Wonderland

Video: Royal Caribbean Master Mixologists Serve Up Whimsical Cocktails at Wonderland

In:
10Jan2017

For the Royal Caribbean mixologists at Harmony of the Seas’ Wonderland, cocktails are more than just drinks – they are masterpieces. These artists use innovative flavors and artisanal ingredients to create cocktails that are almost too stunning to drink!

Restaurant Review: Wonderland on Harmony of the Seas

In:
15Nov2016

Ever since Royal Caribbean introduced the Wonderland restaurant on Quantum of the Seas, the concept has resonated with many guests who find the aura of this sort of not-so-typical restaurant truly attractive. With Harmony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean has seemingly "doubled down" on the idea with its largest Wonderland yet.

Of all the specialty restaurants on Harmony of the Seas, perhaps no other restaurant has attracted as much intrigue surrounding what it is like to dine there, so I made very certain on a recent sailing to try it out for myself.  I had dined at Wonderland on Quantum of the Seas, but I was curious how similar (or dissimilar) the version on Harmony of the Seas was and how this experience stacks up to my memory.

In full disclosure, Royal Caribbean invited me to try Wonderland on Harmony of the Seas as their guest for the purposes of this review. I promise I kept at least one eyebrow raised at any given time, in an effort to be as inquisitive as possible during the meal. 

Time to go through the looking glass (and eat)!

Atmosphere

If you are unfamiliar with Wonderland, it is a specialty restaurant developed by Royal Caribbean that is loosely based on the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland novel by Lewis Carroll.  Like all Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants, the food available is different than anywhere else on the ship, but it also is big on the experience.

Wonderland is located in the aft of Deck 12, in a rather quiet part of the ship. Unlike other specialty restaurants that are in busy neighborhoods, or areas of the ship with a lot of foot traffic, Wonderland is on what is otherwise a deck of staterooms, so one really has to go in search of Wonderland to come across it (unless your stateroom happens to be on Deck 12).

Unlike Wonderland on Quantum class ships, this restaurant does not feature a whole lot of ornate decorations outside the restaurant. Instead, it squeezes them on the interior of the space.  So while you might not get the same sense of curiosity simply by passing by on Harmony of the Seas, the restaurant's look more than makes up for it once inside.

Entering the restaurant is via a tunnel that leads to a golden door.  The door is symbolic, and can easily be side-stepped, but it represents the disconnect between the "real world" and the experiences you will encounter in Wonderland.

Wonderland on Harmony of the Seas is comprised of two decks, a first for any Wonderland restaurant.  The entrance area, along with a bar and a few tables are located on the top deck of Wonderland, while a majority of the seating and the kitchen are located down the stairs on the lower deck.

Like all Wonderland restaurants, the decorations are quite ornate. The motif of the decor is meant to intrigue.  Wonderland is purposefully different, both in look and experience, so stepping foot inside should instantly accompany a thought that this is somewhere unlike anywhere else.

The most prominent part of Wonderland on Harmony of the Seas is the view of the Boardwalk. On the Quantum class ships, Wonderland had no view to speak of, but we have here a floor-to-ceiling window that overlooks the Boardwalk.  It is a stunning view, which really looks amazing at night when the ship is lit up.

There are plenty of decorations on and around the tables.  Guests will find odds and ends that evoke the overarching story that you are dining somewhere very different than you are used to dining on land or at sea.

Like Wonderland on other Royal Caribbean ships, the serving staff also dress for the part.  You will see them wearing velvet jackets and playing their part in acting just a little bit silly.

Eats

Sitting down for your meal, the experience of Wonderland begins immediately with the menu.  Each guest is given a picture frame with a blank menu and paintbrush. 

Guests are then instructed to dip their paintbrush into water and "paint" the picture that reveals the menu.  A bit of a spoiler if you have never dined there before, but it is always a fun experience.

Like the restaurant, nothing is conventional with the menu.  For our meal, the waiter brought us out a number of choices he picked from the menu to sample, followed up with an entree of our choice. In all of my meals at Wonderland, this has been the typical experience with the waiter bringing out a variety of bite-size appetizers to sample before the main course.

Each appetizer was shared at the table, and they all tend to look a little different, but ended up tasting better than they look.  The idea is to intrigue guests with the the presentation of the food, and then follow that up with food that is quite tasty.

In terms of the entrees, the terroir beef is still my top pick for what to order.  I had it on Quantum of the Seas, and my wife tried it again on this sailing and it is simply very, very good.  The meat is fall-off-the-bone quality, and the flavor is just perfect.

I also tried the branzino in crispy bread, because the waiter recommended it.  It was a small portion, but tasted great.  Still, hard to beat that terroir beef.

The desserts were a bit different than I had on Quantum of the Seas.  We had three dessert options for us to share at the table.

By far, the chocolate globe was the best.  It tasted like a Snickers candy bar and was something I wanted to have just to myself.

Overall

Wonderland on Harmony of the Seas attracts a lot of attention from guests who are intrigued by the concept, and it is safe to say that it is well-deserved.  On a cruise ship filled with plenty of dining options, Wonderland stands apart as an unique option.

The reason to dine at Wonderland is the blend of an eclectic motif and some very good food. Unlike any other specialty restaurant, the experience and "schtick" of Wonderland are what endears the restaurant to many guests and makes it as compelling an option as it is.

It is important to note that Wonderland does come with a rather high price tag for a specialty restaurant. Wonderland on Harmony of the Seas costs $45 per person, which is not a cheap specialty restaurant, but then again, there is no other specialty restaurant  that compares to the overall experience.

Wonderland certainly has a wide-ranging appeal.  Guests that are new to cruising will love the prospect of trying something new like this, and veteran cruisers will find Wonderland a welcome change from the typical specialty restaurant scene.

In short, Wonderland on Harmony of the Seas is a very different experience and perhaps the most intriguing Royal Caribbean dining experience that needs to be tried at least once to fully appreciate.

Wonderland is open for dinner and we reviewed Wonderland aboard Harmony of the Seas.

Video: A culinary adventure at Wonderland restaurant on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas

In:
02Nov2016

With their unique flavors and spectacular presentation, the culinary creations at Wonderland are as imaginative as they are delicious. Royal Caribbean’s talented culinary team collaborate to dream up everything from completely transparent tomato gazpacho to a melt-away chocolate dessert surprise. These interactive dishes combine gourmet cuisine and art inspiration for a dazzling culinary experience.

Video: Wonderland Wows on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas

In:
Category: 
21Jun2016

Guests tumble into a culinary adventure when they set foot inside Harmony of the Seas’ Wonderland. The striking two-story restaurant is a must-try sensory experience and serves whimsical meals that will delight and inspire from beginning to end.

99 days of Harmony: Wonderland

In:
15Feb2016

To countdown the launch of Royal Caribbean's new cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, we're blogging about one aspect of the ship each day for 99 days. Check back each day for something exciting to read about this new ship.

Royal Caribbean's Oasis class ships have been known for offering guests a lot of dining options and Harmony of the Seas will continue in that tradition by offering a new restaurant to the Oasis class.

Wonderland is an imaginative take on specialty dining, where the experience is just as important as the food offered.

READ YESTERDAY'S POST ABOUT ULTIMATE ABYSS

Since Wonderland debuted on Quantum of the Seas, guests have fallen in love with the creative aspect of this specialty restaurant.

On Harmony of the Seas, guests will find the first two-story Wonderland restaurant, where guests can enjoy totally inventinve and "maddeningly delicious" cuisine.

Based on artist renderings, it also looks like Royal Caribbean will make this new Wonderland even more intriguing to look at, with a great deal of different decor choices.

Once in Wonderland, guests can enjoy six exciting themes from the menu: Sun, Sea, Ice, Earth, Fire and Dreams.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post as we celebrate 99 days of Harmony!

5 things you will love about Royal Caribbean's Wonderland

In:
Category: 
11Dec2015

Some guests may be quick to group all of Royal Caribbean's specialty restaurants together as offering similar experiences, but there is one restaurant that breaks the mold.

Wonderland was introduced on Royal Caribbean's Quantum class ships and has quickly become a favorite for its whimsical, over-the-top experience it offers alongside some really good food.

For guests looking to try something different and bring a bit of "show" into their meals, Wonderland is a superb choice and it promises to be a dining experience you will be talking about for a while.

Here are five things guests will love about Wonderland restaurant.

5. The décor

Someone at Royal Caribbean spent a lot of time on the look of Wonderland and it definitely shows!

Before you even set foot inside the restaurant, there are odd features surrounding the entrance that draws attention and gets people thinking about what the heck is inside.

Upon entering Wonderland, there is stuff everywhere.  

Candelabras, odd glasses, all sorts of chairs, mirrors and more.  It all combines to send a message to guests of, "this is not your typical restaurant".

4. The eccentric staff

Much like the decorations, the staff working at Wonderland are as fun to interact with as they are attentive in their duties.

Your waiter is your guide through the Wonderland experience.  He or she will take you along each step of the meal, and many add an element of wit to the experience.

Dining at Wonderland is more than just another place to eat.  Rather, it is an opportunity to try something completely different and the wait staff is part of the experience as much as the food.

The fun thing about the wait staff is they will make jokes, offer suggestions and immerse themselves in the role.  It all combines to make for an unique experience.

3. Painting your menu

There is something undeniably cool about how you get your menu at Wonderland.

After being seated, your waiter will present a blank canvas to you along with a paintbrush and you are encouraged to dip your paintbrush in the water provided and start painting.

Spoiler alert: your brush strokes reveal the menu at Wonderland it is just plain cool!

While the trick may be relatively simple, it is something no other Royal Caribbean restaurant offers and is part of why Wonderland is so much fun.

2. The terroir beef

Of all the food available in Wonderland, our favorite is the fall-off-the-bone terroir beef.

This is a slow cooked beef dish that is served still on the bone, accompanied by river stone potatoes with a bordelaise sauce.

Essentially, this is a super-soft cut of beef that will melt in your mouth.  Oh, and it is really, really tasty too!

1. The desserts

There is a lot of food to try at Wonderland, but if you are going to be adventurous for one part of the meal, make sure it is at dessert.

Wonderland offers a lot of favorites that have been altered slightly, such as yogurt pops, basked Alaska and Boston cream pie maze. 

The strategy for dessert is simple, try them all and leave your belts in your stateroom.

Wonderland menu on Anthem of the Seas

Last updated on October 20, 2016

Menus provided by RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com are unofficial and subject to change.

Sun

Radiant vegetables playfully reinvented

Baby Vegetables in the Garden

Soil & pebbles

Liquid Manzanilla Olive

Herb Oil

Chilled Sweet Pea Soup

Rosemary espuma & white bacon powder

Slow cooked baby beets

Sriracha yogurt

Ice

Chilled to exhilarate the palate

Oceanic Citrus

Spicy tuna & floral yuzu granite

Thu, 10/20/2016 (All day)

Restaurant Review: Wonderland

In:
20Nov2014

I can't think of any restaurant openings on a Royal Caribbean ship I was looking forward to more than Wonderland.  Ever since I saw a preview of it at the Quantum of the Seas dining reveal earlier in the year, the concept fascinated me.

When the opportunity to check out this new restaurant on Quantum of the Seas came to me, I jumped at the chance with great enthusiasm.

Part of the Dynamic Dining endeavor, Wonderland is open for dinner and here's my first hand look through the looking glass at this new dining concept.

Atmosphere

Wonderland is a brand new specialty restaurant on Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas that hass loosely based its decor and atmosphere after the Alice in Wonderland tales.

Located on deck 5 on the upper deck of the Royal Esplanade, Wonderland is hard to miss given its location and over-the-top decor.

Outside you will find odd props and statues that look like they are fresh off a movie set.   Inside, you will find an intimate space filled with chairs that don't match any other chair at the table, chandeliers, candelabras and glasses and cups that are so bizzare if you saw it in a store, you'd wonder who would actually buy that.

The restaurant feels like it's straight out of the scene from the 1951 Disney film, where the Mad Hatter invites Alice to tea.  Essentially, the restaurant is purposefully designed to evoke a "I don't know what to expect" reaction from its guests.

The servers in the restaurant all dress the part too, with velvet jackets and multi-colored outfits.  

Eats

The slogan for Wonderland is, "imaginative cuisine" and you will quickly discover why when you dine here.

As you are seated, each person is given an easel with a blank menu and a paintbrush.  

The waiter instructs you to dip the paintbrush in water and then paint the canvas with your brush to reveal your menu.  As you paint, the menu appears magically and you can see what's offered.

The menu isn't conventional either.  You will find the menu divided up by elements (sun, ice, fire, sea and earth) and pretty much everything on the menu is not something you would ever have seen on a menu at home.  

Most of the menu items are what I'd consider appropriate for adventurous eaters.  As you will see later, the food served isn't crazy by any means but it's not burgers and pasta either.

We dined in a group of nine and the waiter suggested ordering for us and we agreed.  Looking at the menu, it was tough to really know what we were ordering so why not just try a little of everything?

Appetizers came out first and each appetizer was served with a different pizzazz than the last.  Buffalo chicken eggs, slow cooked baby beets, liquid manzanilla olives are just a few of what we ate and I can't say any are my favorite new dishes but seeing them and then trying them was an adventure in of itself.

The two appetizers that surprised me were the beets and hard boiled eggs. If asked, I'd say I don't care for either but at Wonderland they were impressive and tasty.  

The entrees did not disappoint either.  Most of the servings are on the small side, so you should order multiple entrees and appetizers per person to be safe.  

My favorite was the terroir beef, which I believe was one of the best slow-cooked beef dishes I've ever had (sorry mom)!  The halibut was quite good too and everyone else at the table really liked the Cuban pork shank.

Wonderland's desserts were truly wonderful and we all sampled a little of everything.  The yogurt pops and baked Alaska were the kind of desserts I'd have if the Earth was about to explode and I didn't care about gaining weight.

Overall

Eating at Wonderland was a great experience because of how odd the place is from a decor and presentation standpoint.  The food was good, maybe not the best I've ever eaten on a Royal Caribbean cruise, but definitely met my expectations.

I think Wonderland is the kind of restaurant you have to experience for yourself at least once.  I'm not sure it will become the kind of restaurant like Chops Grill or Izumi, where I'd want to dine there multiple times per sailing.  

I love the concept of Wonderland and I think it will resonate with cruisers who want to try something different.  If you are cruising in a group, this is definitely the place to go and I'd advise sharing everything to sample it all.  I can definitely say it's a one-of-a-kind experience.

Wonderland is open for dinner and we reviewed Wonderland aboard Quantum of the Seas.