Cruising & Fine Dining From NYC

Cruising from New York City could not be more convenient or affordable than ever before. The City of New York began a program of $200 million in capital investment at the cruise terminals. The upgrades at Manhattan Cruise Terminal allow Pier 88 and Pier 90 to serve the world’s biggest ships. An additional $6 million investment in Passenger Boarding Bridges was made to handle the world’s newest and largest ships. Following is what we recently discovered with regards to dining like a Master Chef aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway — Ocean Blue.

Tucked beyond the fresh seafood bar and the mystical blue signage with the inexplicable absence of the originator’s name, Geoffrey Zakarian, is a stunning dining room — both elegant and inviting — spaciously designed with pearly white table linens and chocolate colored, leather chairs and banquettes. It reminded me of walking into a private country club that happens to have a pro golf course, but the sway of the room quickly informed my equilibrium that we are at sea.

The upscale restaurant on the NCL Breakaway also offers dining al fresco on the 8th floor of the ship. The less formal exterior gives passengers the option to indulge, imbibe and celebrate over the waves and under the moon.

Note: The salt air gives way to a whiff of cigar smoke from time to time due to the nearby humidor. We chose the interior.

Living in the city and tri-state area provides us with access to many fine and award-winning establishments — it is home for the Food Network and the culinary hub for professional chefs. Ocean Blue rates high on my list with regards to quality, creativity and culinary art. You will need to purchase a cruise for the experience but who doesn’t want or need an escape from the pressure and stress of living in the region.

Note: Norwegian Breakaway cruises to the Bahamas every Sunday.

A cocktail before you dine? Picture it. You’re on a voyage. You’re parched. You’re on a vessel holding more than 5000 people and cruising the Atlantic and you’re safe but there is always the possibility of danger. Bottoms up! The cocktail menu runs the gamut from a Moscow Mule and White Russian to St. Hailaire. I recommend the Mad Man Cosmopolitan (above): Appleton VX Rum, St. Germain, orange juice and ginger. It worked wonders on me, calming my nerves while stimulating my appetite.

Appetizers include the traditional shrimp cocktail, crispy calamari, mussels and beef tartare, there are also several fresh salad options. The Lobster Bisque (above) with chive and crème fraiche is smooth, creamy and flavorful with a generous portion of tender lobster. It came perfectly balanced with salt and a bite of pepper. Delicious.

My dinner partner, Tony, insisted on sharing the Oysters Rockefeller. Boy am I glad that he insisted! This appetizer comes with four oysters baked to perfection with spinach and Mornay sauce — a béchamel sauce with melted gruyere and/or emmental cheese. The outcome of cream sauce, textures and crustacean is simply decadent. A must try for seafood lovers.

The Sea Scallops were presented at the table in a very appetizing manner. This entrée is created with grapefruit, caramelized pork belly, white anchovy and guanciale. It means cheek in Italian. The latter is an Italian cured meat or salami product prepared from pork jowl or cheeks. While this dish is flavorful and complex, the ratio of scallops to other ingredients is a bit slight.

Of course the main courses on the menu have a fish and seafood focus. Selections include Dover Sole, Red Snapper, a Seven Seas Platter and Seafood Extravaganza that is ushered to your table brimming with a whole cold water lobster, clams, shrimp, mussels, etc. Ocean Blue also keeps carnivores sated with a Filet Mignon and 16oz Grilled Certified Angus Beef Delmonico Steak. I chose the Black Sea Bass on this occasion that was light, flaky and tasty. However, on our next visit I believe I will indulge on their Surf & Turf with it’s Angus Beef Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail (above).

Hint: You will need reservations at Ocean Blue during your cruise. I recommend you wait until later in your voyage as most passengers book early. You should also schedule a time after 8:30 pm. We received impeccable service without a crowd or wait time.

Bon Voyage and Bon Appetite!

This is part of a series on travel, cruising and dining. Be sure to read Beauty News NYC Magazine in the coming weeks for more insider tips and ideas.

Check out more about the NCL cruises from NYC here:

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