And if you're not all tired of hearing about the cruise by now...here's the food blog.
I didn't enjoy the food quite as much this time as on other cruises - I guess I've seen most of the menus too many times in the last 18 months. This cruise didn't have any specialty menus, which disappointed me. We had the rotational meals in each of the three restaurants, the Pirate menu, and the 'Til we Meet Again menu. Nothing new on any of those as far as I could tell.
We had an excellent server, Vlado, who really kept our meals moving along - no long waits between courses, and we were usually done with dinner in under an hour and a half. It was nice NOT being some of the last people out of the dining room, especially since we had late seating.
Our assistant server wasn't as good - not very efficient in getting the drinks out or in some of his other duties, though he did better the last two nights after we spoke to our head server.
After boarding on Wednesday we went to the buffet at Topsiders. I always enjoy the peel-and-eat shrimp on embarkation day. They had a nice chicken salad on a brioche roll, and a really delicious cheesy au gratin potato dish. We tried a couple of chocolate chip cookies for dessert, which are normally quite good, but these were dry and tasteless.
As usual, we were in Parrot Cay on our first night. Five cruises on the Disney Magic and Wonder, and we have always had the same dining rotation with Parrot Cay the first night.
I had in mind to try some different menu items on this cruise, but I wasn't always successful - there were some things I had and in looking back at previous food blogs I see that I tried them before! :-) But they aren't always prepared quite the same way I had them in the past.
So....I started with the St. Maarten Stack, which is a couple of pieces of grilled squash with mozzarella and a vinaigrette. It's quite tasty, but a small serving.
Lee had the Baked Crab Martinique - I think he almost always gets this! It's a hot crab dip served with tortilla and plantain chips.
Next up we both had the Parrot Cay Salad. This is a very nice salad, with spinach and egg and onion. It's served with what they call "warm bacon dressing" - but it doesn't taste like bacon at all - we've noticed that before on Disney ships.
My entree was the Pan Seared Grouper. This may have been the best entree I had all week. The fish was delicious. I requested steamed vegetables in place of the rice.
Lee ordered Vlado's recommendation, the Mixed Grill. This included beef tenderloin, lamb chop, bacon-wrapped sausage and jumbo shrimp, served on mashed potatoes. He enjoyed that.
I actually didn't have dessert, since none of them were worth the calories. Lee ordered the Sweet Temptations, with creme brulee cheesecake, lemon meringue pie, and chocolate s'more vanilla cake.
We didn't do anything special for breakfast and lunch on our sea day, so I didn't take any photos. :-)
That evening we were in Lumiere's. There was no formal night on this cruise, but it was "dress-up night", so that's always my favorite restaurant for the more special occasions. I don't really like anything on the appetizer menu (no escargot for me!), so my first and second course were both off the soup and salad section. I love the french onion soup, so that's what i had (Lee had it as his second course). And it was nice and hot and cheesy. I think the serving size has been reduced over what it was when we first cruised, but that's ok - that was a little too big. This particular dish has been consistently good on our cruises.
Lee ordered the Smoked Bacon and Wild Mushroom Tart. He enjoyed this. I had a bite, and I would've enjoyed it, too - it was more like a quiche, and not very mushroomy.
One of our tablemates had the Jumbo Shrimp, which also looked good.
Next course was Market Green Salad with peppered goat cheese and raspberry vinaigrette. It's a nice fresh salad but unremarkable except for the goat cheese. I enjoyed it, though.
We both ordered Triton's Seared Sea Bass, though I had mine with vegetables again instead of the mushroom risotto. It was another tasty fish dish. All the seafood I had on this cruise was good.
I actually did get dessert that night, and had the Sweet Temptations with creme brulee, chocolate mousse, and a Praline Petite Choux. (Which was a fancy name for a meringue cookie. I don't know where the "praline" part came from, since I didn't detect anything praline'ish about it.) The mousse was creamy and chocolatey and good, and I enjoyed the creme brulee as well.
Lee had the full-sized serving of creme brulee and liked that.
Before we went into Saint John we had breakfast at Parrot Cay. It's a breakfast buffet with the usual selections. We often feel that we don't get very good service in the dining rooms for meals other than dinner, but we had an attentive server this time - a little too attentive, since he really wanted to chat and we were trying to eat! But he actually added hot water to my tea cup a couple of times which I appreciated. Those cups are VERY small and often on our cruises I never get a refill, though they come around with coffee frequently. I'm afraid my breakfast choice was quite boring - oatmeal, melon, and yogurt. :-) But they had a few toppings available over by the yogurt/granola area so I was able to add some flax and sunflower seeds to it. I wish they had Craisins since I don't care for raisins.
When we returned to the ship after our day in Saint John it was too late for lunch so we went up to the fast food places on deck 9. It was an overcast day - I would've liked something like soup, but ended up with a veggie burger and fries instead. The burger was just ok, but the fries were surprisingly good. Lee had pizza - that's his favorite meal.
I think that was the day that we went into Cove Cafe and they had some cookies/sweets in their refrigerated case. They had a "blonde brownie on a stick" that was pretty dry and not very good, but they also had some kind of a layered brownie bar and that was very good! I didn't take a picture though. We went back a couple of other days during the cruise, but were never in time for anything but the brownie lollipops, and didn't try those again.
That night we were in Animator's Palate for the "show" dinner. This isn't my favorite menu and I actually wanted to do dinner at Topsiders instead, but Lee wanted to eat in the dining room...so I wasn't in the best frame of mind for this particular meal.
I started off with the Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup, served with bacon and chives. One of my observations on our cruises has been the sometimes the soups are not very hot by the time they make it out from the kitchen. This one was warm, but not as hot as I would have liked. But it still had a good flavor.
Lee had the Sesame Flavored Rock Shrimp and Caramelized Onion Cheesecake, which is what I usually order, too, and it's been one of our favorites. But he said it wasn't as good this time - the shrimp was undetectable and it just wasn't quite right somehow.
My second course was Smoked Salmon and Trout with Goat Cheese Salad. It was served with sliced almonds and cranberry-balsamic vinegar dressing. This was pretty good, though I found the smoked salmon flavor a bit strong.
Lee had the potato soup as his second course.
I usually get the Black Bean Chipotle Cakes, but I wanted to try something different so I ordered Lemon-Thyme Marinated Chicken Breast instead. I should've stuck with the black bean cakes - this was the worst entree I had the whole cruise. For one thing nothing on my plate was hot - only the mashed potatoes were anything more than barely warm. And the chicken was dry. The sour cream mashed potatoes were good, though. I asked for steamed veggies in place of the roasted root vegetables. I didn't eat much of the chicken. Our servers really wanted to get me something else when they saw I wasn't enjoying it, but I'd had enough to eat, and I wasn't in the mood to deal with it.
Lee had one of his favorites, Asian Marinated Beef Tenderloin. And I think he enjoyed that as much as he always has.
There wasn't anything on the dessert menu that appealed to me so when Vlado asked me, I said: "Nothing for me." And that's what I received. :-)
Lee had the Buckled Warm Apple Crumble. Sorry that the photo is out of focus - they had dimmed the lights in the dining room for the procession with Sorcerer Mickey and my camera couldn't focus properly, I'm not sure what makes this "buckled" and opposed to "unbuckled", but Lee enjoyed it. :-)
Though there's no champagne bar on the Magic we checked out some of the other bars in the adult district. We found some champagne cocktails on the menu in Sessions (which was a very nice area - classy, relaxed, with some live music). This is the Elderbubble, which has the same name as the drink we had on the Fantasy in Ooh La La, but this one was a little different - still tasty, though.
We had breakfast at Topsiders on the morning we sailed into Halifax - it was a beautiful morning to sit outside! This is Lee's plate - he had one of the omelets that was already cooked, though they will make them to order if you're willing to wait.
I had oatmeal and fruit again. It was interesting to see that different buffets had different toppings available - I think overall I preferred the toppings at Topsiders. And the oatmeal was always good - not too thick and not too thin.
I mentioned this in my cruise blog already, but I'll mention it again here. :-) One of the food highlights of the trip was definitely the BeaverTail stand in Halifax. These used to be available at the Canada pavilion at Epcot and they were always one of our favorites, but the stand has been gone for a number of years now. I read somewhere that there was a stand in Halifax, so I was determined to find it! (It was easy to find.) Lee ordered a more classic type, with cinnamon-sugar, and I had one spread with Nutella. We watched with eager anticipation as the cook pulled them out of the hot oil, drained them, and then finished topping them. It was tough, but we managed to restrain ourselves from gobbling them down long enough to take a picture! They were soooo good!
That night was Pirate Night and we were back in Parrot Cay - that's always an appropriate restaurant to be in on Pirate Night.
I started with Pirates Golden "Pot Stickers". These are fried pork dumplings and not really that exotic - but they were still quite good. :-) Served with some pickled vegetables and a good dipping sauce.
Lee had Black Beard's Jumbo Crab Cake. It came with a carrot and coconut slaw. Lots of crab in the crab cake, so Lee enjoyed it.
For a salad course I had Mr. Smee's Bibb Lettuce Salad. This was more of a deconstructed salad, and not quite what I expected, but all of the parts were tasty.
Lee had the Jerk Chicken Salad, with jerked chicken strips, greens, and plantain chips. The chicken was good, and the plantain chips give it a different touch.
My entree was something I've enjoyed before: Sunken Vegetable Treasure, which is black eyed pea and quinoa croquettes with mushroom sauce. I always think of croquettes as patties, and these look more like sausages. I asked for my usual steamed broccoli with it. I'm a little surprised this dish doesn't come with some accompaniment, since it's not very attractive by itself. It's very good, though.
Lee tried Jack Sparrow's BBQ Marinated Beef Short Ribs. I think he always orders these. :-) But why not? They have been consistently good, and these were very tender - falling off the bone. Served with red bliss mashed potatoes and a tamarind BBQ sauce.
One of our tablemates had Captain Hook's Macadamia Nut Dusted Mahi Mahi, with Jasmine rice, sauteed pineapple and a mild curry sauce. It was VERY mild (as in almost undetectable) curry, and there wasn't much pineapple, either. She said it was good and had a nice flavor, though.
I didn't order dessert, but Lee had the Rum Soaked Chocolate Cake, and he enjoyed that.
One of our tablemates had the Sweet Temptations, with samples of the Rum Cake, Fruit Cobbler, and Floating Island. I almost ordered the Floating Island, which is meringue and fruit, and I've enjoyed that before.
The next morning was my favorite meal of the entire cruise- brunch at Palo. I booked this as soon as my booking window opened (which is 9:00 p.m. - sometimes there are advantages to being on the west coast!) The experience had a bit of a rocky start, though. We had a reservation for 10:00, which is when the restaurant opens. We were seated, and then we waited...and waited...and watched other tables get "the tour" from their servers and begin to go through the buffet...and waited some more. Finally, Lee went back to the podium and talked to the head server, who came over and apologized profusely - we'd been seated at the wrong table, and didn't have a server assigned.
So we got a server and got our champagne and our tour...and multiple apologies over the course of the meal and when we left. I was a little surprised (and disappointed) that they didn't offer us anything more - like free refills on the champagne. But oh well.
There are multiple stations at the brunch. First is "cold foods", with items like crab legs and shrimp, cheese and crackers, grilled vegetables and fancy appetizers like prosciutto-wrapped asparagus.
I always enjoy seeing the ice sculpture.
Next is the station with pastries and fruit. There is a wonderful selection of pastries, and I could easily fill myself up here! But all I usually go for is my very favorite thing - the sticky buns. They are sooooo good! Tender pastry and cinnamon-gooey goodness.
And then there's the dessert station - but even I don't start there. :-)
My opening plate, though you can't see the sticky bun hiding in the back.
Instead of a buffet line for hot foods, they have quite a selection of menu items that you order from your server and they are freshly prepared. There's breakfast foods like pancakes, frittata, eggs Benedict, eggs Julia, and eggs Florentine, and brunch items like Oysters Rockefeller, and tilapia and risotto. You can also order pizzas - we had goat cheese and sun-dried tomato.
I ordered the Chicken Parmesan, which is a specialty of Palo, but I'd never had it before. It was excellent - tender chicken and a really tasty tomato sauce.
Lee had the Eggs Benedict.
And he also ordered the Tilapia with Asparagus Risotto. I had a bit of that - the risotto wasn't quite as creamy as when we've had it before.
There were lots of really wonderful looking desserts, and I did my best to try a number of them. I had chocolate mousse, a mini sacher torte, a fruit meringue, a fruit cheesecake parfait, and some chocolate-covered strawberries. Though they were covered in white chocolate, which isn't really chocolate at all. The mousse was my favorite, and the cheesecake was also quite good.
Because we'd had the Palo brunch we didn't have lunch, but we needed a late afternoon snack to hold us until dinner so I went to Goofy's Galley. I noticed this "sculpture" watching over things - very cute!
I had a couple of sandwiches - one was smoked salmon on a bagel, and the other was turkey and cranberry. It didn't seem like the sandwiches changed day-to-day as much as we have seen on other cruises.
Before dinner we went to Diversions for a drink. Something we'd found out the day before was that they have daily drink specials in Diversions. During certain hours, both the drink of the day and draft beers are two-for-one. And if you're not finished, you can take your drink to dinner with you. We shared that night's two-for-one drink of the day, which was called a High Tide.
That night was our final dinner on the cruise, with the 'Til We Meet Again menu. We were in Lumiere's for the second time. We both started with the Grilled Potato and Goat Cheese Napoleon. This is layers of sliced potatoes and goat cheese. We'd had this on a previous cruise and loved it, but this time, rather than an attractive stack with layers of potatoes and goat cheese it seemed all glopped together on the plate. There was too much goat cheese - and that's saying something, because I really like goat cheese.
I ordered the Cranberry Salad with mixed greens, Craisins, and cranberry dressing. I requested they leave off the blue cheese. It was quite good - I really liked the cranberry dressing.
Lee had the Potato and Leek Soup. That's always been a pretty safe and good choice.
My entree was Green Pancakes and Stewed Lentils, which I thought was something I hadn't tried before, but in looking back at other food blogs I see that I had. And when I had it before I wasn't that impressed, but this time I really liked it. It looked a lot better than the last time, too.
Lee ordered Garlic and Rosemary Marinated Lamb Sirloin served with leek and potato gratin and bacon-wrapped asparagus - the latter item was not noted on the menu. He really enjoyed it.
For dessert I had the Chocolate Decadence. They have a very different idea about what constitutes "decadent" chocolate than I do. :-) The chocolate cake and parfait cup were fine, but I wouldn't call them decadent. I don't get the meringue cookie thing at all.
Lee had the Baked Alaska - he always gets that, so he must like it.
We went back to Sessions for a final drink. This one had champagne in it and I don't remember the name - but it was blue. :-)
That brings me to the end of this food blog - the next morning we needed to be off the ship early and didn't have breakfast in the dining room.
This was probably my least favorite cruise as far as the food goes. I wanted to try a few different menu items rather than going with all of my favorites, but most of the new items I tried were disappointing. And actually, a couple of things I've enjoyed in the past (like the goat cheese napoleon) were not as good. I tried a lot of salads, and those were all good. The greens were all fresh and crisp, and most of them had some extra ingredient too make them a little more special. But a lot of the desserts were of the "not worth the calories" variety for me, which is why I skipped them so often. Though one thing I've noticed, especially on the desserts, is that the menu descriptions are quite inadequate, and really don't describe what comes out on the plate very well at all. There are some desserts I might have ordered if the descriptions had been more accurate.
The previous post in this blog was Disney Magic Canada Cruise - Part 4, At Sea, New York Sail-In.
The next post in this blog is Disneyland's 2013 Ambassadors.