Can you get amazing food on a cruise ship? We were wowed by the speciality restaurants on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas
In Ed’s initial review of Harmony of The Seas we only touched on the dining options available to passengers, aside from the main dining room and the Windjammer buffet. Good food is important to us, especially when on holiday and Harmony of the Seas has lots of choice for a more special meal whilst on board and we tried 3 of the 8 speciality restaurants on board.
You can get exceptional food on a cruise ship to impeccably high standards. Royal Caribbean’s Director of Culinary Chef Michael Gilligan, has 25 years of experience in prestigious establishments such as Le Manoir Aux Quatr’ Saisons and New York’s Ritz Carlton Hotel, and oversees all the the food on board. The larger cruise companies have an agent in every port to source them the finest produce, and I have been told that the only reason that some of the restaurants on cruise ships are not awarded Michelin stars is because of the requirement to have fresh produce delivered every day, which obviously is impossible when you are at sea.
Your cruise price will include the ship’s buffet and dining at the main dining room every evening, but you can upgrade to the speciality restaurants on board Royal Caribbean’s ships for a fee of around $100 per adult for 5 sittings.
Situated in the middle of the ship’s Central Park is a branch of Jamie’s Italian, serving the familiar menu of carefully chosen & authentic Italian products including Mortadella de Bologna PGI, and Prosciutto di Daniele DOP, which are served on the classic Jamie’s antipasti planks.
The staff are trained by the UK Jamie’s Italian team and are proud and passionate about the authenticity and the products served.
Fresh pasta is made onboard everyday just like it is in all the other Jamie’s Italian restaurants (the restaurant has its own prep kitchen, rather then relying on the ship’s main prep galley) and we greatly enjoyed the Jamie’s Italian classics of a beef and pork ragu made to Gennaro Contaldo’s recipe, garlicky prawns and langoustines, and a richly indulgent creamy truffled tagliatelle.
Izumi is Royal Caribbean’s Japanese Restaurant. On Harmony the space is divided with about a third of the space dedicated to Teppanyaki grills.
The sushi and sashimi is prepared to order in an open kitchen, from which we were served a feast. Tempura vegetables were coated in a thin and crispy batter were amongst the best I have had. Octopus sashimi with yuzu dressing was sublime and we were served one of the most attractively arranged plates of sashimi I have ever seen.
Lots and lots of sushi followed, with extra sashimi served on top of many of the rolls, like the Salmon Lovers Roll with salmon sashimi and avocado on top of a crab asparagus roll – all a real treat for the sashimi and sushi lover.
Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine
The aptly named Wonderland is the jewel of Harmony’s, and Royal Caribbean’s, restaurants, designed to be fun, playful and immersive experience. The restaurant looks out onto that oh-so-unexpected fairground carousel, and is accessed by a tunnel (the rabbit hole?) decorated with butterflies to add to the magic.
Although we did not dine in Wonderland on board, I did attend a dry run in London a few months ago, where we were served a selection of dishes from the menu. The magic started when, with a step back to our childhoods, we were given a water pen to “paint” our menus to reveal what as written on them. The dishes are presented by theme, Sun, Ice, Fire, Earth and Dreams and, as well as imaginative, are beautifully presented.
- Liquid Marzana Olives
- Crispy Crab Cones
- Baby Vegetables in the Garden with Black Rice
- Sashimi of Red and White Tuna with yuzu dressing
- Buffalo Chicken Eggs with a blue cheese and a hot sauce
- Halibut Cooked in Clear Paper with wild mushrooms, potatoes and bacon
- Berkshire Pork Belly with Apples and Crackling
- Valrhona Chocolate Mousse with Dulche de Leche and Crispy Pearls
I eagerly devoured canapes of marzana olives – liquid inside an outer case. The yuzu dressing with the sashimi was delicious, the buffalo eggs were served under a glass cloche filled with smoke, the pork belly had the best sauce I have ever had and I cheekily asked for some more (what can I say? I like wet food).
Service was swift and attentive and the meal left me satisfied but not overfull. I’d be delighted to eat the entire menu again, and would have loved to have revisited Wonderland when on board.
We were the guests of Royal Caribbean on Harmony of The Seas. All opinions our own.
Images of Wonderland Restaurant courtesy of Royal Caribbean