Adam Ford samples the range of exciting dining options on board the luxurious Celebrity Solstice.
Who doesn’t love a dinner party – especially when someone else is throwing it. Well spare a thought for the executive chef on board the fabled Celebrity Solstice – a luxury cruise liner of seriously mega proportions. The guest list for dinner each night can be anywhere up to 2,850. The menu must draw on culinary influences from across the globe. Every guest has their own set of demands and dietary requirements. Oh, and it’s probably a thousand nautical miles to the nearest supermarket – so nipping out for that extra tub of butter? Out of the question.
With all that in mind, the culinary experience you can look forward to on board the Solstice is nothing short of mind-blowing – not to mention waist-expanding – as I discovered on a recent sailing from Sydney to Honolulu. The process involves months of careful planning, an emphasis on regional produce and a strong creative vision brought to life by the brigade de cuisine of around 240 staff across nine kitchens. Here’s a rundown on the key dining options available to all passengers.
Grand Epernay Dining Room
As the main dining room on board the Celebrity Solstice, the two-story Grand Epernay is a modern take on the golden years of Hollywood. The room features soft pink and white lighting, crisp table linen and a sweeping staircase down from the mezzanine floor on which Audrey Hepburn herself wouldn’t look out of place making an entrance. You can opt to dine each night at one of two sittings, or take your chances as a walk-up. The menu is modern cuisine with fourteen menu cycles, so unless your cruise is longer than fourteen days you won’t see the same selection twice. A smart casual dress code applies.
Oceanview Bar and Café
The Oceanview Bar and Café delivers consistently good buffet-style cuisine, with the added attraction of outdoor seating. It’s quick, easy and casual dining when you want it – with seemingly endless choice including stir-fries, a pizza bar, a steak and seafood grill and a selection of roasts. The ice-cream buffet with various sprinkles is just one of many decadent treats on offer.
Asian cuisine is always popular, and as the smallest of the Celebrity Solstice’s specialty restaurants, Silk Harvest is always busy so it pays to book well ahead. The menu draws on influences from across the Asia region including Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and Thai. The flavours are light and airy with an emphasis on the freshly prepared (even the sushi is made fresh on the spot). Try the tangy Tom Yum Gai Soup and the Red Curry Duck with extra zing. Cover charge applies.
Like any French restaurant worth its salt, walking into Murano can almost be a little intimidating. But don’t worry – the waiters don’t bite. If you want to push the boat out on a special night during your cruise this is undoubtedly the spot to do it. There’s even a private dining room available. The menu is a unique blend of classic and modern French-inspired cuisine. I recommend the Goat’s Cheese Soufflé for starter and the incredibly rich chateaubriand for main. To die for. Cover charge applies.
Our third and final specialty restaurant, the Tuscan Grille occupies arguably the best dining possie on the ship with sweeping ocean views across the ship’s wake. The décor is a little non-descript but the menu is superb. Many of your Italian favourites are present, but they all come with that subtle Celebrity Solstice twist. The corn-fed steaks are sensational – and the chocolate fondue? La dolce vita. Cover charge applies.
As dinner parties go, night after night this one’s a doozey – dining on Celebrity Solstice is a celebration of fabulous fare and exceptional choice. Just be thankful it’s not you left with the washing up.