My husband and I were able to participate in Royal Caribbean’s Dazzling December celebration for Crown and Anchor Members. We sailed one week on Freedom of the Seas, and a second week on the Navigator of the Seas.
We had the opportunity to dine at two of the specialty restaurants onboard both ships: Chops Grille and Portofino. Chops is located on Deck 11 near the entrance of the Windjammer Cafe on both the Freedom and the Navigator. The formal table settings, the elegant decor, the view of the sea, and the personal service provide much of the restaurant’s upscale ambiance. The limited, but fabulous, menu provides the rest.
Our server prepared a Cucumber Martini for me tableside (my husband was too chicken to try it). It was definitely unique, the flavor of the cucumber permeating the gin, basil, sour mix, and sugar (I would order it again). For starters, my husband ordered the Shrimp Cocktail, and I ordered the Dungeness Crab and Shrimp Cake—a perfectly browned crab cake composed mostly of crab and shrimp. It reminded me of the crab cakes I had once when I was visiting Solomon’s Island, Maryland. The cakes were made of pure crab with a touch of an unknown magical ingredient that kept the crab cakes from falling apart.
We both had the Forest Mushroom Soup; an exquisite bisque with an earthy yet mild taste (this was awesome). Filet Mignon and Broiled Porterhouse Steak followed. Both steaks were incredibly tender, juicy, flavorful, and perfectly cooked. We were both full by the time the steaks arrived, but we ordered sides (onion rings, steamed asparagus) that were plentiful enough to satisfy a table of four.
Still, we ordered dessert. My husband ordered his favorite dessert, Crème Brûlée, served to him aflame. I had the Red Velvet Cake. I must admit the Red Velvet Cake was not what I expected. Thin layers of chocolate and frosting topped each layer of rich red cake showcasing the chef’s take on the chocolate element of the classic red velvet cake. It was not disappointing, and I ate more of it than I care to admit.
Chops Grille was well worth the experience. The quality of the food is several notches above the typical cruise ship food served in both the dining room and the Windjammer Café. (Don’t get me wrong—I like them both.) The price is $30 per person regardless of what you order, a price you can’t beat at one of the local steakhouses.
If you ever have the chance to sail Royal Caribbean, you should treat yourself to a meal at Chops Grille at least once. “Chops Grille”, as they say on deck, “great view, fantastic food, and best steak on the high seas”.
Freedom of the Seas
Port Canaveral, FL
Cruise Terminal #10
9005 Charles M. Rowland Drive
Cape Canaveral, Florida
Navigator of the Seas
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Cruise Terminal #29
1850 Eller Drive
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316