Cruising: the food

In my previous cruise post, I mentioned that some of the food was good and some of it was terrible. Mostly it was okay. But considering the limitations of cooking on a massive ship for almost 1800 passengers and 800 crew, I think generally the chefs did a good job.

As an aside, my only regret from the whole trip is that I didn’t get my arse out of bed early enough to go to the chef’s demo and GALLEY TOUR on one of the last days of the cruise (and when I say early, I mean 10am. Hopeless, truly hopeless.) Remember that I am not a morning person, though normally even 10am is okay for me. I blame needing to get up early the previous couple of days to go island visiting. I desperately wanted a lie in!

But apart from sleeping, eating, island visiting and cocktail drinking (see above!) we did little else for the nine days. There were two “free” restaurants on board – an ala carte one, and a buffet one. Mostly we ate at the ala carte restaurant for lunch and dinner and had breakfast at the buffet restaurant. And for both lunch and dinner we consistently ate three courses, plus sides, for each meal. The serves were small, but I’m glad we were only there for nine days because I couldn’t keep eating like that.

Would you like to hear about the good or the ugly first?

Let’s start with ugly so I can end on a good note. Here’s the bad… the oh so bad.

One meal I ordered the parmesan crusted eggplant, which came with risotto. This was a main, and while the eggplant was fantastic, sadly there were only two minuscule pieces, and the “risotto” was just bland, soggy rice. Ugh. The risotto wins the award for being the worst thing I tasted on board.

A truly awful dessert was this rhubarb and orange fool. Now, I know what a fool normally is – pureed fruit mixed with cream – but this was basically just a big dish of coloured whipped cream topped with a tiny bit of rhubarb jam. It was all just cream! I felt sick eating it.

A lot of the time I didn’t feel like something sweet so had cheese for dessert. While the cheese was fine, I’m placing this into the bad category, because the “quince” jelly and the walnut bread that came with it was terrible. The “quince” jelly tasted like packet strawberry jelly and the walnut bread was super dry.

You could order sides with your mains, and one night I asked for steamed vegetables. This is going into the bad because it contained my two most hated vegetables – peas and brussels sprouts. Two out of three. FFS.

This was one of the lunch options and was supposed to be a pumpkin and zucchini frittata. It looks like a friggin flat open omelette to me. And I hate open omelettes.

Potato and mushroom gnocchi in a rocket and parsley pesto. I wasn’t surprised that the gnocchi wasn’t particularly good.

Baked alaska parfait with chocolate sauce. It wasn’t bad as much as it was disappointing.

Ugh, I need to look at a photo of a cocktail to cheer myself up.

Okay, all better. Let’s move on.

The good.

Yay on to the good stuff. This was cured and seared Tasmanian salmon with creamy dill potatoes and mustard dip.

This was one of the best mains – pork belly served with scallops and capscium gazpacho and parmesan chips. If there had been crackling, this would have been insane.

This starter of crab cakes were good, though a bit too salty. We found lots of the food a bit salty actually. But I’m putting it in the good category because it’s crab cakes – c’mon.

The eye fillet steak with grilled red onion wedge, shiraz sauce and gratin potatoes was surprisingly good. I guess I wasn’t expecting much of steak on board.

Bro is making me put up this photo of the cheeseburger he had for lunch. He said it was awesome.

Steak sandwich for lunch. This was probably the best lunch option – it was a good size and tasted great. The baguette was really nice as well.

One of my lunch desserts – a frozen vanilla parfait with raspberry puree. Yum yum.

Another good main – here we have roasted rack of lamb and lamb casserole with thyme and honey baked turnips and carrots.

I didn’t actually order this dessert, but the waiter must’ve misunderstood my order. This was a passionfruit souffle with coconut sauce and I’m glad this came out because it was really good. Sweet, eggy and light.

And finally, let’s finish with a picture of pork baby back ribs with roasted bean stew, corn on the cob and mash. Mhmm ribs.

And now for fruit salad in a glass. Aka Pimms. Bro and I walked around to all the bars on the ship looking for the one that sold Pimms.

Here is a tale of two breakfasts. The healthy option (ignore the pastries sitting in the background.)

And the unhealthy option. Hah. Near the end of the cruise I gave up on eating breakfast and held out until lunch time. Yes, I got sick of eating. I KNOW.

Oh look, more cocktails.

Luke Mangan was on board for the first three days and he held a cooking demonstration. He was hilarious (and a bit mean). He cooked three courses, and pulled up three participants from the audience. His first participant (not this guy) turned out to be a vegan. Hahahaha.

As you can see, we had a good time and it was fun – sometimes daggy, but fun nevertheless. Case in point: picture of a laser dance show aka human disco ball above – so cheesy, but fantastic. I think that’s cruising for me in a nutshell. Cheesetastic!