Sea ViewsFrom President and COO, Adam Goldstein

Sea Views Blog with Adam Goldstein

Enhancing your Culinary Experience

I am Ken Taylor, Associate Vice President of Food & Beverage Operations for Royal Caribbean International and I am thrilled to share with you some of the excitement we have from the new culinary enhancements and additions to our main dining room menus.

Our focus on Culinary has meant taking a refreshing new look at the main dining room experience and to gain even more momentum building on the great food and service experiences we hear about from all of you in our guest comment surveys. There’s no question, we have a lot of experience in this area and with the added value of our fantastic specialty restaurants we remain focused on broadening the variety we offer to our guests on every cruise. The Dining Room is no exception.

What’s been terrific in developing our new dishes, menu presentations and with communicating this new approach has been the passion we have seen from our staff in delivering the actual experiences onboard our ships. They are so engaged. It reminds me of my 15 year career before Royal Caribbean leading great teams in various North American five star Four Seasons hotels and resorts. Passion is everything at this level and the recent positive energy and feedback we have from our guests and crew is fantastic to see.

Right now we have introduced new menus on a third of our fleet. The new menus feature some key changes. First, the menu presentation is different, larger and attractive and includes some interesting information about our food and chefs. It’s no surprise that guests are intrigued in learning more about the culinary teams that wrote the menus. We have strived to be authentic and this means talking about chefs and understanding new learnings about the cuisine in the regions we sail. Our new menus show it.

Second, we have put the menu items our guests truly love on the menu every day of the  cruise. Seems simple, but let’s face it, some of these dishes are classics and so that’s what we call them; like escargot bourguignonne, Royal shrimp cocktail, aged hand-cut Manhattan steak, cheese cake, and creme brulee’ which are just a few examples. We have created a daily entree salad that’s offered slightly different every day. For example, we have a steak and spinach salad on one night or a grilled salmon or a snow crab salad another night. The feedback on this has been really positive.

To be honest though, and I’m truly being honest here…desserts are my specialty. In addition to favorites like Bailey’s banana creme brulee, sky high lemon meringue pie or classic baked Alaska we are featuring a piping hot sticky bread and butter bread pudding as well as a hot blueberry peach crumble. Both of these are served in new “baker” dishes that allow us to serve “straight from the oven to the table”. Ahhh, did I mention the carrot cake? It’s actually the best carrot cake I’ve had. Keep in mind, there are many favorites that have always been on our menus and we have tried to keep many of these in-tact like our sugar free and low fat desserts as an example. We have also introduced new gluten free and lactose free menu “icons” necessary for guests to quickly identify these dishes and we have included dishes that we can prepare gluten or lactose free on demand.

Recently I was onboard the Freedom of the Seas when we tested these menu items and the feedback was terrific. What was really nice to hear was something that came from a very large family who sailed two consecutive cruises on Freedom, the one before and the cruise after the new menu implementation was done. Their story was about an emergency meeting that was conducted and “called to order” by Mom at Cafe Promenade on the turnaround day of their second cruise. They jokingly referred to this meeting as an emergency, because they were so thrilled with the menu thus far, they couldn’t believe the new menu had so many great new items and also included many of their favorites from the menu before. We take the dining room and our menu items seriously and so do many of our guests.

Finally, we have incorporated an added level of support to the shipboard dining teams in the equipment we use to prepare new dishes and the investment necessary to present these new dishes. We have also invested in the training and development of our culinary teams and wait staff. Learning how to prepare and present new menus has been a very important task and their understanding of dietary needs has also been a focus. This means every employee in the culinary and dining operation has been retrained. This is important as the operation is “hands on” in every area, whether it’s the onboard butcher shop were we cut all of our own beef to specification or the 24 hour pastry shop where fresh breads, pastries and desserts are made from scratch every day. It’s just another way Royal Caribbean is focused on bringing the guest the wow they deserve whenever they cruise with us.

24 responses to:
“Enhancing your Culinary Experience”

  1. Ilse Duinhouwer

    Please can you tell me about the special diet food on the Independence of the Seas, we are sailing off on March 2th 2013…..i’m no diabetic or vegetarian but i’m loosing a lot of weight right now (cambridge diet) and are there low fat meals ???????

    • Adam

      Hello Ilse, while onboard you should find plenty of low fat dietary options. Once you are onboard, your waiter will be able to help you choose meals that are right for you.

  2. Linda Jones

    I am doing an Hawaiian Cruise on the Rhaposdy of the Seas next May 2013 to Vancouver. This will be my second RCCL cruise and I am really looking forward to it. I did a repositioning on Jewel of the Seas in May 2005. I would love to see pictures and activities on the Rhaposdy if you get a chance.

    • Adam

      Hi Linda, we look forward to having you onboard. To view photos of the Rhapsody of the Seas, please click here.

  3. Jennifer

    Which ships have had their menus upgraded??
    Thank you!

    • Julie

      As per Jennifers question, which ships have the new menu, I’m going on Voyager in a few months & was hoping it may be available on her then?

    • Adam

      Hi Jennifer, the new menus are available onboard, Majesty, Explorer, Adventure, Brilliance, Freedom, Liberty, Oasis and Allure of the Seas. Within a few days, both Jewel and Enchantment of the Seas will have these menus available also. Thank you.

  4. Lou

    Vegetarian options? Will the new menu accommodate vegetarians?

    • Adam

      Hello Lou, while onboard you will find many vegetarian options. Once you are onboard, your waiter will be able to help you choose meals that are right for you.

    • candace

      What is the dinner menu (every night) for the main dining room on Allure of the Seas. Sailing Mar 9, 2014, 7 night Western Caribbean Cruise ??? I could not find it anywhere on your website
      Where can I find this information.
      Thank you so much.
      Sincerely,
      Candace

  5. Lars Persson

    I must say that the new menus are great, except for one thing!

    Size… just got off Oasis with the new menus, and putting away that BIG menu for talking to your fellow tableguests, picking the bread from the assistant waiter etc is just a big hassle.

    The previous menus was much easier to handle and just put away, when doing something else.

    But thanks for putting the RCCL shrimp cocktail as a permanent item on the menu and the BBB is just great! :-)

    • Adam

      Thank you for voicing your concerns, Lars, we will be sure to pass along your suggestion to the proper department for review. Also, we are happy you enjoy the permanent changes to the menu.

  6. Stephanie Petros

    We were talking at work and the question was asked..”Where do the items that were changed out from the refurbished ships go? Ie: TV’s linens, furniture,glassware,dishes etc? Just curious , are the items sold, donated or given to crew to use or send home? Would love to know!
    Diamond C/A member

  7. Robin Robinson

    I would love to see a place to get raw juice and green smoothies. More and more of us are doing smoothies and vegitarian. Maybe an upscale bar catering to this.

    • Adam

      Thank you for your suggestion, Robin. These items happen to be available onboard Oasis and Allure at the Vitality Cafe, however we will be sure to pass this along to the proper department.

  8. rich nebb

    I was on The Explorer out of Bayonne, NJ for a 9-night Thanksgiving 2012 cruise; I was disappointed with the new menu compared with my cruise on the Allure two years ago. The dinner selections in the Allure main dining room included multiple different international dishes nightly and everything looked AND tasted great. The Nov 2012 Explorer menu was uninspiring and repetitive (Windjammer had much better selection) – presentation of the items ordered was lovely but most food items were not OMG I WANT ANOTHER. They just did not POP on the palate. The escargot was flavorless; the duck was overcooked; the steak was overcooked/fatty; shrimp cocktail shrimp were very small. Sandout items were Rack of Lamb on formal night #2, Lobster Tails and Filet.

    • Adam

      Hello Rich, we appreciate your comment and we will be sure to pass it along to the proper department for review.

  9. Peggy MacLeod

    My husband and I just returned home from a B2B aboard the Oasis from Nov. 17 thru Dec. 1. We usually ate dinner in the main dining room and I fell in love with the Linguine Pomadaro. I had it every night on the 2nd week of our cruise. On the 4th night of our 2nd week, our waitress said she would get me the recipe and have it sent to my stateroom. But alas, I never received the promised recipe and was not able to contact that waitress again since we had My Time Dining. Is it possible for me to get that recipe or can you point me in the right direction as to how to find the recipe myself??
    Thanks so much!!!

  10. Renee

    Will Indian vegetarian entrees still be available in the main dining room of the Oasis for dinner? Thanks.

    • Adam

      Hi Renee, once you are onboard please contact your Maitre’D and they will be able to accommodate your dining requests. Thank you.

  11. Steve

    Just got off the Grandeur and thought the new menu would be in the MDR. Do you have an updated list of what ships have the new menu options and a timeframe for future ships? It would help in booking my next cruise. Thank you

    • Adam

      Hi Steve, all ships will have the new menu in place by July 1st. Thank you for your comment and we hope this helps.

  12. Lisa Landis

    Hi Adam,

    We are traveling as a family this month on the Enchantment of the Seas. I am not able to eat gluten, and the new menus are life changing for me. I cannot tell you have thrilled I am to be able to travel without my food issues being the emphasis. RCCL has ALWAYS accommodated me (I have never gotten ill on a RCCL cruise), but having the gluten free menu available is just so AWESOME! I can order like a regular person now! :) Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the new culinary experience.

    Lisa

  13. robert K

    When do you serve eggs benedict on the Allure of the Seas?

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