So if you’re a boy, second on your list of important things on the ship after being first in line for the FlowRider is sorting out where you’re going to stuff your face. Happily, on the Allure of the Seas (in fact, ANY Royal Caribbean cruise ship) you can pretty much eat 24 hours a day, with loads of choice too.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, as there were some restaurants we didn’t eat in, but our favourites were:
Adagio Dining Room
This main dining restaurant is actually split over several decks. Because we chose anytime dining, our entrance was on deck 5 and we could pop in for dinner whenever we wanted. At busier times (say on Formal Night, when all the big families want to dine together) this could mean a bit of a wait in the lounge, but we’d make sure we were armed with cocktails or a glass of wine, and it never took too long. The typical menu in Adagio was five or six choices for every course, plus some ‘classic’ dishes that stay on the menu the whole time like strip steak (which was gorgeous – the steak is VERY good on board). This was my beef tenderloin (and yes okay, I moved the olives so it looked like a face):
We dined a couple of times in Adagio with the boys, but after a while they’d found a few friends and tended to go off together (Johnny Rockets was a favourite), so it was just the two of us. The wine list is incredibly good (we love an American red: Oregon Pinot Noir… Californian Zinfandel) and we were delighted to find one of our faves on board:
… as well as discovering some new favourites too. This XYZin Zinfandel was incredibly good:
Adagio is complementary, but feels like being in a proper restaurant. We became really fond of our server, Ted, and he was always happy to swap things around, say, if you fancied two starters instead of a main – and he would often bring the boys two different desserts if they couldn’t decide! This strawberry cheesecake was awesome: creamy, soft and light:
You can also go in to Adagio for breakfast (on sea days they do a chocolate buffet breakfast!), but we tended to head up to the large buffet restaurant on deck 16, The Windjammer Marketplace. They basically have anything and everything you could wish for including banana pancakes to die for and, according to Mr English, really good coffee. The boys attracted bewildered glances as they headed back from the buffet with plates piled high with waffles, bacon, eggs, sausage, hash browns… you name it. Well, a boy’s got to stay fuelled up y’know!
Another of our favourite places was the Park Café. Central Park is absolutely beautiful. If you’re a bit frazzled from a busy shore excursion, or just fancy a light lunch (they also do yummy bagels in the morning), this breezy café is quick and easy. They have lovely tables outside so you can sit and watch the world go by. They have a really nice ‘build it yourself’ salad section and also do sandwiches, paninis and quesadillas. We got a bit addicted to the hot roast beef rolls as well as the delicious cakes. Also, the lads got to know the lady so when they asked for two cookies she always gave them four.
Speciality dining-wise there are several options. From gorgeous Johnny Rocket’s, a Fifties style diner that the boys adored (and that’s the beauty of cruising – they headed off there with their friends, paying the $5.99 dining fee on their card and leaving us to dine in peace!), and Rita’s Cantina, a lovely Mexican restaurant and bar out on the Boardwalk ( $3 dining fee per person, then you just buy each option individually) to Chops Grille, a fabulous steak house ($35 dining fee), there is tons of choice if you want to splash out. We found all the speciality dining really good and well worth the fees, which were still a lot less than you would pay in the equivalent restaurants anywhere else.
Our favourite speciality dining restaurant, though, was another Central Park place, Giovanni’s Table. This gorgeous family-style Italian restaurant had the loveliest staff. They’re so friendly, and when they didn’t have the wine we wanted, one of the staff rushed off to see if someone in another restaurant had it. While we looked at the menu, our waiter brought us loads of warm crusty bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. He encouraged us to order lots of starters to share, and we feasted on ‘mozzarella in carrozza’ (literally mozzarella in carriages), wrapped in delicious salty prosciutto; soft, sweet baked almond crusted scallops…
… and an incredible plate of antipasti too:
Groaning already, we then had a ‘pasta course’ (we tried not to go mad, but they FORCED us) with the most incredible crab ravioli, and then ploughed straight on to main courses (I’m afraid the camera was discarded by this time) – the boys all had really top-notch tender steaks(we’d drooled as someone on the next table had cut into theirs) and I had a really savoury, stuffed chicken dish. Everything was hot, fresh and really tasty. We adored it all and were devastated that we’d only discovered it on our last but one night.
For dessert, they wheel out a cart loaded with goodies and encourage you to choose loads, which brings me on to Charlie’s dessert choices ‘one of everything please’ and the best photobomb of the entire holiday. I know it’s a rubbish photo, but I just love it:
On the Royal Promenade, the boys quite liked Sorrento’s, where you can pop in for unlimited free pizza, and on the Boardwalk, there’s Boardwalk Donuts, the Boardwalk Dog House (teenage hotdog heaven) and a lovely little ice cream shop (there’s charge for this, but it’s minimal) where we’d visit in the balmy evening before wandering around the Boardwalk watching the kids on the carousel. Just gorgeous.
Next time: it’s all about the on-board entertainment, the Vitality at Sea Spa and shore excursions.