Dec 6 2010 The feast has begun

Dec 6 2010, The feast begins, Oceania experience

How does a cruise ship company live up to the claim of the “best food at sea”? Simply, carefully and with attention to detail.

Every morsel must be prepared from fresh ingredients. Presentation must be interesting and alluring. People must be satisfied and not “filled up”. Food tastes must be unique and memorable. Recipes must be selected and coordinated, combining comfort foods, exotic spice and yet familiar and that sense of “special”. Several choices, not to overwhelm, but to offer something for everyone and several somethings of interest for the adventuresome.

Food specialists, as every ordinary person is, must be impressed with understated perfection. Words used to describe a taste, must entice from the menu. Presentation in a buffet must promise flavors and freshness, to inspire confidence. One bite must satisfy every palate. Not one item can be substandard or ordinary. All must be appealing to the senses.

We are directed firmly yet with open invitation to the Terrace Cafe for the prepared luncheon on embarkation day. We enter, this first impression is one that will forever capture our memory for Oceania. This one flash in time, a photograph of the mind, will hold power over our impression of this day, this cruise, this choice for our carefully saved dollars. This is the moment of truth and the love is in the details.

Pass / fail is the deciding factor yet critical to the success of any art form. Pass.

We select a range of fresh vegetables and fruits, prepared meats and cheeses, carved roast beef and turkey, selection of condiments and colors to fill the senses and add to the experience. Oh and a quick walk by the dessert area, with promise of sweetness and flavor to punctuate the nutrition.

Beverages including bottled water, Perrier, sodas, coffees, teas and cappucinos are offered to all by the ample staff ratio. Wine and other offerings are described in the menu on each table. We have been to our room and know the champagne is on ice, complimentary red wine is on the table …. we will be well looked after.

Gluten free breads are brought to my table in generous quantity. I feel my needs and wants are being anticipated and met. How simple yet how detail has been organized in preparation for my arrival.

We enjoy the tastes, smells, textures, and time. We look out on the harbor view of the city of Barcelona spread out before us as part of the buffet. We watch as new arrivals spill in to the cafe and have the quick but critical evaluation of pass? Fail? looks come over their expressions.

The feast has begun and we are satisfied that our anticipation has been greeted with equal measure of planning and preparation. That Oceania has accepted the challenge or our expectation and performed the task with satisfying results. We came, we ate and we smiled.

Off to explore the ship, to check out all the possibilities for the other experiences … entertainment, shopping, reading, sight seeings, exercising, lounging, self care and spa adventures, investigations and of course, future meals and gastronomical delights that are yet to come.

A feast indeed has been laid out in front of us and we have agreed to indulge. Yuummmmm!

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