I have always thought of a pinnacle as a tall skinny underwater
spire where my husband likes to fish for halibut. Once, when we went on an American Safari yacht cruise he took a kayak out by himself to where the charts showed pinnacles underwater. He caught a 60-pound halibut on a 3 1/2 oz green pearl Point Wilson Dart. He turned it over to the ship’s chef and we all ate well. So in a way that was a pinnacle of dining, but not what this story is about.
On Holland America cruise line, the word pinnacle takes on a whole different meaning with the Pinnacle Grill. I think of it as the top of the spire of abundant and delicious dining choices. I’ll call room service the foundation of the spire. Choices are limited, but it is available 24 hours a day, and delivered at no charge. (Although it is always a good idea to tip.) We found the breakfast service especially convenient. You just leave the provided form on the cabin door before bed and have breakfast delivered at your specified time. That came in quite useful on shore excursion days where we really didn’t want to take the time to go to breakfast.
I’ll put the lido deck as the next tier on the spire. Many different little restaurant areas offer a variety of food choices served buffet style for those who don’t wish to take the time for a multi-course meal. Sometimes a line forms causing a short wait, but you can get a fairly quick meal unless you want something like waffles or omelettes that they cook while you wait. At dinner time, the Lido also has the reservations-only Canaletto for Italian food in a sit-down style restaurant with waiter service.
Moving up the spire, we find the Vista Dining Room. Delicious multi-course meals served on a European time-table (in other words plan to linger over the meal and not rush it like Americans are accustomed to.) Eggs Benedict for breakfast, lobster for dinner, what’s not to like? Any time one is not in a hurry for a meal on the ship it is a great place to go. Menus change daily, the food tastes wonderful, and again there is no extra charge to eat there. We met a lot of nice people just getting randomly seated with them in the dining room. It’s a great way to meet people you would probably never talk to otherwise. Some of them we ran into again other times and places on the ship, a chance for additional conversations with a new-found friend. Holland America offers the as-you-wish dining like we had where you can just wander down to the dining room any time during the meal service, or for more traditional folks specific dinner times where you have the same table with the same people each day.
At the tip of the shipboard dining pinnacle, we find the Pinnacle
Grill. For a small fee and with a reservation, passengers dine in style for lunch or dinner. (Smaller fee for lunch than dinner.) Well on Le Cirque night the fee is not so small. Before this trip I had never eaten at a pay-extra place on any cruise. I never felt the need to pay more for food when I could get perfectly good food at no extra charge. This time though we decided to give it a try. We had lunch there one day and my husband really wanted to try the Le Cirque night, so we did that too. They replicate everything from the service to the china to the menu from the Le Cirque restaurant.
I had a pasta for lunch there, which tasted quite good. Lunch began with a tantalizing appetizer and ended with a rich chocolaty dessert. The LeCirque meal began with foie gras. I would not make a good rich person when it comes to dining choices, because I find organ meats, fish eggs, snails, and all that sort of thing quite disgusting and would never eat any of them. Or anything that requires the sort of conditions some calves and geese are subjected to. Needless to say, I did not try the foie gras. John did though, and he said it tasted awful, more so the rhubarb base than the foie gras itself. Looking around at the guests at other tables, most of them seemed to have the same reaction.
Luckily, the rest of the meal tasted quite good. They served lobster
salad, something I had only read about before, but never actually tasted. It had asparagus spears and lobster of course, and some other veggies. Anything containing lobster just can’t go wrong. Next we ate sort of chef”s special soup where the waiter poured the liquid part into our bowls over top of the chunky bits right at the table. We had thick portions of halibut cooked to flaky perfection. Halibut and pinnacles, they just seem to go together. For dessert we had a scrumptious creme brulee.
Most passengers consider dining an important part of their cruise ship vacation. The atmosphere and the service play a big part in the Pinnacle Grill dining experience. Everything from the decor to the china says upscale, and each table practically seemed to have its own waiter.
Halibut on a pinnacle or halibut in a pinnacle (grill), either way it makes good eating.
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