Vision of the Seas offers traditional main dining room meals in The Aquarius, a two-tier venue spanning Decks 4 and 5, made elegant by huge windows and a grand staircase. During a refurb, it received new carpeting, minor decorative touches and the crown jewel: Chef's Table. Passengers can book this intimate space for $95 per person and enjoy a wine-paired dinner hosted by the executive chef and sommelier. Nestled toward the back of the dining room, the Chef's Table is accented with dark wooden paneling, warm lighting, large portholes and brass silverware chandeliers (read: chandeliers made of silverware, a whimsical touch).
Aquarius Dining Room offers two assigned dining times: early (6 p.m.) or late (8:30 p.m.). Or, passengers can opt for My Time Dining, in which they pick a preferred mealtime (anytime between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.) but can change reservations on a daily basis or simply walk in when they're hungry. (Note: Those opting for My Time Dining will need to prepay gratuities.) The restaurant is also open seating for everyone at breakfast and lunch every day.
At dinner, the menu offers choices of starters, mains and desserts. Always-available entrees include pasta, chicken breast, steak and a Chef's Signature Entree depending on the sailing. There is also a variety of vegetarian items, as well as a few gluten- and lactose-free options. Lower-calorie "Vitality" menu items are also marked.
Three for-fee restaurants that debuted on Oasis of the Seas now appear on Vision: Chops Grille, Giovanni's Table and Izumi. They're open between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. (Kids ages 3 to 13 can only dine until 7 p.m.)
Chops Grille ($30) is Royal Caribbean's signature steakhouse, serving beef connoisseurs anything from New York strip and filet mignon to 18 ounces of Porterhouse. The decor is sleek and modern, with subtle Art Nouveau touches. As with many spaces throughout the ship, an abundance of windows frames the outside views as sunlight pours in.
Giovanni's Table is an Italian restaurant serving family-style dishes at lunch ($15) from noon to 1:30 p.m. and dinner ($20). We particularly enjoyed a variety of cheeses and meats (including mouth-watering prosciutto), courtesy of an antique meat slicer toward the front of the restaurant; the spinach crepes; and lamb chops. It's pretty easy to go overboard on the family-style dishes, but if you order carefully, you'll have room for dessert.
Izumi, the pan-Asian restaurant and sushi bar, is nestled above the Viking Crown Lounge and Nightclub. In addition to dinner, lunch is served from noon to 1:30 p.m. Diners pay a cover charge ($3 for lunch, $5 for dinner) in addition to a la carte prices for each menu item. Passengers can choose from sushi and sashimi (combo platters from $6.50 to $12), hot-rock grilling ($6.50 to $10), hot pot dishes ($6 to $12) and appetizers like vegetable tempura and tuna carpaccio ($4 to $6.50).
One flight down, the Viking Crown Lounge and Nightclub now serves small tapas-style bites, ranging from Caesar salad and kobe beef sliders to flatbreads and red velvet cake. Tapas cost between $3.50 and $8.75.
Buffet meals are served in the pretty, large-windowed Windjammer Cafe up on Deck 9. Unlike other cruise ship buffets, this one is not open 24 hours. It serves breakfast from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
At breakfast, you can choose to wait in the made-to-order omelet line or grab the steam-table versions of scrambled eggs, pancakes, French toast, breakfast meats, etc. in the center raised section of the venue. Along the sides, cold items like fruit, cereal and pastries are on display. At lunch, passengers can find more traditional options like burgers and pizza, while dinner serves up buffet versions of the items on the main dining room menu.
Lighter options, such as soups, salads and Panini sandwiches, can be enjoyed at Park Cafe (a popular choice in the Central Park area of Oasis-class ships) in the adults-only Solarium pool area. It serves breakfast from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., lunch and pastries from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and late-night snacks from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Latte-tudes (6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.) is the all-in-one coffee shop, snack stop and Ben & Jerry's ice cream counter (which doesn't open until 11 a.m.). Specialty coffees, teas and ice cream cost extra, but cookies and pastries are free.
Royal Caribbean's room service options are available around the clock via 24-hour menus that offer a range of snacks and sandwiches. At breakfast, continental dishes, along with a handful of egg entrees, are available in both cabins and suites. Items off the main dining room menu can be ordered at dinner. There is no charge for room service between 5 a.m. and midnight (though a dollar or two gratuity is recommended); late-night orders incur a $3.95 fee.