A colossal structure of Champagne coupes with fresh pink raspberries greeted glamourous guests in the central plaza. Bottle after bottle of bubbly was poured over the thirteen-tiered tower and those brave enough could help with this feat; the rest of the spectators opted to help drink the Champagne instead (at least if you tripped you would only spill your own glass).
A Steak and a Show started with Champagne
Bellini’s Cocktail Bar offers a broad choice of sparkling wine and Champagne as well as whites, rosés and reds. Prices start at $10 a glass or $43 a bottle. Bellini cocktails range in price from $14 to $22. You could pick a flavour for every evening depending on the mood and awaken your senses to citron, peach, blueberry, orange bitters, grapefruit and even herbal butterfly tea!
Earning the Crown – Best Cruise Ship Steakhouse
At the entrance to the Crown Grill Restaurant is Crown Grill Bar, an equally ideal spot for an aperitif to start the evening.
Dinner was booked in Crown Grill which is a Specialty Dining experience. It is a classic Steakhouse with a classic feel emanating from the dark wood decor and soft mood lighting. Steaks are cooked to order and chefs can be seen displaying their craft with an open kitchen.
Having dined in a sister restaurant, the Crown Grill on Emerald Princess last year (not trying to gloat), the standard remains outstanding. This restaurant was voted the “Best Cruise Ship “Steakhouse” by USA TODAY and it remains true today. The steak was tender, perfectly cooked and mouthwatering.
You must be up early to catch Carolanne O’Neil on the hop (or rather, act incredibly fast when she’s not at the dinner table). During a brief absence, we got the staff to serenade her for an imaginary birthday celebration (all in the name of testing the servers’ ability to excel).
In fact, the staff onboard this ship are exceptional. They know the menus, offer recommendations based on your tastes, give great tips and laugh and joke with the passengers. They are outstanding. It felt as though returning to your favourite restaurant and they know & remember you. These are seasoned experts. The food is equally of very high calibre and a testament to how well-regarded Princess Cruises’ food is by consumers.
The Catch by Rudi
The Catch by Rudi serves a menu of seafood, steak and pasta. Created by Rudi Sodamin, a culinary Master Chef and internationally renowned legend in the industry. His mantra is “Cooking is about life, it’s about energy, it’s about joy, it’s about sharing”.
Chef Rudi is a member of the prestigious Academy Culinaire de France, the Maîtres Cuisiners de France and an honoree member of the noble Club des Chefs des Chefs (these cook for royalty, presidents and prime ministers around the globe).
The dishes are exquisite and, as has been the case in every venue onboard, the service has been exceptional with the staff also personable, engaging and incredibly knowledgeable.
Surprise celebrations started a theme for the week. Jill Browne (Hays Travel) was caught unawares at The Catch by Rudi. As in every venue, the staff played along, enthusiastically cheering the next celebrated guest.
So Sushi You Say
Having travelled to far-flung destinations the world over, I’ve eaten weird and wonderful things. Sushi might not be my first choice in terms of reverence but if you are going to try it, this seems like the place to be brave.
Enchanted Princess offers the Ocean Terrace Sushi Bar. If guests upgrade to Princess Plus (c.$60 per guest per day and includes drinks package up to $15 a drink, wifi and gratuities), they can avail of two casual dining options including Ocean Terrace Sushi Bar or Alfredo’s, an Italian-themed pizzeria which offers lunch and dinner menus.
The Ocean Terrace Sushi Bar did not disappoint. I went for tuna and salmon dishes and let the knowledgeable Rebecca Kelly order for me. Delicious, light and packed with delicate flavours, I urge you all to be brave and sample a few bites if you have a chance.
Cruise cuisine is already at a very high standard across the board but Princess Cruises was exceptional. This coupled with the staff that offered entertainment, knowledgeable recommendations, excellent service and a real personal touch, means the dining experiences were all really memorable.
ITTN’s Shane Cullen joined Rebecca Kelly (Princess Cruises) and members of the Irish travel trade for a Mediterranean trip onboard Enchanted Princess.