Today is day three of my second sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and this ship, as I said before, is a city.
When seeing a city for the first time it’s all glamour, expectations, things you’ve heard about, and things you can’t wait to discover. Then, if you like the city enough to return, the joy is in the nuances. The early morning yoga on the helipad that I overlooked last time because of the novelty of tea and toast delivered in bed, the perfect Saphire Collins previously ignored because l just had to order a daiquiri by the pool, or the do-it-yourself frozen yogurt and English toffee cookies that I failed to notice undoubtably due to the chef and sommelier company I kept last time versus the chef, his wife, and their seven-month-old I have the pleasure of sailing with this time.
We’re here this week, of course, launching our new Garden & Market menus at 150 Central Park. Now regulars to the ship, local Swank Specialty Produce and Borek Farms are featured, as well as Genuine protein favorites Harris Ranch and White Oak Pastures. The excitement this time is double the pleasure, double the fun because in just three weeks the same menu launches on the Oasis’s slightly larger, slightly younger, but equally as majestic sister, the Allure of the Seas. (Insert metaphor of Mary and Edith’s sibling rivalry, and relative majesty — I’ve been stealing away to Downton Abby DVDs in my cabin, please don’t judge.)
We are so proud to feature our local farmer friends on this second grand international stage. Please see below for how they’re being featured on the full menus. They are certainly living up to their standards, as is the Oasis.
And, as a second time frequenter of this city on the sea, I give you my top seven veteran finds:
7. It’s easy to forget where you are or what day it is, because most of the time you don’t know where in the Caribbean Sea you actually are and it hardly matters what day it is. Pay attention to the elevator floor and make sure you set yourself calendar reminders in your phone for your scheduled activities.
6. When it gets rocky (especially when crossing the Gulf Stream) go to the very front of the Solarium. Keep your eyes on the steady horizon, and you’ll feel steadier as well.
5. The jogging path is a great place to scout out the port of call, take a lap before you go onshore and commit to a location.
4. If you can’t find a seat for the “Dream” aqua team water show, head up to deck 15 behind the “Wipeout Cafe” great view, just a zip line away.
3. The pools are open 24 hours. Skip the midday sun and opt for a much more private sunset swim before dinner.
2. Go to the back of the ship on deck 16 to watch the sunset (this only works before Wednesday on the Eastern sailing) and you might just catch the sports team showing off [See here].
1. Roughly 25% of the kitchen staff on board is from India. The Indian food at the International section of the buffet is as good as any you’ve had.
150 Central Park Spring Menus
MENU 1: GARDEN
Homemade Organic Ricotta
warm Borek Farms baby vegetables, orange, basil
Schramsberg, Blanc de Blancs, California
Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho
cucumber salad, marcona almonds, Swank farms onion sprouts
Chalk Hill, Sauvignon Blanc, Chalk Hill AVA, Sonoma County, California
Florida rock shrimp, chorizo, Borek Farms baby vegetables, manchego
Feudi di San Gregorio, Greco di Tufo, Campania, Italy
Borek Farms Tuscan kale & cannellini bean ragout
Elk Cove, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Slow Roasted and Grilled Harris Ranch Beef Short Rib
roasted cipollini onions, Swank Farms cress, romesco sauce
Achaval Ferrer, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
lemon olive oil cake, lemon curd, slow roasted strawberry, basil, sweet cream
Massolino, Moscato d’Asti, Piedmont, Italy
MENU 2: MARKET
roasted eggplant, pickled vegetables, tahini sauce, flatbread
Domaine Carneros, Carneros, California
Curried Lentil Stew
Greek yogurt, cashews, scallions
Bottega Vinaia, Pinot Grigio, Trentino, Italy
Pan Fried Gnudi
hazelnuts, cipollini onion, sage, brown butter, piave vecchio
Thierry & Pascale Matrot, Chardonnay, Meursault, Burgundy, France
Mahogany Black Cod
whipped parsnip, Borek farms baby pak choi, mustard sauce
Leth, Roter Veltliner, Wagram, Austria
White Oak Pastures Beef Two Ways
pan roasted filet & braised short rib, farro risotto, glazed Borek Farms baby carrots, parsley sauce
Caymus, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California
Milk Chocolate Cremoso
extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, espresso semifreddo, sourdough crostini
Graham’s, Six Grapes Port, Portugal