Following some other threads, "Lobster Night" seems to be a big deal.
I can't quite figure out why people get so excited about flash-frozen tails that are cooked in huge quantities and are not very good once they get to the table.
In the interest of good reporting, I dispatched Capain Queeg to the local supermarket
(4 oz. tails, flash-frozen, $4.99 each -- the cruise lines probably pay less than a dollar because of the amounts they purchase).
We thawed (microwave). We cut properly. We separated the meat from the shell. We made a butter and lemon zest sauce. We broiled. We basted. We watched the broiling process until the moment of perfection. Labor-intensive.
This took the better part of an hour or two. For two people (three tails).
Were those babies juicy? Oh, yes.
The lesson to be learned is that there is NO WAY to do the same thing for the thousand or so people who want a lobster tail on any given "Lobster Night".
Throwing a gazillion frozen tails into vats of hot water then running them under a broiler is NOT a way to get a good tail.
We usually prefer to meet our lobsters "up close and personal" before consigning them to death by steam. But this was an experiment.
But it begs the (gripe) question ... what IS the big deal about "lobster night" ???
You CAN do this at home, kids. And it's a whole lot better.
I looked forward to lobster night on my first cruise, since I had never tried lobster before and was anticipating it. It was okay, but nothing to get excited about.
Now I can live without lobster night. I might even (gasp!) try a different entree during lobster night on the Fantasy this week.
Pamda, I had never considered buying frozen lobster tails and cooking them up. That sounds delicious. I'll have to try it. Although if the opportunity to eat "free" (i.e. already paid for) lobster is anybody's sole excuse to cruise, this renders it obsolete.
p.s. Harry - !
Post Edited (09-03-02 12:18)
Now posting as MichelleP.
Pamda, let me guess ,you are from the east coast. Like you, it is hard for me to get "up" for an over cooked frozen lobster tail, but, that is because fresh live lobster is available and reasonably priced in the northeast . Having spent my mispent youth vacationing summers in Maine, a fresh lobster is one that has gone from boat to pot in the last half hour
I think the reason many people cruise is for the food (not just the lobster).
No tuna casaroles , no hot dogs, no meat loaf and no leftovers.
Lobster tails and filet mignon as well as salmon, swordfish, shrimp, rack of lamb,
etc is not what most people(me included) eat on a regular basis and often not when they go out to eat either. Result, they go big for lobster night.
The scampi has also gone downhill lately BUT I agree, it AIN'T home and I do appreciate the service. It is funny that we feel we are eating $100 a day if we can find a cruise for that price. I was told by a chef on a cruise that the line spent $13 and change per day, per passenger for food from start to finish (oops, that was sposed to be a secret but not sure if there was any truth to it).
I personally love lobster so I do look forward to it. As you said in your post, to prepare it at home is labor intensive. Any meal that doesn't require me to do the cooking or cleaning can't be half bad.
I have to agree with Pamda annd Papa bill- as a native New Englander I don't find myself as excited as some over lobster night--i guess its all what you are accustomed to!!! i have found myself trying dishes i would never try while dining out at home-- escargot was a prime example!!!
Being from Western Canada anytime I can have Lobster that does not cost $ 30 is a treat, as also is Lamb which is very expensive in our restaurants and very rarely worth the money for the small portion you are served. Thus my two favourite meals on the ship are Lobster and Lamb( But not together) and my appetizer is Prawn cocktail.
I don't know about the lobster thing, I've always had good luck with tasty, well cooked lobster on our cruises. What is a crime is the cheese cake they served on our last cruise. Very "Lite" with little or no taste! After our first cruise in '96 I was hooked on cheese cake, it was awesome. Hopefully this November the Mercury will be dishing out mouth watering "heavy" cheese cake! Pour in the eggs, philly cheese and sugar!
On one of my first cruises on Carnival the lobster was served at the midnight buffet in big bowles in the middle of the table. I have never seen anything like it. People where eating like there was not another meal to be had.
I persnollay don't care to much for lobster, shrimp or cod is my thing.
Many times, a household has people who like it and some who don't. I happen to live in one of those households. It simply isn't worth the effort to cook it for myself. I'm sure that there are many in that same situation.
Last week on the Star Princess, the lobster was fantastic ! Tender and juicy.
I think we should remember, that what is 'special' and/or a 'big deal' to some people, may not be to others, and we should not do anything (including posts) to detract from what they think is special and going to help to make their cruise experience special.
Escargot, YES!!! The lobster thing is a miss for me. Alright but no big deal when you can buy them live at Wal-Mart. And that`s in Kansas of all places. Maybe that`s anothe sin for the Walton family.
The cruise is the thing anyway. Hamburgers taste better at sea than on land
I wouldn't miss the frozen lobster tails either. The only good lobster I've eaten on a cruise was one on a sailing schooner off the coast of Maine. They cooked the lobsters over a fire on an uninhabited island. It was great.
I was wondering if there will be fresh seafood on our next cruise--the Golden Princess on the New England/Canada itinerary.
The best lobster I've ever had on a ship was taken on board at Antigua. There were only 36 passengers aboard the ship, so it was very do-able. Before they were cooked, we had lobster races (betting permitted) on the aft deck.
I'll be interested to learn what happens on your cruise, food-wise. I tend to doubt that the cruise line, especially with that many passengers, would take a chance on "fresh".
I think the biggest thing that this "Lobster Thing" thread has pointed out is that we are eating in a restaurant with seating for 1000 people at a time +/ - . Can we expect ANY meal item to be the best it can possibly be when made on a cruise ship? No way!!! You may have a good meal but, as Pam mentioned, having the best just plain isn't possible when doing assembly line cooking.
Having said that, I love having lobster on the cruise - but I'm also at least 2 1/2 hours from any live lobster to buy around here so it's not exactly something that we have high on the shopping list. By the same token I've never found a steak on a cruise or on either coast that even comes remotely close to the quality of what we can purchase in the midwest grocery stores or restaurants.
On my next cruise, look me up - I'll swap you steak for lobster....
I guess we are all creatures of where we live in this big nation
I live in Mass and I can't stand lobster. My dh is the only one in the family who likes eat so I never make it. I may be strange when it coems to dinner on cruises. I like plain old food and I have hard time as I don't like new stuff. My dh loves the dining room food as he loves to try new stuff. We are taking our kids for first time in Feb and i may just eat off the kid's menu.:-)))
I wrote to you being "First Timer Cruise Editor". I did't know that my question about the lobster dinner was going to make you so aggitated. I look to you for advise. And I got critized for my question. Are all first time cruisers stupid because we just want advise and are, yes very excited about our first cruise. I really thought Cruisemates was a great site for cruiser old and new. But you have changed my mind. I am truely sorry that my question was such an annoyance. PSM signing off.
PSM, I just re-read Pamda's posts on Gripes, and I think she was just adding her read on the "lobster thing" -- I really don't think she meant to criticize. That's not how I took it. Hope you would reconsider.
having grown up in new england and spending lots of time in maine during the summers, i was spoiled when it comes to lobster. lobster had nothing to do with formal for me. it meant old clothes that didnīt mind being splattered with butter. paper plates and newspaper piled high with red shells, claws and legs. greasy fingers and a mountain of used paper towels. all of this while sitting outside at a picnic table letting salty air mess my hair up. great memories.
i havenīt had lobster like that in over ten years and when i have the chance to even taste a hint of lobster itīs like a opening up a palatal photo album. when i have the chance now , i do because i donīt know when the next time will be. i used to pass it up knowing that a trip to maine or the local seafood place was around the corner. guess itīs all a matter of perspective. i guess on our cruise next march iīll be the woman who wonīt be saying a word while she goes down memory lane with each and every bite. too bad i wonīt be allowed to wear my old clothes..... ;0)
Here in New England, we do lobster the right way. We start with a New England lobster (yes, folks, there really is a difference!) straight from the ocean and either boil it or steam it alive and serve it up with melted butter. That way, it's fresh -- and you really will taste the difference.
We just finished 12 days on the Brilliance touring Northern Europe (Aug. 27-Sept. 8), and it was GREAT. Brillance is a beautiful ship full of wonderful surprises! Of course this review is my personal opinion, but I thought the Lobster was delicious (true I live in the desert of Arizona and probably wouldnt know the difference) but I guess my feelings are .... any seafood or otherwise that I don't have to prepare and that is served to me is a treat. I have read the other reviews that harshly critique some things such as the lobster not being live, over cooked and rubbery. This was not experienced on the Brillance. My suggestion would be this...if you don't like the lobster that is served on cruise ships go to the buffett that night and let the rest of poor smucks enjoy the evening. Sometimes things are not perfect but that's life....it's all in your perspective...we enjoyed our "time and lobster" on the Brilliance and hope you will too