ABOARD THE VICTORY I: Let’s talk about food. Or better yet, let’s look at photos of food.
The best would be to share together one of the fantastic meals I’ve had so far on the Victory I cruise ship.
However, looking at the food photos I am posting is about as close as we can come. I will warn you that it is best not to look at the photos if you are the slightest bit hungry.
Even though I ate less than two hours ago, those photos of tempting dishes still make me feel as though I need to go get a snack.
The ship has two main dining rooms – the Coastal Dining Room and The Grill. Coastal is the main dining room where breakfast is served usually from 8 to 9:30 a.m., lunch from 12:30 to 2 p.m. and dinner from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
COASTAL DINING ROOM
The Coastal Dining Room on Deck 1 is large and airy, particularly for such a small ship with its 202-passenger capacity. Fresh red roses are on our dining table along with a white linen tablecloth and napkins. Chairs are high-backed, padded and comfortable.
Coastal window views are plentiful. Tables can be set up for two or more. The whole ambiance is elegant and peaceful.
Wine, beer, cocktails and soft drinks are complimentary and served generously. If you want a visual preview of the night’s menu, the choices are lined up to see at the dining room entrance. Sometimes seeing those dishes made up my mind before I even read the menu.
Menus feature standard American fare but also some international dishes and vegetarian choices. Seems to be something for every taste – from steaks, prime rib, chicken, pork, lamb and pasta to Beef Bourguignon and pan-seared Corvina Almandine. A Great Lakes Fish Boil offered one night was a popular choice since we are cruising the Great Lakes.
Appetizers could be a meal in themselves – chicken and andouille gumbo, oriental beef salad, Michigan shrimp tempura, country pate, Boston clam chowder and much more.
I will give the Victory I chef credit for a tasty lobster tail dinner. Many cruise ships and restaurants that feature lobster tail on their menu served a dried-out rubbery lobster that must have been frozen and cooked too long.
Since I worked for a Massachusetts newspaper for eight years and covered the Gateway to Cape Cod, I know what good lobster tastes like. The Victory I lobster was good and so were the accompanying corn on the cob, grilled potatoes, asparagus and drawn butter.
For dessert choices, I could have been given any and would have been quite happy. Some choices were ginger crème brulee, sliced fruit, chocolate fondant, ice cream, cheese, sorbet, baked Alaska, banana cream pie and a delicious decadent chocolate trio.
The second more-casual dining spot is the 50-seat Grill on Deck 4. Formerly an open-air spot on the top deck, the Grill was enclosed for more comfortable dining in a more than $1 million renovation. The Grill usually serves breakfast from 7 to 9 a.m., lunch from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Some of the best views are from the Grill with windows reaching almost floor to ceiling and wrapped around the exterior of the room.
Looking for a snack? The Compass Lounge on Deck 1 has a coffee and tea bar with fresh-baked cookies and pastries.
A nice touch is the cocktail hour each evening before dinner. Hors do’ouerves and complimentary wine, beer, cocktails and soft drinks are served. Each evening the bar features a signature cocktail, sometimes a salute to that day’s port or itinerary. For example, on the day we visited the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, the signature cocktail was the Rock & Rollin’ Martini.
If you really like the day’s signature martini, head bartender Lourdes will make it again any other day. In fact, Lourdes is an expert at mixing unusual or usual cocktails. Plus, she does it with a smile, a friendly trait that other crew members share on the Victory I.
Photos and story by Jackie Sheckler Finch