By Ashley Kosciolek
Cruise Critic Editor
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Dining

Grand Celebration Dining

Free dining options on Grand Celebration aren't a foodie's dream, but there is enough variety and consistent quality to leave passengers satisfied. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available, and the service at every venue is friendly and efficient. Wait times at the buffet during peak dining hours are manageable, and breakfast at Stellar Prime allows diners to be seated right away. (It is almost identical to the buffet breakfast.) Servers are trained to mention the breakfast options and times for the following day to passengers at the end of dinner -- a nice touch to help break up the crowds.

Stellar Prime (Deck 8): This is the main dining room; passengers can choose between an early (6:15 p.m.) or late (8:30 p.m.) seating for dinner, and will be paired with other couples or groups. A violinist rotates between the Admiralty Club and Stellar Prime, and plays tableside requests. Sommeliers are available at both venues, but the large wine list has a limited number of by-the-glass options. The restaurant is just one level, with large round tables and a handful of smaller two-seat tables, all fitted with white tablecloths. The space itself features decorative columns, dimmed lighting and patterned carpeting. A three-course dinner includes appetizers like shrimp and whitefish ceviche or minestrone soup, entrees such as slow-roasted prime rib or Atlantic salmon with teriyaki glaze, and desserts like white- and dark-chocolate mousse. The staff takes time at each table, without having to rush to serve too many passengers at each sitting.

Breakfast is also served, buffet-style, with waiters serving coffee and juice. (Lunch is not served here.)

Plunge Grill (Deck 10): This is a small, open-air buffet next to La Piscina (the main pool area) that serves burgers, hot dogs and fries during lunch and transforms into an omelet station for breakfast. Because of the central location and open-air seating, the grill almost always has a line. The venue serves a late breakfast from 10. to 11 a.m., and lunch items all afternoon.

Ocean View Buffet (Deck 10): The bright and airy buffet restaurant has window seating with contemporary, pastel-colored furniture and decorative mirrors, but it feels like a cafeteria. The buffet itself is centrally located within the room, and does not have additional food stations scattered about. Offerings include some healthy options like fresh spinach for salads, tomatoes and mozzarella, fish stews, and roast beef and pork carving stations, as well as a small area for pizza. Beverage machines include orange juice, iced tea and coffee, as well as an unexpected pomegranate- and acai-enhanced water. Coffee and pastries are offered in the early morning (6 a.m.) , followed by full breakfast until 10 a.m.; lunch and dinner are also offered here with a four-hour break in-between. For late-night snacking, American comfort food is served until the wee hours of the morning. Items include onion rings, mac 'n' cheese, French fries, finger sandwiches, veggies, hummus and tzatziki with pita bread. An impressive array of sweets like cookies and brownies is also available. The pizzeria is open for a late night, after-dancing snack.

Room Service: A very limited room service menu is served 24 hours a day; it includes ham and cheese sandwiches, fruit and cheese platters, and vegetarian sandwiches.

Fee Dining

The only two added-fee venues on Grand Celebration are the Lattetude coffee and smoothie shop and Admiralty Club Restaurant.

Admiralty Club Restaurant (Deck 8); $20 (dinner), $15 (breakfast): The specialty restaurant has no distinguishing characteristics that set it apart from its near-twin venue, Stellar Prime. There are marble columns, dark wood, tables covered with white cloths and a pianist quietly striking keys. The main difference is that passengers do not have to share a table with others, and the menu consists of five courses instead of three. Advanced reservations are required, although the dining room seems large enough to accommodate a number of patrons. The menu is more expansive here, with appetizers like oysters Florentine with hollandaise sauce or potato gnocchi, and mains like pan-seared cobia, veal scaloppini and rack of lamb. We highly recommend the penne with pesto cream sauce with pistachio creme brulee for dessert. Although the menu is more varied and the entrees sound more creative, there isn't much difference to the actual quality of the cuisine.

Note: The Admiralty Club menu is slated to be revamped to feature steakhouse-type selections, including better cuts of meat and more seafood. The new experience will carry a surcharge of $30 per person.

The Admiralty Club also features a Champagne breakfast at a cost of $15, which includes waiter service and a choice of menu items like omelets, eggs Benedict, pancakes and delicious French toast, as well as unlimited mimosas and bellinis. Reservations are recommended, but there were plenty of available tables when we dined there.

Lattetude (Deck 10); a la carte pricing: Located in the corner of the Ocean View Buffet, this counter-style cafe serves an array of specialty coffees, such as espressos, blended coffee drinks and lattes, as well as a handful of complimentary pastries. Ask about smoothie varieties, as they aren't on the menu. Drink prices range from $2 for an espresso to $4.50 for specialty frozen coffee beverages.

Grand Celebration Information

Find a Cruise

Email me when prices drop