Floating food tour, gastronomy at sea
It was the last day of September 2016, and the end of a busy working week, an email appeared in my inbox with news I was so happy to hear. To say I excited is an understatement. It was confirmation of our booking onboard Majestic Princess marked “let the countdown begin”. And what a countdown it was, we had eight and a half months to research, plan and build our excitement before it would be time to board.
Whilst cruising is all about relaxing and enjoying some new destinations, nothing whets the appetite like sea air and sumptuous food is always a highlight.
Food is one of the main aspects of a cruise, apart from the destinations. With culinary menu items crafted by Michelin star chefs to casual food the Majestic Princess is like a floating food tour, a gastronomic discovery. No matter what you are craving with a wide range of dining venues there is something to suit every palate.
Onboard there is a choice of over 20 restaurants and bars, including 3 main dining rooms, (Symphony, Allegro and Concerto), 4 speciality restaurants, 5 casual dining and snack areas, 2 speciality drink options and 6 well stocked bars. Each bar offers a wide choice of spectacular cocktails created by talented mixologists or you can order your favourite beers and wines.
Alredro’s Pizzeria, World Fresh Marketplace, Gong Cha, Crown Grill, Piazza Bar and Harmony Chinese Restaurant are just some of the great food venues.
In contrast to a bustling city holiday, a cruise offers an abundance of world-class dining options which elevates the cruising experience. You can choose anything from club sandwiches, cocktails, desserts, bubble tea, light snacks to multi course gourmet meals.
No matter what you are craving, whether you want to dress up or down, there is a variety of restaurants and bars to enjoy fresh, flavoursome cuisine everyday onboard. Dressing up is something you will want to do if you book the Chef’s Table Lumiere, the perfect culinary experience for to celebrate a special occasion. The exquisite meal is preceded by a galley tour with champagne hosted by the Ship’s Executive Chef. Dinner is served at a dazzling table circular table surrounded by a glimmering curtain of light.
Our personal favourites, indulging in sinfully delicious master chocolatier Norman Love’s decadent chocolate journeys dessert or dining at Alfredo’s Pizzeria, renown to be the best pizza at sea, being mesmerised as your hand-tossed pizza is prepared.
Finally, an all-time favourite on the cruise, traditional English afternoon tea in the Concerto dining room. With classic white-gloved service of savouries, elegant little sandwiches and rolls of cucumber, ham, tuna and chicken with custom blended tea. Coffee drinkers like myself were offered the option of coffee. The waiters frequently come past offering from trays with bite sized cakes, pastries and cookies. Of course no afternoon tea would be complete without warm scones with jam and clotted cream. The experience is enhanced with beautiful music and the option of a flute of French champagne. Afternoon tea is an ideal option if you opt for late seating in the main dining room for dinner, especially on days when you return from a shore excursion where you haven’t stopped for lunch.
There are many lounges and bars onboard to suit every mood, whether it be to explore a refreshing cocktail while watching a beautiful sunset in the Wake View bar or champagne at Bellini’s while listening to some classical music. Another great option is Princess Grapevine where you can sample selected wines from renowned cellars in the Symphony dining room.
We enjoyed complimentary champagne and mimosas at the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Party and Champagne Waterfall. This event is the first formal night of the cruise and the Captain makes his welcome speech and introduces the Senior Officers.
Majestic features 13 dining options including two speciality restaurants with menus created by Michelin star chefs. La Mer, with three Michelin star Chef of the Year, Emmanuel Renaut is a modern French Bistro experience. For sophisticated Cantonese dishes with a modern twist Michelin star Chef Richard Chen’s speciality restaurant, Harmony offers a tantalising menu.
Two other cover charge restaurants onboard are the American style steak house, Crown Grill and the Lobster & Dim Sum Bar. We discovered it’s not just American style food served at Crown Grill when we enjoyed a traditional English pub lunch on a sea day. With choices of Fish n Chips with mushy peas, Bangers and Mash, Steak & Kidney Pie, Ploughman’s Lunch followed by Bread & Butter Pudding it offered all the English Pub favourites.
Lobster & Dim Sum Bar is a great spot for lunch on the pool deck, as you watch a movie on the largest screen at sea eating mouth-watering lobster. There is a charge for the lobster and dim sum, but also available with no fee are mouth-watering burgers, hot dogs and chips. Nearby is Chopsticks Noodle Bar where each day they have different noodle soups and wok style noodle dishes. Wonton Noodle and Sweet & Sour were my favourites.
Cruise food isn’t all fancy food. If comfort foods like bangers n mash, mac n cheese, pizza or even a few cookies is what you feel like then its not a problem. In fact a signature taste of Princess is warm, freshly baked cookies. With different flavours each day, the enticing aroma of straight from the oven cookies waft through the atrium every afternoon.
Swirls offers vanilla or chocolate soft serve ice cream and salted popcorn to be enjoyed while watching movies under the stars. In addition passengers can enjoy Chinese bubble milk tea at Gong Cha.
Located in the Piazza is the International Café, open 24 hours a day offering a wide selection of small snacks, treats and gourmet beverages. The café caters for freshly baked croissants, pies and quiches, a wide variety of salads, sandwiches, paninis and decadent desserts.
World Fresh Marketplace is carefree and casual serving ever changing breakfast, lunch and dinner flavours. At separate food stations from around the world the variety includes Chinese food at a wok station, Mediterranean dishes, a specialty pasta counter, farmer’s market salads and fruits. At the East meets West street food counter comfort food like French crepes, German sausages, and Asian Satay and noodles can be savoured. This is no old style buffet and even has a Bakery serving freshly made breads and pastries. You can also help yourself to complimentary tea, coffee, hot chocolate and lemon drink.
When we booked our cruise we opted for the upscale atmosphere of traditional late dining and were allocated to the elegant Allegro dining room. At our set table, served by the same waiters each evening our tastebuds were indulged with starters, soups, salads, main courses and desserts. It is truly an exceptional dining experience where you feel like every meal has been especially prepared, just for you. In the dining room you can order any combination of entrees, mains, desserts, etc. So if you want two entrees followed by dessert, no problem. And if you order wine by the bottle they will label and save remainder for consumption another night.
All food is prepared and cooked fresh onboard and the menus carefully created four weeks prior to sailing so as to confirm the number and demographic of the passengers. Of course the menu also takes into account local and seasonal foods that are loaded onboard at select ports and utilising more perishable foods earlier in the cruise. The captivating cuisine is beautifully presented, zesty appetisers, delectable seafood and signature pastas. Menus included tasty soups and healthy, crisp colourful salads. The choices are endless, traditional European dishes, Asian specialties, healthy options, comfort foods from home or satisfying your sweet tooth with the decadent desserts and gormandises. How you choose to end your meal is also up to you. You can choose a fruit platter or cheese board while sipping a port, if you have any room left.
To ensure you’ll be eating like a king the chefs work around the clock and are busy day and night baking, grilling and sautéing great tasting food. Dining rooms serve new choices daily, so if you’re in the mood for an adventurous local flavour, a signature pasta or are in the mood for a traditional favourite, Princess chefs cater to a wide variety of tastes. All the meals are served by waiters who make the dining experience something truly special.
Princess is committed to having you come back new, what is equally appropriate is you’ll come back indulged. The meals are surely one of the most memorable parts of each guest’s cruise experience.
Where would you want to enjoy your first onboard meal? Would you book a meal in the speciality restaurant?
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