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You probably haven’t heard of Jamie Oliver’s casual-cool “Jamie’s Italian” restaurants: While they are hugely popular all over the UK, Australia and Asia, there are none in North America. That will change come fall. The new branch isn’t opening in New York or Boston or D.C.—though a Toronto branch is rumored to be in the works—but on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas.
The 6,000-person ship launches out of New Jersey in mid-November with a huge food focus. Aside from Jamie’s fresh, shareable dishes (spicy arancini, cured meat plate, porchetta) there are 17 other venues. I would board this ship just to hang out at Michael’s Genuine Pub. Miami chef Michael Schwartz is a Royal Caribbean veteran, with outstanding upscale restaurants onboard the cruise line’s Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. His first pub will serve Michael’s Genuine beer, plus supertasty bar food like deviled eggs and slow-roasted pork sandwiches. Devin Alexander (The Biggest Loser chef) serves low-cal (but rich-sounding) food like burgers. The cruise ship’s signature Wonderland has wacky-fun plates and drinks like gimlet and banana daiquiri Jell-O shots (very on-trend!).
There will also be a theater showing Mamma Mia!, a circus school, a roller skating rink and bumper cars. Will Jamie Oliver challenge Michael Schwartz to a bumper car duel? Time will tell.