Saturday, May 2, 2015

On the Royal Promenade

Since it was Quantum's last day in the United States today, it seemed like a good day for another post from our Quantum reviews. We had been hoping to finish off our Quantum recaps before the ship left on its long journey to China, but we didn't even get up to the first port yet. Oh well. We've been slow at recapping (as usual), but hopefully we'll get it done sooner rather than later!

I don't know what it is about cruising, or traveling in general, but we always find ourselves wanting to eat something. Maybe it's operating at a higher activity level than our normal sedentary lives, or maybe it's just being surrounded by so many tasty-looking things to try that we don't have every day at home. There's just so much to try and to eat!

The best options for non-meal time snacking on the Quantum were, in our opinion, the Cafe Promenade and Sorrento's combination located on the Royal Promenade. They were right in the center of the main decks of the ship, so they were very convenient (but also incredibly crowded after any show let out), and they had sandwiches, pizza, and small desserts pretty much the entire day. We hadn't done very well with our off-time visit to the Windjammer on night 1 and I gave up on the Windjammer cookie bakery after day 3, so this quickly became our go-to stop. We tried them for the first time on the morning of day 4 since we needed a snack of some sort to tide us over until lunch after the very early character breakfast, working out, and a failed attempt at rock climbing. We really liked these spots and wished we had tried them sooner!

Although we've pretty much been recapping our time on the Quantum in chronological order, we stopped at Cafe Promenade and Sorrento's so many random times from day 4 to the end of the trip that it doesn't make sense to log each visit. We repeated a lot of the same snacks and sometimes even went more than once in a single day, so this recap will just be about all the great stuff they had to offer. (As a side note, a lot of the menus on Quantum have been changed since we were on board, and we don't know if there were any changes to Cafe Promenade or Sorrento's.)

Cafe Promenade

The first thing we tried from Cafe Promenade, which completely cemented its spot as our destination snack joint, was the shrimp roll. A long soft bun filled with lettuce leaves and a mayo-based shrimp salad, this was really good. We liked that it was light but still flavorful.

A couple of days later we tried the chicken roti for the first time. It wasn't quite what we pictured for a roti, but it was more of a chicken salad wrap with roti as the wrapper. The roti was thin and soft, and the chicken salad inside had so much flavor. We were really pleasantly surprised. There was a distinct curry flavor and a nice crunch from the celery.

The chicken roti became our go-to snack at the Cafe Promenade and we would often stop by and pick up one... or two... or three, depending on how hungry or snacky we were feeling. Every time it was a little bit different. Sometimes there would be more vegetables inside (and not just celery). Sometimes the curry flavor was stronger. But almost every time it tasted fresh, light, and good.

For reasons I'll go into a little later, day 9 (of 12) was the last day we would visit Cafe Promenade for sandwiches, and we went twice, before and after our free showing of The Penguins of Madagascar (so much fun!). For our pre-movie snack, we got another shrimp roll (which was packed with shrimp) and our standby chicken roti. In case you're wondering, yes, they did have other sandwiches in the case and we had always thought about them, but we really liked both of those a lot.

After the movie, we decided to expand our horizons. I tried the jive turkey, which was a turkey and cheese sandwich with bacon, lettuce, and thousand island dressing or flavored mayo. I really liked this, so much that I got 2 of them. Although I really liked the chicken roti a lot, I was a bit upset with myself for not trying this one earlier so that I could get more of them during the course of the trip. I had thought it might be a boring turkey sandwich (which has happened so often) so I went for the sure thing instead. (As you can see, I did get a chicken roti as well. This time the roti wrapper was a bit too tough which made the jive turkey shine even more.)

A tried the King Arthur, Cafe Promenade's roast beef sandwich with lettuce and mayo. He found it kind of boring. The roast beef was bland, and the rest of the toppings didn't add much either. He was glad to have tried it, but he wouldn't ever get it again.

Lest you think that Cafe Promenade only serves sandwiches, they also have pastries and desserts. I wasn't that into dessert on the ship (perhaps a bit burnt out from the Windjammer cookie bar), but A did try the desserts. One was called the Led Zeppole, which was an inventive name for a zeppole, but it wasn't anything overly special. We did forget to take a picture of it, though. On our last Cafe Promenade visit, A also picked up a mudcake, which my mom kept getting during the trip, to see what all the fuss was about. He thought it was pretty good, very dense and chocolatey. It was like a rich chocolate cake, and he understood why my mom liked them so much.

Cafe Promenade served us well as a convenient snack joint during the cruise and was probably one of our favorite eating venues. Its long and flexible schedule, the casual atmosphere and plentiful seating, and a large (if unchanging) selection made it a good place to stop.


Although I noted that Cafe Promenade had plentiful seating, those seats were technically in the part of the promenade that housed Sorrento's, the Royal Caribbean pizza joint. Some people ate full meals at Sorrento's, mostly because of their made-to-order pizza option, but we just went for slices. They would have a few sliced up pies out at a time and the toppings would always change. We wanted to try as many as possible!

On day 4, when we made our first visit to Cafe Promenade, we also picked up some slices from Sorrento's - the florentine pizza and hot pepper pizza. Both were good, and I'm not sure which one we preferred. 

We liked Sorrento's so much for a quick snack (which wasn't surprising since dollar pizza at home is our idea of a good snack too) that we got some more slices as a late night snack that same day. There was the praciola, which had some spinach and mushrooms and feta cheese.

There was more hot pepper pizza, the same one as that afternoon, because we liked it the first time around.

We also tried one called mare e monti, which had ham and assorted seafood. That was a pretty interesting and unexpected combo for us, but it was good. By the way, if you're wondered about pizza thickness, the crust on these pizzas is very, very thin. I'm guessing that's so it cooks faster. For the most part, texturally, the thin crust was fine, especially if the pizza was fresh. Every so often, one would sit there too long and the base/crust would have the wonderful texture of cardboard, but that was luckily rare.

The next day brought some new flavors - Hawaiian (ham and pineapple) and a sausage and hot peppers slice - for a snack after a busy day in St. Maarten. It started to become a habit that on our way back to our room from the port, we would stop by Cafe Promenade and Sorrento's, get a light snack, and rehydrate. For example, the next day when we stopped by, we got pepperoni pizza. We loved that the flavors kept changing, even though we didn't always remember to snap a photo.

Our last Sorrento's visit was also on day 9, where we got these mini slices of chorizo corn pizza and pepperoni pizza. They were pretty tasty, just like the others. Sorrento's wasn't great pizza, but it was fine. More than that, it served its purpose. On a cruise ship where options are limited, having a quick, small, and tasty snack like these pizza slices was good for us.

Now, at this point, I'm sure you're wondering why on a 12 day cruise, we stopped visiting Cafe Promenade and Sorrento's on day 9. It had nothing to do with the venue itself, but everything to do with my health. I started feeling a bit unwell after the movie and a short nap, and thought maybe it was a combination of seasickness (we were finally heading back into the ocean), not being very in shape, and being hungry. I thought maybe something to eat would help calm my stomach so that was part of the reason we went for post-movie snacks on the promenade. Unfortunately by the end of the night it turned into a full blown episode of food poisoning (cause unknown), which significantly impacted the way we ate and the way the trip went for the remaining 3 days. There will be more on that another time - how to cope with food poisoning or a stomach bug on a cruise, not the details of my own misadventures.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand - Cafe Promenade and Sorrento's. When we first heard about these pre-cruise, we thought we'd probably stop by but didn't really spend much time thinking about them. We had no idea this would become our go-to snack point and one of the more comfortable public spaces to be during the trip (available seating, low deck and mid-ship to help with sea sickness). If you're on Quantum or a sister ship, we'd definitely recommend a few visits to try out the snacks and see what you like!

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