Remy to offer an adults-only fine dining experience on the Disney Dream

Disney Dream’s classic French design restaurant will feature graceful curved lines on chair backs, in wall treatments and etched in glass; Nouveau-style floral and leaf design in the carpet; and warm lighting. Remy from “Ratatouille” will be subtly integrated into the design. Artist rendering by Disney Cruise Line

By Matt Roseboom

When Disney’s newest ship, Disney Dream, launches early next year, it will offer a number of firsts, a new “Villains Tonight!” stage show, a water coaster and virtual portholes for inside cabins, among other things. Now they’ve announced their first-ever premier dining option. A new restaurant called Remy will offer French-inspired, gourmet cuisine by two award-winning chefs.

Remy will meld classic and contemporary styles with a new dining concept exclusively for adults. With a subtle nod to the hit Disney Pixar film “Ratatouille” and its diminutive French rodent star Remy, the softly lit main dining room with seating for 80 is designed in Art Nouveau style with a palate of soft greens, deep reds and rich golds. The Remy character is subtly and artfully integrated into the design.

Dinner will start with a signature chilled Champagne cocktail made tableside, followed by eight to nine small courses complemented by a wine list. Polished touches at Remy include a tableside trolley for serving international cheeses, decanting stations for wines, and post-prandial coffee service including French press and grand crème.

Tables are elegantly set with Frette linens, Riedel glassware, Christofle silverware and china made exclusively for Remy, with accents such as purse stools for women’s handbags. The serving staff will be part of the story, dressed in long white aprons, black jackets or burgundy vests and bow ties.

“From the moment our guests walk through the door, they are seamlessly transported to a fine French dining experience,” said Ozer Balli, vice president, Disney Cruise Line Hotel Operations.

A private Chef’s Table dining room seats 16 and offers a glimpse into the kitchen. The room is furnished with rich “Ratatouille”-inspired décor — bold red carpet, chairs and drapes with touches of gold, opulent chandeliers, and scenes of Paris on the walls. Chef’s Table has its own entrance to the kitchen to allow the chefs’ easy access, and offers a special multi-course menu.

A glass-walled wine room with marble flooring has seating for up to 16 guests amid more than 900 bottles of wine including a rare selection of Old World wines balanced with a solid selection of New World wines. Cruisers are invited to meet with a sommelier in Remy’s wine room to taste and pre-select their wines for the evening.

Chef Arnaud Lallement from l’Assiette Champenoise, a Michelin two-star restaurant just outside Reims, France, and Chef Scott Hunnel from award-winning Victoria & Albert’s at Walt Disney World, are collaborating to create a French-inspired menu featuring products and seasonal ingredients sourced from around the world. Master Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek of Victoria & Albert’s and Chef Mattieu Gerard Siegrist of l’Assiette Champenoise will lend their talents to create Remy’s breads and desserts. French-trained Chef Patrick Albert will be the executive chef.

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Dining venues sparkle aboard Oasis

Chops Grille, located in Central Park (Deck eight) aboard Oasis of the Seas, is but one of 24 dining venues. Images courtesy CNW/Michael Coleman

By Michael Coleman

The gastronomic journey aboard Oasis of the Seas is befitting the world’s large cruise ship.
No fewer than 24 dining venues and some 20 bars and lounges welcome passengers for their respective 7-day Eastern or Western Caribbean itineraries.

“Oasis of the Seas showcases the evolution of Royal Caribbean dining,” said Royal Caribbean’s president and CEO, Adam Goldstein.

“Both the new concepts and the established Royal Caribbean offerings found throughout the ship are designed to meet contemporary dining standards, cater to individual preferences and schedules and foster epicurean curiosity.’’

That they do. Among the highlights:

150 Central Park — The ship’s most exclusive dining venue provides an intimate experience which combines leading-edge cuisine with modern design creating a trendy upscale ambiance. Look for a tasting menu with customized wine pairings. Dinner only, $35 cover charge.

Giovanni’s Table — This Tuscan countryside influenced trattoria is a casual Italian restaurant featuring both indoor and al fresco seating. Look for toasted herbal breads, pizzas, salads, pastas, Italian sandwiches, braised meat dishes and stews. Open for lunch ($10) and dinner ($15).

Park Café — A casual, indoor/outdoor gourmet market with walk-up counters. From freshly prepared salads and made-to-order sandwiches, to paninis, crepes and soups, guests order directly from the chefs behind food stations. No charge.

Vintages — The ship’s wine bar, nestled into a cozy corner on the Deck 8 Central Park, features a selection of cheeses and a broad tapas menu to accompany a robust selection of fine wines, from a tropical white Riesling to a mocha-inflected Merlot. Open for lunch and dinner; á la carte pricing.

Chops Grille — The line’s signature steakhouse offers premium cut, quality meats. Guests can choose to enjoy the upscale, contemporary setting indoors with views of Central Park or al fresco. Open for dinner; $25 cover charge.

Izumi restaurant specializes in sushi and hot rock cooking aboard Oasis of the Seas.
Izumi — Look for a sushi bar and hot rock cooking, as well as other Asian fare in this popular venue. Open for lunch and dinner; á la carte pricing.

Seafood Shack — The indoor/outdoor casual family restaurant serves a variety of seafood, as well an extensive beverage menu of non-alcoholic cocktails and over-sized desserts. Cover charge is $8.95.

Johnny Rockets — Burgers, fries and shakes, on the ship’s Boardwalk and just steps from the Aqua Theater, this popular diner also features a breakfast menu. Open for breakfast ($3.95), lunch and dinner ($4.95).

Sorrento’s Pizzeria — Look for made-to-order pizzas and slices — at no charge. The best people watching place on the ship as the venue fronts the Deck 5 Promenade. Open for lunch, dinner and late night snacks.

Solarium Bistro — A contemporary bistro offering health-conscious dining for breakfast and lunch, in a casual setting. In the evenings the venue transforms into a romantic and intimate dining setting for specialty healthy-fare dinner and dancing under the stars. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner; dinner has a $20 cover charge.

The Vitality Café — Located at the entrance of the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, the venue features healthy snacks, sandwiches, wraps and fruit, in addition to juices and smoothies. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

A main course of beef tenderloin is served to guests during a Chef’s Table meal aboard Oasis of the Seas. Just 14-passengers enjoy the intimate dining experience complete with separate course wine pairings.
Passengers, as part of their cruise fare, enjoy no-charge breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Opus Dining Room, a three-level showcase reviving the grandeur of the 1920s complete with French art deco design, and in the Windjammer Marketplace which features multiple food stations offering a variety of casual buffet fare.

Look also for a donut shop, a 1950’s style ice cream parlor, the first cupcake venue at sea and perhaps the ship’s ultimate culinary option: a Chef’s Table. Just 14 passengers per night enjoy excellent food and wine pairings in an intimate setting. Cover charge is $75 per person.

On the Web:

Onboard Oasis: Big ship a big hit with passengers

The world’s largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, has been wowing passengers at just about every turn since her recent debut thanks to a host of diverse onboard options. Image courtesy CNW/Michael Coleman

By Michael Coleman

I walked Central Park and was entertained on Broadway this week but New York City was nowhere to be found.

My destination was actually the world’s largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, as she sailed her maiden voyage into sun-drenched Western Caribbean waters.

Although port calls included Labadee, Haiti plus Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, make no mistake: the ship has become a destination in and of itself.

At some 220,000 tons and a passenger complement over 5,000, Oasis is both a joy to behold and an architectural marvel.

Like most passengers, however, I boarded the vessel for my week-long journey excited about what was to unfold yet hesitant over her sheer size. Would Oasis be too big? Would I constantly be stuck in a line? Worse yet: would I feel like cattle, herded from point A to B?

Oasis, after all, is huge in every manner.

She features 2,700 staterooms housed over 16 stories. Her galley space is 2.5 acres. There are 24 dining choices plus another 20 bars and lounges. Just over 7,000 works of art were commissioned to adorn her. To build her alone it took 3,200 construction workers some 8,000 work years to complete.

From bow to stern she features seven distinct neighborhoods – Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, Pool & Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone — complete with extraordinary elements such as the first living park at sea; a thrilling zip line nine-decks above an open-air atrium; an original handcrafted, working carousel; plus 28 multi-level urban-style loft suites boasting floor-to-ceiling windows.

She also has an Aqua Theater with a pool depth of 17.9 feet — the deepest at sea — a skating rink, putting green and parent company Royal Caribbean’s ubiquitous rock-climbing wall is featured here too. Two of them each stretch 43 feet into the sky. Two onboard production shows are runaway guest favorites: Hairspray, the eight-time Tony Award-winning Broadway musical and Oasis of Dreams, a dive show featuring Olympic and NCAA champion athletes.

Want more?

Two surf simulators, a basketball court, fitness center, spa, shops, casino, art gallery, main show lounge, jazz, comedy and dance venues round out the physical locales. “Cruise Compass’’, the ship’s daily planner, is typically 10 pages in length and features listings for every imaginable onboard activity, from lectures and towel folding demonstrations to pool games and church services.

As such, Oasis doesn’t feel crowded. There’s simply too much to do and passengers, depending on personal interests, find themselves dispersed throughout the vessel at various times day and night enjoying all she has to offer. Convenient touch screen technology, located near elevator banks on each deck and in other strategic onboard locations, provides real time information complete with ship maps, event/activity information and even wait times, if any, in the restaurants.

Too big of a ship? Too crowded? Not at all.

My only disappointment is that the voyage wasn’t longer.

Next week: We’ll explore the amazing dining choices aboard Oasis of the Seas.

On the web:

Onboard: Oasis makes maiden call on Cozumel

COZUMEL, Mexico, Thursday May 6, 2010 – Oasis of the Seas dwarfs her Royal Caribbean fleet-mate, Grandeur of the Seas, during her maiden call here today. What’s it like to spend a week in the Western Caribbean on the world’s largest and most innovative ship? Cruise News Weekly will profile the ship tomorrow.
Image courtesy CNW/Michael Coleman

Onboard: Oasis debuts in Mexico

COSTA MAYA, Mexico, Wednesday May 5, 2010 – Oasis of the Seas made her first call on Mexico today, following five consecutive months of Eastern Caribbean itineraries. The world’s largest cruise ship, which launched in December 2009, docked in Costa Maya where passengers enjoyed a host of shore excursion opportunities including a day kicking back pool-side. The ship calls on Cozumel, Mexico, tomorrow.

Image courtesy CNW/Michael Coleman

Onboard: Oasis an awe-inspiring, architectural marvel

Passengers aboard Oasis of the Seas are in the midst of a 7-night Western Caribbean itinerary. The vessel docked in Labadee, Haiti today but has now headed due west en route to maiden calls on Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, later in the week. Image courtesy CNW/Michael Coleman

By Michael Coleman

LABADEE, HAITI, Monday May 3, 2010 — Passengers aboard the world’s largest cruise ship, in the midst of her maiden voyage to Western Caribbean port calls, are in awe of their new floating home.

The architectural marvel that is Oasis of the Seas features seven distinct neighborhoods – Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, Pool & Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone — complete with extraordinary elements such as the first living park at sea; a thrilling zip line that races diagonally nine-decks above an open-air atrium; an original handcrafted carousel; 28 multilevel urban-style loft suites boasting floor-to-ceiling windows; an aqua theater; and an array of epicurean options too numerous to even sample on a 7-night voyage.

If ever a ship deserved the mantle of being a destination in and of itself, Oasis would win the prize hands down. She is without a doubt the largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in the world, spanning 16 decks and carrying some 5,400 passengers within her 220,000-ton frame.

While passengers enjoyed typical Caribbean pursuits here today under sunny skies — jet skiing, boat tours, snorkeling and catching rays on the beach — most looked forward to returning to Oasis and her plethora of events, activities, bars, dining venues and dusk-to-dawn entertainment.

Perhaps surprisingly for a ship this size getting from point A to B could not be easier thanks to touch screen technology, clearly visible signage and crew members eager to assist.

Later this week: Mexico rolls out the red carpet for the ship’s first-ever visit.

A bird’s eye view of Labadee, Haiti, as viewed from Deck 16 high atop Oasis of the Seas. Labadee is the first of three port calls during the ship’s present 7-night itinerary. Image courtesy CNW/Michael Coleman

Celebrity Eclipse makes her debut

The stylish new 2,852-passenger Celebrity Eclipse, the third vessel in Celebrity’s five-ship Solstice-class fleet, debuted recently. Image courtesy Celebrity Cruises

By Michael Coleman

Celebrity Cruises unveiled their stylish Eclipse this week, the third of five new vessels to hit the open seas, but a new onboard dining venue is garnering equal praise.

The 2,852-passenger, 122,000-ton ship was launched in Southampton, England and will now offer passengers a series of sailings roundtrip from Southampton to the Mediterranean, Russia and Scandinavia throughout the summer.

This winter, look for Caribbean sailings from the Port of Miami.

Eclipse will be the industry’s first to offer the “Celebrity iLounge,” complete with a retail area offering the latest products through Celebrity’s Authorized Apple Reseller status, and the first to present “Qsine,” an interactive dining venue complete with wine menus on a personal touchscreen.

Like her sister ships — Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox — Eclipse features The Lawn Club, with real, growing grass at sea; The Hot Glass Show, a glassblowing show and studio developed with The Corning Museum of Glass; a host of onboard entertainment options plus 10 dining venues including the line’s popular specialty restaurants: Tuscan Grille, Blu, Murano and Silk Harvest.

But, it’s the new onboard Qsine which is creating a buzz.

The brainchild of Celebrity’s Vice President of Culinary Operations, Chef Jacques Van Staden, Qsine presents guests with what Celebrity dubs “an unexpected, modern approach to familiar dishes from around the world.’’

“Our guests love new and different dining experiences, and we’ve designed Qsine to deliver that in a big way,” said Van Staden. “Qsine is designed to offer a globally-influenced blend of nostalgic and contemporary favorites, artfully presented with elements of surprise.”

Among the selections are spring rolls nestled in vertical springs, “Sushi Lollipops” (Nigiri sushi with soy center, wasabi mayonnaise and pickled ginger-radish salad), “Meatball Trilogy” (Kobe beef with cheddar and marinara sauce; veal with mushrooms and marsala sauce; and turkey with cranberry and sage gravy), “Chitinis” (Chinese selections served in martini glasses), “Tresviche” (tiger shrimp and bay scallops with lemon juice, tequila, cilantro, tomatoes and jalapeno oil), “Popcorn Fish & Chips” (Boddington’s-battered codfish and chips served with malt vinegar or aioli), “Slider Party” (mini-grilled Kobe beef patties with aged Wisconsin cheddar served on brioche buns with “Qsine’s original slider sauce” and garnishes), “Taco Royale” (Black Angus sirloin steak, homemade taco shells, caramelized onion-poblano, and do-it-yourself fresh guacamole, with a stone mortar and pestle), and “Lava Crab” (Alaskan King crab, sweet yellow corn and scallions with Hataifi and Old Bay sauce, served in glasses over heated red stones).

Libations to accompany the cuisine range from approximately 100 varieties of primarily organic, contemporary wines, to a vast array of creative cocktails.

Even the uniforms of the wait staff illustrate the venue’s unique nature. Designed by Van Staden and custom-made exclusively for Celebrity, the jackets are decidedly asymmetrical and sport square buttons, and are intended to illustrate that the wait staff also are considered chefs, offering guests a highly interactive and personalized dining experience.

Qsine will be open nightly aboard Eclipse from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Cover charge is $30 per person.

On the web:

Celebrity Eclipse Naming Ceremony

A look at the ship