Caribbean Princess to Debut Seven New Dining Options

March 28, 2017.

When Caribbean Princess debuts from a two-week, multi-million-dollar renovation on April 6, the ship will have completed its largest food and beverage innovation to ever take place during a drydock and guests will enjoy seven new onboard dining venues.

According to Princess Cruises president Jan Swartz, “Fresh, regionally-inspired and family friendly offerings were the inspiration behind our largest food and beverage makeover ever. With updated décor and designs that offer a welcoming atmosphere, the seven new dining options aboard Caribbean Princess are sure to please any palate and delight the senses.”

World Fresh Marketplace

Replacing Horizon Court (deck 14), World Fresh Marketplace unveils a completely new look and improved layout, featuring freshly-made regional specialties and well-balanced food choices: 

  • Breakfast will include 24-hour cereal stations; a designer pancake station with “pancake of the day” stacks; unique hot cereal offerings such as shrimp & grits and polenta porridge.
  • Lunch serves up signature hand-crafted sandwiches, regionally inspired dishes and soups, as well as carvery selections of specialty sausages, hams and roast meats.
  • Dinner selections include breakfast at night with omelets and chicken & waffles, family kitchen comfort foods and a kid-friendly PB&J bar. Night-time offerings will also include a live-action station with stir-fry and customized pasta, plus composed salad choices.
Two Casual Specialty Restaurants

Café Caribe (deck 14 aft) transforms into two new, casual evening specialty restaurants great for families with kids who want to enjoy a special meal in a nice, yet laid back setting. These options include:

  • Planks BBQ serving up family-style “Planks” of loaded ribs, beef, sausages and chicken plus all the fixings – fries, chili, coleslaw, charred toast and dill pickles. Dinner is served by wait staff for a cover charge of $12 per person. Complimentary buffet-style breakfast and lunch options include savory customizable breakfast bowls and signature soup, freshly tossed salads and fork & knife sandwiches.
  • Steamers Seafood offers east coast-style Steamers with regional flair including Black & Blue Mussels, Scallops & Sausage, Classic Clams, Shrimp and Sausage and Broiled Scallops, Shrimp and Crab-stuffed Flounder. Dinner is served by wait staff for a cover charge of $12 per person. A delectable lobster tail and King Crab legs can be added for $10. Complimentary buffet-style breakfast and lunch options include specialty egg dishes and ramen bowls with regionally-inspired broths.
Top-Deck Dining Venues

Four Princess top-deck outdoor dining offerings will be revitalized, renamed and enhanced, including:

  • The Salty Dog Grill (formerly Trident Grill) – guests can indulge in “The Ernesto” burger, voted “#1 Burger at Sea” by Cruise Critic from Chef Ernesto Uchimura, as well as signature Princess burgers grilled up with 100 percent handmade beef patties and buns. In addition, guests can choose new Street Tacos of grilled chipotle-lime chicken or roasted sweet potato-green chile with corn tortillas. Loaded fries in tempting varieties include chili cheese and bacon & cheese. Classic hot dogs round out the menu offerings.
  • Slice (formerly Pizzeria) – featuring west coast and east coast offerings, Princess guests will enjoy award-winning signature classic Neapolitan-style pizza. New menu items include Deep Dish Focaccia layered with marinara, meatballs and cheese, California Artisanal Toast including Cali-Avocado or Caprese, as well as Sliced Stromboli, an east coast take on an Italian calzone filled with deli meats and cheese.
  • Coffee & Cones (formerly Scoops) offering treats of gourmet ice-cream sandwiches, complimentary ice cream cones and now brewing specialty coffee on the top deck, serving New Grounds Crafted Coffee.
  • The Mix (formerly Blackbeard’s Bar) – the poolside bar will be updated and redesigned with vibrant colors (full designs will be completed by fall 2017).

In addition to the food and beverage innovations, Caribbean Princess will emerge from drydock with new offerings appealing to families, including Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Centers, upgraded Movies Under the Stars, Princess Luxury Bed and interconnecting staterooms, just in time for the upcoming Europe summer and fall Caribbean seasons. The cruise ship will also be wired for the Ocean Medallion launch that will be available for the 2018 summer Caribbean season.

MSC Cruises Introduces New Dining Options

March 22, 2017.

MSC Cruises is bringing it’s version of the popular ‘my time’ dining featured by other mainstream cruise lines to the fleet, beginning on the highly anticipated MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside.  The two ships will introduce the new flexible dining option and a specialty restaurants that can be booked at any time prior to embarkation and while on board.  (Note that there are restrictions on which main dining options can be selected, based on which cruise experience level you booked.) 

Flexi Dining  

This is what MSC Cruises calls their ‘my time’ dining and allows guests to pre-select a time slot for their evening meal, with the ability to change it at any time during their cruise.  

Classic  

This is the assigned seating option with a choice of two seatings each evening. This traditional dining style is popular with guests who prefer a dedicated table each night so that they can enjoy personalized service from the same waiter who will know their names, dining preferences and how to accommodate them.  

In addition, MSC Yacht Club guests will continue to benefit from free-time dining (you simply show up when you want) in the dedicated MSC Yacht Club restaurant, with the option of reserving a table in advance.

Casual Dining

Casual dining venues are available for all guests 20 hours a day, offering a wide range of freshly prepared dishes. The buffet has been further enhanced with a wide range of different international dishes suited to any taste. MSC Seaside will feature two casual dining venues, one of which will be dedicated to families, serving family-friendly options and featuring child-friendly seatings.  MSC Cruises makes their own pastas aboard ship and have what I consider the best pizzas at sea.

International Specialty Restaurants 

MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside will feature restaurants with ‘open kitchens,’ following the trend in restaurant design and creating a sensory experience that allows guests to see, smell and hear expert chefs at work. Selected restaurants on these ships will also feature a Chef’s Table for a five-star dining experience.  So, more than just one Chef’s Table.  Very nice.

Both the Meraviglia and the Seaside will be Butcher’s Cut, an authentic American Steakhouse blended with the skillful mastery of the butcher. Guests can select their favorite steak from glass-fronted meat aging fridges and then watch the skilled chefs preparing their selections in the open kitchen. The bar will feature wines and cocktails with an American theme and an assortment of craft beers. 

MSC Meraviglia will feature The Kaito Teppanyaki restaurant which will complement the ship’s Kaito Sushi Bar.

MSC Seaside will have the Asian Market Kitchen by Roy Yamaguchi. This venue will have three distinct eateries: an à la carte restaurant serving gourmet Asian creations; a Sushi Bar; and an area with Teppanyaki Grills.

The Seaside will also feature the signature seafood restaurant, Ocean Cay. This restaurant will serve American-style fish dishes with a Mediterranean twist. A simple menu will include locally-sourced Stone Crabs, a delicacy in the homeport of Miami, beautiful fresh Sea Bass, flown in from the Mediterranean, and homemade spaghetti alle vongole (with clams).

MSC Meraviglia Dining Packages

The Meraviglia will have dining packages that can be booked prior to the cruise. For example:

· ‘Dinner & Show’ where they will enjoy an exclusive table d’hôte menu and then experience the Cirque du Soleil at Sea performance in the purpose-built Carousel Lounge.

· ‘Eataly Chef’s Table’ which includes a dedicated chef and sommelier for the night, seven gourmet dishes, with each course paired with seven wines.

Royal Caribbean’s Implementation Dates For New Room Service Menu and Fee

March 21, 2017.

As we’ve reported twice recently, Royal Caribbean is rolling out a new enhanced room service menu that adds a $7.95 service charge for most orders.  You can read more about it here, and see the new menus here.

Serenade Of The Seas will be the first ship to get the new room service on March 27, and the plan is to have the whole fleet* transitioned by May 26.

*Quantum Of The Seas is not included in this new room service plan.

The ship-by-ship rollout is as follows:

Royal Caribbean To Charge For Most Room Service Orders

March 15, 2017 – Social media is ablaze today with reports that Royal Caribbean plans to roll out a fleetwide service charge for essentially all room service orders.  The fee will be $7.95 per order from the “All Day Menu” as well as the American breakfast (hot food) menu.  Continental breakfast items will remain complimentary.  Those in suites (grand suites or higher) will continue to receive all room service for free.

“Per order” means trip being performed by room service.  For example if one person orders the “Classic Philly” cheesesteak sandwich and another person in the cabin orders a “Royal Burger”, the cost is $7.95 for the entire order.  However if a cabin orders hot breakfast items at 8am and then sandwiches later in the day, they pay $7.95 two times.

On their Facebook page Royal Caribbean says “The convenience fee has been introduced to better manage the high demand of this convenient service.”

The fee begins on March 27, 2017 across the fleet.  The previous $3.95 fee for late night orders will end.

Holland America Line Introduces Rudi’s Sel de Mer French Brasserie Pop-Up Restaurant to Six Ships in the Fleet

Intimate dining venue to feature classic French cuisine with a contemporary twist

March 12, 2017 Holland America Line is honoring its Master Chef and culinary consultant Rudi Sodamin, the creator of Sel de Mer aboard ms Koningsdam, by launching the French brasserie as a pop-up in the Pinnacle Grill and naming it Rudi’s Sel de Mer. Six ships in the fleet will feature the pop-up, including ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Oosterdam, ms Westerdam and ms Zuiderdam.

Since it launched on Koningsdam as a stand-alone venue, Sel de Mer has garnered both guest and industry acclaim. Rudi’s Sel de Mer will build on this success with a version of the menu of classic French dishes including locally sourced seafood served in a setting that will transform the Pinnacle Grill alternative dining venue into an intimate brasserie with custom décor, plates, menus and uniforms reflecting the ambiance of the original Koningsdam restaurant. A specially crafted cocktail and wine menu also will be featured. Rudi’s Sel de Mer will be offered once on seven-day cruises and twice on cruises longer than 10 days.

For Rudi’s Sel de Mer, Chef Rudi also has created Food Faces art for the exclusive show plates made by Bernardaud, the leading French manufacturer of Limoges porcelain.  Each artistic culinary plate portrays a work of art — from food.

 “Sel de Mer onboard Koningsdam is extremely popular among our guests and one of the most talked about dining experiences in the industry,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “The restaurant showcases our commitment to providing our guests with unrivaled dining options, and launching it as Rudi’s Sel de Mer on six more ships as a pop-up will allow more of our guests to see what the buzz is all about and indulge in its phenomenal cuisine.”   

Rudi’s Sel de Mer is set to debut in 2017 on ms Nieuw Amsterdam March 31, ms Oosterdam May 11, ms Eurodam May 24, ms Westerdam June 12, ms Noordam Oct. 2 and ms Zuiderdam Nov. 10.

Indulge in the Freshest Seafood at Rudi’s Sel de Mer

Rudi’s Sel de Mer will serve a classic selection of French seafood dishes with a contemporary twist. After an amuse-bouche of Seared Scallops on Seaweed Salad and Light Saffron Vinaigrette Foam, guests can select appetizers including Steak Tartare, Bouillabaisse Marseillaise, Rudi’s Seafood Tower and the classic Fruits de Mer (serves two).

Bouillabaisse Marseillaise

For an entrée, guests can dine on Broiled Maine Lobster, Whole Dover Sole Meunière, Rack of Lamb Persillade, Duck Cassoulet, Steak Frites, Soufflé au Fromage and the popular Salt Crust Baked Branzino. The chefs also will go ashore to the local fish market whenever possible and personally select the catch of the day as a featured dish for the menu.

Fruits de Mer

Side dishes include French fries, cauliflower puree, green beans, wild rice, truffled mashed potatoes and ratatouille.

No meal at Rudi’s Sel de Mer would be complete without a delectable dessert. Choices include Crêpes Suzette, Apple Tarte Tatin, Profiteroles with Hot Chocolate Sauce, Artisanal French Cheese Plate and Rudi’s famed Souffle – a version of the Salzburg Nockerl.

Rudi’s Sel de Mer will be offered for a set price of $49 per person for dinner, and reservations are recommended.