Celebrity Cruises are known for their delicious cuisine, but it is surprisingly difficult to find details regarding dining options onboard, especially from a third party. If you’ve booked a cruise aboard Celebrity Constellation and are now trying to figure out what your dining choices are while onboard or whether or not you should spend the money to upgrade, this brief guide is for you. Neither specialty restaurant knew I was a travel writer at the time of the meal and this guide is based on my personal experience.
My husband and I celebrated our anniversary with a Celebrity Cruise at the end of January. We had been on several cruises, and both believed good food will make or break the cruise. Cafeteria-style eating, so popular on many cruise lines, has never been our style. We don’t want to eat all the time and we don’t want to eat subpar food (food we wouldn’t eat at home). We want fresh, well-prepared food made from the best of ingredients in moderate quantities. The cuisine aboard Celebrity Constellation fit the bill.
There are two main specialty restaurants on the Celebrity Constellation, the Tuscan Grille and Ocean Liners. Both require an additional fee that can be paid in advance or added to your ship bill.
For an additional $35 per person, you can dine at this Italian steakhouse mid-ship high above the sea on deck 11. Unlike most main dining rooms, tables for two or four are available. The menu is well-rounded and features several choices for appetizers, salads, entrées, desserts, etc. The cuisine is Italian and is heavy on pasta choices, but also on meat. My husband had a comfort food meal of a blackened rib eye steak and mashed potatoes. He said it was easily the best steak he’d had on a ship – expertly cooked and buttery. I feasted on lobster linguine alfredo. I can’t get enough of a good white sauce and the Tuscan Grille’s was excellent. The service was good – two pleasant servers tended to us ensuring that our requests were met. The décor was an eclectic mix of traditional and modern in neutral tones. I appreciated the table for two (very romantic) and stepping outside to enjoy the view of the moon’s reflection on the ocean after we were done eating.
Tuscan Grille Tip: The entire meal from the time we were sat at the table until the time we were finished was approximately two hours. From the time we ordered until we were served was about 30 minutes. If there is a show you’re expecting to see at 8:30, don’t make a reservation for 7:00.
The next night, our anniversary, we had reservations at Ocean Liners on deck 3. We paid the $45 per person additional fee in advance, but it can also be charged to your ship bill.
The elegant ambiance was the first thing I noticed as we were graciously and immediately shown to our table for two. Flanking the tall window next to our table were drapes that reminded me of the ones Scarlett O’Hara used to make herself a dress in Gone with the Wind. Made of thick, heavy velvet, the window dressings weren’t the only design details reminiscent of a more refined era. Every interior detail, from pillars to mahogany paneling, was fashioned after European luxury ocean liners of World War I and beyond. The effect was dazzling.
The décor did not outshine the cuisine or the service, however. Many items on the menu have a symbol next to them noting that they are prepared tableside. My husband and I both ordered the Murano lobster tail with Applewood smoked bacon and Dijon cream. Our friendly and knowledgeable server/chef wheeled out a gorgeous cart outfitted with a burner and cooked it for us on the spot. The meal was so artistically prepared, I’d say it qualified as a show. As a bonus, the lobster was delicious. After a cheese tasting and a dessert sampling, we were quite satisfied. In fact, we reserved a table for the next night as well.
Ocean Liners Tip: This meal also lasted for two complete hours, but the time was not spent waiting for food. There were more courses and a wonderful tableside food preparation component that I loved. I suggest reserving your table early so you don’t miss out.
Is the Specialty Dining Aboard Celebrity Constellation Worth the Extra Money?
Without a doubt, yes. The specialty dining on the ship is excellent. Although the Oceanview Café buffet, included in the price of the cruise, features the best buffet food I’ve had on the water and the main dining room is also a good option, I recommend spending a bit more for either Tuscan Grille or Ocean Liners or both.
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