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Sun King A Royal Food Experience


Most cruise ships have a steak house. Some come with a fancy name and sometimes a fancy price. The idea is that on a cruise ship where you can eat absolutely all your meals with no extra costs, this is a special night out, which is probably why such eateries are called specialty restaurants.

On the Carnival Freedom, the steak house is called Sun King. On Carnival's website, the steak houses are called, simply, the steak house. Nothing fancy here.

Is it worth the cost?

If you go there twice on an 8-night cruise, as we did, that's a good endorsement. The cost is $35 per person. If you need a break from the "pace" of eating dinner, Sun King has it. There is nothing urgent about eating there. If you want food from the same source that's a little more exquisitely prepared, service that's a little more personal (like Veranika from Belarus) and an ambiance that's a little more intimate…

Apple tartWell, you get the idea.

At Sun King the first time, our appetizers were lobster bisque (unusual and delicious) and crab cake (perfectly prepared). The main course was surf-and turf, which wasn't on the menu down in the dining room. The wine, a 2004 Italian blend, was outstanding. Desserts were over the top: Washington apple tart and a line-up of more chocolate delicacies than we would normally eat in a week.

For the second visit to Sun King, we ordered surf-and-turf….one of us Turfsurf, one of us turf. Creatures of habit. This time, we'd been tipped off and advised to order a side of mac and cheese, even though it wasn't on the menu. Smart tip. A gift bottle of champagne sufficed for liquid accompaniment, especially for the "turf" diner. Throw in a couple of veggie dishes and we pretty much passed on dessert.

There's a lot of outstanding food served in cruise ship dining rooms. Sometimes the combination of extras — tangible or not — set the table for paying extra.

That's why they're special.

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: Lots of capacity, lots of deals

Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas
7 nights
October 5, 2014
Port Canaveral (return): Coco CaySan JuanSt. Maarten
Inside: $800
Cost per day: $114

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