One of the big benefits of a cruise is that it is generally an all-inclusive type of vacation. Your room, food, all kinds of entertainment, and more are typically included in one single cost — making planning and budgeting a whole lot easier.
But there are certain EXTRAS you can add to your cruise experience, like a spa date or special dining. On Disney Cruise Line, dining at the fancy, adults-only Palo restaurant (either for dinner or brunch, when offered) is an additional charge and reservations can fill up FAST. Is this a spot you should make a point to visit and pay extra for? Let’s find out!
As we noted above, Palo is an adults-only restaurant on Disney Cruise Line. We ate at Palo on the Disney Dream, but you’ll also find it on the Magic, Wonder, and Fantasy, and there’s a different version of this spot (Palo Steakhouse) on the Disney Wish.
Brunch here is an additional $45 per person (that is NOT included in your regular cruise price). Note that we were invited by Disney to eat at Palo Steakhouse as media during this particular cruise.
There is a semi-formal dress code. Disney specifically notes, “tank tops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, shorts, hats, cut-offs, torn clothing, T-shirts with offensive language or graphics, flip-flops and tennis shoes are not permitted at Palo.”
Disney explains that men can wear dress pants or slacks and a collared shirt (a jacket is optional). Women can wear a dress, skirt, or pants with a blouse. Jeans are allowed if they don’t have holes and are in good condition.
Reservations are highly recommended for Palo. They can fill up really quickly because this is a popular spot with limited seating. Be sure to look at getting online reservations as SOON as you can if you want to dine here. If you can’t score reservations in advance, try and see if you can grab a reservation as soon as you board the ship.
There is a cancelation fee, so be sure to cancel at least 24 hours before your reservation if you don’t want to be charged.
Now that we’ve finished the technical stuff, let’s get to the general atmosphere of this place! Palo serves up northern Italian-inspired cuisine in a space that is filled with Italian-inspired décor.
On the Dream and Fantasy, you’ll find that Palo features some wood paneling to add warmth to the space, coupled with all kinds of gold details.
And keep an eye out for paintings throughout the restaurant that are inspired by the canals of Venice!
Couple all of that with some spectacular views of the ocean and you’ve got a pretty fantastic place to eat. But you’re not here to just look around. You’re here to EAT right?! So let’s get on to the menu!
Palo serves dinner and brunch, but for this trip, we got to experience the brunch side of things. Palo used to be famous for its brunch buffet, but things have changed and it is more of a traditional sit-down experience now.
The menu includes an antipasti selection, along with eggs, soups, waffles and pancakes, pizzas, and entrees. Again, many of these feature an Italian flair, so you’ll find things on the menu like Lasagna Bolognese and Calzones, along with steak, fish, pasta, and more.
And you can’t forget dessert! Dessert includes the option of some more chocolate-forward sweets, as well as a torte, panna cotta, and more.
Keep in mind that menus can change, but these were the options we saw during our sailing in September of 2022. Now, let’s get to what we ate!
We started things off with some pastries and bread that were brought to the table. The pastries were great, but they were a bit boring in comparison to what comes next!
Still, we think these were very tasty pastries and we found it irresistible to nibble away on them as we waited for our next course.
Between the powdered sugar-covered sweets (we love a good sugar-melting-in-your-mouth moment) soft and flaky croissants, and fruit-topped pastries, we think most will be easily pleased by the selection.
But it wasn’t the most exciting thing we ate at Palo brunch.
Next, we got the Antipasti Selection with a variety of meats. This featured sliced prosciutto, sliced coppa, sliced bresaola, salame gentile, marinated cerignola olives, roasted garlic, caciotta a tartufo, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and sweet pepperdew.
This was probably one of the more exciting appetizers if you’re the type of person who goes to brunch seeking savory food. The meats, cheeses, and sauces were rich and wonderful. One of the cheeses in particular was strong and delicious — we would have loved to have gotten more of it!
We also got to try the Antipasti Selection with seafood. This one featured Jonah crab claw, lemon-marinated shrimp, marinated green lip mussels, spiced ahi tuna, gravlax served with Meyer lemon, saffron aioli, dill honey mustard, and cocktail sauce.
We really enjoyed this!
It was great quality seafood simply done, and sometimes there’s nothing wrong with that! One of our reporters shared that they’d pick this over the more meat-focused antipasti because it felt more thematic to being on a cruise out at sea.
The shrimp and tuna were our favorites out of the bunch, but we did love that there were some crab claws included (even though they were a little more difficult to eat).
Next up, we tried the Celery Soup. It had spiced Italian sausage and focaccia croutons. This is another dish we really enjoyed. Don’t let the idea of celery soup scare you away if it’s a type of soup you’re not familiar with.
It was creamy and wonderful, and that Italian sausage really added to the soup’s flavor.
After the soup, it was time to dive into something sweet. We opted for a Mickey Waffle served with maple syrup, whipped cream, and mixed berries.
This is a pretty sizable waffle, so that’s great! And while the base is a standard Mickey waffle in terms of flavor you do get to pick some special things to go with it. For our meal, we opted to get the Apple Cinnamon Waffles. Again, the waffle itself was just a standard waffle in terms of flavor, but the apple cinnamon came in the form of a fun topping.
The chance to have that topping was unique and different, which we really liked.
The apple pieces were softened perfectly and had a great cinnamon flavor to them. Our one big complaint? We wish there was MORE sauce. The sauce underneath the apples was liquidy, which was fine but we would have liked MORE liquid underneath those apples to pour on our waffle.
We could have also probably used some vanilla ice cream to really take things to the next level. But overall, this was a great sweet option. It wasn’t the star of the show (at least in our opinion), but was tasty and totally hit the spot.
Next up, we had the Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Breast. This is topped with San Marzano tomato basil sauce and mozzarella cheese and served with creamy Arborio rice risotto.
By the time you get to the main course, it’ll be a miracle if you have room in your stomach for something this big. But you’re on a cruise so you MAKE room! This dish at Palo has quite the fan following, and let’s just say that those fans aren’t wrong. The tomato basil sauce, coupled with the risotto and the chicken make this one spectacular dish!
Everything was so bright, flavorful, and delicious! No one flavor felt overpowering. And it wasn’t overly salty or too chewy. This dish really impressed us and was one of those moments where we truly felt like we were experiencing the value of experienced chefs and fantastic ingredients.
Our other reporter tried the Lasagna Bolognese. This is served with a Roma tomato sauce. This was awesome!
It had great flavors all mixed together thanks to the meat, cheese, and tomato sauce. It all blended into one delicious, savory bite that melted in your mouth.
And finally, wrapping up the savory part of our meal, we tried the Grilled Cut Sirloin Steak, served with thyme-herb butter, green beans, and Barolo wine potatoes.
This steak was fine but was on the boring side. It was well cooked and we did enjoy it, but it didn’t stand out in comparison to the other things we had.
We would say that the steak, while good, is probably not the thing to order here, unless you are really craving a steak or are a picky eater and know the steak would be a safe choice for you.
Then, we pushed ourselves to the limit to stuff even MORE food in our faces for dessert! First, we tried the Warm Amaretto Chocolate Fondant. This features double chocolate sauce, hazelnut gelato, and mocha chocolate soil.
This dessert was rich and decadent! It was wonderfully warm, and we loved how well it paired with the hazelnut gelato. Warm chocolate + cold gelato = an unbeatable combo. We think this would be a fantastic dessert for anyone who loves chocolate!
Finally, we ended things off with the Buttermilk Panna Cotta Pot. This had strawberry popping pearls and pistachio crumble. We have to give a lot of points to this dessert on presentation alone. The bright colors and chocolate details on top made it very visually appealing.
We also loved how light this was! It was a wonderful choice after having such a heavy meal. It tasted so fresh and the popping pearls provided a fun sensory experience.
The pistachio crumble was really minimal, so it can be easily avoided if you hate pistachio. But, at the same time, it can be disappointingly minimal if you love pistachio. It seems more like a garnish than an integral part of the dish, so just bear that in mind.
Overall, this was a great combination of light flavors, a little chocolate moment, beautiful colors, and a fun design.
Finally, let’s talk a bit about the drinks! There are some alcoholic drinks here that you can pay extra for, including a bloody mary, bellini, and more. We opted to get a mimosa with our meal.
The mimosa was great, and we’d say it was better than your average mimosa. But it wasn’t something that stuck with us as being particularly extraordinary.
And that’s a wrap on our Palo Brunch experience. So is it worth the extra cost? Let’s go over some final thoughts.
Nosh or Not
Make a point to visit Palo for Brunch if:
- You’re looking for a way to add something special to your cruise experience
- You absolutely love brunch food and Italian-inspired eats (especially Chicken Parm!)
- You’re celebrating a special occasion and want to do that in a sophisticated (yet relaxed) adults-only spot
Skip Palo Brunch if:
- You are sticking to a tight cruise budget
- You’d take a standard Mickey waffle, sausage, and basic scrambled eggs over fancier eats any day
- You’ve got little ones who insist on tagging along with you everywhere
Overall, we really enjoyed our Palo Brunch experience. It was a LOT, we repeat — a LOT — of food, but for an additional $45 per person, that can be worth it (depending on your point of view). We really enjoyed the seafood and meat-focused appetizers, the Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Breast was DELICIOUS, and the Chocolate Fondant dessert we had is one that chocolate lovers won’t want to miss.
If you’re looking for a sophisticated (but not stuffy) spot to catch some awesome ocean views, enjoy a relaxing brunch, and get some great-quality food, we think Palo Brunch will check all your boxes. But make sure you try to get that reservation fast because things do fill up!
Do you think Palo Brunch is worth the cost? Tell us in the comments!
For more Disney Cruise Line food reviews, check out our posts below
- See our review of the Dole Whip infinity swirl drink we found on the Disney Wish
- Full review of the Arendelle restaurant on the Disney Wish
- Full review of Worlds of Marvel on the Disney Wish
- Full review of 1923 on the Disney Wish
- Review of Marceline Market on the Disney Wish
- Review of Palo Steakhouse on the Disney Wish
And stay tuned for all the latest updates!
Do you think Palo Brunch is worth the cost? Tell us in the comments!
Disclosure: In nearly all circumstances, Disney Food Blog writers and photographers pay full price for their own travel, hotel, food, beverage, and event tickets. We do this because it’s important to us as journalists to ensure not only that we give you unbiased opinions, but also that you can trust us to do so since we’re paying our own way. On rare occasions, when we are invited by a company to attend a preview as media, and when we choose to accept that invitation, we will always make you, our readers, aware of that situation. We were invited by Disney to eat at Palo for brunch as media. Note that when we attend events as media we are 1) Not required to review that event/food on any of our channels, and 2) Not required to review that event/food favorably. You can always count on DFB to give you a 100% unbiased and honest review of any event that we attend, food that we eat, or beverage that we drink. You can see more in our Disclosure Policy. Thank you for reading. — AJ