Review: Giovanni's Table on Brilliance of the Seas

In:
16Dec2015

Of all the Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants available, few have spread as far and as wide as Giovanni's Table has, especially given how relatively new it is to Royal Caribbean.

While aboard Brilliance of the Seas, I just could not resist the temptation to enjoy lunch at Giovanni's Table one more time.

I had no plans to dine at Giovanni's Table, but the tempting favorites along with the lower lunch price swayed my decision on one particular sea day.

Atmosphere

Located on deck 6, Giovanni's Table is across from the ever popular Schooner Bar.

Walking in, the restaurant is rather large and offers seating in a variety of configurations.

The restaurant is essentially one large room, with windows making up one wall, that offer an unobstructed view of the ocean.

On our day to eat here, there were waves of 2-4 meters, so we certainly had some action to see.  Admittedly, these waves were also responsible for not having the largest of appetites with all of the motion.

Giovanni's Table will not win any accolades purely for its aesthetical looks, but it feels like a restaurant that is distinct from its surroundings and certainly more elaborately decorated than Rita's Cantina

Eats

It is no secret that Giovanni's Table is an Italian restaurant and there are plenty of Italian favorites to pick from on the menu.

On my last visit to Giovanni's Table on Freedom of the Seas, I felt I did not do a good job ordering, so this time I would try something more on the "seafood spectrum" as means of correcting the experience.

Once seated, we were served complimentary bread and olive oil.  This is consistent with the every other Giovanni's Table I have dined at and having bread and oil is a standard practice among many Italian restaurants.

As I said earlier, the ship was rocking quite a bit so we ordered lightly.  

To start with, we shared an insalata caprese.

This is your standard tomato and mozzarella salad. If I can be picky, I would point out the tomatoes are the same previously frozen tomatoes served in the Windjammer.  Not the end of the world, but I was hoping for something fresher.

I also ordered the eggplant parmigiana.

The eggplant parm from Giovanni's Table is not breaded and is more of a baked eggplant than traditional eggplant parm.  Nonetheless, I would say this was the best eggplant parm I have had at Giovanni's Table in quite a while.

For our entrees, I ordered the sole filets, while my wife opted for the pappardelle pasta.

My fish was a lightly fried sole filet that was served on top of sautéed garlic zucchini spaghetti.

The fish was light and pretty good, but it was the zucchini that I really enjoyed.  Combining the zucchini and fish together was a real treat and if I were to order this again, I would ask for extra zucchini.

My wife's pasta came in a white cream sauce and the little she ate of it, she enjoyed (the motion of the ocean was starting to get to her by this point).  

I sampled a bit of it too and thought the pasta tasted better than something out of the box.

Overall

Giovanni's Table on Brilliance of the Seas is a good option for those looking for Italian food that is more than just the typical pasta and sauce served in the Windjammer.

It is far from my favorite specialty restaurant, but the price (especially for lunch) makes it almost impossible to ignore. 

I will point out that when we dined there, there were perhaps six tables but only one waiter who also was serving as maître d'.  

Because of this, the service was extremely slow.  It did improve towards the tail end of the meal when more servers showed up to assist. 

Our overworked waiter was still quite generous, because he opted not to charge my wife for her meal because she barely ate it due to her not feeling well.  Definitely a welcome gesture and a credit to his service.

If you are asking, "should I eat at Giovanni's Table on Brilliance of the Seas," my advice is go for lunch on a sea day and take advantage of the lower cost and ease of which it is to get a table.  Stick with traditional Italian dishes and enjoy the view!

Giovanni's Table is open for lunch 12:00pm to 1:30pm and open for dinner 6:00pm to 9:30pm and we reviewed Giovanni's Table on Brilliance of the Seas.

Gastrointestinal virus hits Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas

In:
15Dec2015

Australian health authorities are reporting about 182 passengers aboard Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas have been sickened with a gastrointestinal virus during a recent cruise.

Royal Caribbean notified the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District of the virus.

No patients required treatment at a hospital, although paramedics were on hand when Explorer of the Seas docked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at The Rocks just before 6am on Wednesday.

A representaive from the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District indicated the ship would undergo extra cleaning to control the outbreak prior to new passengers being able to board.

Explorer of the Seas recently arrived in Australia to begin her cruising season just last month.

Explorer of the Seas last experienced a Norovirus outbreak in January 2014.

Royal Caribbean reveals Ultimate Abyss 10 story slide coming to Harmony of the Seas

In:
15Dec2015

After months of hinting, Royal Caribbean has finally revealed what guests can look forward to trying onboard Harmony of the Seas with the 10 story slide known as, "Ultimate Abyss."

Ultimate Abyss will be the tallest slide at sea and also an epic adventure.

The Ultimate Abyss is more than 150 feet above sea level and offers side-by-side slides that send guests down 10 decks at a rate of 9 miles per hour.

Launching onto the ride from a glass platform, guests can take one last look at the Boardwalk 10 decks below before climbing onto a customized mat and taking the plunge into the depths of the daunting slides. Spontaneous audio effects within each tunnel create a multi-sensory thrill for daring guests willing to test their mettle while traversing 216 feet through the one-of-a-kind slide duo. The Ultimate Abyss is made up of two separate cylinders, a reflection of one-another, each with a diameter of approximately 2.6 feet and constructed of stainless steel.

Will you try Ultimate Abyss? Tell us if you are brave enough in the comments!

Spotted: Royal Caribbean offering a 4 device internet package

In:
15Dec2015

Royal Caribbean is starting to offer its guests an internet package that supports up to 4 devices connected at one time on select sailings.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Ken Houston spotted on the new offering, which has a price of $40 per day.

Royal Caribbean has been offering unlimited internet packages for one or two devices, at $15 per day or $22.50 respectively.   This new option allows more devices to remain connected, which would save money for families cruising together.

Thus far, the new 4 device internet package is not available fleetwide yet, and has been reported on Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas on sailings that begin this week, going until about January 2, 2016.

Mariner of the Seas to host first dance camp at sea

In:
15Dec2015

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas will host a world-first dance theme cruise, featuring regional dance veteran Aleena Tan as well as world and regional renowned coaches such as Burn The Floor’s Luka Fanni from Italy, Peter Townsend and Belman Salihovic from Australia, Sunny Low, Derrick Torre and Feliz Ferlino from Singapore and Uapan Sdnivongs from Thailandi.

This special event will take place on a 4-night cruise from February 29 to March 4, 2016 from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang) and Langkawi is expected to attract dance enthusiasts from across the region, who will enjoy the exclusive tutelage under these world class class veterans, all brought together on this cruise.

Workshops onboard will offer guests ballroom and Latin dancing, Banchatango, New Vogue and Rock ‘n’ Roll classes, and include demonstrations from the coaches. 

In addition, the event will offer previews and dance shows on Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble, Jive, Waltz, Tango, Slow Foxtrot and Quickstep, along the ship’s 136m-long Royal Promenade and in the 1,300-seater theater. Performers will include Professional Champions from Russia, Mikhail Eremeeve and Olesya Eremeeva.

Aleena Tan has previously organized four dance theme cruises with Royal Caribbean in Asia with the most recent one as “Dancesport All Champions”, the world’s first showdance competition at sea in January 2015. On her choice of Royal Caribbean again for her latest dance theme cruise, she said, “We always want to do something different and unique for every one of these dance cruises, which is very much like the innovative feel of Royal Caribbean ships. Plus, I’ve always been attracted to Mariner of the Seas’ classy ambiance, beautiful venues and excellent service, which has been a most befitting choice for all my past events, like for the upcoming one.” 

Royal Caribbean will offer new show on Ovation of the Seas called The Dream

In:
14Dec2015

When Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas debuts next year, guests can look forward to seeing a brand new show onboard called, "The Dream".

There is not much information yet as to what the show is about, but Royal Caribbean announced auditions for the show, which confirms its existence.

Ovation of the Seas is under construction at the Meyer Werft ship yard in Papenburg, Germany. Ovation of the Seas will be debuting in April 2016 and will be offering cruises in Asia and Australia.

Dining with kids in Royal Caribbean's specialty restaurants

In:
14Dec2015

Royal Caribbean's specialty restaurants are one aspect of the cruise experience many guests look forward to each sailing, but just because you have children with you does not mean you cannot enjoy these restaurants.

Royal Caribbean welcomes children younger than 13 in all of its specialty restaurants (when accompanied by an adult) and even offers them special pricing.

How much does it cost for children to eat at specialty restaurant?

Kids ages 6-12 can dine at specialty restaurants for a $8 cover charge.

Kids 5 years old and under eat free.

Is there a special menu for kids?

Kids 5-12 have a modified adult menu,which is a round-up of kid-friendly favorites from the regular menu.

Kids under 5 are free and have a kiddies menu similar to the kids menu in the main dining room.

Some restaurants do not have kids menus and so kids order off the regular menu.

Royal Caribbean specifies restaurants such as Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, 150 Central Park, and Chef's Table do not have kids menus, as those experiences are better suited for guests age 13 and older. 

What if my kids want to eat off the regular adult menu?

In this scenario, you may be charged full price for your children.

It is worth discussing with your waiter, as we have heard of situations where they still charge the children pricing.  

Your mileage may vary, but expect to pay full price for children ordering off the regular menu when there is no kids menu option.

How do I make reservations at a specialty restaurant if I am bringing children?

If you book in advance, you will pay the full price but then it will be adjusted for the children's price as a credit on your SeaPass on board.

Bookings made on board will be charged the reduced rate when booked.

Because the Cruise Planner does not offer pricing for children, we recommend making reservations for a party size that omits the children and then showing up to the reservation with the children and informing the staff your dining party has grown.

This strategy allows guests to not overpay for their dining reservations and require an adjustment later.

What is the pricing for children at a la carte specialty restaurants?

At a la carte specialty restaurants, children are charged based on what they order off the regular menu.

Video: "Leonardo's Dreams" in Two70 on Anthem of the Seas

In:
14Dec2015

Of all the entertainment shown in Two70 on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas, "Leonardo's Dreams" blew me away from a visual aspect and today we have an inside look at how this film was created.

Leonardo's Dreams is a five-minute Vistarama and Roboshow display onboard Anthem of the Seas that takes a look at the ideas Leonardo Da Vinci created and turns them into reality.

The highlight of the show is a simulation of Da Vinci's flying machine that soars over the rooftops of Rome.

Spotted: Royal Caribbean offering shore excursion combination packages

In:
14Dec2015

Something we discovered (and is new to us) are Royal Caribbean shore excursions that combine individual shore excursions across multiple port stops into one package.

On an upcoming Allure of the Seas Western Caribbean sailing, the Cruise Planner is offering a "Caribbean Must-Dos Package - Labadee, Falmouth, Cozumel" combination package that includes these excursions:

The combination shore excursion package does appear to save guests a little bit of money.  For an adult, the combination saves $30.50 compared to booking the three shore excursions individually.

The idea to offer a combination shore excursion option is part of a larger fleet-wide initiative lately to bundle aspects of the cruise experience together, with beverage packages and dining packages offered to guests recently.

Would you book a combination shore excursion package? Tell us in the comments!

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: December 13, 2015

In:
13Dec2015

Good news, we are all one week closer to our next Royal Caribbean cruise!  In case you missed any of the Royal Caribbean fun from this week, here is our weekly round up!

The one day no one looks forward to is that last morning of the cruise, when it is time to go home.  But that does not mean you cannot do a lot of fun things on your last day!

This week, we listed six things to do on the last morning of your Royal Caribbean cruise to help you make the most of the last few hours onboard.

Frankly, there are some good options including seeing the sunrise, enjoying the benefits of your unlimited drink packages and enjoying one last meal in the Windjammer.

Here is the rest of the Royal Caribbean news you may have missed this week.

Royal Caribbean Blog Reader Finds

If you are on a Royal Caribbean cruise and spot something cool, new or just fun, share a photo with us on Facebook or Twitter so we can add it to our Royal Caribbean Blog Reader Finds each Sunday!

Edwin Wallace boarded Oasis of the Seas yesterday and his first stop was Sabor for some guacamole and drinks.

Shay Lowe reported it is easy to take photos of the Small Wonders art with your phone.

Nick Weir shared this sketch of this addition coming to the Aqua Theater on potentially Harmony of the Seas.

Announcing the 2017 Royal Caribbean Blog Group Cruise!

We are so excited to announce our 2017 group cruise plans for readers and staff of RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com aboard Navigator of the Seas. This is an exclusive group where we are inviting you, our readers, to join us on the beautiful Navigator of the Seas on an 9-night cruise to the Southern Caribbean.

This Royal Caribbean Blog group cruise is all about enjoying this brand new ship with other fans who are big fans of Royal Caribbean.  Don't miss this opportunity to check out this fabulous cruise ship as well as be a part of exclusive events for those that book with our group!

For more details on booking the cruise, the itinerary and prices, check out the Royal Caribbean Blog group cruise page and if you have any questions, email me!

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 123rd episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available and this week, Matt is sharing twenty, yes twenty, tips to have a better Royal Caribbean cruise!

In this episode, Matt shares a slew of tips, tricks and secrets to get you the most out of your Royal Caribbean cruise.

Please feel free to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! We’d appreciate it.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Royal Caribbean shared 10 tips for a perfect honeymoon cruise.

AFRWeekend shows how Royal Caribbean's smart ship universe surpasses the real one.

Shermans Cruise has 7 myths about cruising.

Royal Caribbean Ltd shared the story of how its vice president of food and beverage operations got to the top of the Royal Caribbean food chain.

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