Sunday, April 15, 2012

Signature Restaurants On Popular Cruise Lines

Signature Restaurants

Each cruise line has one or more "Signature Restaurants" that are not included in your cruise fare but are worth the extra money! Depending on the line, most of these allow you to pre-book and pre-pay for them. Most of them must be reserved before leaving port!! Their popularity is apparent cruise after cruise.

Cruise Ships: On Celebrity Cruises' Millennium, Infinity, and Summit ships as well as the Solstice-class Eclipse, Silhouette, and the soon-to-be-launched Reflection

What You Can Sample: Tapas, including Indian, Mediterranean, and Asian cuisine: baby back rib spring rolls, Black Angus sirloin tacos, meatballs three ways (Kobe with cheddar and marinara sauce, veal with mushrooms and marsala, turkey with cranberry and sage gravy), and lobster and escargot fritters

The Experience: Aroma, presentation, texture, taste -- Qsine was designed to engage the senses. An interactive experience from the get-go (touch your order on the iPad menu), the restaurant puts "culinary tour guides" at your disposal, who advise on the "palate pleasers" and portions. Expect whimsy (the dessert menu comes in the form of an unfolding cube), surprise (that crunch in the sushi rolls isn't tempura, it's … Doritos) and plenty of DIY (mash your own guacamole, frost your own cupcakes).

How Much: $40 per person for unlimited tapas

Why It's Worth the Splurge: Dinner for two at a classic tapas restaurant ranges anywhere from $60-$125 (or $30-$62.50 per person, depending on the size of your appetite), but you won't find Qsine's unique twists to small plates elsewhere.

Photo Caption: Qsine, Celebrity Cruises

Cruise Ships: Disney Cruise Line's Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy

What You Can Sample: An eight- or nine-course meal may include langoustines with apple and ginger; cod with red beans, girolle mushrooms, and a chili sauce; Kurobuta pork with a corn ragout; and veal tenderloin with a tomato jam

The Experience: You'll feel as if you've stepped out of a scene of Ratatouille (sans toque-topped rodent) in an Art Nouveau hall with burgundy and gold accents. Before seating, the house sommelier will whisk you to the glass-walled wine vault for a tasting; upon exit, ladies get the gift of a rose while all guests receive a box of chocolates, a fitting ending for a journey in haute gastronomy.

How Much: $75 per person for an eight- or nine-course meal; $99 with French wine pairings

Why It's Worth the Splurge: A six-course meal in the co-chef's two-star Michelin restaurant would cost $210 per person -- that's $135 more

Photo Caption: Adults-only dining at Remy, Disney Dream's premier restaurant
Photo by Disney Cruise Line/Todd Anderson

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