Being on holiday on a cruise ship can actually be all-energy consuming! Princess Cruises has 19 decks on their Crown Princess, and when you’re not sunbathing, there’s a chance you’ll be walking all over it getting from one end of the ship to another to get to your next activity.
Plus, all the amazing off-shore excursions where you’re adventuring around require some serious food fuel (don’t know how I could have done that wine tasting in Provence without that fry-up haha).
Anyhow, is it really a vacation without some indulgence ?
The Princess Cruises menus are stellar and there are lots of different dining options to suit your needs and how formal or relaxed you want to go. From chill-out snacks to five-star plates, there is something for every taste.
Whether it be on Princess Cruises to Australia, Alaska, or on my Princess Mediterranean Cruise from Barcelona to Rome, a rainbow of tastes awaits you. Nom nom nom.
I’m putting my Princess Cruises critic hat on for you today, and mapping out all the mouthwatering spots you can find on board. Yes; there’s 15 of them!
There’s traditional dining, anytime dining, specialty dining and casual dining.
Different restaurants, cafes and food stalls fall under these different categories.
I’ve organised all of these different places to eat into these different sections, so that you can understand what is going on a little easier!
The truth is that you can choose from a lot more than you think! Many cruisers come on the ship thinking that they can only touch the buffet, but this is so not true.
There are many places on the ship that you can just walk up to or sit down at, order something, and not have to worry about paying extra. I’ll let you know whether each option is included or not in the descriptions below – so pay careful attention. However, I do urge you to pay that little extra for the special extras on your trip. The food is out of this world – and well worth the extra dollars.
Let’s start with the traditional and anytime dining.
Included in your cruise ticket
Do you want to travel back in time and experience the Golden Era of Sea Travel? Princess Cruises offer you this lovely opportunity in their dining rooms for dinner.
Whether you choose traditional or anytime dining depends on whether you want to eat at a certain time, or opt for more flexibility.
The anytime dining option gives you the freedom to drop in and energise with food whenever and with whoever you want.
If you’re on this flexible meal plan option, you can make a reservation for dinner, but don’t have to. Besides, you might want to combine tables with a group of awesome strangers on the night to speed up the seating.
The traditional dining option allows you to dine at the same time, and enjoy the same table guests and waiters throughout your voyage.
You’ll be dining at a table dedicated to you throughout the cruise. You’ll be enjoying the best cuisine and receive excellent service from the same waiter every evening!
You may feel limited by this option, but the waiters really do get to know you and call you by you name, and you’ll be seeing the same guests over and over again. This is a great option if you want to make friends. My particular cruise had 3000 guests onboard, so it was nice to see some familiar faces with this dining option!
Breakfast options range from cereals, bagels with smoked salmon and all styles of cooked eggs to fresh fruit, pancakes, pastries, cold meats and cheese.
Lunch revolves around salads, soups, hamburgers and chicken burgers.
All of the dining rooms offer the same four-course menu with set choices on one side and nightly changing theme selections on the other. For example, after I left the port of Marseille, there were delicious buttery snails being served (if you haven’t tried them yet, I urge you to try – they’re like cheesy mushrooms!)
You can expect to find things like poached seafood and avocado, grilled vegetables, tortellini, spinach soup, New York strip, lobster or spaghetti and classic ice-cream, chocolate cake or fruits for dessert.
Vegetarian options are also available.
‘A journey within the journey’ they say. Ooh la la.
Chocolate journeys is not a particular place on the ship to eat per se, but you will see this option pop up a lot when you are glancing over the menus at the dinner tables.
We are talking about loooove here. More than just that warm feeling I get from chocolate every time I eat it (you feel me?) but also my love for Master Chocolatier Norman Love (he has the best name doesn’t he?).
He’s on a mission to take you on a sweet journey of unique flavors. Mr Chef Love blends premium quality chocolate, unique flavors and hand-crafted designs that might just make you have to get into the gym for an extra 30 minutes in the morning.
Put your diet on hold and gift yourself the pleasure of eating some seriously good dessert. Keep your eye out on the menus for the chocolate journeys option.
Included in your cruise ticket
Casual dining includes the International café, buffets, Slice Pizza, The Salty Dog Grill, and the soft service ice cream at Coffee and Cones. No need to dress up! Just walk up and order.
Strategically located in the Piazza, the International Cafe is the place where you can sip and snack around the clock.
Yessss, around the clock! It is open 24 hours and offers an ever-changing pallet of small bite meals and treats.
The freshly baked scent of croissants is going to tempt you in the morning. Accompany that with The New Grounds Crafted Coffee and your day will start off with a *bang* woop woop!
The Piazza right next to it also hosts a variety of events during the day and the evening, so in case you are hanging around feeling out of energy, you can snack on quiches, pies, paninis or a salad.
For those of you who have a sweeter tooth, there are freshly baked cookies during the day and decadent desserts in the evenings.
If you want to take it easy and grab food whenever you want, the self-service buffet is the best! Pick up as little or as much as you want: the Horizon Court is THE place for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the fly. There is no messy queues and fighting for the buffet either. Princess Cruises are strict about the entry and exit points for the service line and it works really well!
Options range from the typical ones you really want to see on your plate: scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, pastries, fruits, cereals, pancakes, yogurts and cold meats! If you are the omelette type, skip the eggs and opt for a made-to-order one, delivered right to your table!
At lunchtime you can energise with soup, paninis, salads, baked potatoes, lots of different meat options, including hot wings. Yum! The buffet also offers an after lunch snacks time.
Stepping things up, the Horizon Court Buffet offers themed nights such as an Italian one for example! The regional comfort food may differs on where you’re currently sailing! The Princess Cruises Hawaii can differ from Princess Cruises to Alaska.
If you are not the burger type, the Princess Cruises offer a wood-fired oven which gives life to delicious thin-crust pizzas!
If you are on a Princess Cruises Mediterranean voyage, I recommend trying at least one alice!
From deep dish Focaccia layered with marinara, meatballs and cheese to California artisanal toast with avocado and Caprese toppings, you will not be disappointed. You can always go classic too: Italian calzone, stuffed with Italian deli meats and cheese!
There are days when it is all about fresh fruit, salads, sea and sun. But inevitably, there comes a day, when all you flipping want is a big fat burger with extra cheese and an Everest-sized pile of french fries #truth
The open-air grab-and-go Salty Dog Grill counter is where you go to sin. I recommend treating yourself with on of their 100% handmade Gourmet Burgers. Go for the Princess Burger or the Triple Smoked one. Mmmm.
And if you’re not done, why not try a hot dog or one of the two Street Taco options: grilled chipotle-lime chicken and sweet potato green chili anyone?
Oh and that pile of french fries I told you about. That comes loaded with either chili-cheese or bacon and cheese.
Good luck soldier.
Go for the chocolate or vanilla complimentary flavors, or treat yourself with an ice-cream sandwich (that costs a little extra!).
Flavours such as Cookie Colada, Snickerdoodle or Honey ‘N’ Oats can make your head spin. If you need something both strong and cold, you can grab a Frappe with crazy flavors such as Nuts for Caffeine, Mocha Milkshake and Mexican Frothed Chocolate. Let the crazy sugar-caffeine rush begin!
Not included in your cruise ticket – requires extra payment
If you want to go upscale (which I highly recommend you do), Princess offers awesome specialty dining options in various delicious cuisines. You must reserve beforehand. Options include The Crown Grill, Sabatini’s, The Salty Dog Gastropub and the Crab Shack.
Cover charge $29 per person (includes 1 appetiser, a soup/salad, 1 main course and a dessert) / additional mains are $10 each
The Crown Grill is and was, hands down, my most favourite restaurant on the cruise!
It has rich wooden decor with brass-rail accents and a theater-style kitchen restaurant and the steak is to die for. If you want to enjoy close up what’s going on in the kitchen, opt for a table at the counter. If you would like a more intimate space, there’s some really cute booths too.
Do not miss the lobster cake with tarragon foam, the black and blue onion soup and the rib-eye steak (it’s huuuuuuge!).
Finish with the Crown Dependence (a little serving of every dessert they do!) then go to the cocktail bar. You’ll be a well-fed cruiser that’s for sure!
The restaurant is open from 6 pm until 11 pm.
Cover charge $29 per person
Fancy some delicious Italian food? You must come to this elegant Italian eatery! The atmosphere is tranquil, romantic, and feels like you are eating in a traditional restaurant in Tuscany. There’s white columns, terracotta walls and dropped ceilings with wooden beams. Bellissimo!
The restaurant is open between 6 pm and 11 pm and offers signature Italian dishes and a premium seafood a la carte.
The three course menu kicks off with antipastis like sfomato di carciofi (twice baked artichoke souffle in cheese sauce), followed by a choice from among three pastas like seafood spaghetti, braised short rib penne or spinach-ricotta manicotti.
I had the Spaghetti allo Scoglio
The main course’s highlights include meat, chicken or seafood options. I opted for the Lombata di Vitello al Forno (a roasted veal rack with mushroom ragout and barolo glaze).
While there is no vegetarian option, the Chef will gladly make a penne all’ arrabbiata (a garlic, tomato and chili flake pasta).
Just check out my main course! Yum!
Sabatini’s is open for breakfast too. The complimentary breakfast starts at 7.30 am with a glass of Mimosa. It’s open until 10.30 am with the menu offering chilled melon with mint, Belgian waffles and brioche French toast among many other delicacies.
Cover charge $12 per person (alcohol isn’t included boohoo)
With a hip and friendly twist on a traditional pub, this gastropub experience has been designed with the help of Ernesto Uchimura.
If you’re a gourmet burger fan, then this is the place for you! After a bite of the rib eye burger named “Best Burger at Sea”, you’ll be one happy diner, and as it’s a pub, there’s lots of beer, whiskey and cocktails to be had too!
Cover charge $29 per person
This pop up experience takes over on a certain evening between 6 pm and 9 pm. If you are into seafood, it is a must! I unfortunately did not manage to make it there myself but I’ve been told that the popcorn shrimp and hushpuppies offer a classic start. The evening dives into the deeper waters of the senses with dishes such as Bayou-style crawfish or jumbo shrimp, calms and mussels pot. Enjoy!
Entrance to The Sanctuary costs $20 for a half day
For those of you who take healthy eating seriously, there is a beautiful Lotus Spa menu located within The Sanctuary – the adult only zone that is absolute bliss! All of their healthy eating options are marked with a flower symbol, which are low in fat, sodium and cholesterol.
Cover charge $95 – $115 per person depending on what particular cruise you are on
This exclusive dining experience brings food to a whole new level.
The Chef’s Table hosts a limited number of 10 passengers each night and requires a reservation. If you would like to peak behind the scenes and talk flavors and textures with the Chef, this is the answer.
The night starts with pre-dinner cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the galley. After this, the Chef will talk you through the menu of the evening – with no doubt a lovely list of delectable combinations – then escort you to your table.
Depending on where you are in the world at sea, the menus will be created around regional specialties from your recent port visit. The specially created multi-course menu is served with selected wines to compliment each course too! While you enjoy your dessert, the Chef will re-join you to discuss the menu and his culinary experience.
Want to really push the boat out? Treat yourself to this experience on the ship!
$50 per person, $100 per couple, $45 for two people for breakfast
This is the time to make the most of your formal wear and throw on some glitz and glamour!
Much more that fine dining, enjoying your private room with a view whilst experiencing the ultimate luxurious breakfast or a romantic dinner is the way to go!
Dedicated waiters can serve you breakfast from 7 am to 11 am, which includes fresh fruit, special pastries, smoked salmon and a half-bottle of chilled wine.
Or go for sheer indulgence at dinner instead between 6 pm and 10 pm. On the menu you can choose between a lobster or a steak. Could it be any other way than with some Champagne and hors d’oeuvres? Do it!
Package prices vary
If you’re going to drink, I recommend opting for one of Princess Cruises’ Drinks Packages.
Princess Cruises have plenty of different drink packages depending on whether you just want soda, coffee…or the hard stuff.
There are plenty of bars on board. One of them being Vines…
Vines is voted as one of the “Best Wine Bars at Sea” by USA TODAY. The Princess Cruises ship boasts an extensive collection of wines and spirits. Make the most of this by coming along for a tipple between 11 am and 11 pm. At Vines you can enjoy a glass, or two, or three, with complimentary sushi and tapas. Ching ching ladies and gentlemen.
Included in your cruise ticket
If I wanted a beef and mustard sandwich at 2am with a massive pot of tea when I knew I needed drunk food – room service was there for me. There was one night where I partied hard in Skywalkers Nightclub and had hiking in Gibraltar booked the next day.
To the lovely Princess Cruises’ waiter who brought me my food at that time; thank you. You saved me.
Princess Cruises sail to many destinations around the world. Why stop at just the Mediterranean? You can find yourself waking up in the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico, Asia and all around the world!
I see a Princess Cruise as a whole new country riding on waves. The variety of choice here is just like living in a city and going through the process of trying to discover your favourite. Now you know what’s possible with all of these gastronomic pleasures!
Listen to your stomach and enjoy.
Have you eaten on a Princess Cruise? Is there one dish you just can’t get enough of? Are you a first-timer cruiser and excited to try a particular restaurant? Comment below and I’ll reply!
My complimentary Mediterranean cruise experience was made possible by Princess Cruises. As always, no matter how much a brand pays me, opinions are mine = honest, blunt and to the point.