On my first cruise in twenty years, I found many changes. I changed too. But one constant seemed to be great food and my love for it. Dining experiences remain one of the top memories from my earlier cruise adventures and is definitely one from my current sail with Holland America.
I boarded the ms Zuiderdam on the Panama Canal Sunfarer Cruise. A ten day passage meant many, many meals on board. And the main dining room (MDR) delighted for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu changed daily and the chefs delivered tasty dishes. I usually followed the advice of the waiter’s recommendations and I cleaned off all my plates. I occasionally ordered seconds too.
Yet on board I noticed the eating experience is not the main dining room. Theme restaurants (Italian), numerous Lido Deck serving stations, room service, and also a fine dining restaurant were all options. Fine Dinning?
The fine dinning on Holland America, the Pinnacle Grill, comes with an up charge. Lunch is $10 and dinner is $25 per person. I’ll admit I was skeptical since all the other restaurants provided such quality meals, but I decided to sample both a lunch and a dinner. I am glad I did. Very glad.
It starts with the service, the friendly hostess sets the mood. A waiter or more likely a waitress (no other dinning option had waitresses on board) serves your meal and attends to your needs. The lower ratio of servers to diners makes for excellent service. Quick and efficient. White linens, mood lighting, ocean window views, and quality silverware all provide a perfect setting. Tables for two can be romantic while larger groups come to celebrate.
But the real prize is the food. Although limits are placed on the amount you can order (it’s not unlimited like MDR) without a another surcharge you don’t book a table here for quantity, it is for the quality. Shrimps and Prawns were not just enormous but also tasty, the lamb chops I ordered for dinner were cooked to the perfect temperature, and desserts were incredible. Delicious.
Now when I look back at my time on the ms Zuiderdam, I’ll definitely remember my meals at the Pinnacle Grill. The service, presentation, a special waitress, and the meals themselves all received high accolades from me. I recommend the experience.
As for the surcharge? It was well worth it for one evening. Remember you are on vacation after all, and $25 is probably a small percentage when compared with your overall bill. So my advice – spurge – it’s your holiday.
stay adventurous, Craig
Craig Zabransky recently joined Doug from Cruise Radio on the Holland America ms Zuiderdam cruise through the Caribbean and the Panama Canal. More of Craig’s adventures can be found on his site – stay adventurous.
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