Qsine is like nothing else at sea.
First of all, the room is a whimsical Kartell scramble of white high-backed chairs and bright orange and black lacquered Louis XIV chairs, upside-down light fixtures and other avant-garde textures.
Secondly, the menu is delivered via iPad, so diners can swipe to view info about the 16 different small-plate offerings, specialty cocktails and wine list.
Thirdly, the food seems to be uniformly delicious and filling and just plain fun to boot.
On the Celebrity ships Millennium, Infinity and Summit, Qsine is housed in a semicircular dining room on Deck 11 (Constellation has a Tuscan Grille).
If possible, guests should request or finagle a table near the windows. We arrived at our table at 6:30 and were treated to a brilliant view of the Atlantic Ocean and the sun dropping down to the horizon.
We had fun scrolling through the iPads, and of course we ordered too many dishes, -- a favorite was a box of Middle Eastern meze, called M's Favorites -- and a nicer bottle of wine than we're accustomed to. We laughed and joked with our neighbors and our charming waiter, who progressively rolled his R's as the evening wore on.
It was a completely different kind of experience from the Normandie, the ship's original specialty restaurant, which is also as far away from Qsine as possible without being out at sea: Deck 3 vs. Deck 11.
The restaurant is a quiet, more formal affair. Cuisine is contemporary French, and the dining is what I called nouveau traditionelle: white tablecloths, a leather-bound menu, plush carpets, deferential waiters in ties. The decor is art deco paneling from the actual Normandie; photos of that famous ocean liner are displayed in the restaurant's atrium.
The Normandie is where passengers go when they want a porcini and morel risotto, a chateaubriand with bearnaise sauce or a lobster flambeed tableside, a cheese course and a bracing cabernet sauvignon.
Both restaurants charge a $45 per person fee, with a separate tasting-menu option available at the Normandie.
Considering that my husband, a hipster tech-nerd, was enchanted with his Qsine iPad and had so much fun with the adventurous atmosphere there, I was surprised to hear him say that the Normandie was his favorite of the two. "Because the Normandie was in the tradition of culinary excellence one expects when dining in the specialty restaurant," he explained.