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Cruise Day 1 – Dinner

September 21, 2012

My husband and I recently returned from a 7 night cruise to Northern Europe and Russia.  I was going to say Scandinavia, but I’m sure I’d be admonished in calling it Scandinavia because the Scandinavian countries technically are only made up of Denmark, Sweden and Norway.  I could have called it the Baltics, which would then include Finland and Estonia.  But then, I was also in The Netherlands (though not as part of the cruise) which I don’t think is covered by using the term the Baltics, so it’s safer to just say I was in Northern Europe.  Ok, not that this has anything to do with the food I’m about to talk about.  Anyhow, we just returned from a cruise where we pretty much gorged ourselves in food and indulged in whatever we wanted.  After all, that’s what cruising and vacation is all about, right?

This was my 13th cruise, so I knew what to expect.  But, this was my husband’s first cruise, and while he had heard that cruising meant lots of food, I’m not sure he knew entirely what to expect out of the experience.  As I have always taken pictures of the food I eat while I’m on a cruise, this trip would be no different.  So come along with me as I relive the details of our 7 days of debauchery on the high seas as we filled our tummies with everything imaginable!

On Day 1, our first meal of the cruise was dinner.  As we didn’t arrive to the ship until the afternoon, and the ship departed Copenhagen at 5 pm, dinner was the first meal.  Every night, when we arrived to our table, our waiter would present us with 2 menus.

The first menu, was known as the Vitality and Alternative Selections Menu.  The Vitality Menu offered up a dinner suggestion (starter, main course, and dessert) chosen off the main dinner menu but put together with healthier options in mind for those health-conscious eaters.  The Alternative Selections was a listing of a chicken, beef, fish and vegetarian dish that was offered every night off the cruise.  These selections are different from what is on the main dinner menu, but are also more neutral selections.  Essentially, something you can choose to eat when nothing else appeals to you.  My husband and I never ended up eating off the alternative selections menu.

The main menu was divided into two parts, the Starters and the Entrees.

The Starters is where you would find the appetizers, soups and starter salads.  As this is a cruise, and that pretty much means that you can eat whatever you want, and as much as you want, there are no rules.  If you want it, order it and it’s yours.  So, generally, my husband and I would each order 2 starters every night.  We’d either get a soup and salad, or appetizer and soup or appetizer and salad, or some combination thereof.  I tended to stick with the more known items, whereas my husband was always willing to try new things.

The Entree menu is where the main dishes each night were listed.  Each entrée menu had a featured Chef’s selection for the night.  Sometimes we’d ordered the Chef’s selection, and some times not.  It always depended on what sounded the best to each of us.  While my husband and I sometimes did order the same appetizer, we never did order the same entrée on any given night.

On this first night, I started off my meal with the Melon Prosciutto.  Described as the classic Mediterranean dish pairing sweet seasonal melon with dry-cured Italian ham, it was the perfect combination.  The cantaloupe was perfectly ripe and sweet and that helped to offset the very salty, but super delicious prosciutto.  Perfect starter to my meal.

My husband chose the Vidalia Onion Tart.  This is certainly not something he would normally have ordered, but I had mentioned to him that for most people, this is their favorite appetizer.  The menu describes it as sweet Vidalia onions combined with nutty Gruyère cheese, then baked in a buttery crust; served with leek fondue and sautéed red peppers.  Surprisingly, my husband really liked it.  Ok, maybe not surprising since so many people have mentioned the fact that they love this appetizer.  But, again, this isn’t something I would have thought my husband would have liked.  I had a bite and I thought it was pretty good too, sweet, but not too sweet.  My husband thought that the sautéed peppers really made the dish.

For my entree, I ordered the slow-roasted prime rib, cooked medium.  Instead of the baked potato that the dish is supposed to come with, I substituted for mashed potatoes.  It was a lot of meat, but cooked well and flavorful.  I had no complaints about this dish.

My husband opted for the pan-fried catch of the day.  I don’t think this was originally on his radar until he heard that the catch of the day was sea bass, which he loves.  He really loved the fish, but one of the reasons he got such a large pice of fish was that it was basically rib meat, and the ribs were still attached.  So, needless to say, lots of bones in his fish.  And probably too many lentils as I don’t think he touched that at all.

Once dinner is cleared away, then the waiter brings the dessert menu to the table.  Even if you think you’re full, one look at the dessert menu and you’re instantly hungry again!

My husband ordered the Savarin, which is described as luscious sponge cake soaked in Grand Marnier syrup and finished with fresh fruit and mango coulis.  When the dessert was brought out to the table, it looked absolutely fabulous!  I kind of wish I had ordered it (though I would get a chance to try some later in the cruise).  It was almost so beautiful you didn’t want to eat it.  My husband said it was delicious, especially since he said you can’t go wrong by adding Grand Marnier to something!  The sponge cake was as moist and luscious as described!

Of course, we couldn’t just have dessert, we had to have some ice cream to accompany it as well.  The sherbet flavor of the day was orange, and that’s what my husband ordered.  Served with a ladyfinger and 2 scoops!

I ordered the strawberry pavlova.  Interestingly enough, until a couple of months before the cruise, I had never even heard of a pavlova before.  Then I watched a Food Network show and saw someone making a pavlova.  I’m not the biggest fan of meringue, but the rest of the dish sounded good.  Crispy meringue coated with fresh cream and topped with strawberry compote  – as distinctive as its namesake.  I think the cream and the strawberries are what got me.  When the dessert was brought to the table it looked decadent.  And at first bite, I loved it.  I’m still not a huge fan of meringue, but this had enough fresh cream that I pretty much forgot that the meringue was there.  And the strawberry compote was the perfect accompaniment.

Like my husband, I couldn’t just have a dessert, I had to have some ice cream.  Every night, they have chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, and then an ice cream flavor of the day.  Tonight’s flavor was coffee.  Yes, please!  Yummy!  Ok, here’s the point where I roll myself out of the dining room because I’m so full.

My husband and I were pleased with the first nights meal and looking forward to what the rest of the week’s meals would bring  for us.  Bring on the calories!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 7, 2012 9:55 pm

    On what cruise ship You made the cruise? I am asking it due to that if You know that there are many cruise ships made in Finland. My dream is to make a cruise onboard of

    Allure of the Seas – world’s biggest cruise ship,

    which is made in Finland. Did You know it? The link presents this huge ship in Turku just before it left for the States. I was lucky to shoot photos from it.

    • November 8, 2012 10:22 am

      I was on a sister ship to the Allure. I sailed on Brilliance of the Seas. Not sure if she was built in Finland or not, but I know that a lot of cruise ships made by Royal Caribbean are made in Finland. I know that Brilliance’s sister ship in the same class, Jewel of the Seas, was built in Finland. I sailed her a few months after she became operational. I think that Allure of the Seas only sails in the Caribbean.

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