Live From Norwegian Dawn: The Word on the Chow

October 4, 2011 | By | 3 Comments

I’m about halfway through my debut cruise, and I must say, so far I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the food. I’ve heard many things about cruise food being mediocre, especially on mainstream ships such as Norwegian Dawn, so I honestly wasn’t expecting much.
And while a few things have been lackluster – cold side dishes in Moderno, the Brazilian steakhouse; slightly overcooked fish in Aqua, one of the main dining rooms; a flavorless lemon mousse in the Garden Café buffet– for the most part, our meals have ranged from good to exceptional.
Everything has been fresh — far fresher than you would imagine possible on a floating hotel. Salads are crisp and plentiful, eggs are cooked well, meat is flavorful and in most cases, tender. It’s also been exciting to see so many international options such as fixings for a full English breakfast including baked beans and grilled tomatoes and Caribbean-inspired dishes like dumplings, rice and beans and jerk pork in the buffet. And while I wouldn’t qualify the menus as hugely creative, they certainly offer a lot of variety, so there’s never really an opportunity to become bored with what’s available.
At Moderno Churrascaria — an all-you-can-eat steakhouse and the ship’s new import from Norwegian Epic (it was part of the recent refurb) — I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of food I was presented with (10 meats including beef, lamb, chicken and sausage, a full salad bar and four side dishes). But I thoroughly enjoyed well-seasoned, perfectly cooked sliced lamb chop, garlicky chicken drumsticks and a coconut flan that I’m still daydreaming about. And while I haven’t seen this restaurant occupied by many people at one time, it’s a pleasant place to dine: It overlooks the ship’s grand atrium, from where the sound of live piano music often floats up to serenade diners.
I’ve even had hot, crisp white truffle fries at Cagney’s, the ship’s for-fee steakhouse, to which I’ve already returned for another helping. Surprisingly, another standout was a phenomenally juicy fee-free burger at Bimini, the poolside grill.
Another observation: My husband (and traveling companion) is also a first-time cruiser and has been thrilled with how many dining options we have. He thought he would be eating the same few things every day, but has yet to eat the same entrée twice in a row. And we’ve only eaten in a couple of the for-fee restaurants (Dawn has seven, including Moderno, for which we paid $20 per person).
As for the other five restaurants, we would love to try the French fare at Le Bistro (which offers escargot every night), and the menu at the Italian restaurant La Cucina looks tempting, but after our night at Moderno they would bring our dining charges to more than $100.
Having had such a surprisingly good experience thus far, I can’t help but wonder how the food on other cruise lines compares. But for now, I guess I’ll just have to continue the search for more goodies on this cruise. Actually, I think it’s just about time for dinner.
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    3 Responses to “Live From Norwegian Dawn: The Word on the Chow”

    1. Monica
      October 5th, 2011 @ 8:03 am

      CC: Did you not think that it was way wrong to fill a diner up on the less expensive cuts of meat and sides not to mention the soup/salad bar/bread to get to the filet mignon at the end of the meal when your to full to enjoy it..We Found Moderno Filet Mignon to be exceptional, also enjoyed the Garlic Chicken..were you peddaled a Rose by the Maitre “D” or was that insult exclusive to Us..we sent the sides packing and focussed on some of the meats not all..if you pass you get to the good stuff quicker..lesson learned get your money’s worth by not filling up til after you get the quality’s your choice..

    2. Cruise Critic
      October 5th, 2011 @ 11:13 am

      @Monica, I’m not sure if you’ve ever been to a Brazilian steakhouse on land, but it works exactly the same way, so no, I did not think it was “wrong.” It is indeed very difficult to eat some of everything that is offered, but it is standard operating procedure at Brazilian steakhouses whether on land or at sea to offer a large salad bar and sides before the meat comes out. As for the roses, they were there, but no one asked us if we wanted to purchase one. In fact, in many countries I’ve been to, vendors will come into restaurants from off the street and try to sell roses table-to-table, so I was a bit surprised the staff didn’t do so. When did you sail on the Dawn? The ship has a brand-new food and beverage director who is sailing on her for the first time this week.

    3. Monica
      October 5th, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

      We were on the Dawn July 29th cruise for our 40th Wedding Anniversary. They needed someone new for sure, You must be aware that you cannot take flowers or plants off the ship so what does one do with a 100 bucks worth of roses shoved in ones face on a very Special Occasion, my husband was embarassed that he was’nt consulted first before the brazen Maitre d interupted our special dinner, and if indeed its called a Brazilian Steak House why is chicken, sausage & lamb served?..besides that supper we enjoyed most meals on board..

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