On Cruise Food
So here we are, a while later and a couple of shades tanner. I would have said I'm a few pounds heavier, too, but weirdly I lost a pound even after gorging on food during our vacation - a cruise on the Norwegian Gem down to Florida and the Bahamas. It was fun and relaxing and, most importantly, going back to work on Monday made me wish I had missed the ship at one of the ports of call and "accidentally" gotten stuck there forever.
Cruise food is notorious for a few things. First, it is very easy to overindulge because most cruise lines have 24-hour restaurants or buffets or snack bars. Second, it is very easy to overindulge on mediocre food 24 hours a day. Third, I dunno if it's any correlation, but both my parents came back from our last cruise with alarming notices of essentially pre-diabetes blood sugar levels from the doctor.
I really enjoyed the food on my first cruise. This time, overall, I thought the food on this cruise was pretty good. I'm not as wholeheartedly enthusiastic about it the second time around for two reasons: most of it just simply didn't blow my mind, and they did not offer creme brulee. Perhaps a third reason is that we did not spend the extra money for "specialty" restaurants because our cruise fair already included the main restaurant meals. Maybe dining in the speciality restaurants would have changed my mind in the positive direction, but I also wasn't looking to come back and not be able to fit into my clothes anymore.
We ate breakfasts mainly buffet-style. There was the usual stuff: scrambled eggs (neon yellow and probably made from insta-egg...but still pretty yummy), made-to-order omelettes and eggs, bacon, sausages, biscuits, pancakes, grits, waffles, fruit, pastries, eggs benedict, hash browns, congee...? Yes, Norwegian serves congee for breakfast! With scallions and ginger as toppings! I loved that little ethnic touch. Alex thinks it's weird that I/most Asians eat atypical breakfast foods, be it congee or sticky rice wrapped in a leaf or buns with all sorts of sweet and savory fillings, but here Norwegian made a very smart and thoughtful move to cater to the Asian clientele. Breakfast was good, not fantastic.
Depending on the schedule of the day, we ate lunch at various places. I liked the poolside barbecues that involved enormous grills cooking up not only the usual burgers and hot dogs, but also seafood paella, grilled steak, and loads and loads of jerk chicken. A couple of times, we had buffet lunches, trying out the offerings like pasta salads, lamb sausage, vegetable curry, and stuff I can't even recall. In Nassau, Bahamas, we discovered that there is a large Greek population, so we visited a Greek restaurant for spanakopita, lamb gyro, and conch fritters! The food was better that some Greek restaurants I've tried even here in New York....
Finally, we tried doing dinner in the fancier sit-down restaurant most nights. Here, you could get an appetizer, entree, and dessert, but you could also literally order as many of each as you want. Three appetizers, two entrees, and two desserts all for yourself? Sure the waiter might give you a funny look, but you can do it on a cruise! Alex had a lovely experiment of having soup every single night. I tried to vary it up: salad one night, sometimes meat, sometimes fish, sugar-free dessert offering if I was feeling a little conservative. Overall, the food was pretty decent. I had a few bites that really impressed me. Cruise food is, however, extremely beautiful and looking back at photos will certainly have me longing for another vacation on the open ocean.