Monday, January 31, 2011

Dining Options on Princess Cruise Line

For many people, part of the joy of cruising are the many food options available on ships. Between free options such as the buffet and main dining rooms, to the newest pay restaurants on board, most people would be hard pressed not to find something they enjoy eating on a cruise.

One of our favorite cruise lines is Princess. Princess offers traditional dining, in which you eat at the same time in the same dining room with the same wait staff each night, Anytime Dining where you eat when you want in one of the main dining rooms, and optional Specialty Restaurants that there is an extra fee for. Princess offers a lot of seafood in their dining rooms, and has a chicken and beef dish available every night. There is also a small selection of items that are available every night, such as a steak and their excellent Fettucini Alfredo.

On most ships there are two specialty restaurants - Sabatini's Italian Restaurant and the Crown Grill. Our favorite is Sabatini's. When we last cruised on Princess, the only thing we chose when we arrived at Sabatini's was our main course. What came before and after was a wonderful tasting feast of small bites of appetizers, such as Calamari Fritti and Shrimp and Marinated Artichoke in Truffle Oil. As a second course, Pasta Fagioli, soup or salad. Third course is a choice of pasta, such as ravioli or mushroom noodles. Main courses are heavy on seafood such as Sea Bass, Lobster Tail, or Sea Scallops, along with chicken or veal chop.Food is served family style so you can share a taste with your dining companions. And desserts - if you like creme brulee, try their Espresso Creme Brulee - FANTASTICO! The cost is $20 per person which includes your gratuity but feel free to tip more - the service is fantastic.

If you choose to dine at one of the alternate restaurants, make reservations as soon as you get on the shp. These restaurants are small and book quickly.

Here is a tip on Princess - if your Princess ship has an International Cafe, most of the items in the Cafe are free! The Cafe offers a wonderful array of coffees (extra charge), tapas and dessert items. The majority of the food is free, so don't hesitate to try what is there. You can also purchase a Coffee Card, which is a punch card that entitles you to number of specialty coffees. With this card you can also enjoy free brewed coffee in the dining rooms, instead of the free "syruped" coffee.

How does Princess' food in the main dining rooms compare to other cruise lines? If you are a seafood lover, you will love the choices on Princess, as their menus are rich with fish. We'd rate Princess on par with Royal Caribbean's food, but a bit under Celebrity.

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