes later.

 

Much like uninformed people complaining about seeing empty seats on public buses. At either end of it's run, they're usually mostly empty. But if you followed that bus on its route, there will be many times the bus is completely full, with passengers standing in the aisle, as it approaches where most passengers disembark, for example just prior to reaching the downtown business district.

 

So, when you look is just as important in determining when a restaurant is fully booked or not, just like with a public bus.

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Let's see if I can explain empty tables better.

 

So, while the tables may look empty at any certain point of time, they could be reserved for someone arriving in 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes, or possibily up to 120 minutes later.

 

Much like uninformed people complaining about seeing empty seats on public buses. At either end of it's run, they're usually mostly empty. But if you followed that bus on its route, there will be many times the bus is completely full, with passengers standing in the aisle, as it approaches where most passengers disembark, for example just prior to reaching the downtown business district.

 

So, when you look is just as important in determining when a restaurant is fully booked or not, just like with a public bus.

I am not uninformed, nor is the OP.

Firstly, the policy at all NCL specialty restaurants is to hold a reservation for 15 minutes--not 2 hours. There isn't a restaurant anywhere in the world still in business that holds 80% of its tables empty for 2+ hours. A restaurant is free to use a table at 6:00 pm which has been reserved for 8pm. Secondly, I've dined at all of the so-called specialty restaurants and observed this phenomenon personally. Even after having dined for 2+ hours the same tables were still empty, the restaurant was still 80% empty and the restaurant was still refusing diners at the door. Obviously something else is at the root of this issue. Maybe you should brush-up on queing theory, Hotteling's, and restaurant management skills.

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The Le Bistro on the Dream only has something like 36 tables. If the restaurant booked all of them at 5:30 and it takes over 2 hours to be served the several courses, its obvious mathematically they couldn't book reservations again until 8:00. One cannot seat customers if all of the tables are being used. All of a sudden doing this would easily result in Carnival's two seating periods.

 

Early in the evening it does appear Le Bistro is 75 percent empty, but as Electricron noted, when 4 tables arrive every 15 minutes it takes two hours to fill the restaurant. And likewise, towards closing the restaurant could look 75 percent empty again.

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I am not uninformed, nor is the OP.

Firstly, the policy at all NCL specialty restaurants is to hold a reservation for 15 minutes--not 2 hours. There isn't a restaurant anywhere in the world still in business that holds 80% of its tables empty for 2+ hours. A restaurant is free to use a table at 6:00 pm which has been reserved for 8pm. Maybe you should brush-up on queing theory, Hotteling's, and restaurant management skills.

 

Maybe you should learn some math? 120 minutes is 2 hours. I wrote up to 120 minutes, not over 120 minutes earlier. So are we in complete agreement?

 

I agree a restaurant is free to use a table at 6:00 pm which has been reserved for 8:00 pm. But not at 6:30 pm, 7:00 pm, or 7:30 pm.

That table would appear to be empty and available up to two hours in advance, but it isn't.

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I agree a restaurant is free to use a table at 6:00 pm which has been reserved for 8:00 pm. But not at 6:30 pm, 7:00 pm, or 7:30 pm. That table would appear to be empty and available up to two hours in advance, but it isn't.

We're almost in agreement--but it's all in good fun and spirit I'm hoping! It isn't a computational issue. It's a statistical one which is why someone first needs queing analysis to definitively answer this riddle. That's how a restaurant can, and does, seat guests at 6:30 or even 7:30 despite having reservations for 8:00.

Of course, none of our collective wisdom answers the question. We would need all the raw data from NCL.

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Much like uninformed people complaining about seeing empty seats on public buses.

 

I complain about that all the time! ;) :D

 

Ha ha, seriously though, I did mention in my review that I saw many empty tables when we were leaving the restaurant from our 6 pm reservation. I am not sure of the exact time, but it would be probably 8-ish when there were more people trying to get into dinner or hanging out at the bars waiting to get into dinner.

 

I agree at 6 pm Le Bistro and Cagney's were nearly empty and would slowly fill up more because of staggered reservations. But I don't recall seeing the place completely full ever, and there were friends of ours who said they couldn't get in at all or not til 9 pm.

 

Also, I was really not complaining as much as offering an observation. The empty tables didn't affect me at all, as I had made my reservations and got into all the restaurants I wanted at the times I wanted.

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This is just my humble opinion-

I was on the Jewel 12-10-06. To say I was disappointed, would be an understatement. My major complaint was the food servers. As already stated on the boards, there were many newbie servers. They were the ones who served our first two courses together! It's true. Saturday night at Le Bistro and Sunday afternoon at Blue Lagoon....then we drew a line in the sand (so to speak)...we asked for the Maitre 'D. He was very apologetic. Now get this- He asked where we would be for the rest of the week. We would tell him just the next day. He made sure where we were seated and we got the experienced servers. At the end of the meal, he would be there, ask about the serve and help us plan for the next day. Damage Control, indeed.

Now, one for all you who read this.

We are Latitudes Silver members...that gives us two tasty treats....Can you name them? A very expensive goodie package will be awarded!!!!

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