Cruises mean many different things to many different people. One thing that’s always mentioned when the topic comes up, though, is the food. Cruise ships are well known for having a wide variety of food available almost around the clock. The ability to eat a lot of food one wouldn’t normally at home is appealing to a lot of people. And while on one of the Princess Cruises ships, there are so many options it’s not easy to get them all in during a 7-day cruise. But on the Sky Princess ship, the food quality is so good you’ll want to try to hit as many venues as possible. Let’s take a look at the top-notch food and drink on Princess Cruises.
Order Anywhere Onboard
One unique feature that ships in the Princess line offer is the ability to order food and drinks to be delivered anywhere passengers are on the ship. It’s simple to do with Princess MedallionClass®. A small wearable device that’s about the size of a quarter, the Medallion enables cabin doors to unlock handsfree, touchless payment in the shops and bars, and for waiters to be able to locate you on the ship to deliver your order. This makes it simple to grab lunch or beverage while on a sun deck without having to get up and wait in line. The app even lets you know that your order is in progress and when a crew member is on the way.
Fun, Tasty Beverages
What’s a cruise without a fun drink to enjoy by the pool? Onboard Princess Cruises, non-bottled water, brewed coffee, iced tea and juice at breakfast are all complimentary. Guests are allowed to bring one bottle of champagne or wine onboard. There is also an allowance to bring 12 unopened cans or cartons of juice, soda or water onboard. Beer and liquor aren’t allowed to be brought on the ship during embarkment.
For other drink choices, like specialty coffees, fountain sodas, juices, mocktails and alcoholic drinks, passengers have the choice to purchase as they go or use one of Princess’s four drink packages. While it might seem like a great way to save money to pay as you go, if you enjoy specialty coffees, drink alcohol or are with someone who loves a good mocktail, getting a drink package is the way to go.
We had an amazing honey lavender latte one more morning. And after dinner one night, we enjoyed a coffee with Kahlúa. It was nice not to think about what was being spent when we placed an order. And the Sky Princess has 14 bars and lounges along with three locations to get specialty coffees. So there’s always an opportunity to enjoy a virgin piña colada or chai latte during the day.
Beverage Options are Plentiful
The Sky Princess had a nice assortment of wines, depending on where you were on the ship. They even had a wine bar for aficionados who wanted to sit and sip with other wine lovers. There was also a well round variety of bottled beer choices, from Coors Light to the Dutch brand Grolsch. Those who enjoy liquor won’t feel left out – we saw bottles of Johnny Walker Blue and other high end options behind the bars.
The bartenders were excellent. There was only one instance where we heard a bartender say they didn’t know how to make a drink. And when the passenger told them how they went to work, re-creating it to the passenger’s satisfaction. Pretty much anything on the menu they were able to make into a mocktail for our teenager as well.
World Fresh Marketplace Buffet
What’s a cruise without a great buffet? Located towards the top of the ship near the main pools, the World Fresh Marketplace Buffet had so many choices there was no way to experience all of the food. Located across several rooms, there was always something good available to enjoy.
Open most days from 6 am to 10:30 pm, the buffet had rotating themed dinner menus based on ports of calls or other factors. On Sunday, pot roast with all the fixings was served, while in Mexico, it was tacos, fajitas and plantains. There were also Italian pasta nights and a Spanish/South American theme with paella and Brazilian churrasco. But if you’re not interested in the theme of the night, don’t let that discourage you from eating in the World Fresh Marketplace Buffet. There are plenty of other lunch and dinner offerings, including fish, chicken wings, and sandwiches. For breakfast, there was plenty of fresh cut and whole fruit, cereal, waffles, bacon, eggs, pastries and even grits. Options for food and drink on Princess Cruises is truly versatile.
And don’t forget the desserts! There was a whole pastry section that even had sugar-free and wheat-free options. And hidden in the pastry section is a specialty coffee bar that never seemed to have a line.
Main Dining Rooms
For those who enjoy a traditional cruise dining experience, there are the three Main Dining Rooms (MDRs) on decks 5 and 6. Passengers are able to make dinner reservations and table seating selections for individual days of their choice or for the same time every day of the cruise. One of the MDRs, Estrella, is open for all three meals while the other two, Cielo and Soleil, are only open for dinner.
The MDRs have set menus every night and are sit-down service with waiters. If you make reservations on multiple days, you’ll have the same wait staff every night. The variety provided in the MDRs was well-rounded. And if you don’t see something on the menu that looks appealing, ask for something else. The wait staff is happy to accommodate.
Also located in the Estrella Dining Room every day at 3 pm is Afternoon Tea. No reservations are needed, and guests are served tea sandwiches, pastries, and scones with jam and cream, along with plenty of hot tea.
In addition to the locations where food is included in the price of the vacation, Princess Cruises also offers specialty restaurants passengers can pay extra to dine in. The cost is minimal for the amount of food that is served – generally between $29 and $39 per person for most options. And all specialty venues, excluding the Chef’s Table, have enough options for children who aren’t picky eaters to find something to enjoy.
Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria
With five courses enjoyed in a well-designed, private area, Sabatini’s was our top specialty dining location. The variety of menu choices inspired by dishes around Italy offered plenty of choices.
Inspired by family recipes from Italian chefs throughout the Princess line, there was everything available from spaghetti and meatballs to veal milanese and a filet of branzino.
The meal was expertly served, and nothing was rushed. A bottle of chilled prosecco went well with all of our choices. And while we were stuffed, the dessert sampler of banana pudding, berries and cream, tiramisu and hazelnut-crusted ice cream was still thoroughly enjoyed.
A steakhouse experience on the sea, a meal at Crown Grill starts with a cheese stuffed bread topped with rosemary. It then moves on to appetizers, soups and salads, and the option to choose from a seafood or meat main course, along with dessert.
Service wasn’t as attentive as at Sabatini’s, but it was still very good. The French onion soup was very tasty, as was the lobster tail. A steak ordered medium well looked overcooked when presented, but when cut into, it was cooked to perfection.
Dessert at Crown Grill was some of the best we had on the ship. Our favorites – the key lime pie bar and the salted caramel crème brulee cheesecake.
Bistro Sur la Mer
While the location of Bistro Sur la Mer was close to the theater and not as private as the other specialty restaurants, the food and service were excellent. A welcome dish of polenta fries and warm cheese-stuffed olives was followed by a land or sea choice of hors d’oeuvres and the main course.
With choices such as lobster bisque served in a pastry, seared duck breast and seabass, no one left the table unsatisfied. This French restaurant turned out to be our teenager’s favorite of all the restaurants. And the waiter loved that she ordered the escargot!
Ocean Terrace Sushi
The one specialty restaurant that doesn’t require a reservation, Ocean Terrance Sushi is set up bar style so guests can observe the chefs while they’re preparing meals. The cost of meals here was very reasonable for how fresh each dish was. Two tacos with yellowtail were $12, while a 4-piece order of sashimi was $7, and a spicy tuna roll was $5. Food was served very quickly and it was enjoyable to hear music from the Piazza deck below. Ocean Terrace Sushi is a perfect option for a filling meal before seeing a show or when you don’t feel like a more relaxing atmosphere.\
Chef’s Table Lumiere
For an extra special dining experience for adults who love food, try to get a seat at the Chef’s Table Lumiere. Only available for ten people on each cruise, this culinary feast takes guests to the ship’s galley to learn more about the food prep process. After the tour, they’re escorted to a private table that’s well set with fancy china and utensils. A thin curtain is pulled around the table and a multi-course meal created by the executive chef is served with wines and detailed descriptions of each course.
Entrance to the Chef’s Table is only available by making a reservation once onboard the Sky Princess. As soon as you board, make your way to a phone to call the dining extension and ask to be placed on the waitlist. You’ll find out you’ve been accepted when you receive an invitation in your cabin. The cost of the experience is about $115 per person and is charged to your ship’s folio.
Pizza and Hot Dogs
For less fancy options to grab a bite to eat on the ship, there are three locations to enjoy that are all included in the price of the cruise.
A sit down option for pizza, Alfredo’s offers freshly made individual pizzas and calzones. The quality of the pizza was outstanding and the different varieties available included traditional pepperoni and seafood options.
The Salty Dog Grill
Located on the pool deck, The Salty Dog Grill is a great place for anyone out getting some sun to grab burgers, tacos, fries, bbq sandwiches and hot dogs.
Looking for a slice of pizza to enjoy by the pool? Head to Slice which is located on the opposite side of The Salty Dog Grill. An easy way to grab a quick bite to eat, the pizza here, for some reason, wasn’t isn’t as good as it is at Alfredo’s.
Ice Cream, Gelato and Treats
There’s always time for treats! The Sky Princess offers free soft serve cones at their Swirls ice cream kiosk by the main pools. This is a popular location for kids throughout the day. For those who love authentic gelato, head to the gelato bar on the Piazza level. Made fresh daily and available for an additional fee, the gelateria on board is certified to be an authentic experience by the Italian government.
And for those who need a snack any time of day, there’s the 24-hour International Cafe. Also located in the Piazza, this location has small meals, sandwiches, desserts, specialty coffees and teas available. Food in the cafe is included, while the coffee and teas have an additional cost.
Tips for Food and Drink on Princess Cruises’ Sky Princess
- If you’re celebrating an anniversary or birthday while on board, tell your travel agent or put it in your Medallion profile. You’ll get a special announcement on the electronic boards by the elevators, and if you’re in a dining room or specialty restaurant that night, they might even sing to you!
- Try multiple different places to eat each night. Some people like to eat at the same location each day, but there’s so much on board that it’s worth it to eat your way around the ship.
- Book at least one night in a specialty restaurant. It might seem silly to do since you’ve already paid for food. But the price in comparison for what you receive is so good. And the service is so top-notch, it’s worth the additional price.
- Don’t forget that you can order room service food and drink on Princess Cruises. You can order from many of the ship’s different restaurants making room service a good option after a long day at port.
- If you’re trying to eat healthier, there are many options. In the buffet, there were always steamed vegetables at lunch and dinner. And in the MDRs, you can always ask for steamed veggies if you don’t see them on the menu.
- Have allergies or dietary restrictions? The crew was very knowledgeable. You can also include into your profile so they can see when you order. One family next to us at Afternoon Tea couldn’t consume gluten, so they were brought special treats that were gluten-free and were served with utensils that hadn’t been used on other food to prevent cross-contamination.
Note: While the writer was hosted for a trip by Princess Cruises, all opinions are her own.
- Visit Princess Cruises
- On our site: Virgin Voyages Cruise: Ultimate Culinary Experience
- On our site: How to Cruise During Bad Weather
- Also on our site: Cruising Through Seattle’s Ballard Locks with Windstar Cruises
- And still more on cruises!
-All photos by and courtesy of Marcea Cazel, except where credited. Cover lobster tail photo by Marcea Cazel.