Monday 4 June 2012

Freedom of the Seas Part 3: Dinner

The main dining room consists of 3 levels: Leonardo, Galileo, and Issac. They all serve the same food just with slightly difference ambiance.

There are two choices for dinner time on Freedom of the Seas:
1) Traditional Dining
2) My Time Dining

Traditional Dining
This is the one I went with. You choose your dinner time (5pm or 8pm) through your travel agent or online the RCCL website prior to boarding the cruise. Your exact table number, dining room, and dinner time is printed on your Sea Pass. Every night you go to the same table, with no wait, and the same server and assistant server will help you through your entire cruise. This way you get to know each other better and usually creates a better cruise experience. Most people go with traditional dining so the dining room can be quite crowded with about 1000 guests being served at the same time between the 3 levels of the dining room. My dining time was 8pm which was not in the way of any shows I wanted to watch in the evening. You can choose not to eat dinner in the dining room even though there is a set time for you. Yet your server will be expecting you to arrive so don`t be surprised if they ask you politely where you were when you return to eating in the dining room.

My Time Dining
My Time dining allows you to reserve what time you want to eat (between 5-8pm usually) everyday. So you can choose which time works best for you according to you activities schedule. You would usually call or go down to the dining room in the afternoon to reserve your time. .With this option you do not have the same server every night. You are served by different servers so all gratuity fees for dining are paid at the beginning of the cruise. Whereas for Traditional dining, guests can choose to pay by credit card or cash directly to the server at the end of the cruise depending on how much you liked your experience.
About 500 guests choose My Time Dining.

Royal Caribbean has the Vitality menu for those who are more health conscious. Every dinner menu has a set appetizer, main, and dessert with specific caloric values that accumulate to less than 800 calories.

Note: This post is  physically very long because of all the pictures. If you just want to see the food pictures just click on any picture to see a more clear slideshow-like view of them.

There is always an assortment of fresh bread/pastries served while you're reading the menu. I liked the poppyseed ones and the little chocolate muffins.

I liked this watermelon cold soup because I love watermelons! It is refreshing and sweet. It feels more like a dessert than a soup.
Watermelon cold soup
 Sorry I don't remember many of the names but enjoy the photos :) Eat with your eyes.

This grilled eggplant did taste pretty good but it was strange that an entire clove of grilled garlic was put as a decoration piece on the plate.
Grilled eggplant

If you like seafood then cruises are just up your alley. This chilled scallop was fresh and juicy.
Scallop, smoked salmon, shrimp

There are so many pictures of main courses that it would take too much room to make them all extra large!
There's a good assortment of main courses on the menu every night. Staples include steak, pasta, and fish.

Steak can be hit or miss because they are grilling so many pieces for so many guests at the same time. Sometimes the meat came overcooked.

 I liked the salmon, it was slightly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Beef with rice

Lamb shank

I was excited for lobster on the second formal night. I liked it so much that I had two! The lobsters are all good sizes with lots of meat, cooked in herbs, and drizzled with butter at the table. YUM! This was definitely my favourite main.

The desserts were delicious most nights but not every night. Between the three of us, we were able to taste most of the desserts on the menu every night. Honestly, the Vitality menu desserts weren't that good. They were usually mousses or some type of cake that just doesn't compare to the regular menu desserts. Also there is a different flavoured sorbet and sugar free ice cream every night.

Vitality strawberry meringue
Vitality chocolate mousse

 This chocolate cake was amazing. It was ooey-gooey, full of chocolate flavour, and so fulfilling in the mouth.
Triple chocolate cake

 The lady fingers that came with the ice creams were just average. They were very sugar coated and not crunchy enough.
Apple crumble and chocolate ice cream
 I also really liked this dessert. The custard was smooth and rich and the orange flavour was tangy and refreshing.
Orange flan

Chocolate cake

Strawberry mille feuille

Apple pie
 This raspberry mousse was my least favourite dessert. It didn't have much taste and was basically bland mousse with raspberry jam.
Vitality raspberry mousse

Berry tiramisu

Vitality mango cake

Vanilla ice cream
 I was so excited to try this creme brulee because I absolutely love them. Unfortunately this one was disappointing because the sugar layer was not crunchy or thick enough. Also the custard was not as rich and creamy as the orange flan.
Creme brulee

Chocolate cake and tart

Chocolate surprise (lava cake)
 This tiramisu was also disappointing. There was no distinct rum flavour, the cream was not milky thick texture, and the lady fingers were extremely soggy.
 The triple surprise consisted of a tart, a chocolate cake, and a mango cheese cake.
Left: Orange sorbet
Right: Triple surprise
 This mango cheesecake was only mediocre. It was more sponge cake than cheese cake because there was minimal cream cheese taste and the texture was like a thicker sponge cake.
Mango cheesecake

Blueberry crepe

Chocolate cake

Key lime pie

Apple cake
Overall, the food in the dining room did taste good. Personally I'd say go for the seafood, bread, and chocolate type desserts!