Princess Cruises Presents its Fresh 'Come Back New' Dining Options
Photos by Jason Leppert
As part of Princess Cruises' recently introduced $450 million fleet enhancement program – what it calls “The Come Back New Promise” – the line is revamping its dining options for guests to enjoy onboard. From celebrity chefs to coffee and beer, I can attest that the guest culinary experience has definitely been elevated onboard the Ruby Princess.
The preeminent highlight of the new cuisine is Princess’ partnership with Curtis Stone for a number of offerings, the most exciting of which is SHARE by Curtis Stone, his new specialty restaurant rolling out on select ships. His newest restaurant is currently aboard the Ruby and Emerald Princess and is set to next join the Sun Princess in April 2016, appropriately in Curtis’ homeland of Australia.
The dining experience, priced at $39 per person, is centered around the concept of sharing dishes socially among the table, and the food itself is just wonderful. Comprised of one charcuterie, appetizer, main, side, cheese and dessert course each, the overall meal is a bit meager in portion, but foodies will appreciate the precise attention to detail that goes into every morsel. The explosive flavor profiles of the Roasted Alaskan King Crab Tagliatelle pasta and Roast Turbot White Fish Gratine (pictured in the header above), for instance, delightfully pop in your mouth.
Of course, the partnership with Stone doesn’t end there. The main dining rooms fleet-wide also feature “Crafted by Curtis” menu items such as a delectably baked Mac & Cheese made with gruyere, cheddar and bacon. Just last night I enjoyed the hearty and creamy dish topped with crunchy panko. Plus, in spring 2016, there will be Curtis Stone’s Chef’s Table experience available in the SHARE restaurants, themselves very handsome venues comprised of rich woods, light accent colors and a fun collection of travel books and artifacts.
Another celebrity chef that has joined with Princess is Norman Love and his premium chocolates to create new confectionary experiences onboard. Ranging from truffle and wine pairings to pastries, cakes and candy concoctions, the mouthwatering journeys are indeed as fanciful as his pieces are composed.
From a refreshing mango white chocolate mousse to a 66 percent cocoa dark chocolate truffle paired with a glass of Vall Llach Embruix, the experiences to be enjoyed are nothing short of decadent. And guests can even purchase such premium truffles to take home and share with their friends and family.
The Salty Dog Gastropub
Rounding out the celebrity chef partnerships is a third one with Ernesto Uchimura, famous as a founding chef of Umami Burger, for The Salty Dog Gastropub here on Princess. Carved out of a portion of the Wheelhouse Bar on select ships including the Ruby, a $19 per person cover charge buys three small plates including The “Ernesto” Burger.
The fresh ground rib eye and short rib patty with grilled pork belly, cave-aged gruyere, caramelized kimchi beer-battered jalapeño and charred onion aioli on a smoked salt and pepper brioche bun is as incredible as it sounds. There is even playfully competitive chatter within the Carnival Corporation as to which of its cruise lines offers the best burger now, and this new one is indeed up there with the best at sea.
Guests can wash their bites down with a selection of whiskeys, cocktails or even house beers. The award-winning Seawitch family of craft brews has expanded to include a West Coast IPA, Alaska Denali Red Ale, East Coast Blonde Lager and Australian Gold Ale; all tasty options.
New Grounds Crafted Coffee
Also touted as part of the Come Back New program is New Grounds Crafted Coffee featuring beans sourced from Caffe Boasi in Italy. An expanded menu selection includes espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, iced teas fusions and frozen coffees. Off from the 24-hour complimentary International Cafe, I greatly enjoyed a premium Banoffee Blast coffee deliciously flavored with banana and caramel. Minions also approve. Banana!!!
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