The service at Mariner of the Seas Portofino restaurant was just right, being neither slow nor rushed, and quite well coordinated. The manager was very understanding after my short explanation, and even permitted our son to wear his usual shorts and t-shirt combo instead of the more dressy attire usually required. He even helped to cut Jeff’s steak, and returned to the table multiple times to inquire as to whether we had any other needs or requests. Moreover, when our server noticed that our son liked the eggplant dip, he replenished it continuously. They were somewhat dismayed to see me leave before the meal ended, and gave my husband my dessert platter to take back to our cabin (in case I wished to enjoy it later).
We enjoyed the food as well as the ambience music, composed of a selection of San Remo 60′s and 70′s Festival winners, such as Peppino di Capri and the famous duo of Romina Powell and Albano. It not only provided me with a rare chance to expose my family to a different type of music, but also to reminisce about my childhood favorite songs. I would recommend trying this restaurant only if you have kids or teens that have had some gastronomic exposure and are eager to sample different Italian regional dishes, as it would be difficult to enjoy a meal sitting next to a fussy eater or misbehaving child.
The trick to enjoying the Mariner of the Seas Portofino restaurant when traveling with autistic globetrotters is to go as early as possible during the cruise, preferably even the first night. Also, one should never book a table for a formal night, and always try to be the first customers in the restaurant when it opens. By doing so, it ensures that the restaurant will not be overcrowded, allowing better personalized service from the crew and complete parental relaxation.