Monday, April 30, 2012

Oasis of the Seas, Part 2 -- Food

If you look at it one way, it resembles
that Ceti Eel from "Star Trek II"!
Still delicious, though.
Tuesday April 30, 5:06 p.m.

A few years ago, I saw a report on cruise ships and the reporter concluded that they were all floating buffet restaurants. He wasn't kidding. There must've been tons of foodstuffs on The Oasis of the Seas which gradually became part of our insides during the week at sea. Of course, a percentage of that stuff ended up going back....well, I think you get the picture.

A good portion of the price we paid to live out at sea went for food. Restaurants like The Solarium Bistro, The Opus Dining Room and The Windjammer offered all complementary fare. And all of us took advantage of that tighter jeans are proof positive. Almost all of our dinners were taken at the Opus Dining Room on Deck 4 where Waiter Markland Williams and Assistant Waiter Danny took care of us for the duration. The first night didn't go all that well due to a distinct lack of pacing which annoyed Mom and my sister-in-law to no end, but the guys got back on track for the other 5 times we were there. Above was my first main dish, a good rare slab of prime beef. By the end of the cruise, Markland and Danny were our best buds.

Up on the Boardwalk on Deck 6 Aft, there were restaurants that reflected that feeling of being near the sea in Jersey. Johnny Rockets was there. Though it was not part of the complementary plan during lunch and dinner, the restaurant served complementary breakfasts.

Sausages, potatoes, English muffins,
scrambled eggs
We had one breakfast at Johnny's. Of course, I opted for the carnivore's special. During my entire trip on the ship, I never opted for pancakes or waffles for some reason. I guess I needed a lot of protein to walk aimlessly all over The Oasis.

If you can identify every item on my dish,
you will have my eternal respect.
Buffets anywhere, whether they be on a massive cruise ship or definitively based in a landlocked restaurant, are always a hit-and-miss affair. The Oasis of the Seas was no different. We found that the Windjammer on the top deck had the overall best all-you-can-eat fare so we often had our lunches there. Even then, individual items hit our fancy more than others. My personal favorites were the mashed potatoes, the weiner schnitzel and the hamburgers. Desserts were OK but not spectacular.

The Windjammer overlooking Nassau
During the times that we were at port at Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maartens, the Windjammer wasn't too crowded but once we were on a purely cruising day, we made sure that we got there between 11:30 and 11:45. Luckily, there was a screen which showed crowd levels at the various restaurants onboard. Still, each time we got to the Windjammer, we could always find a table to seat all 6 of us. It's truly a huge restaurant.

In the middle of our cruise, the family decided to have one dinner at a specialty restaurant, so we chose the Japanese place, IZUMI, which was right next to the Windjammer. One of the stateroom videos showed the sushi chef presenting how to make the house favorite of Salmon Lovers' Roll. IZUMI was a bit more of an Asian fusion type of restaurant than a truly authentic place that I used to find in the wilds of Shinjuku and Asakusa.

Salmon Lovers' Platter
That is indeed the Salmon Lovers' Roll that was so lovingly made on the video. Just had to try it. Raw salmon, avocado and mayo! In back is the sashimi platter that we had also ordered.

I also had the sukiyaki nabe for dinner. Pretty hefty stuff, especially since the sukiyaki beef which is usually pretty thinly sliced was basically mini-steaks in terms of thickness. With dessert, I was one pretty stuffed fellow....not something that one can usually say after a meal at a Japanese restaurant.

IZUMI did have a great view of us launching from St. Thomas during dusk.

Finally, there were the smaller places like The Cupcake Cupboard peppered liberally along the Promenade. Here's my niece taking her sweet time making a decision on her cupcake. This was also a specialty place in that payment is necessary. It was so easy to find something to nosh onboard that gaining weight was an inevitability.