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I spent a week eating on the world's largest cruise ship. These are the 11 best dishes I ate

23 Sep 2023
Calista Kiper

Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas is the world's largest cruise ship and has well over 20 restaurants you can try, and that means a lot of options to consider.

Wonder of the Seas food tasting

While preparing for my first cruise on Wonder of the Seas, I looked forward to many things: enjoying hot tubs, visiting new ports, and enjoying the view of the ocean.

However, one aspect of the journey took me by surprise once I set foot onboard: I had no idea how much I would enjoy the food offerings.

While I had heard whispers of praise about the food on Royal Caribbean ships, I kept my expectations low. Eating can be such a subjective experience that I didn’t want to judge based on the opinions of others.

However, I am a food-lover and an adventurous eater, so I boarded the ship ready to try all the different dishes I could.

Ultimately, all the options on the cruise exceeded my expectations. Throughout my seven-day cruise, I was blown away by the variety and flavor of the meals I tried.

From complimentary food at the Windjammer buffet to completely unique dishes at the specialty Wonderland venue, here at the 11 best dishes I can’t stop reminiscing about.

Tofu and avocado salad


Served on Caribbean night at the main dining room, this appetizer was offered on night 5 of our seven-day sailing.

It featured chilled tofu marinated in a honey and soy sauce tossed with plump grape tomatoes, ripe avocados, and white sesame seeds.

I love avocados and a good soy sauce salad dressing, so this dish hit the spot. The tofu even won me over, as it wasn’t too mushy to be stabbed with a fork.

I enjoyed that the whole dish was marinated and tasted sweet but savory. 

I did notice that the appetizers in the main dining room were usually very small, including this dish. I would have liked just a little more of this salad.  

Oceanic citrus 


My experience at the Wonderland restaurant involved unique dishes I had never seen before.

Based on the magical world of Alice in Wonderland, this eccentric restaurant features deconstructed food and ingredients combined in unique ways. 

The menu is divided into five natural elements: sun, ice, fire, sea, and earth.

The ice section served up some of the meal’s appetizers, and one dish in particular blew me away: the oceanic citrus.

This dish consisted of a hollowed-out lime stuffed with spicy tuna, topped with a floral yuzu granité, and garnished with a sprinkle of small orange roe (fish eggs). 

It was served on a plate of ice, complete with two small fish crackers. 

For reference, yuzu is an East Asian citrus fruit with a sour, tangy flavor, similar to a lemon, orange, or grapefruit. 

Granité is the French name for granita, an icy Italian dessert made from sugar, water, and flavorings. It had the texture of a Slushy but with that zesty yuzu flavor.

This had to be my favorite dish I tried on the entire ship: I still think about it to this day.

I loved the way the icy temperature of the sweet granita cooled down the spicy tuna below, balanced with the tangy citrus flavors. I ate it all the way down to the lime’s center. 

I should note, however, that I love both sour food and fish—if you don’t, this dish may not be for you. 



While cooked snails are not everyone’s favorite, I rarely get the opportunity to try them. 

My travel companion, my sister, ordered the escargot in the main dining room one night.

Although I chose not to order the full dish, I had to taste some of hers and was pleasantly surprised. I had to rate this dish as one of the best for its rarity and tasty flavor. 

The snails are soaked in garlic and butter, and when combined with a bread roll for dipping, they don’t taste terrible. 

Since escargot doesn’t have a distinct flavor, the dish mainly tasted like garlic and salty butter, making this a salty, savory dish.

The only warning I will give anyone ready to try escargot for the first time is that the texture is exactly what you might expect from a cooked snail: chewy and a little slimy. 

Chicken fried rice

Although a specialty dining location—meaning you’ll have to pay extra—Izumi Hibachi offers a full dining experience that enhances the meal.

Guests sit around a table and observe the chef cooking on a large, centered grill. 

Our experience was hilariously interactive: the chef cracked jokes, asked about our day, and sang a few songs. The interactive experience kept us laughing and enjoying the food. 

But even without such an engaging adventure, I thought the food at Izumi Hibachi was delicious. 

When it comes to Asian food, I can be picky. Especially for a bowl of good fried rice, I believe it requires the perfect mix of temperature, rice texture, and flavor. 

When vegetables and meat are added, every ingredient has to be cooked perfectly.

And I loved Izumi’s fried rice. 

I found it warm, savory, and just a little spicy and kept praising it as we ate. I even asked for second serving! 

Beef stew


Even the complimentary offerings on my cruise exceeded my expecations. I really enjoyed meals at the Windjammer buffet hall for their convenience, ease, and unlimited buffet options.

There were plenty of hearty, filling dishes to choose from, a favorite being a flavorful, meaty beef stew.

Not only was this one of my favorites, but my sister also loved it, and I’ve since heard praises from other cruisers. 

This beef stew makes for the perfect filling lunch or dinner: mix it with rice, carrots, or mashed potatoes, and you’ve got a hearty meal in the Windjammer.

Lime and Coconut cocktail


Only served at the Lime and Coconut bar on Navigator of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas, and Icon of the Seas, this drink tantalized me with its sweet, tangy coconut flavor.

The drink is made with Malibu coconut rum, coconut syrup, coconut milk, lime juice, and Monin guava syrup.

I don’t always enjoy coconut-flavored products, but I ordered it on a whim after seeing it listed on the pool-side Lime and Coconut bar menu.

After I tried it once, I was addicted. The cocktail combines a perfect mix of sour lime, tangy guava, sweet coconut flavors, and fruity Malibu rum. 

The flavors left my mouth feeling tangy yet creamy, with a light kick of rum to warm my belly. 

It also came in a cute Malibu mini bucket I could take home as a souvenir. 

The Lime and Coconut was the perfect cocktail to sip by the pool or in the hot tub, completing the feeling of a luxurious Caribbean vacation. 

Jalepeño cornbread


As a Southerner, I was excited to try the Mason Jar’s specialty Southern dining

While I didn’t find all the dishes authentic, the appetizers—buttermilk biscuits and jalepeño cornbread—were hard to get wrong.

I loved the soft texture and warm bread, and the spicy jalepeño wasn't so strong that it overpowered the other flavors. There were still notes of sweet corn and a touch of salt.

The biscuits and cornbread came with both whipped honey butter and spicy Cajun butter, meaning we could choose a sweet or spicy experience. 

I opted for both, alternating between the two for a perfectly balanced appetizer. 

Barbeque chicken


One of the highlights of the Windjammer’s extensive buffet menu is that you can create your own meal. There are enough options that you can keep it unique and switch it up every time you attend. 

Personally, I love a good barbeque and was pleasantly surprised at the authentically smoky, meaty flavors in the Windjammer’s barbeque chicken. 

Every time I saw it served, I gathered a few legs on my plate and added some watermelon and corn on the cob or cheese nachos and green beans, crafting my summer barbeque menu. 

When I finished with some sweet fruit juice, I felt like my little chef, curating the perfect meal to enjoy.

Vegan chocolate ice cream


As a reluctantly lactose-intolerant person, I forced myself to stick to some dairy-free dishes while on my cruise. 

In the main dining room, they made every effort to serve food that fit within my diet. Our waiter told me they served a vegan ice cream, and I agreed to try it.

Made from coconut milk and available in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, this dessert was a pleasant treat for those who cannot have regular ice cream.

Of course, it didn’t compare to regular dairy milk. I found that the coconut milk became a little icy when frozen. 

Nevertheless, I felt grateful for the chance to have an ice cream that wouldn’t make my stomach hurt.

My favorite flavor of this ice cream was the chocolate, which mixed nicely with the coconut flavors in the base, creating a nutty, almond-like taste. 



Another highlight of the Windjammer was how unique the food offerings really were.

I expected a simple, continental hotel breakfast or a basic buffet serving hamburgers and fries.

On the contrary, there were a variety of options, ranging from Indian food to creme brulee. 

I always love fruit and trying unique fruits, and I was surprised to see figs being served for breakfast.

Figs are unique to me: I rarely have them, so I had to give them a try.

The figs were so sweet and juicy that I suspected they were doused in honey. They were perfect for a light, fancy breakfast. 

Cajun catfish


One of the Mason Jar’s standout dishes included the blackened Cajun freshwater catfish. 

This delicious entree came served with a sweet corn, lima bean, and cherry tomato succotash. There was also a circular serving of sweet potato mash to complete the dish. 

The catfish was a tender, grilled serving of two fish fillets. The fish had a fresh, salty flavor and a slight hint of Cajun spice.

I loved the fish’s salty flavor and found myself wishing for a larger serving. 

Calista Kiper graduated from Wheaton College, IL, with a B.A. in English Writing. 

Growing up traveling around the world, she developed a passion for diversity and cross-cultural communication. From her first cruise on Wonder of the Seas, she has delighted in the intersection between travel, diversity, and writing in the cruising world.

Calista spends her free time reading, cooking, and researching the latest human-interest stories. 

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