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Dining delights on S.S. Legacy cruise

Dining delights on S. S. Legacy cruise
Dining delights on S. S. Legacy cruise
Jackie Sheckler Finch

ABOARD THE S.S. LEGACY - Would I prefer mahi mahi with feta and avocado oil; roasted rack of lamb with honey tomato relish; or spanakopita? Decisions, decisions!

Dining delights on S.S. Legacy cruise
Jackie Sheckler Finch

But the folks on my S.S. Legacy cruise have made those tough choices a bit easier. “Choose half and half,” our server suggested, noting that we can have a split portion of two different entrees.

So that is what I have done for most of my delicious meals aboard the Legacy. And I’ve seen other diners doing that as well. I have also noticed that the portions on this cruise are just right – not too big and not too small.

When I first started cursing decades ago, I felt that too much food was served and too much was wasted. Along with its portions, the S.S. Legacy has another way to cut back on food waste in keeping with its “green” ship goals. Each morning, the chef comes out during breakfast to tell us what he will be serving for lunch and dinner. Then our server takes down our entrée choices.

“You can always change your mind and order something different,” chef Antonio Orlando tells us. “This is just so we can have an idea of what we will need to fix so that we don’t waste food.”

Sounds strange but I quickly got used to it and enjoyed knowing what I would be having to eat the rest of the day. For the cuisine, the chef supports local economies by buying salmon, fish and other locally-produced foods and products whenever possible. Each meal offers an entrée of fish, meat and vegetarian, along with a beginning salad, two side dishes and an ending dessert.

When we came aboard the S.S. Legacy, Hotel Director Patrick Rice told us that meals usually follow a schedule of early riser breakfast in the Grand Salon at 6:30 a.m., regular breakfast in the Klondike Dining Room at 8 a.m., lunch at 12:30, cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m. in the salon and dinner at 6:30 in the dining room.

One of my favorite dinners so far has been the seared ling cod and veal osso bucco (I got half and half). I have never made osso bucco at home and doubt if I ever will but I do order it whenever possible. This was top-notch. The vegetarian choice that night was eggplant parmesan and a fellow diner said it was delicious. Sides were sautéed green beans and sweet pea risotto. Dessert was rhubarb slump with buttermilk ice cream.

In case you don’t know, a slump is a fruit concoction with biscuit-like dough dropped into the sauce and cooked stovetop. My grandma used to make that with whatever fruit was in season.

I had been told that food on the Legacy cruise is excellent and it certainly is. On a small ship, I figured the chef and cooking staff might not have much room to stretch their imaginations and cooking skills. But each meal has been wonderful with creative dishes and plenty of choices.

As part of S.S. Legacy’s goal of being “green,” there are no big fancy printed menus encased in leather binders. Instead, menus are printed on very small pieces of paper and placed alongside our plates at mealtime. It’s hard to pick a favorite of meals so far but let me share one of the menus:

- Mixed greens with fresh strawberries and goat cheese encrusted in pistachios (that’s the first course salad)

- Brown sugar dill rubbed sockeye salmon with roast yellow pepper buerre blanc

- Herb marinated pork with rhubarb remoulade

- Hazelnut sunflower seed Napoleon with caramelized onions and mushrooms

- Side dishes – oven roasted brocolini and smashed red jacketed potatoes.

- Dessert – Chocolate decadence with raspberry coulis

Plus, each evening at 5:30 is cocktail hour on the S.S. Legacy, a great time to get together and share what we have enjoyed each day. No need to worry about a big bar bill at the end of the cruise. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are complimentary on the S.S. Legacy and bartender James LeMay certainly knows how to make some potent concoctions.

For cocktail hour each evening, LeMay posts a fancy printed description of the special drinks he is serving. “Old fashioned cocktails are the favorites,” he noted.

To go along with those creative drinks, Chef Orlando brings out some wonderful hors e’oeuvres for us to savor in the Victorian-style Grand Salon. Treats so far have included Oysters Rockefeller, shrimp cocktail, steamed mussels, baked brie and a big plank of cheese choices. Tucked alongside these savories is usually a tray of home-baked cookies.

“They are the best cookies I have ever had,” cruiser Cindy said. “The chocolate chip ones are my favorite.”

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