On our first night aboard the Pride of America, we decided to get a baseline of sorts by dining in the Liberty main dining room. One floor below, the Skyline Restaurant served essentially the same menu but in a more relaxed atmosphere where the dress code was less strict. In actuality, we witnessed people in various modes of dress in both restaurants. I guess Freestyle dining also meant free-for-all dress-how-you-like. For me, I was indifferent as it is a pain to drag formal wear onto a cruise anyways.
For our eats, I decided to start with the Roasted Garlic Polenta Cake with tomato basil sauce. Attractively plated, the cake was topped with a slice of tomato and melted cheese. I thought the polenta was a tad stiff, but not dry nor dense. The thing that stood out was the chunky tomato sauce as it was fresh-tasting and appealingly tart. There was enough sweetness to balance and basil for aromatics. Viv went for the Norwegian Smoked Salmon Tartare garnished with avocado, cucumber and lemon mustard dressing. Texturally, the tender bits of smoked salmon were contrasted by the crunch of the cucumber. I felt there was enough acidity to brighten up the dish.
My mom tried the Fresh Fingerling Potatoes with Lime Marinated Shrimp in a lemon tarragon dressing. Essentially a fancy potato salad, it was prepared properly with tender cubes of potato that still maintained a bite. It was lightly dressed where the creaminess of the dressing held it all together. I thought the addition of peppers was essential as the lemon tarragon dressing was quite mild. On top the shrimp had a cold-water snap while lightly acidic from the marinade. With my daughter ordering off the adult menu, she went straight for the Cream of Mushroom Soup. It was thick and garnished with whole slices of sautéed mushrooms. The soup itself was thick and creamy with the essence of mushrooms. It wasn’t overly salty where we could taste the rest of the ingredients.
Onto the mains, I had the Roasted Strip Loin of Beef accompanied by mash potatoes, gravy, green beans and sautéed mushrooms. Although cooked past medium-rare, the beef itself was rather tender despite being somewhat dry. The dish could’ve used more of the relatively salty gravy. As much as green beans can often be obliterated, these were good being vibrant and crunchy. On the side, the garlic mushrooms were definitely deserving of their description. Continuing with beef, Viv had the Beef Rib-Eye Steak with baked potato, spinach, garlic roasted roma tomato. She asked for it be prepared medium-rare and it was only a bit past that. The steak was succulent and tender sporting a nice char on the outside. We liked how it wasn’t overseasoned.
My mom opted for the Grilled Shrimp in herb butter served with broccoli, garlic aioli and roasted potatoes (in lieu of jasmine rice). We found the shrimp to be cooked just enough where it still retained a moist butteriness. It was well-seasoned while still allowing the shrimp to be heard. We didn’t liked the roast potatoes though as they were dry with a chewy exterior. My mom should've stuck with the rice... My daughter predictably had the Fillet of Salmon in lemon caper butter with green beans and mashed potatoes. Although the salmon sported an beautiful crispy exterior, it was overcooked where it was dry on the inside. We liked how it wasn’t oversalted though.
The same couldn’t be said about my son’s Spaghetti Carbonara though as it was so super salty, we couldn’t taste anything else. This didn’t have anything to do with the ample amount of bacon nor Parmesan either as the saltiness was from the addition of plain ol’ salt. The dish was very creamy while the noodles weren’t too overdone. On the other hand, the Spaghetti Bolognese was appreciably better with al dente (although unappealingly dry) noodles topped with a meat sauce that was nicely balanced with natural meat flavour, sweetness and tang. That was my second entree and I was almost able to finish it.
My father had the Mahi-Mahi Stew which was topped with Jasmine rice. The stew itself as hearty with veggies and chunks of somewhat dry fish. With a Louisiana hot sauce aftertaste, the stew was noticeably spicy and vinegary. We felt this was one of the weaker dishes of the night. For dessert, we were universally impressed with the Chocolate Truffle Cake
as it wasn’t overly sweet. In fact, the chocolate was appealingly
bitter which gave way to the smoothness of the mousse and tartness of
the raspberries. This was the best dessert we had for the duration of the cruise as the other items were pretty average.
On that note, we were not that enthused about the Key Lime Pie as it wasn’t as smooth as we would’ve liked while the lime was not as strong as the condensed milk flavour. Hence, it was more of a sweet condensed milk pie than anything to do with lime. However, the Zesty Lemon Sorbet was pretty good being creamy and smooth with muted sweetness and tang. It was a massive portion that completely overwhelmed my dessert-loving daughter. Although there were some glaring faults, the meal as a whole was surprisingly acceptable, if not good. Ironically, this would be our only meal at Liberty since we wanted to try out as many other venues as possible.
- More-than-acceptable eats
- Safe food (could be a negative for some)
- It's no extra charge
- The servers really tried, but wasn't as professional as other cruises I've been on
- Food was decent but not overly refined (as evidenced with the haphazard char on the steak