As she’s been sitting pretty over the past couple of weeks in the dry docks in Rotterdam, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas has had a bit of a make over.
She’s just been released from refurb, looking especially fabulous and whilst some of the exciting new features installed include faster internet, new shops, a new Broadway show and some new suites and cabins, it’s the new Dynamic Dining concept that has rolled out onto her decks which really tickled and tantalised our tastebuds.
Until now, it’s only the Royal Caribbean new ships on the block Quantum and Anthem of the Seas that would be incorporating this unconventional dining concept into their daily routine but as of March 2015, Dynamic Dining will be present onboard the Oasis of the Seas too (and will also spread to the Allure of the Seas and beyond as part of the Royal Caribbean’s Royal Advantage Program). As part of the upheaval, the liner has said a fond farewell to the traditional main dining room that has fed thousands of guests over the years (sob!) and instead will welcome a myriad of restaurants at which diners can choose to dine, depending on where their tastebuds take them.
It’s a revolutionary system that aims to give cruisers as much flexibility and choice as possible. Whilst the main Dining Room of old was a popular hangout, where table mates could reconvene daily to catch up on what’s been happening on deck and onshore, it was time for something new, fresh and, well, dynamic. The new Dynamic Dining approach means that cruisers will have no set dinner times, no required formal nights and no allocated seating, meaning that how, when and what you eat is completely up to you. Let your appetite be your guide and choose whatever floats your boat.
With Royal Caribbean serving up a smorgasbord of dining venues you will have more control over your dining experience than ever before. As part of the experience, there will be complimentary restaurants (including Silk, and The Grande) and speciality ones that carry a surcharge, such as Wonderland and 150 Central Park. So, to pay or not to pay? That’s up to you!
The www.CRUISE.co.uk recently had a little nosey around the new dining venues and deck plans to bring you a comprehensive breakdown of what can be found and where. Warning: Reading whilst hungry could result in fridge raiding and/or expensive dinner arrangements!
150 Central Park – Surcharge applicable ($115pp)
Start spreading the news, 150 Central Park is here to stay… Yep, Royal Caribbean know when they’re onto a good thing and they’ve kept the onboard Central Park and resident restaurant 150 Central Park in situ. So if you’re after a premium meal at a premiere restaurant, have a wander through Central Park on Deck 8 and you’ll find the prestigious 150 Central Park in the midst of the 12,000 plants and 56 trees. Created by the James Beard award-winning chef and restaurateur, Michael Schwartz, 150 Central Park oozes sophistication from every leafy crevice, and with royal wine pairings (recommended by the in-house sommelier, Eric Larkee) to match each of the six courses, you can be certain of a memorable (and slightly boozy) meal – hic!
In case you fancy visiting the restaurant twice during your cruise, there are two rotating menus so that you don’t have to eat the same thing twice. The Shadehouse menu runs between Sunday and Wednesday, whilst the Harvest menu takes over between Thursday and Saturday. The new autumnal menu includes delectable delights such as apple cider marinated veal tenderloin, cornbread parisienne gnocchi and smoked confit Hamachi.
Of course it does!
Want it to be even better?
Try the signature cocktail, the Cucumber Martini, which is served in a martini glass without a stem. You can’t find it anywhere else onboard and if you want something refreshing to start your meal that trumps melon balls every time, it’s definitely one to try.
The service charge at 150 Central Park is currently $40, with the 6-course dinner and wine pairings costing $75 each. Totalling $115, it’s still cheaper than what you’d pay for a similar quality menu in a Michelin-starred restaurant on land and with decadent décor and high backed chairs that will make you feel like you’re sitting on your own personal throne, the experience is definitely not something to miss.
American Icon Grille – Free
Take a road trip across America at the American Icon Grille, where you’ll feel like you’re driving along Route 66 sampling all of the local specialties, without worrying about encountering any roadkill along the way! Choose from some of the USA’s iconic favourites and sit in comfort as you tuck in.
Fried chicken (the proper way, not the fast food way)?
You name it, it’ll likely be on the All-American menu!
Plus, American Icon Grill, Silk and The Grand will each feature two menus that will rotate midway through the cruise – perfect if you need a little variation in your life. And who doesn’t?
Located on Deck 3, and taking the spot that the main Dining Room (sob!) used to occupy, the American Icon Grille is one of the five complimentary restaurants that are part of the Dynamic Dining experience.
Y’all gonna wanna come back for seconds, y’hear? Or just come back for breakfast the next day – it’s open for that too!
Who’s for waffles?
Boardwalk Dog House – Free
Taking the place of the Boardwalk Donut Shop on Deck 6, the complimentary Boardwalk Dog House can already be found on the Allure, Radiance and Splendour ships. It’s essentially a fancy-pants hot dog stand where you can choose from seven different varieties of hot dog and bratwurst.
Imagining a greasy hot dog stall in the middle of New York, where your only option is a hot dog in a bun with a splodge of mustard, or a corn dog on a stick?
Now forget about it!
The Boardwalk Dog House has far more to offer its visitors. From ‘The German’ – a pork and rosemary bratwurst on a caraway seed baguette, to ‘The Sicilian’ – a pork, garlic and oregano dog on a parmesan and cheddar baguette, there’s plenty of choice that ensures this hot dog stand is greyhound leaps away from the humble wiener. You can still slaver your dog with ketchup though, if you really must!
Chops Grille – Surcharge applicable ($35pp)
This American-style steakhouse is a Royal Caribbean hallmark restaurant and can be found on Deck 8 on Oasis as well as on a number of other ships, including the Allure and Freedom class. The cover charge is $35 per person, and the menu is gosh-darn scrummy.
Do you fancy the healthy Caesar salad? (Yeah, right) Or, would you prefer to throw the diet out of the porthole and tuck into a generous portion of Huckleberry cheesecake? Dessert calories don’t count when you’re on holiday anyway, do they?
Alternatively, try one of the dry-aged steaks that are new to the menu, which have been aged for nearly 4 weeks so that when you ‘moo-ve’ your steak knife through the meat, you’ll be met with a flavour and tenderness that is virtually unmatched.
Giovanni’s Table – Surcharge applicable – ($15/$20)
Found on Deck 8, Giovanni’s Table is all about Italian cuisine like-a mamma used to make-a, served in a casual and rustic setting. It’ll probably feel like you’ve just wandered onto an advert set for Dolmio, where the family-friendly ambiance will make everyone feel at home.
The rustic menu includes herb focaccia and gnocchi but the menu items change daily so that you will never risk being bored of the selection.
Open for lunch and dinner, cover charges are $15 and $20 per person, respectively. Dress casually, and enjoy some classic Italian flavours with your bella familia. Bellissimo!
Izumi – Surcharge applicable – Meals individually priced
Izumi was already on Oasis of the Seas but since the refurb it’s been moved to the port side of Deck 4, taking a spot where a private dining room used to live.
This 44-seat restaurant boasts an innovative design, which offers a Japanese-style menu that is far more than just sushi rolls (although these are a must-have). From the sushi and sashimi to ishiyaki (hot rocks) plates on which you can cook your meat exactly how you like it (just be careful not to sizzle yourself!) the menu is extensive and bursting with flavour.
Choose from tempura, dim sum, ramen or the sweet dorayaki pancakes, washed down with something from the chilled sake selection for an evening full of Eastern promise. Complimentary edamame beans and miso soup will also help to keep your tummy from rumbling as the sushi rolls are rolled for you.
The cover charge for lunch is $3, and $5 for dinner but the actual menu is a la carte and individually priced. You can expect signature sushi rolls to cost around $5, hot rock plates to cost between $6.50 and $10 and set combos costing upwards of $15.
It’s certainly not a bad price for the quality of sushi and Japanese cuisine that you’ll be paying for – in fact, Izumi is arguably the best Japanese restaurant on the ocean that creates masterpieces from the things swimming in it.
Look away fishies!
Johnny Rockets – Surcharge applicable – ($4.95pp)
Found on Deck 6, this classic Americana restaurant is in the style of a typical American diner, complete with 1950s décor and jukebox at every table. Sink your teeth into a juicy burger or chicken club sandwich, and nibble on a handful of American fries, or onion rings, as you sing along to some 50s classics. Happy Days!
You can eat at Johnny Rockets for breakfast without having a cover charge added but after that, it’s $4.95 per person.
You’ll half expect the Pink Ladies and T-Birds to walk through the door, complete with beehives and drainpipe jeans.
Will Johnny Rockets be the one that you want?
Plus, if you’re lucky, the staff will break out into a song and shimmy for you, too! So, grab the kids and introduce them to a decade that rocked and rolled. Plus a damn good ice-cream shake.
Sabor – Surcharge applicable – ($25pp)
Sorry Seafood fans, the Shack has stacked it!
What was once the Seafood Shack has since become Sabor, located on Deck 6.
With a cuisine that is invariably ‘modern Mexican’, Sabor can already be found on the Navigator of the Seas and provides a typical Mexican menu consisting of burritos, tacos, quesadillas, chili calamari and chicken stuffed jalapenos. It’s definitely a new kid on the ship that’s Hot Hot Hot!
Don’t worry though, it’s not all chili-crazy. You can even have guacamole prepared for you at your table (complimentary, of course) as well as freshly-made salsa. Any Mexican foodie fan will know a good salsa and this one reportedly is!
The cover charge is $25 per person and with a décor that is sleek, warm and chic, it’s definitely a far cry from the Tex-Mex cuisine that you might originally expect. Feel like you’re on the beach on the Mayan Riviera by washing it all down with a freshly prepared margarita.
Don’t forget the tequila slammers either, if you’re feeling up to it!
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila…….. ummm, deck???
Silk – Free
The Main Dining room (ok, we’ve dried our eyes now) that once occupied Deck 5 of the Oasis of the Seas has been replaced with Silk, a vibrant Pan-Asian restaurant that is inspired by Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai and Indian cuisine. Whether you’re in the mood for teriyaki or a humble tikka masala, far eastern spices help to bring new flavours to the plate to tantalise your palate.
There’s also a kid’s menu available for the little ones and as it’s one of the complimentary dining venues there’s no cover charge to worry about.
This means that you can focus on the menu and what spices your tongue will be able to handle without feeling like you need to breathe fire. At least there’s plenty of water around to put you out…
Izumi used to take up part of the iconic Windjammer area on deck 16 but it has since been removed.
Now, it’s all about the Windjammer Marketplace where the buffet is available to pick at whenever you feel peckish. It used to be open for breakfast and lunch every day but if the Windjammer on Quantum is anything to go by, there could be a 24 hour station, with rotisserie chicken and all-day breakfasts on the menu – perfect for if the five course dinner didn’t quite fill the hole and you fancy a midnight snack!
Plus, it’s complimentary, and we love a good freebie at any time of day!
Until the launch of Dynamic Dining in March 2015, the traditional dining experience of old will be available to cruisers.They’ll just have to get used to the newly designed space (without the newly designed dining options) between now and then.
We think it’s pretty cool to get a sneak peak of what’s in store, design-wise, though!
Restaurant reservations will be available for the Oasis of the Seas as of the 1st January so why not wish yourself a Happy New Year by booking you and your cruising companions into one, or more of these Dynamic Dining venues via your Cruise Planner?
Frequent cruisers will tell you that reserving tables beforehand is far better than turning up on the day in the hope that there’s a table free and when the innovative Dynamic Dining is brand spanking new, tables are going to be popular!
The menu of dining options is going to be bursting with new flavours and experiences onboard the Oasis of the Seas in 2015…is your stomach ready for it?// END - About the Author ?>