Okay yes, the image at the top of this post is not exactly food. It is dessert, delicious ice cream, taken from the balcony of the Coral Princess as Marissa and I set out from Fort Lauderdale in March. Yum! ?
Food is an integral part of travel; I have been known to rant at length about how food, culture, and travel are so tightly interwoven as to be inseparable. It is impossible to travel without enjoying food in the process, and we’re lucky when the food we experience permanently shapes our experience of the destination, as cacao did for me in Costa Rica.
When I boarded my first cruise, I knew two things: the Coral Princess has a lot of restaurants and places to eat, and I was traveling in a group of bloggers that was almost entirely comprised of food bloggers. How could my experience not be shaped by food, both on and off the ship?
If you’re planning a cruise – maybe it’s your first one, like me – you might wonder about the food. Is it good? Is it healthy? Will you weigh 15lbs more at the end of the trip?
Yes to all of the above.
Let me show you.
You Can Find Literally Everything Your Sweet Tooth Craves
Prepare yourself: this is the longest gallery of photos I’ve ever shared, and it is 100% sugar…
Everyone knows that cruise ships are great if you love sweets – there are bakeries and ice cream bars to fill your stomach and also your heart’s content. Princess Cruises goes above and beyond with their “Chocolate Journeys” line of desserts. Insanely artful and designed in partnership with chocolatier Norman Love, Chocolate Journeys became the highlight of every meal – and I don’t normally order dessert!
You Can Enjoy Home-Away-From-Home Cookin’
Aboard a cruise ship, you can always enjoy dinner in your assigned dining room. It’s the specialty restaurants, which differ from ship to ship, that make each cruise a unique culinary experience. Aboard the Coral Princess, I had the opportunity to enjoy all three of the specialty dining experiences:
- Sabatini’s (Italian)
- Bayou Café & Steakhouse (Cajun)
- The Chef’s Table Experience
The above photos are the highlights from our Cajun dinner at Bayou Café: alligator ribs, chicken and chorizo jambalaya, crawfish “mud bug” bisque, and more. I’m pretty sure we tried everything on the menu that night, and all of it was fantastic. It just makes me want to go back to New Orleans and keep eating!
You Can Completely Overindulge
Coming back to the Chef’s Table Experience… holy crap. Sorry, I mean, holy cow. I’ve been a lucky eater in my day, having had many chef’s table dinners and multi-course dining experiences. I’ve never experienced anything like the Chef’s Table Experience aboard the Coral Princess.
Chef Jeremy pulled out all the stops – from a galley tour and hors d’oeuvres and champagne pairing (the photos of which you can see below) to an INSANE surf & turf course and work-of-art “palate cleanser” (it’s the dessert photo above with the blue pointed ice sculpture above fresh sorbet).
Seriously, it’s a massive and magnificent splurge to purchase the Chef’s Table on a cruise. It’s also an unforgettable experience, and for food-lovers, it’s unmissable.
There are Also Healthy Options If You Want Them
You may wonder at this point if it’s possible to end your cruise without rolling off the boat. It’s certainly possible to eat purely indulgent, over-the-top foods your entire cruise. It’s also possible to mix in some healthy options.
I personally loved watermelon whenever I could find it; it just paired so well with the sweltering Caribbean temperatures outside. You could always find fresh fruit and fruit-infused water, and a salad as part of every multi-course meal (#firstworldproblems). One night, we even enjoyed a vegetable based Gazpacho as part of the meal!
I’m not saying I got my daily 3-5 each day… but I tried. A little.
You Can Make Your Favorites Upon Returning Home
Lest you fear that this kind of indulgence is only reserved for time spent aboard the ship, some of my travel blogger friends are here to help. Check out some of the beautiful photos and recipes linked below and you can enjoy the same foods I did… without the turndown service and spa services right upstairs.
- Erin from Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts made two delicious pastries: an almost-healthy bran muffin, and a Nutella donut based on one of the Chocolate Journeys. Sandra from A Dash of Sanity also made a bite-sized version of the same Nutella donut. We really loved those!
- Speaking of Chocolate Journeys, Jen from Baked by an Introvert made her own Chocolate Pistachio Dome. You’ll recognize which one it is when you click through to her site!
- Tanya from Lemons for Lulu was inspired to make some land-side dishes including Jamaican jerk chicken and rum punch. #takemeback
Bonus: If you book the Chef’s Table Experience, you also receive a free copy of Courses: A Culinary Journey, the Princess Cruises cookbook created in partnership with all of the chefs aboard their ships.
Ready to Sail Away?
Me too. Here are the deets:
[info]I spent 10 days aboard the Coral Princess on their Panama Canal cruise itinerary. You can see more on the Princess Cruises website, and book your trip here. This post was created in partnership with Princess Cruises.[/info][success]If you enjoyed this story, check out others about my cruise:
- Facing Fears through Travel – Diving Into Aruba
- An Easy Walking Tour of Colorful Old Town Cartagena
- Photography Tips for Casco Viejo, Panama City
- On Cacao in Costa Rica
- Rafting the Martha Brae, Coconut in Hand
- 45 Things to Do on a Day at Sea
- 5 Delicious Caribbean Treats I am Constantly Craving
- What to Pack for a 10-Day Caribbean Cruise