The buffet restaurant was large and efficiently operated, but we found the menu constrained and the food fairly pedestrian.
Windjammer Café and Jade are basically the same venue, with buffet lines just a few feet apart and sharing the same seating area—we’ll treat them as one. The Jade section has a few Asian items, but we didn’t find much more here than we do in the Asian section of conventional buffets.
The overall venue sprawls, wrapping around most of the aft section of Deck 11, and an unending parade of carts rumbling over the tile floors wipes out any semblance of ambience or tranquility. But otherwise the buffet is well laid out, with smooth traffic flow and minimal congestion. Part of this might be because the food selection was not as broad as most we’ve seen. We also would have liked if an outdoor terrace had part of the seating area, but this is not to be.
Hand sanitizer was strongly encouraged as we entered Windjammer, from the first day of our cruise to the last.
The breakfast selection was just fine, with the usual array of boxed cereal, oatmeal (which was only lukewarm), breads and pastries, sliced fresh fruit, cold cuts and cheeses, bacon, sausage links and corned beef. The omelet station was on top of its game, turning around orders for egg dishes in about two minutes—they could be made with egg whites or Egg Beaters and ingredients included bacon, ham, salmon, cheese, bell pepper, jalapeno, mushroom, onion and tomato. More exotic breakfast fare included miso soup and rice with condiments, dal, roti, black pudding.
The lunch and dinner options should have been more extensive, although beyond the core selection items rotated in and out. In addition to entrées there was a pizza station and a section for small pre-made sandwiches, and usually three soups on offer, including a cold fruit soup. An Indian section offered fish masala (much better than the in-room fish dish), vegetable kurma, papadums, “tikka” butter chicken; the vegetable biriyani and other dishes showed the ship’s galley is not afraid of a little cumin—we found the Indian food nicely spiced, a little daring. At the Jade counter there was sushi and various stir-fry dishes.
The salad bar was not as diverse as we like, but we appreciated the whole fruits—apple, orange, banana, kiwi and grapes. A dessert bar featured a range of cookies, cakes and pastries, plus an ice cream freezer with toppings, but we didn’t find these any better than the ones we received in the main dining room.
There was a drink station that offered complimentary coffee, tea, iced tea, lemonade and sugar-free fruit punch at lunch; orange drink and apple juice were available at breakfast. A cart offering freshly squeezed orange juice was set up near the entrance—the juice was delicious (though most of the pulp was strained out), but the add-on was steep: $3.50 for the 12-ounce cup. Single-serving bottles (187-ml) of Alice White chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and merlot were available for $5.50. The ship’s standard bar menu was available at the Plaza Bar, at the entrance to Windjammer.
A character breakfast featuring stars of Dreamworks’ animated films was offered on two mornings of our cruise; advance signup was required.
Breakfast was generally offered daily from 7 to 11 a.m. Lunch came out from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 or 4 p.m., while the dinner offerings were available from 6 to 9 p.m.
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