Most cruise lines offer specialty dining options in addition to their complimentary dining. A lot of people will skip right by those options because they’ve already paid for the cruise and don’t want to pay extra. Luckily, Norwegian often has their “Free At Sea” promotion going on, which could give you the specialty dinning package for FREE. Learn more about that here!
I recently got to try a few of these specialty restaurants and wanted to share my experience.
Cagney’s is Norwegians high end steakhouse. On the Breakaway class ships, Cagneys shares it’s space with the Brazilian Steakhouse, called Moderno. The Breakaway class ships also offer an outdoor patio. Like most steakhouses, the space is very dark and masculine. The appetizers featured, lobster bisque, Caesar salad, shrimp cocktail, oysters Rockefeller and lots more. I had the lobster bisque and oysters Rockefeller. Both were excellent, the lobster bisque was very good and filled with lobster chunks. Oddly enough, I wish the portions were smaller, because I quickly began wondering how I was going to be able to eat my entrée. I hate wasting food and when you’re on a cruise ship, you can’t exactly take anything back to your cabin. Moving on to the main course. The menu had many different cuts of steak along with a couple seafood dishes for the non-steak eaters. I got the filet mignon with shrimp and my husband got the tomahawk steak. My filet was perfectly cooked, in fact, it was best filet I’ve ever had. I liked it so much, I skipped my shrimp….I only had so much stomach space, so I needed to prioritize. Of course my husbands tomahawk steak came out and it had this huge bone hanging off the plate, like some cave man meal. He also said his steak was very good and perfectly cooked. By the time the dessert menus were being laid out, we all wanted to go back to our cabins and fall into a deep food coma, but we all tried something. The desserts on the menu were very decadent, but I felt as though some of the desserts in the min dining room were just as good. Overall, this was my favorite specialty restaurant. If you feel like splurging one night, I highly suggest Cagney’s.
Moderno Brazilian Charrascaria
This was actually my first time at a Brazilian steakhouse, so I was very excited. As previously mentioned, Morderno was on the other side of Cagney’s and also had an outside dining area on the waterfront. We were presented with a menu of meats, but we had nothing to select. All the meats and sides are brought right to the table. On top of that, Moderno also had a super salad bar. I call it super, because it had way more than just salad on it. It had a few cold vegetable dishes, pickled items, sushi, meats, cheeses and a couple soups, including my beloved lobster bisque. They also put these little cheesy bread rolls on the table. It’s almost as if they put them there specifically for dipping in lobster bisque…but what do I know. After everyone chowed down on the salad bar; well some rookies took 2 trips to the salad bar, but I knew better. Wait for the meat, I told myself. Once we turned our little cards over to green (green means bring meat, red means stop), the skewers of meat started coming out for a solid 20 minutes. Some of the meats that came out were bacon wrapped chicken, pork loin, flank steak, filet, linguica and more. Everyone at the table raved about the flank steak. I really enjoyed the lamb chops and pork loin. The meat all had their own very district flavors, which I really loved. When you see the menu, you’re thinking it’s all just going to be some meat tossed on the grill, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I will say, I was not a huge fan of the bacon wrapped meats. It was almost too much flavor. After we finished all the meats, they came out with the best skewer of all, whole grilled pineapples seasoned with brown sugar and cinnamon. This was the best pineapple I have ever had. It was amazing. Of course, I thought the pineapple was dessert, but no…they brought out a dessert menu, as usual. I couldn’t possibly eat anymore, but the waiter talked me into the Papaya Cream. I’m really glad I got this, because it was very refreshing and light. Overall, this was another great restaurant. Unlike the steakhouse, where I feel like the steak is the star of the show, I felt like the entire meal and presentation was an experience.
I’ve been to many hibachi restaurants so this was not a brand new concept to me, however, I never expected I would be at one in the middle of the ocean. Like your traditional hibachi restaurant, you get a salad, soup and entrée with vegetables, rice and then dessert. It was nice to see that they also had lo mein on the menu as an option. I usually don’t see that. Compared to land based hibachi restaurants, I felt like the chefs were more entertaining. They sang lots of songs and at the end they meal they made many paper origamis out of the paper menus. I had instructions on my menu for how to make a swan, but I couldn’t make one to save my life. Our chef made my nephew some Star Wars spaceship, so that was pretty impressive. Overall, we had a great meal. Because I have hibachi so frequently, I don’t think this would be my top pick, but I would definitely go back when my daughter was a little older. Unfortunately, my 3 year old threw a fit, so my husband took her back to the room. We may have over done it that day…oops!
I saved one of my favorites for last! I absolutely loved hanging out at Margaritaville. I read a lot of bad reviews about this place, so I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe I liked it more because it was totally my vibe and I had been listening to SiriusXM Margaritaville radio for weeks leading up to my cruise, but whatever. Margaritaville is on deck 16 and is open air. The bar there is called the chill bar and it had a team of the best bartenders ever! This restaurant was usually not very busy, probably because people didn’t want to pay for it. But what people didn’t realize was, there was a bar there and if you had the ultimate beverage package, there was no fee. The menu offered many lunch options, mostly sandwiches. The menu is a la cart. I’d say the prices were very reasonable, in fact, most menu items were half the price (or even less) compared to the land based Margaritaville’s. A lot of reviews said the menu was made up of simple items that you could get off the buffet for free. In my opinion, the quality was superior. For my party of people, we did more hanging out here than eating, but usually someone in our party would get volcano nachos and chips and share. To me, it was the atmosphere that made this place one my favorites.
Overall, I thought the specialty dining options were amazing and I would definitely do a couple nights of specialty dining whether it was free or not. It’s not often you can go to a steak house for $30 a person, so treat yo self!
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