Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Dining at Sea: A Taste Onboard the Celebrity Solstice

If I only had three hours onboard the Celebrity Solstice there would only be one thing I would choose to do on this colossal ship as a foodie and that is to dine at one of their 10 speciality restaurants … the second would be to kick off my shoes, wiggle my toes on the soft green grass on board the ship’s Lawn Club (which really grows by the way and someone has to mow it), breathing in the fresh air of the sea, whilst soaking in the glorious sun on the top deck. Well, that’s what I did last month on Valentine’s Day on the Celebrity Solstice with Mum, who absolutely loves to travel by sea, as much as I love the gastronomical flavours that comes from it.

Mum and I were lucky enough to fly to Auckland, New Zealand for the weekend from Sydney, Australia to meet our friendly hotel director and tour operators who took us onboard the Celebrity Solstice for lunch at a classic French fine dining restaurant called Murano. After a few necessary security procedures that involved leaving your passport at the security desk whilst you are onboard and having visitor’s pass issued to us, we together with a few Aucklanders who were also dining with us after winning a Valentine’s Day competition in a NZ newspaper headed over to Murano restaurant onboard the ship for lunch.

Exploring Auckland city streets just before boarding the Celebrity Solstice. Dress: Yacht Club Shirt Dress by Review Australia
My initial reaction when I stepped on board was ‘Wow, it feels like walking into a lobby of a grandiose five start hotel … this doesn’t feel like being on board a ship”. It was elaborately fitted, regal and all class. Mind you, we were onboard when Celebrity Solstice was docked at the Princes Wharf in Auckland so I’m sure the movement of the sea would be felt in transit, but visually as far as interiors are concerned, it felt like being in a hotel. The interior architecture and design on board the ship sparkled with decadence and despite the size of this ship, the ship was spacious and the passenger flow was quite seamless.


Now dining. The dining options on board the Celebrity Solstice is a foodies heaven with 10 speciality restaurant choices to dine at. It was a formal three course a la carte menu with delicious choices to choose from. Mum and I chose different dishes on the menu so we could sample as many of the dishes on the Murano menu.


The Murano restaurant was elaborately fitted, almost nostalgc and an exquisite place to dine with plating of food to match the venue’s decadence. The curtains, tables, velvet chairs, mahogany wooden cellars, chandelier, gold plates, crystal glasses gave it a historical French Louis XV style.

We had for entrees the seared scallops pressed snuggly on the fennel puree with a flicker of nicoise vinaigrette. This is simplicity at its finest.



The texture of avocado and the flavours of the cilantro and citrus emulsions complemented the crab meat. A beautiful dish to have as an entrée.


For mains we had butter poached lobster tail with fricassee of baby vegetables, black truffle emulsion and a tender herb marinated lamb chops with ratatouille, feta cheese, mint, because if there was a seafood and lamb on the menu and had the choice of both, I would choose them both. Absolutely everything about these mains were right.



For desserts, we had the gianduja souffle with donatella gelato, a soufflé raised to perfection with the subtle scent of cocoa that whiffs right under your nose as the waiter places your dessert in front of you and the ivory caramel tart with cogna flambeed bananas for those who love their sweets sweet
.




We were then taken on tour to view the things you can do on board the ship including: enjoying the casual outdoor activities in a Country Club atmosphere at the Lawn Club on the top deck; try the bold collection of wines from around the world at the Cellar Masters; relax and rejuvenate in the Canyon Ranch Spa Club; and shop at their many boutiques on board the ship.

From what I observed on my 3 hour tour on board the Celebrity Solstice, the passenger base included baby boomers, their families, seniors and honeymooners, a reflection of the wide variety of lifestyle and gastronomical experiences and options available for all ages. There is no shortage of things to do onboard the Celebrity Solstice. But for the short period time I was there as a visitor, the food at Murano's Valentine lunch with Mum was an unforgettable experience and now I'm curious about the other restaurants on board the Celebrity Solstice ...

For more information about the Celebrity Solstice, see their website for further details:

http://www.celebritycruises.com.au/

See.Taste.Do travelled as a guest to Auckland, New Zealand courtesy of Celebrity Cruises.

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