Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Man vs food

For many Singaporeans, the thought of all the food you can eat, anytime, is a drool-worthy proposal and certainly, this is the major attraction of a cruise. While this is true to a certain extent, by the third day, we had already decided to skip breakfast. Honestly, it gets too much very quickly.

Legend has only two complimentary restaurants compared to Virgo's three. In addition, Virgo has a number of paying restaurants which the balcony class patrons can use their vouchers at. What this means is that the dining crowd at Virgo tends to be nicely spread out while Legend's dining areas are usually packed.

While I felt the crowds more keenly on Virgo, the exception was in the dining areas. If you like to eat at popular times, eg 1pm and 7pm, be prepared to wait around for a table at Windjammer, the buffet restaurant (kinda like waiting for a table at a food court). Oh and you often have a share a table.

The spread is pretty good at Windjammer and one big factor for its crowd is that the other restaurant, Romeo & Juliet, offers a very limited Asian menu. Which means that if you can't live without your rice and noodles, chances are, you'll be here most of the time.

My biggest complaint though, had to be the coffee. Throughout the ship, they use Seattle's Best Coffee (I believe Burger King uses this as well). It's insipid and tastes more like weakly medicated water.  If you want a decent cuppa on board, I recommend bringing your own 3-in-1.

Lesley-Anne, savouring her new-found photographic fervour, found the dining rooms to be full of inspirational imagery. She declared, "Jello makes everything look better!" Andre was a more than willing subject for this experiment. This resulted in what she dubbed the Jello Chronicles.

My budding photographer - one of the few times she's not behind the lens.

Romeo & Juliet is the more formal dining restaurant where you're shown your seats, so no waiting around. However, most of the tables here are large, so seating tends to be shared as well. To us, this is a big, big minus as it restricts us from talking freely (we like making silly comments, eg. "hey, that pudding looks like a slice of Spongebob!") It can also get annoying if you're seated at the same table as a toddler who insists on clanging on his glass incessantly with a fork.

So in terms of seating arrangements, Virgo wins hands down. Food quality-wise, the ships are more or less even - both had their hits and misses.

At Romeo & Juliet, we found their beef to be consistently good. Their prime rib was absolutely mouth-watering - so tender the knife sliced through it like butter.  One of the best I've tasted anywhere.

Beef shoulder filet, very well done too.

Gnocchi, not so good. Starchy and under-seasoned. Legend's pastas are nothing to shout about.

In terms of appetisers, this crabmeat and shrimp salad was a highlight. Very tangy and refreshing.


Pumpkin soup with walnuts, also pretty good.


We had breakfast at Romeo & Juliet once. Smoked salmon with bagel and cream cheese. 

Yes, I know these are only Fruit Loops. But they do look so pretty on camera.

And then, there were the desserts. If I'm being honest though, most of the desserts at Romeo & Juliet looked better than they tasted. Their chocolate desserts, especially, fell short of our chocoholic standards.

This was a chocolate souffle with coffee liquor.

One of the winning desserts here - a blueberry cobbler with ice cream. Kenneth also enjoyed a banana crème brûlée (not shown).

Key lime pie. Too sweet and not sufficiently tart. 

When in doubt, you can't go wrong with ice cream or sherbert. There is a different selection of flavours everyday.

Since tables are assigned at Romeo and Juliet, we had the same waiter throughout the cruise. Ours was Jasper, who looked after us very well.

On the last evening, they gathered all the cooks and waiters on the stairway who sang to the patrons. I really salute them. It's no mean feat to churn out 16,000 meals a day.

Apart from the two in-dining restaurants, there's a snack bar called the Solarium that offers pizzas, burgers, hot dogs and fries.

On the last day, we thought we'd try having lunch here for a change. It was a mistake - the food was atrocious (Lesley-Anne's photo definitely oversells it).  Only the hot dog was passable, the pizzas were simply inedible. We beat a hasty retreat back to Windjammer.


And as if the kitchen staff were afraid patrons might not have enough to eat, a supper party was organised one night, with a buffet by the pool and entertainment provided by the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers. 

All the yao kui folks, us included, tucked in with relish. And despite telling ourselves we wouldn't eat much, we still managed to polish off a significant number of fried chicken wings. As you know, one can never have too much fried chicken. Burp.


Next post: Activities on board Legend of the Seas.

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