As my 15th Wedding Anniversary to my wife, Cheryl, nears, and we’re trying to decide what to do for it, I was reminded of what we did last year by a recent email – we went on a cruise on board the Disney Dream. The Disney community has come up with this “getting to know you” event for cruises where you exchange small gifts via what is called a “Fish Extender.” The name comes from the message hooks next to the cabin doors on the original Disney cruise ships. They all were shaped like fish, and were referred to as “fish hooks.” You hang your fish extender from the message hook outside your door, and people leave their gifts in its pockets.
Being regular cruisers, Cheryl and I have participated in several of these exchanges ranging from only 10 or 12 rooms to 40 rooms. It’s a great way to get to explore the ship and to meet people, which is how I met the lady who emailed me. Cheryl and I had been going around delivering our gifts into fish extenders. These gifts had been little Disney notepads with Disney markers and a few other things. While trying to pick a character that we felt matched the room we were at, the door suddenly opened.
While you might be thinking, “Awkward!” the truth is that those participating in an exchange love this. It’s time to meet and greet. We got to talking about why we were cruising, what plans we had, etc. Now, to me, there are three key components to cruising: relaxing, enjoyment, and eating. So the conversation went almost immediately to food. I mentioned how it was our Anniversary cruise, how we were going to Remy the following night for our Anniversary dinner, and cruising in general. Excitement ensued, and we exchanged contact information using the notepad we were leaving at their room.
The email reminded me of that dinner, and I wanted to talk about the experience some with you. It’s important to note that Remy is a French restaurant, named after the character Remy from the Pixar movie Ratatouille. It is designed to present the look and feel of the restaurant Gusteau’s from the movie, itself. It is one of the most gorgeous places on the entire cruise ship, and even if you’re not planning to dine there, you should take the time to walk through it during non-operating hours – the best time being just after you board the ship. Don’t miss the glass statue of Chef Remy as you enter.
Your meal is started, like all good French meals, with a glass of champagne – in this case a champagne cocktail named after the movie character Colette. It’s a simple mixture of Tattinger and some fruit. Due to Cheryl’s special food needs, we had lot of personal attention from the maitre d’, who basically took over for our waiter as he wanted nothing to go wrong with her meal. We learned a lot about him, how he had been on hand at the restaurant since its first floorboard had been laid, and how he was going to the Fantasy to help set up Remy there, as well.
The first food we were presented with was some special bread for Cheryl, and I got to partake in a very delectable truffle infused bread. It was fantastic, the sort of bread that is so sweet on its own, it doesn’t require butter. The next item was a small salad consisting of a hollowed out heart of palm with some greens inside of it, and an oil and vinegar dressing. We both were able to have this item, and it did not last long on our plates.
From there it was almost non-stop food. Part of it was that when I’m on a cruise ship I like to try as much as possible, so I ordered several items at each stage of the meal to get as much of a sampling as possible. Again cruises and food are joined at the hip – I’ve not been on a cruise where you are denied any food you ask for unless the ingredients are not on board. They went right into a cheese plate. Now since Cheryl can’t eat cheese, the maitre d’ made me a special plate that instead of having a sample of only 7 of the cheeses instead had a sample of every cheese available. And I was talked through eating each one, as several were meant to be combined, had with honey, etc. Pure cheese heaven.
Cheryl had two appetizers, one was a ratatouille, and the other was a warm asparagus salad. Both dishes were thoroughly enjoyed. Having to one up her, I had 3 appetizers: a mozzarella and tomato dish that looked almost like a small pizza without any crust, a tomato soup, and some blood orange smoked bison tips. That really was as amazing as it sounds.
We then moved on to what I can only think of as “second appetizers,” or perhaps “pre-dinner dinner.” I’m just not sure. I was presented with one of the largest pieces of turbot I’ve ever seen a restaurant be willing to part with. Turbot is considered a delicacy fish and is highly prized, especially in French cuisine, for its delicate flavors – paired with a cream sauce, I was not complaining at all. Cheryl had some specially made potato gnocchi, which did not last long.
Then came our main courses, or “second dinner” – I was pretty much in a food coma at this point and became lost in the meal. Cheryl was presented with a simple yet well plated vegetable platter and some potato pancakes. I had ordered the Australian Wagyu beef – Japanese cattle typically crossbred into the Australian cattle population. Not as prized as the pure Japanese cattle, but still popular in modern cuisine. It’s the type of beef that cuts like pie and melts in your mouth.
Dinner was followed by a horde of desserts. There was a dark chocolate bar with edible gold foil, as well as what could only be described as a fruit sushi platter. This was followed by a silver box, and inside were chocolates and marshmallows all made at the restaurant. Another special version of this that Cheryl could enjoy was presented, which included some dark chocolate items, along with some handmade lollipops and a special dark chocolate lava cake. As we were rolling out of the restaurant, I asked for a stack of the handmade chocolate bars to go.
The meal was fantastic and lasted a few hours, as you could probably imagine. The attention to detail was evident throughout. From the decor, to the silver, and straight through all the courses. If you’re going on either the Dream or the Fantasy and you like fine dining and/or French cuisine, book this meal, and you won’t be disappointed. As this is one of the fine dining restaurants on board (the other being Palo), there is an additional per person charge of $75, and there is a casual fine dining dress code in effect.
What about you? Have you been on the Dream? Going on the Fantasy? Dined at Remy? Have a meal at Remy planned on an upcoming cruise? Love French food? Love fine dining? Love Disney Cruises and all they have to offer? Has it occurred to you that there might be more to life than just surfing and eating?