Cruise ship review - - Norwegian Cruise Line - - Norwegian Escape - - dining review - - page 2
|Beyondships Cruise Ship Pictoirals and Reviews
Norwegian has long been a leader in cruise ship specialty restaurants. On Escape, Norwegian presents a powerful line up with choices ranging from casual to fine dining.
In the specialty restaurants, Norwegian is experimenting with ala carte pricing. Instead of paying an all-inclusive cover charge, you pay for each item you order. An economist would say that this is more efficient because the consumer only pays for those items he or she wants and consumes. If you do not order a dessert, you are not charged for a dessert. However, one of the advantages that cruise ship specialty restaurants have traditionally had over land-based restaurants is that you do not have to make decisions such as whether the appetizer is really worth the price or whether the filet mignon is worth a few dollars more than some other cut of steak. As the ship's name indicates, a cruise vacation is supposed to be an escape from such dreary real world things as economics.
Many passengers do not have to make such decisions because they purchase one of Norwegian's dining packages. These packages have proven very popular. As a result, noticeably more passengers are dining in the specialty restaurants on Escape than on the predecessor ships. Therefore, it is wise to make reservations early.
New specialty venues
At first encounter, The Food Republic is something of a mystery. Located forward on the starboard side of Deck 8, it is a glass enclosed area with views forward as well as over the starboard side. The décor is severe, light wood block tables set in a white room. There are counters behind which chefs are preparing food but it is not immediately apparent from the name of this venue just what type of food is being offered.
However, it is well worth it to find out. The Food Republic is unlike any other food venue that I have encountered at sea. The reason that there is no shorthand way of describing the cuisine is that encompasses and combines elements of a variety of cuisines. Developed in conjunction with Miami's Pubbelly Restaurant Group, there is sushi, Asian-inspired dishes, tapas-style dishes, traditional New England dishes, and more.
The Food Republic specializes in small dishes. You can have just a snack or order several and make it a full meal. The various dishes are described on the iPad attached to your table. You also use the iPad to place your order. Each item is then brought to your table as it is prepared, which may not necessarily be in the sequence that you placed your order.
This venue will appeal especially to people who are looking for strong flavors. All too often cruise ships avoid spices so as not to alienate those who prefer bland dishes. Not so the Food Republic, these dishes have personality. The bulgaric tacos and beef antticuchas were particularly good. The duck and pumpkin dish presented a nice contrast of flavors and it was no chore to eat the brussel sprouts. Those seeking a mild but tasty dish should consider the Maine lobster roll.
There is a separate charge for each dish.
Also debuting on Escape is the world's first Margaritaville at sea. Located in a sheltered area aft on Deck 17, this venue includes a bar and a burger-fast food kitchen. The tables are decorated with photos of Jimmy Buffet and a live band performs Buffetesque music.
This venue was originally a complimentary venue but it was so popular on the ship's first voyages that an additional charge system has been instituted so as to limit the crowd.
The margaritas are powerful and the nachos are good - - the nachos volcano is indeed a mountain that should not be scaled alone.
The signature Cheeseburger in Paradise is a good burger. However, the burgers at the Uptown Grill, which occupies the corresponding space on Norwegian Breakaway, are better. The reason is straightforward. At the Uptown Grill, you essentially design your own burger whereas at Margaritaville, you have a burger designed by someone else. If you know what you like, a self-designed burger is always going to be better.
Ever since Norwegian Epic entered service, Norwegian's new ships have featured a venue that combines a show and a meal. While the meals at these venues were not bad, the primary reason for going was the show rather than the meal.
With the Supper Club on Norwegian Escape, the meal is playing a more important role. Guests attending the “For the Record Brat Pack” show receive a three course meal. For the Brenda Braxton cabaret, we had a five course meal. The menu does not offer much choice but the staff showed flexibility in dealing with individual issues. In any event, it was a good meal, consistent in quality with the ship's other specialty venues.. A Wine Lover's Lunch was also offered in the Supper Club on one of the sea days during our voyage.
Escape has two other new specialty venues both developed by Iron Chef Jose Garces. Bayamo takes the place of Ocean Blue on Breakaway and Getaway. It focuses on Latin flavors and seafood. Nearby, in the space occupied by the Wasabi Sushi Bar on Breakaway and Getaway is the Pincho Tapas Bar with Chef' Garces' take on some traditional Spanish dishes.
Above: Food Republic Maine Lobster Roll.
Above: Food Republic Duck and Pumpkin.
Below: Food Republic Beef Anticuchos.
Above: Volcano nachos at Margaritaville.
Below: A Cheeseburger In Paradise.
Below: Pincho Tapas Bar.