Disney Cruise Line Dining Reviewby Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 01-12-2012
There are many highlights to a Disney cruise, as anyone who’s cruised on the Wonder, Magic, or Dream can testify.
For my husband and I, one of the top ones has to be dining at the beautiful adults-only restaurant Palo, and more specifically, enjoying the amazing brunch they offer there on days at sea.
Disney Wonder - Palo brunch
Some of the seafood offerings at Palo brunch.
We're obviously not alone, as it’s a tough thing to book in advance. Reservations can be made up to 120 days in advance of their cruise by some passengers, and reservations, as we’ve discovered, are a must. At 120 days out, full-paid guests in concierge categories (R to V) and Platinum Castaway Club members can place reservations. Gold Castaway Club members, who’ve cruised five or more times, can grab their reservations as early as 105 days out. For silver Castaway Club members, cruisers on their second to fourth cruise with Disney, the opening window is 90 days, while for first-time Disney cruisers, bookings open at 75 days out.
On our most recent cruise, around Alaska, it proved impossible to secure a Palo brunch reservation on our appointed 90-day mark, even though I was online just as soon as they were available. Dinners were absolutely no problem, but brunch was like Mission: Impossible. I kept trying on a regular basis to secure an elusive slot, but with no joy. Fortunately, if you find yourself in that position, don’t despair, as you can try again as soon as you board. That’s what we did, and we were able to make arrangements for brunch with our friends with no problem. Other people have told us that was their experience as well, so be sure to find out where they’re taking Palo reservations when you board, and head that way if it’s something you’ve got your heart set on.
So what’s so special about brunch at Palo? Well, the second you walk in and your server shows you the amazing variety of food on offer, you have your answer. Prepare to come here hungry and leave absolutely stuffed! The array is just mind boggling, and certainly gets the mouth watering! There were two tables full of what I’d call cold appetizer items, a table of baked goodies, two tables of desserts, and that’s before you get to feast your eyes on the hot entree items that are made to order.
Cold appetizers seem like a logical place to start. The first of these tables included a myriad of items from mozzarella and tomato, melon-stuffed prosciutto, grilled vegetables, salmon, eggplant-wrapped feta, grilled mushrooms, and a lovely selection of dressings. Just across the way were iced crab legs and crab claws, bloody Mary with shrimp, tuna mousse, more sauces, and more seafood. Turn to the bakery items, and some of the delights there included breadsticks, flatbreads, and rolls.
If you’re not salivating by now, then the last two tables of desserts should do the trick! Try panna cotta, chocolate-covered strawberries, tiramisu, Danish pastries, walnut and almond bread, croissants, and cream buns, to name just some.
To be brutally honest, that selection alone would probably be more than enough to satisfy most people’s appetites, but no, there’s even more to pick from. By the time we got to the hot a la carte items, I was pretty much convinced that I would happily fill myself up with the cold choices, but of course, it’s all too easy to give into temptation, and I did! I can vouch for their gorgonzola and grape pizza, deliciously unusual, and beautifully rich. Other options available included oysters Rockefeller, eggs Jolie, and cream of strawberry soup. If only I’d paid more attention at the time, I would’ve sampled the latter, but sadly, I only noticed it when reviewing my photos later.
So what was it all like? I can honestly say that everything I tried tasted absolutely exquisite, with one exception, my beloved tiramisu, which didn’t live up to my high expectations. The standard of food in Palo is always superb and delivers every time, and with this amount of choice, you’re bound to find plenty to enjoy.
Palo - brunch
The amazing selection of food on offer at the Palo brunch.
While the food is the major draw here, the atmosphere is pretty special as well. It’s adults only, making it a wonderfully relaxed treat for those over the age of 18, and we were lucky enough to get their private room at the far end of the dining room, as there were 10 of us in total. It’s a beautiful little place, surrounded by Italian decorative items, with a lovely mural on the walls around you, depicting the Italian port, Palo. However, every table comes with a wonderful view, with many tables right by windows with a sweeping view of the sea, allowing you to settle back and watch the world go by.
I’d also say that brunch at Palo is one of the best meal values you’re likely to get anywhere. Ok, so there’s a charge of $20 per person, plus the gratuity, but bearing in mind what you get, that’s a very small price to pay. Trust me, the next time we cruise with Disney, and have a day at sea, we’ll be lining up to try and book our next Palo brunch.
Updated 01-12-2012 - Article #768
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