The Captain's Table - Chef Justen Riley

One of the founding ideas behind Cruise Aficionados is that cruising is something best enjoyed when you know something about the things you experience ahead of time. Likewise, when you come home, you are able to dive into learning about the things you ate, drank, experienced and made part of your cruise. When dining aboard ship I am always impressed with the presentation of meals but still find myself wondering how to judge it in comparison to who it might be done elsewhere. How do I, how would you know what to expect from a meal?

I invited Chef Justen Riley to share some insights on a random selection from Royal Caribbean’s past menus from cruises I’ve taken.

Chef Riley brings you Beef Wellington:

“Traditional beef wellington is wrapped in a flaky pastry , on the inside of the pastry there will be a filet that is wrapped in bacon and around that will be a mushroom mixture of either button or crimini most times. In modern cooking it is normal to find beef wellington in a loaf style that is normally made up of a shell of puff pastry with a mixture of either beef tips or extra bits of tender beef sections that have been combined with sliced or diced mushrooms and bacon, this style is normally found in a more relaxed environment such as a self serve buffet or served buffet with the attending chef slicing into it as a wow factor of sorts.

At a plated meal normally it will be a single serving done in a traditional fashion and served with either a thickened jus or a beef gravy made from stock, the gravy should complement the pastry and meat inside instead of overwhelming it to the point of tasting nothing but the gravy. If it overwhelms the main part of the dish then likely the meat inside is scraps from other cuts that were not as desirable but needed to be put to use rather than wasted.”

When you can’t be onboard, be online with us here at

Carnival Splendor Suffers Engine Loss.

The Carnival Splendor returned to Miami without further incident after losing sufficient power to run a full speed.  Ship-board services were not impacted but without enough power to sail at normal speeds Carnival Cruise Line canceled stops at St. Thomas and Amber Cove.

The Splendor takes on supplies after the 2010 engine room fire which knocked-out all power.

Passengers on the cruise were provided a $100 onboard credit, a 50% refund on the cruise and a 50% toward a future cruise.  Due to the ongoing repairs this weeks cruise has also been changed with stops in Grand Cayman, Belize City, Mahogany Bay, and Cozumel canceled and replaced with a short sailing to the Bahamas, featuring an overnight port in Nassau and a full day in Freeport.  Passengers on this cruise will receive the same compensation as those on the previous weeks.  
The Carnival Splendor suffered a loss of power in 2010 while operating out of the west coast.  The ship needed to be towed it back to San Diego and U.S. Navy helicopters to fly food and supplies.  The ship is a variant on the Concordia class used by Costa Cruises, the namesake of which sunk in 2012 with the loss of 32 lives.  In December 2016 Carnival announced its intention to transfer the ship to Princess' Australian fleet in 2019.

Symphony of the Seas - the Fourth Oasis Class.

Leave it to the wonders of social media to break the news that Royal Caribbean's fourth Oasis class will be named "Symphony of the Seas."

Symphony of the Seas, as seen by Lloyd Marchand

An image shared online by "Lloyd Marchand" shows the aft portion of the ship still being assembled at STX France was photographed and the news has spread widely online.  What you are able to see here is actually several things.  The ship is put together in large "blocks" which are in-turn moved with large cranes and lowered into position where they welded into place.  There are at least three blocks in this picture.  The middle block is where you see the name highlighted against the bear steel.  It is the section hosting the Aqua Theater, one of the signature features of the Oasis class.  Behind this block appears to be a section intended for the bow of the ship.  Finally a larger and flat section is seen in front of it that might be related to the lifeboat deck.


Twilight of the Gods: 747s Begin Final Exits From U.S. Fleets

747 SP
Photo Credit: Christian Volpati

United has set the date to retire their last 747s. Delta is close behind. It is not an exaggeration to say it is the end of an end of an era. The 747 was a monument to classic American aviation design and construction. The spacious frame allowed designers to gave rise to lasting changes in what was possible in passenger travel. the aircraft became an icon of popular culture and fiction. It became the flagship aircraft of a nation. Variations studied the stars and the atmosphere. One carried the first airborne laser weapon system. It's extended body carried whole fuselages of new airliners-some of which will ironically be why the type is retired. And the 747s status as a powerful cargo hauler is unmatched.

Read more: Twilight of the Gods: 747s Begin Final Exits From U.S. Fleets

Live Chat - Saturday and Sunday 4 p.m. EST

Live cruise chat, on now until our fingers wear-out! Q&A, cruise news, ship watching! 

Can't be there today?  Join us every weekend for live chat as we watch the ships depart Port Everglades online!  Ask questions, talk the latest cruise news and more!

Share us everywhere!

Follow us with your favorite social media!
You can even use these services to log into Cruise Aficionados!