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Thursday, January 6, 2011

CMDTA on Vacation – Nick and Nora’s Steakhouse

I’m not a fan of the “dine when you want” trend in cruise industry.  This trend has also lead to the creation of multiple restaurants that have a cover charge.  Thankfully Carnival lets you still have a set dining time and only have one extra restaurant with a cover charge. 

At first my wife and I didn’t even consider going to Nick and Nora’s Steakhouse.  We normally avoid those places because we’ve never had a good experience at one.  What changed our mind was the fact that we got seated with another couple at dinner.  Don’t get me wrong, John and Ashley were very nice and we had a decent amount in common but my wife does not like people.  She has to deal with people all day long where she works and has to put up with a lot of their issues.  She gets burned out.  The last thing she wants to do on vacation is make small talk.  Add that to the fact that we were celebrating our anniversary and John and Ashley were on their honeymoon and you can understand why all of us would need a couple days away from people.

Nick and Nora’s Steakhouse cost $30 a person for dinner.  This is no surprise.  They mention the cover charge in you daily cruise flyer and when you call to make a reservation.  They also mention when you make a reservation that dinner can take up to 2hrs to complete.  That surprised me at first but then I realized that they were trying to do a truly classic dining experience.

On a side note:  You do need to make reservations.  They number of people they serve each night is VERY limited.  In fact they book the place with the mindset that everyone is going to take 2hrs for dinner.  This means you never have to wait for your table and the place is quiet because it’s never more than half full.

There are three ways to get to Nick and Nora’s Steakhouse which is located on the 10th floor of the ship.  The first way is to take the glass elevators to the 10th floor.  This is a nice scenic way to get there.  You can also take the normal stairs by the elevators but that’s boring.  The final way is the best way.  There are glass (or plastic) stairs that curve out from the lido deck, over the atrium, and up to Nick and Nora’s.  There is something very unsettling about being able to see down 90 feet by looking at your feet.  I’ll also warn you that if you have vertigo or are afraid of heights that this will scare the pants off of you.

The meal is five courses long.  You start with an odd taster that you don’t order they just deliver it to you.  Then you get to choose a salad.  Next you order an appetizer.  After that comes the main meal and desert. 

Anything you order here is going to be great. The food is amazing.  The options are excellent too.  You truly get what you pay for.  To explain why consider what my wife and I got for our main course.  I ordered a 24oz porterhouse and my wife ordered a lobster tail and filet.  That one course would have cost $83 + tax at the Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club in Disney World.  Oh and that $83 does not include the lobster tail or tip.

There is only one other thing food wise I will point out because it was insane.  It’s one of the deserts.  It was chocolate five ways.  The five parts were shooter glasses with different chocolate deserts including banana, tiramisu, white chocolate, black forest and dark chocolate. Believe it or not, it looked as good as it tasted.

The service was excellent.  You couldn’t ask for better service. You had four different people who serviced you and the manager came by as well.

The atmosphere is great.  The atrium is capped by a large glass ceiling. The lighting is dark but not too dark. Everything feels open and spacious.  If you are not sitting in the atrium you are sitting up against large windows.  It’s very nice.

All considered the cover charge was worth it.  For what you get it’s an amazing value.

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