Avalon Creativity Dining
The restaurant on Creativity accommodates all passengers in a single, open seating. The room is a long, narrow rectangle, running lengthwise from side to side at the forward end of Sapphire Deck (Deck 2 of four decks). Outer walls are given over to large windows. With no actual artwork on the walls, the room has a bit of a stark feel to it, but the carpeting was quite modern and handsome, with gold and blue spirals accenting a warm, cocoa-brown background. The chairs are upholstered to pick up either the blue or gold accent colors.
Dining schedules are structured as a single seating, rather than open-seating, though in true open-seating fashion, you can dine with whomever you wish.
Breakfast in the restaurant is served buffet-style, with all the usual choices: yogurt, bread, pastries, fruit, cereal, an egg station, steam-table eggs, breakfast meats, hash brown potatoes, cold cuts and cheese.
One thing we did especially like about the buffets during both breakfast and lunch was that each food item was keyed to its particular dietary characteristics -- such as low-calorie, low-fat, high-fiber, etc. -- by a system of color-coded borders on the dish identification signs, which were displayed next to their serving stations.
Lunch each day was a semi-buffet or, in other words, serve-yourself salad, hot and cold soups, and dessert stations, augmented by a couple of steam-table entrees. These pre-prepared and reheated options were the most disappointing dishes served onboard. They often included grilled or pan-fried items, such as fish or wiener schnitzel -- items which should be served soon after preparation.
The single made-to-order station was the pasta station, which doubled as the vegetarian option. Though this was a decent choice for lunch, strict vegetarians -- especially vegans -- should take a cue from the fact that, on six out of seven days, these pasta choices included eggs, dairy, cheese, fish or shellfish, and they should check with their travel agents regarding dietary needs, or be prepared to limit themselves to the salad bar at lunchtime.
In addition to the buffet presentation, lunch always included two standing orders -- either minute steak with fries and garden vegetables or a sandwich selection (which changed daily), also served with fries. These two choices were consistent winners, and the fries were crispy and addictive!
Another option -- and a popular one -- was the grill on Sky Deck (the ship's highest deck). This grill-to-order facility served delicious bratwursts, mouthwatering cheese-filled sausages and either pork or beefsteaks. Achieving the requested degree of doneness for these cuts of meat -- often a quixotic quest on cruise ships -- was easy. The main problem with the grill was that it was limited to 40 passengers, so signing up first thing in the morning on any day you wished to lunch in the grill was required. Unfortunately, there was no effort made to check attendees against the signup sheet, a flaw which passengers figured out a couple of days in, creating crowding problems.
While chefs vary by journey (depending on contract limits), the dinners we had on Creativity were absolutely delicious. There are three choices of entrees (a meat or poultry dish, a fish dish and a vegetarian selection). There's also a short list of standards that you can order every night.
Though not listed officially in cruise documentation, it is possible to ask the maitre d' to serve one of the standard menu items from the dinner menu in your cabin during regular dinner hours.