ABOARD THE SEABOURN ODYSSEY – It is kind of funny, but most people on this ship are repeaters so as soon as they board they already know where everything is, including their favorite bar, favorite place to read or favorite place to eat. They even know who they want to play Trivia with. They never refer to the deck plan.
But we were new to the Odyssey, so it took us many days to figure out the many dining options. At first, it appeared that there were really only two: The main dining room and the Colonnade (their name for the lido buffet). There is also a grill serving hot dogs and burgers but we discounted that as a serious choice.
Now we know that there are indeed many places to dine on board, all serving different menus on any given day. And although some do request reservations, most of the time you can slip in if you are a bit flexible with your time.
To help you decide on where you will eat each day, the night before you receive a full Dining Guide in your cabin. This list the specials for the day in each venue…and by now we know that each venue also offers a full array of staple choices that are available every day.
We have tried almost all of these options by now and have discovered that the food is very, very good and quite creative. Seabourn has partnered with world-renowned American chef Thomas Keller to develop its menus. In fact, there is already a Thomas Keller specialty restaurant on the Seabourn Quest and on the new Seabourn Encore. That will probably be added to this ship and the Seabourn Sojourn during their next refurbishment.
So here is a rundown of what is offered:
The Restaurant: The main restaurant is as elegant as you would expect and offers a wonderful array of dishes prepared under the careful eye of Executive Chef Tomasz Borucki. So far, I believe the best dinner served was the six-course Chef’s Dinner on Dec. 13, a formal night.
We were served citrus-cured gravlax, white tomato cappuccino (amazing!), caramelized scallops, rose sorbet, a choice of halibut, beef tenderloin with foie gras or black truffle risotto as an entrée, finishing with saffron panna cotta and ice cream truffle chocolates. It was lovely. Tonight is our last final night and I an eager to see what the kitchen brings forth.
The Colonnade: Each evening this indoor/outdoor dining area is transformed into an attractive casual restaurant serving a themed menu. We have dined there twice, enjoying osso bucco on Italian Night and prime rib on American night. Both were large portions and done just right. Other dinner themes have included Indian, Surf & Turf, Seafood Buffet, Japanese, American Family-style and Spanish. The luncheon buffet here is also frequently themed…Mexican, Greek, Filipino, Satays and Wraps have been featured.
Restaurant 2: This is a small restaurant with only about 35 seats where a small plates menu is served each evening. We first encountered the concept on the smaller Seabourn Spirit where they did this in a small section of the lido a few times during our two-week cruise.) Now it has its own space. It offers a seven-course tasting menu that changes every two days. Here you will sample such exotic offerings as a lobster martini with watermelon gelee and vanilla champagne froth! We plan to enjoy this on our final night aboard. Chet has misgivings because he likes having choices. (Rumor is that this space is going to be converted to a Thomas Keller eatery.)
Patio Grill: While the setting is ultra-casual, I must say this is not your typical ship pool grill. At lunch, there is pretty standard fare including very tasty pizza. But at dinner, the offerings include filet mignon, rib steaks, single bone lamb chops, baked salmon filets, fresh dorado or sea bass and a special pasta each evening. I can see this being a popular choice when people come back tired after a day of touring. It is not quite so busy on these extended sea days we are now experiencing.
Room Service: Many people enjoy this choice once in awhile. We ordered breakfast on the day we were to tour Funchal, and it was served with full table set-up with white tablecloth, fine china and silver pots of coffee. In addition to the standard menu, you can order anything from the main restaurant menu during dinner hours.
And if you are hungry at odd hours, coffees and snacks are served in the Seabourn Square gathering area on deck 7 and fresh fruit is available in all cabins.
There are no extra charges for any of these meal options, including the caviar service that I wrote about yesterday. And lovely wines are included, served at both lunch and dinner. It is so easy to overindulge with all of these wonderful offerings but we are trying to stay strong.
December 17, 2016
Photos by Cynthia Boal Janssens