The best lobster roll you'll ever have, and dining in Wonderland
The food on this ship had me researching intermittent fasting the entire flight home after eating my body weight in steak, seafood, and smoking eggs. In addition to bringing back Harmony’s hits like Chops Steakhouse, Izumi Sushi and Hibachi, and Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant, they’ve added a fast-casual spot called El Loco Fresh, located conveniently next to the basketball court for the closest thing you’ll find to Venice Beach on a cruise ship.
There’s also Playmakers, a sports bar serving up solid beef sliders and chicken wings alongside other bar favorites. Most importantly it has 30 flat screens showing a grab-bag of different sports from around the world. I found myself making friends with people from other countries, as a short comment about a certain English footballer’s penchant for dirty play led to a 20-minute discussion with a pair of lubed-up Brits.
The star newcomer is Hooked, a fresh seafood restaurant set atop the ship’s 17th floor. It boasts a clean beach-house décor and a menu long on fresh seafood from wherever the ship happens to be homeported. The standout here is the lobster roll, which was the talk of the culinary crowd on the short preview cruise I attended. The rich, buttery roll is on par with any I’d had covering restaurants at home in Miami.
But everyone, I promise, is still talking about Wonderland. The Lewis-Carroll-inspired restaurant has you enter through a long rabbit hole, open a doorway in the middle of the bar, and descend down red-velvet stairs into an alternate reality. Here a server dressed as the Mad Hatter hops from table to table, quipping with guests. The menus are written in invisible ink, and readable only when painted with water. Entrees are flashbacks to childhood basics with adult spins. Like the deconstructed tomato, reconstructed with Bloody Mary and olive spheres. Or the deviled eggs served on a smoking dish atop phyllo strings, capturing the flavor of a campfire.