I’m rarely at a loss for words, but there is so much going on, I’m not sure where to even start. Going under the Great Belt Bridge was certainly an experience. I was on Deck 18 and it was pretty close! It was actually a little surreal being up there with the crew dressed in Halloween costumes and a full moon. Everyone was cheering so loudly as we approached the bridge, and then when everyone saw how close we were, it got completely silent for bit. As soon as we were on the other side, the cheering returned. Check out the video on Oasisoftheseas.com.
It was a big day on Central Park. We officially opened Park Café. I think this venue is going to be extremely popular and it is a great alternative to Windjammer, especially for the guests staying near Central Park. The F & B team created a signature sandwich that you can only get there. Frank Weber, our VP of F& B, said the sandwich is called “Fritz Kuemmelweck” (I call it a fresh carved roast beef sandwich). The bread is amazing and the meat is hand carved and then you can add horseradish or different kinds of mustard and the au jus is a great touch. Park Café also offers the ability to create your own salad that is then tossed for you, or you can also get pre-made salads such as Potato or Waldorf. In addition to the sliced roast beef (sorry Frank), you can get grilled Panini’s. I especially like the placemats – they look like grass. The team really paid attention to even the smallest of details in each of the restaurants.
After lunch, I went to see how the Coach Store was coming along. The store is now fully merchandised and when I saw how amazing it looked, I actually got a little lump in my throat because I was so excited. The only negative thing I can say is that the POS (cash register) wasn’t working yet because I saw a few things that I want to purchase and we aren’t selling just yet. I’m going to have to check with Adam to see if I can expense these purchases because I would consider this part of the stress testing of the retail shops!
The Central Park activity did not stop all day, because several of us, including Captain Bill and wife Kiki and my senior leadership team onboard, were invited by our very own Celebrity Chef Keriann Von Raesfeld. for the grand opening of her restaurant, 150 Central Park. Keriann actually cut the ribbon with a very large kitchen knife and officially opened the doors. We had a rather small group for the first night. We start with a small group in each of the restaurants, and then each night add more capacity so we can properly ramp up and stress test, right up until we reach capacity.
The entire dining experience at 150 was magical. The room is so elegant, the music suits the restaurant perfectly, the wait staff was polished, yet engaging, and the food………it is a tasting menu, and Keriann came out and told us about several of the courses. She is very passionate about her selections and almost tells a story about how each course was created. My favorites were the corn lobster and the home made gnocchi with shitake mushrooms that taste like bacon. (I’m going to see if Keriann will teach me how to make those sometime during the crossing). The entire ambiance in this restaurant is so special. There were no first night jitters, and the evening ended by having the entire team, the cooks and the wait staff come out, and the team was given a standing ovation. I’ve actually never seen a standing ovation in a restaurant, but it was very well deserved!
We then had each of the team members introduce themselves, how long they have been with Royal, and what ship they came from last. It was so great to hear all the years of experience, so I am sure the guests will be treated royally when they dine here.
After all this food, I have to stop writing so I can take a little time to visit the gym. More tomorrow……..