Thursday, July 2, 2009

Royal Caribbean Culinary Experiences Evolve Aboard Oasis of the Seas

When cruise competitor Norwegian Cruise Line introduced Freestyle Dining (and even before that when each of their ships featured a single extra-charge restaurant), the conventional wisdom was that no one would actually pay for food on a cruise ship. Raising the bar–and setting conventional wisdom on its ear–Oasis of the Seas will set the stage for Royal Caribbean Intl’s culinary innovations when it launches in Dec 2009. Thanks to nearly two dozen distinct dining experiences, ranging from an exclusive signature restaurant, to neighborhood-specific themed venues and new twists on the global brand’s traditions, the world’s most revolutionary cruise ship will offer more variety and flexibility than ever before.

Oasis of the Seas showcases the evolution of Royal Caribbean dining,” said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Intl. “Both the new concepts and the established Royal Caribbean offerings found throughout the neighborhoods are designed to meet contemporary dining standards, cater to individual preferences and schedules, and foster epicurean curiosity. With so many options, guests could choose a new place to dine for every meal.”

As passenger expectations continue to rise, Royal Caribbean has introduced new elements of variety and flexibility, such as My Time Dining and My Family Time Dining. From breakfast to late night snacks, passengers aboard Oasis of the Seas will find an extensive variety of food and beverage offerings, available at no extra charge, to satisfy any craving, providing more options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner than ever before on a Royal Caribbean ship. The culinary festival includes plenty of choices throughout the ship that are included in your fare and ten extra-charge venues with either set pricing or food items offered á la carte:

In Central Park
· 150 Central Park: The most exclusive dining venue on Oasis of the Seas will provide an intimate dining experience combining leading-edge cuisine with modern design, creating a trendy upscale ambiance. Signature features will include a tasting menu with customized wine pairings. Open for dinner; $35 cover charge.
· Giovanni’s Table: This Tuscan countryside influenced trattoria will be a more-accessible, casual Italian restaurant featuring both indoor and al fresco seating. Rustic dishes with a contemporary flair, including toasted herbal breads, pizzas, salads, pastas, Italian sandwiches, braised meat dishes and stews, will all be served family-style. Open for lunch and dinner; $10 lunch and $15 dinner cover charge.
· Park Café: This casual dining choice providing a high level of variety and flexibility will be an indoor/outdoor gourmet market with walk-up counters. From freshly prepared salads and made-to-order sandwiches, to paninis, crepes and hearty soups, orders will be taken directly by the chefs behind food stations. European pastries, sublime chocolates and decadent fudge will round out the offerings. Open for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and late night treats.
· Vintages: Always a popular hot spot for Royal Caribbean guests on Voyager- and Freedom-class ships, the Vintages wine bar will evolve into a larger space on Oasis of the Seas. Great for a pre-dinner rendezvous, a selection of cheeses and a broad tapas menu to accompany a robust selection of fine wines will be on the menu. Open for lunch and dinner; á la carte pricing.
· Chops Grille: Continuing the tradition, Royal Caribbean’s popular signature steakhouse will offer premium cut, quality meatsin an upscale, contemporary setting indoors with views of Central Park or al fresco. Open for dinner; $25 cover charge.

On The Boardwalk
· Seafood Shack: The indoor/outdoor casual family restaurant will bring the surf style of beach side amusement parks to the Boardwalk, serving a variety of seafood, as well an extensive beverage menu of non-alcoholic cocktails and over-sized desserts. Open for lunch and dinner; $7.95 lunch and $9.95 dinner cover charge.
· Boardwalk Bar: The main bar in the Boardwalk will offer on-the-go snacks and a variety of pre-packaged sandwiches, fruit and salads. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
· Donut Shop: You can stop into the classically styled shop for a casual snack any time of day. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
· Ice Cream Parlor :The 1950’s styled ice cream venue will display classic sundaes and a variety of ice cream flavors and toppings to choose from and then mixed-to-order on a frozen slab. Open throughout the day; á la carte pricing.
· Johnny Rockets: Extending the signature “eat-ertainment” hours, a diner breakfast menu will be introduced. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner; $3.95 breakfast and $4.95 lunch and dinner cover charge.

Along The Royal Promenade
· Mondo Cafe: This addition to the Royal Promenade will feature coffee, sandwiches and pastries native to countries such as Italy, Spain and Cuba. Steps from Boleros and open around the clock, it is sure to be popular after an evening on the dance floor. Open for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and late night treats.
· Sorrento’s Pizzeria: The New York style pizzeria will feature a more extensive menu with made-to-order pizza pies and slices, in addition to the ready-made selections introduced with the Freedom-class ships. Open for lunch, dinner and late night snacks.
· Café Promenade: Located on the opposite end of the Royal Promenade from the Mondo Cafe, the popular café will continue serving Seattle’s Best Coffee, fruit shakes, pastries and sandwiches throughout the day and night. Open 24 hours; á la carte pricing.

Beside The Pool and In The Sports Zone
· Solarium Bistro: The contemporary bistro located in the Solarium will offer health-conscious dining for breakfast and lunch in a casual setting. In the evenings, Solarium Bistro will transform into a romantic and intimate dining setting for specialty healthy-fare dinner and dancing under the stars. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner; dinner has a $20 cover charge.
· The Wipe Out Café: The casual self-service buffet will offer a variety of options from pizza, hamburgers, sandwiches and fresh salads to quick snacks and desserts, for young cruisers on-the-go. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

In The Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center
· The Vitality Café: At the entrance of the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, the café will feature healthy snacks, sandwiches, wraps and fruit, in addition to refreshing juices and smoothies from the Vitality spa menu for the calorie conscious guest. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

New Twists on Fleet Fixtures
· Opus Dining Room: The 3-level main dining room will revive the grandeur of the 1920s and feature French art deco design. Catering to varying preferences, the newly introduced My Time Dining and My Family Time Dining, as well as the traditional main and late seating options will be offered. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
· Windjammer Marketplace: Offering the utmost flexibility for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this next generation of the brand staple will feature multiple islands, each serving a variety casual buffet fare.
· Izumi: The new Asian cuisine restaurant will feature a sushi bar and hot rock cooking, as well as other Asian fare in a more formal setting. Open for lunch and dinner; á la carte pricing.
· In-Stateroom Service: Should you want to enjoy a meal in the comfort of your stateroom, you will be able to choose from the complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, as well as the recently introduced Dine in Delights menu, which offers name-brand culinary options ranging from the Original Johnny Rockets hamburger to Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookies. Available 24 hours; á la carte pricing for Dine In Delights and $3.95 service charge for in-room deliveries between 12:00 am and 5:00 am.

Upon announcing the dining options last week, Goldstein hosted a live chat focusing on Oasis of the Seas’ dining offerings. Afterwards he said, “There was a lot of interest in understanding which dining opportunities will be free and which will be for a charge and how much of a charge. Our goal is to offer a wider range of opportunities to eat ‘for free’ than ever before and also provide numerous additional choices at a range of price points that we would only offer for a charge.”

The day after the chat Goldstein was joined by other executives to have lunch in Royal Caribbean’s test kitchen to taste some of the menu items from 150 Central Park, the new fine dining concept that will carry the highest per person charge aboard Oasis of the Seas. According to Goldstein, “It was outrageously delicious. Anyone who has dinner there will be very happy they did.”

Happily, I might add, at $35 the extra charge is only $5 more than fine dining options aboard many other cruise ships.

In just a few days, on July 7th, in addition to booking shore excursions, wine packages, etc, you will also be able to book Oasis of the Seas specialty dining meals at RoyalCaribbean.com.

More about Oasis of the Seas from CruiseDiva.com:

2 comments:

Sean B. Halliday said...

I spent over 12 years working on them as a Scuba Instructor,
Shore Excursion Manager and an IT Officer.

During my years on ships, I have to stay that many things happened
and that life is definately stranger than fiction on cruise ships.

Many people have asked me to share the stories I have collected over
the years, so I am complying with their request.

The stories can be found at: www.cruiseshipstories.com

Sean B. Halliday

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