SeaDream II Dining
The quality of dining onboard is superb, and eating, or thinking about eating, quickly becomes a significant part of each day.
Breakfast is served at the alfresco Topside Restaurant on Decks 5 and 6. There's a small buffet of cereals, fruits and breads and an a la carte menu of hot dishes, prepared a la minute, with daily specials, such as eggs Benedict with smoked salmon. The orange juice is freshly squeezed. The waiters quickly learned how we liked our coffee and perfected a double shot, extra hot, skinny latte on our first morning.
Lunch is also at Topside, with a decent salad bar and a daily-changing menu. Although the portions are fairly modest, the variety is impressive, from Asian-fusion to pasta and meat dishes. It's all too easy on SeaDream to break your healthy holiday pledge to stay off alcohol, especially when a waiter appears in the lunchtime sunshine with a chilled bottle he "just thought you might like to try."
The elegant Dining Salon, with polished wood, crisp, white linen and fine tableware, has plenty of tables for two, but four- and six-top tables are available for dining with new friends. The Dining Salon is only open for dinner; we didn't have any rainy days, apart from the first day, but it would, of course, have served breakfast and lunch if this had been the case.
Weather permitting, evenings offer a choice of eating in the Dining Salon or on deck at the Topside, under the stars.
Portions are small enough to be manageable, and the waiters constantly bring samples of this and that -- things that they think you'd enjoy, such as small portions of dessert or an extra starter. As well as the items that change daily, a regular a la carte menu offers steaks, grilled chicken, pasta and Caesar salad. Vegetarian dishes are varied and beautifully presented, and SeaDream "signature" items appear on the menu at lunch and dinner. Two of the best evening signature dishes were Grilled Lobster Tail and Whole Roast Prime Rib-Eye of Beef, but the souffles were also superb; other memorable items included roast duck, fresh sea bass in an herb crust, and a particularly fragrant vegetarian curry. However, it was the intricate presentation that really made dinner stand out each night.
For those really watching their weight, the dinner menus usually included a choice of salad, soup, main course and dessert in the "Healthy Treat" section, with calories (248 was the maximum on our trip), fat, carbohydrates, cholesterol and sodium all listed. Even healthier was the Dream Raw Cuisine section -- dishes that only use raw, organic and vegan ingredients (no fish, meat, eggs or dairy products). These dishes are not heated above 118 degrees, so they retain all the healthy micro nutrients. The German chocolate cake with mandarin sorbet and mango coulis was truly wonderful, although the raw vegetable lasagna was quite tasteless -- despite the sundried tomato marinara sauce and hempseed-basil pesto.
House wines, a different one every night, flow generously. When the sommelier discovered my preference for chardonnay, a top-notch Greek wine miraculously appeared. It was so good that I kept the label with a view to future purchases. There's a comprehensive wine list for anybody wanting to pay for something other than the house offerings.
The room service menu -- burgers, salads, steaks, club sandwiches and cookies -- is decent enough, but short of the occasional cup of tea, we didn't use it, having eaten more than enough at mealtimes. Caviar, which used to be a room service item, now comes on its own caviar menu with a supplementary charge.
We did see people order "room service" from their sunbeds; basically, food is available all day, every day.