Is it true that on a cruise ship you can eat, eat again, and eat some more 24 hours a day? Yes it is true. Lets take a look at some of the things we ate on Celebrity’s Solstice Ship on our Alaska cruise. I’ll warn you in advance, this post may make you hungry.
The Restaurants – An Overview
To give you a lay of the food offering, in my mind there are two kinds of restaurants: inclusive which means their are no extra charges for eating the food, and specialty restaurants which have an extra charge. I’ll discuss specialty restaurants in my next post.
Inclusive restaurants include:
- Grand Épernay Restaurant which is the main dining room
- Ocean View Cafe which is the extensive buffet designed to be like an international marketplace
- AquaSpa Cafe which offers a healthier breakfast and lunch
- Mast Grill which is burgers and the like grilled poolside
- Room Service – available complimentary 24 hours a day with an extensive menu
Specialty Restaurants include:
- Murano – Classic French
- Sushi on Five – Sushi, Sashimi, and other Japanese fare
- Silk Harvest – Pan Asian Fusion
- Tuscan Grille – Italian Steakhouse
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I liked to enjoy room service on my private balcony overlooking the sea or a port for breakfast.
Our second “at sea” morning (day 5 of cruise?) featured a fabulous champagne brunch buffet complete with ice sculptures, a chocolate fountain, and a ridiculous number of wonderful food choices.
I also enjoyed the breakfast at the Ocean View Cafe and particularly the healthy breakfast selections the AquaSpa cafe where you could get a smoothie for a nominal extra fee.
When I lunched on the ship it was usually in the Ocean View cafe. I wish I got a few good pictures there but I got none. The selection is extensive with stations like a carvery (my favorite – these were not cold cuts), Italian, Asian, Breads, Salads, Hot Entrees, Fruits, Cakes, Ice Cream, and significantly more.
Dinner in the Main Dining Room
Dinner in the main dining room, the Grand Épernay Restaurant was a highlight every night. The Grand Épernay Restaurant is a two story, elegant dining room decked out with cream and beige-tones with a huge wine bottle dispensary as its center piece. The Grand Épernay has hints of the formalities of dining of old, with just enough Emily Post-style etiquette to be classy but not stuffy, a broad dress code, and set dinner times for those who choose. It was such fun to dress for dinner each night.
The 7 day cruise has two “formal dinner” nights in the main dining room which require a more strict dress code (tux or suite for men and cocktail dress or gown for woman). Both of these nights had higher-end traditional menu offerings such as Lobster Tails or Beef Wellington.
Menus are posted each day:
Some sample foods from through the week:
With the lobster tail the wait staff was happy remove the tail from the shell for this beautiful young lady.
The quality of the food ranged between very good and outstanding. If you did not like what was on the menu on a given night, you could always order an old standby like Shrimp Cocktail or New York Strip Steak.
Passengers can choose between a set dinner time or coming when they like. We chose the early seating (6 PM), which meant we ate dinner then went to a show. A late seating (8:30 PM) means you go to a show then have dinner. Not being part of a set dining time often meant you stood in a occasionally long line until a table was ready.
Additionally you can chose a larger table or a smaller table. On my first Celebrity cruise we were a small party so we sat each night with 8 other people which was great fun from a social perspective. For this cruise, our party was large enough that we had our own table.
Recommendation: Pick a set dining time. My guess is 80% of the passengers chose a set time.
Pool and Mast Grill
Even on an Alaska cruise, there is nothing like getting a burger and fries poolside. Whatever they do, or whatever the cut of ground beef, this burger was a really great burger.
Café al Bacio & Gelateria
Some people have to have their specialty coffees. For me, I have to have my gelato. Very good gelato with a nice selection of flavors, plus cakes and pastries. The food was inclusive along with some drinks, but specialty coffee and the like was a modest extra charge.
I was plenty satisfied with the inclusive offerings of food – both the quality and quantity. There were enough hits that made up for the very few misses. The main dining room is beautiful. The Ocean View Cafe out-performed expectations.
If you missed it: