Pretty stoked about the Teppanyaki dinner B and I just booked for our first day at sea on the Norwegian Pearl. Deemed the “Benihana at Sea” – I’m a sucker for the show when they’re flinging rice and shrimp everywhere. I haven’t been to a Benihana-type restaurant with B yet, but I’m pretty sure he’ll be wowed by my shrimp-catching skills.
But there are a bunch of different specialty dining options on board the Blake Shelton Cruise. Check out this great write up by Nancy Schretter.
Dining Choices Sizzle on the Blake Shelton Cruise
By Nancy Schretter
While next week’s Blake Shelton Cruise will feature exciting performances by Blake Shelton plus shows by Trace Adkins and over 20 other country music entertainers, the cruise experience itself is also a huge draw. The cruise is being held on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl, a gem of a ship that features a wide range of dining and entertainment options. While it might be hard for country music fans to break away from the all-star entertainment to go bowling at sea, try rock climbing or play on the Wii interactive gaming system in the atrium, the Pearl’s dining line-up will likely hit the top of the charts with Blake Shelton Cruise guests.
Dining on the Norwegian Pearl is freestyle, which means that you don’t have to eat in the same place at a set time every day. You are free to dine … wherever! The Pearl has large flatscreen TV displays in high traffic areas around the ship showing the current waiting times for each dining area, so you can easily head to the venues without a wait. If you would prefer to wait for a specific dining option, the restaurant’s hostess will quote you an expected wait time and give you a pager that works around the ship.
Sure, there are standard main dining rooms on the Norwegian Pearl. The large Summer Palace dining room features aft windows, perfect for those who fancy a water view. Indigo, a smaller standard dining room, is located mid-ships. Dining here is included as part of your cruise. Guests can dine freestyle as they wish or at the same time. If you’d like to keep things predictable every night, talk with the maitre d’ on the first day of the cruise to set up.
While the food in the main dining room is delicious, Norwegian Cruise Line is also known for its extensive choice of specialty restaurants. It would be hard to cruise on the Norwegian Pearl for seven nights and not try at least one. Reservations for alternative restaurant dining can be made in advance of your cruise or once you’re on the ship. If you have your heart set on a specific dates, times and dining experiences – make your reservations early.
Here are a few of the dining experiences that guests on the Blake Shelton Cruise can enjoy while sailing on the Norwegian Pearl:
* Cagney’s Steakhouse: This restaurant serves up mouthwatering steaks such as a 16-ounce T-Bone, 12-ounce Rib Eye or a 10-ounce New York Strip or Filet Mignon along with all your favorite sides. Don’t miss Cagney’s Fries made with white truffle oil and parmesan cheese. Salmon Oscar, Double Cut Lamb Chops and Vegetarian Saffron Casserole are also on the menu, as are yummy appetizers and desserts. A $25 per person cover charge applies.
* Le Bistro French Restaurant: From the decor to the menu, Le Bistro is all French through and through. Start your meal off with French Onion Soup or Escargot and then move on to such classics as Coq au Vin, Bouillabaisse, and Filet de Porc. Naturally, the profiteroles, chocolate napoleon and vanilla creme brulee are delectable. A $20 per person cover charge applies.
* Moderno Churrascaria: Barbecued meats are the specialty at this Brazilian-style meat-fest restaurant. Diners control how much they’re served with green and red chips. Green means “keep bringing it on” while red tells servers “stop – I’ve had enough!” There’s a huge salad bar here to accompany the ten different cuts of beef, lamb, pork and chicken served. A $20 per person cover charge applies.
* Teppanyaki: This Japanese grill-style restaurant is sort of like “Benihana at Sea.” Each evening, chefs put on a show while cooking meats, fish, poultry and vegetables on an iron “Teppan” grill. This is one of the most popular restaurants on the ship and seating is very limited, so it sells out quickly. A $25 per person cover charge applies.
* Lotus Garden Asian Restaurant: Step into a world of Pan Asian delights in this restaurant, serving Japanese, Chinese and Thai dishes including Peking Duck Crepes, Kung Pao Chicken, Cantonese Scallops, Orange Peel Beef and more. A $15 per person cover charge applies.
* La Cucina Italian Restaurant: Traditional Italian dishes take center stage here, including pastas with seven sauce choices, specialty pizzas, and entrees such as Chicken Parmesan, Seared Salmon, Ribeye Steak Florentina, Ossobuco, and Vegetable Lasagna. The tiramisu, ricotta cheesecake and flourless chocolate torte offer a perfect Italian ending for your meal. A $10 per person cover charge applies.
* 24/7 Pizza: Want pizza delivered fresh to your table, your favorite bar or even to your stateroom – any time of day or night? This Norwegian Pearl restaurant has it covered. Just ask your server or call room service for delivery. A $5 per guest charge applies.
* Sushi and Sashimi Bar: Located in the Lotus Garden Asian Restaurant, this little restaurant serves up a variety of sushi and sashimi including yellow fin tuna, big eye tuna, salmon, yellowtail and octopus. Prices are a la carte.
* Blue Lagoon 24-Hour Food Court: This is the place to go if you want a quick bite, any time of the day or night. The Blue Lagoon serves up burgers, stir-fry items and light fare – all free of charge.
Norwegian Cruise Line recently rolled out a new dining package called the Signature Trio, offering savings at three of the Norwegian Pearl’s alternative dining restaurants. The package includes dinner at Cagney’s Steakhouse, Le Bistro French Restaurant and La Cucina Italian Restaurant for $47 per person, a savings of $8 per person. Reservations are made in advance, making dining at these specialty restaurants even more convenient. Blake Shelton Cruise guests take note: the Signature Trio must be purchased before sailing and will not be available once onboard the ship.
For casual dining, including breakfast and lunch, there’s the Garden Cafe and the Great Outdoors Cafe on the aft deck. Those lounging by the pool will want to check out the nearby grill serving hamburgers, hot dogs, salads and desserts. And, of course, every guest needs to try the free room service at some time during their cruise.
For more information on the Blake Shelton & Friends Cruise, visit http://www.blakesheltoncruise.com.
One month from today I’ll wake up (in a super sweet bed at the Four Seasons Denver) a married woman.
Likely a hungover married woman, but married.
And I don’t think it will be much different than it always is. See, that’s the thing. Everyone keeps saying things like “oooh, enjoy your time while you can” and “everything CHANGES when you get married” and I just don’t get it. Maybe five, ten, 20 years from now, I’ll look back and say, holy shit, everyone was so RIGHT, everything did CHANGE. But I don’t think it’s changing in the ways that they say it will.
See, the whole changing thing is half the reason Mr. Man didn’t want to get married (again) in the first place. Because with his first marriage, it did change. Everything was awesome, and then it wasn’t. So maybe I’m incredibly cognizant of the fact that things COULD change if I were someone else or if he were someone else, but I really don’t see our dynamic being any different on October 12th than it is today, or tomorrow, or October 11th.
Which brings me to the whole writing vows thing. We had our friend who will be playing referee at our wedding over for dinner the other night and it was like, oh hello, THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING.
One of the reasons I’m so head over crazy in love with this dude is because we just roll with it. The proposal? Not a huge production. Perfectly us. The venue selection? It just happened. Despite my best efforts to find that perfect beach or field or whatever, deciding on the tunnel just happened on a whim and was the obvious choice for us. Everything else is falling into place and yes, there are logistics we need to figure out (which is why our friend is doing the ceremony part, because he’s the expert in this area), but for the most part, it’s almost like we’re on auto-pilot.
Which, is not to say that it isn’t fun or hilarious or some of the best times of our lives, but it’s not stressful. I haven’t had any wedding-related meltdowns. We aren’t sitting up at night wondering how we’re going to make everyone happy. Maybe we’re blessed with some circle of friends and family that just get us and we’re lucky. I don’t know, but this whole wedding planning thing is not nearly as stressful as I have heard it can be. Then again, we’re only dealing with maybe 10 of the 12304923 factors that go into planning a traditional wedding.
So yeah, vows. I’m excited. We were talking to our friend who is officiating the whole thing and I asked him how long the vows should be. He said he’s had couples go for 15 minutes (too long) and as short as like 30 seconds (a bit too short). Apparently a minute, minute and a half is the magic number. And if you’ve ever heard me speak in person, especially when I’m excited, you know that I tend to speak very quickly. So, I can get a loooooot said in 90 seconds.
But really, where do you begin? This is a huge deal to me, yes. I don’t want to not sound like it is single-handedly the most important decision I’ll ever make in the history of decisions and I want to be sure I treat it as such. When I’m on, I’m on, and this kind of stuff comes naturally, so I’m sure it will be fine, but I’m definitely excited to see how to put everything I’ve felt, how much I’ve grown, and how fucking excited I am for the future down into words. Sweet.
THE DRESS. Or, in my case, the suit. Yesterday my friend Angela and I went to LiquidSky Sports to get fitted for my super sweet custom wedding jumpsuit. It’s pretty much the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever owned. I’ll post pictures and stuff once we’re all done and married and all that, I’m not sure what the superstition is all about but in the interest of keeping it a secret? Not like B hasn’t already seen it – I couldn’t wait to get back home and show him.
Mega thanks to Julio and Vicki, the two peeps at LiquidSky who were the driving force behind making this happen. If you’re not hip with the skydiving industry, LiquidSky is one of the most sought-after companies for custom jump suits, and their work is exquisite. As a result, the wait time for a suit right now is something crazy like 26 weeks. People wait for somewhere around six months to get these suits. They’re on the higher end for cost, but it’s no secret as to why. Luckily, they’re based in LA and I was able to get my suit fitted to me before I took it home. It’s one thing to get measured and get the suit sent to you, it’s an entirely different experience to have the suit put together for the most part, but to be able to take it in a bit here and there, and try it on again, and see how it slowly but surely becomes the most amazing custom suit you could ever want.
Which, I imagine, is EXACTLY like wedding dress shopping. Right?
And finally, the cruise. We’re counting down the days and saving our dollars for all of the fun we’ll have on board the #BlakeSheltonCruise on the Norwegian Pearl. In case you missed it, I wrote all about it last month. Word on the street is there’s a surprise guest joining the already impressive list of performers – but they won’t give away a name just yet. We recently received our cruise documents in the mail, which includes our cabin number (YAAAAAY for balcony cabins close to the stairs) and luggage tags.
The only detail we’re still working on is where we’ll stay in Ft. Lauderdale or Miami before the cruise. We get in town early on Saturday, and just need to decide if we’re staying in Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, and then get to the ship on Sunday morning.
As for the cruise itself, Norwegian has a great interactive cruise planner on their website, where you can book different shore excursions, reservations at some of the specialty restaurants, etc.
I’ve been stalking the menus at the specialty restaurants and I’m thinking a visit to the Teppanyaki and Churrascaria are in order. We’ll see what’s available once we get on board, but yeah. I’m hesitant to book anything ahead of time because we might meet awesome people or we might go explore some port, or something that could come up and interfere with pre-arranged dinner plans. Yet another reason I’m stoked about the Freestyle Dining on the Norwegian ships. Eat when you want, where you want, wearing what you want (within reason). Sweet.
Good news is, if you’re a country music fan and you are in desperate need of an awesome vacation, it appears as though there are still a variety of cabins left on this sailing, so definitely check it out, as we’re only 32 days away from setting sail!
Hey hey hey! Two months from now B and I will be married (weeee!) and two days into our honeymoon on board the Norwegian Pearl for the Blake Shelton Cruise. I am beyond excited, one, because I will be on vacation with my best friend (and husband, how awesome/strange/new does that sound?) and two, because I haven’t been on a cruise in years and B has never been.
What is the #BlakeSheltonCruise, you ask? It’s a themed cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines, with Blake Shelton as the headliner. He’ll be doing two shows during the cruise, and when he’s not performing, there will be a whole boat load (no really, a boat load) of other country music stars rocking live performances, acoustic stuff, and meet and greet sessions. The list of performers is pretty impressive, check it!
Blake Shelton, Special Guest: Trace Adkins, Jerrod Niemann, Easton Corbin, Neal McCoy , Lee Brice, Randy Houser, McKenna Faith, Frankie Ballard, Brett Eldredge, Jana Kramer, Tyler Farr, Brinley Addington, Chris Cavanaugh, Chuck Wicks, JJ Lawhorn, Logan Mize, HER and Kings County, Joanna Smith, Maggie Rose, Clayton Anderson, Brandon and Leah, Rae Lynn, and Nik and Sam.
Holy awesome performances, Batman.
Destinations: We’re headed to San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola and Nassau. Considering I’ve been to all of these islands before and B isn’t into touristy stuff or crowds, we’re in the process of planning out our days on the islands. We have a pilot friend (Hi Dean!) who works for SeaBourne Airlines – so we might try to see them while we’re down there. Honestly, at this point, I just can’t wait for sun, cocktails, and waves.
Fun story: I think it was about 10 years ago, my family and I visited St. Thomas and went to Sapphire Beach. I remember saying to my sister that I’d visit Sapphire Beach on my honeymoon, and now look, here we are, heading to St. Thomas as a stop on the Blake Shelton Cruise. Could it be any more perfect?
Bars: There are eleventy billion (okay, 13) bars on the ship, and as we’re exploring the deck plans on the Norwegian website, we’re noticing that several of them are directly above or below our room. Awesome! Also? Sake Bar? Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar? Totally happening.
Food: Sixteen dining options. While I’m going to do my best to skip the late night buffets, there is definitely no shortage of action on the food front on board. Thinking a trip to Cagney’s Steakhouse may be in order – for only $25, we’re sure to get a great meal.
Activities/Fitness: There are a lot of options for on-board activities, and to be completely honest (and nerdy), I can’t wait to see how many steps we take per day, I think my FitBit will be impressed with how much walking we actually do on board. That and our room is right by a stairwell, so I’m promising myself that I’ll be taking the stairs as much as humanly possible.
Rooms: We’re in a balcony cabin, mid-ship. Which if I remember correctly, is pretty freaking awesome. The decks above us and below us are staterooms, so we don’t need to worry about the noise from a club or deck chairs or people pounding out a run on the treadmills. I’ve heard every horror story there is about cabin placement.
And, judging by the pricing page, it looks like this is almost sold out – so if you’re interested in going, get on it!
Have any questions? Have you ever been on a cruise? What was your honeymoon like?
Disclaimer: While I’m not getting paid to write this, I should point out the fine folks at Flying Dutchmen Travel are hooking B and me up in exchange for telling you guys all about it. So there you have it. I’m here to tell you about our awesome honeymoon plans and get you excited about the #BlakeSheltonCruise.
Disclaimer 2.0: …but it is a honeymoon – and you probably don’t really want to know the specifics. That said, I’ll keep it to stuff related to the cruise. Thanks for hanging out!