Specialty dining is a popular option for cruise passengers who want to indulge in different cuisines, and Royal Caribbean offers a one-meal sampler package where you can try the best of many different restaurants.
Known as the Taste of Royal, it gives guests the chance to have various dishes from different Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants, even if those restaurants are not on the ship they are sailing aboard.
Whether the appeal is for someone to get a sampling of what specialty restaurants are all about, or to pick and choose an "all star selection" of the top rated foods, Taste of Royal sounds like an intriguing option.
I decided to sample Taste of Royal myself while sailing aboard Odyssey of the Seas. The meal was held in Wonderland.
What is Taste of Royal?
Royal Caribbean has quite a few specialty restaurants across its fleet of ships, and each is known for certain dishes. Over the years, each restaurant develops a reputation for a must-try dish or two. So it looks like Royal Caribbean wanted to offer guests one meal that hits all of those high notes.
Taste of Royal is a fixed-price meal that consists of four courses. Unlike a specialty restaurant where your meal begins when you arrive, Taste of Royal is more like the main dining room, where everyone that books the lunch shows up at the same time, and each course is served at the same time for everyone. Not to worry, you are not seated with others.
When I sampled Taste of Royal on Odyssey of the Seas, it cost $34.99 per person.
There is also an optional add-on where you can tie in a wine flight for $19.99 per person. There is a 25% discount on the wine flight if you have a drink package.
Taste of Royal is not included in any dining packages.
Taste of Royal menu
The menu is fixed, which means if a course or two are not something you would order, there is not much leeway in terms of changing things. They can modify dishes if you are allergic or prefer not to a certain part of it, but you are limited to the printed menu.
Speaking of the menu, it draws on a few different restaurants, including Hooked, Wonderland, Chops Grille, and 150 Central Park.
When I dined there, the menu consisted of:
Signature Cocktail from Hooked
Saint Peter's Spritzer
St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur. Aperol, fresh lemon juice, topped with prosecco
First Course from Wonderland
Citrus Seas Tuna Tartare
Fresh spicy tuna, wasabi tobiko, yuzu mayonnaise, phyllo Parmesan crackers
Second Course from Giovanni's Table
Mascarpone Cheese Risotto with Crab Meat
Carnaroli rice, crab meat, lemon, mascarpone, peas, aged Parmesan
Third Course from Chops Grille
Filet Mignon and Spicy Jumbo Shrimp
Grilled asparagus, mashed potatoes, red pepper flakes, creamy garlic butter
Fourth Course from 150 Central Park
Nutella, whipped cream, caramelized popcorn
Is it worth it?
I think the appeal of Taste of Royal is two fold: getting to sample the best dishes from across different specialty restaurants if you are either brand new to specialty dining, or an aficionado that really enjoys the courses on the menu.
Royal Caribbean picked the most popular courses from across its restaurants, and delivers on the promise of a special meal that gives you the "best of" these selections.
If there is a course or two that you do not care for, the appeal of Taste of Royal could be diminished since it's a fixed menu offering. Picky eaters will almost certainly look elsewhere for lunch.
In terms of value, it is cheaper than most specialty restaurants to dine at, and you get to sample various dishes rather than just a single cuisine. For someone who will not buy a dining package, but wants to get some of the best options, this could be quite compelling.
I enjoyed my meal, and appreciated it for what it was: a quick lunch where I got to enjoy food from some of the top specialty restaurants on any Royal Caribbean ship. If the menu looks good to you, you're in store for a satisfying lunch.