Royal Caribbean's Culinary Legends
Words by Brian Crisp
When Royal Caribbean's mega-liner Ovation of the Seas comes to Australia later this year it will bring with it two of the biggest names in the culinary world.
British food sensation Jamie Oliver (Jamie's Italian) and James Beard award-winning chef Michael Schwartz (Michael's Genuine Pub) will head the food offering on RCI’s flagship vessel in Australian waters.
“Royal Caribbean shares my approach to food and dining, which is to serve simple, fresh ingredients in a warm, inviting ambiance,’’ Oliver said at the launch of Jamie’s Italian onboard restaurant.
Celebrity chefs are a big deal in the cruise industry. Almost every cruise line has an association with at least one well-known kitchen King or Queen.
Celebrity chefs get paid enormous fees to add their food brands to a cruise ship, but there is no doubt it works. It is a fact that people choose RCI ahead of other cruise lines, because of Jamie Oliver.
For some guests, sailing with RCI is the only way they could ever afford to sample Jamie Oliver’s cuisine. It’s much cheaper to dine at Jamie’s Italian at sea versus in a land-based restaurant. All you pay is a relatively small specialty dining charge.
Australia’s food palate is now so well developed we expect dining to be extraordinary. And that’s pretty much what Royal Caribbean offers on a regular basis.
In 2015 it was voted by readers of well-respected British magazine Food and Travel as the “Best Cruise Line Overall”. They also won the award in 2014.
At the moment not all of Royal Caribbean’s fleet boasts a Jamie’s Italian or a Michael’s Genuine Pub, but that doesn’t mean the food experience is any less enticing.
Just imagine this: Book a cruise and you get ever-changing water views, exquisite cuisine, a vast wine list to select from, and you can eat almost anytime you want.
The service is arguably the best you will receive anywhere in Australia and you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to styles of cuisine.
The RCI ships offer everything from the tempting multi-visit buffets to the ultimate in 5-star cuisine, the Chef’s Table, where food and wines are perfectly matched during three-hour degustation dinners.
More stories on Royal Caribbean
Most mornings start on Deck 9 at the Windjammer Cafe where the choice of food is almost endless. Grab a table outside in the sun and allow the sea breeze to gently ease you into the day.
You can start your meal with cereal, add in bacon and eggs, fresh juice, some pastries and finish off with filtered coffee. There’s a chef waiting to cook the eggs just the way you like them.
Dress up a bit for dinner and indulge your visual and taste sensors in the opulent Romeo and Juliet main dining room. Parts of the menu change every night and it often reflects the local delicacies of the area the ship is sailing. Most nights you get a choice from 10 starters, 15 mains and an assortment of desserts.
The menu includes gluten-free dishes, lactose-free options, vegetarian meals, and the vitality range delivers a three-course menu under 800 calories combined.
You have the choice of two set times to eat or “My Time” dining, which allows you to eat when you want.
For steak lover’s there’s the New York-inspired Chops Grille, RCI’s signature venue. The menu is very American and it does feel like you are sitting in a restaurant in downtown Manhattan.
The steaks are also all “USDA prime beef raised in Iowa and Nebraska, then dry-aged in a climate-controlled room for nearly four weeks to achieve the pinnacle of flavour, tenderness, and aroma”. They actually do melt in your mouth.
If you love sushi, then Izumi will blow your tastebuds. This traditional Japanese restaurant, which you do have to pay a small fee to dine at, serves some of the best sushi that you will find in Australia.
Set sail on a dream holiday with Cruiseabout