Emerald Princess Cruise Dining and Cuisine

Emerald Princess in St Thomas
Roger W/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

The Emerald Princess cruise ship is a large, mainstream cruise ship with something for everyone when it comes to dining. Princess backs up its "Personal Choice" dining theme with a dozen different venues and dining options available around the clock.

Breakfast starts early on the Emerald Princess, with pastries and beverages available as early as 4 am. One great dining feature is extended hours for breakfast. Since some late-night, partying cruise passengers arise late, buffet breakfast is offered from 6 am until 11:30 am.

Lunch is a casual affair for most Emerald Princess passengers, and they usually dine at one of the buffets or casual pool grills. Breakfast and lunch are also available in the Da Vinci Dining Room.

Dinner offers the most variety for Emerald Princess passengers. First, the Emerald Princess' 3000 passengers can enjoy traditional cruise ship dining at one of two fixed sittings (6:15 pm or 8:30 pm) in the Botticelli Dining Room. Alternatively, they can "dine anytime" between 6 pm and 10 pm at either the Michelangelo or Da Vinci Dining Rooms. The two exceptional specialty restaurants, Sabatini's and the Crown Grill, offer reservation dining for an extra fee.

Passengers looking for romance or privacy can enjoy a balcony dinner in their cabin. Those looking for the supreme dining experience on the Emerald Princess should book the Chef's Table dinner, a real treat for anyone who loves to eat and who loves the interesting and delicious cuisine. And, it's a great show! Finally, if you're in a hurry to eat or just want a casual meal, there's always a buffet open for dinner on the Emerald Princess.

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Chef's Table - Memorable Dinner for Those Who Love Food

Emerald Princess Executive Chef Michele Cozzoli at the Chef's Table
Linda Garrison

The Chef's Table dinner on the Emerald Princess is one of the best and most memorable meals at sea.

The Chef's Table dinner begins in the Emerald Princess' galley for pre-dinner cocktails and hors-d'oeuvres with the executive chef, followed by a specially prepared multi-course tasting dinner in the dining room. Here is a sample menu:

Hors-d'oeuvres and Champagne in the Galley

  • Blue Crab Margarita with Avocado and Mango
  • Foie Gras Terrine on Toast, Apple Chutney
  • Fontina Mini Quiche with White Truffles
  • Buckwheat Blinis with Caviar and Creme Fraiche

Dinner in the Da Vinci Dining Room, accompanied by Red and White Wine

  • Asparagus Risotto with Lobster Tail and Claws
  • Lip-Smackin' Bloody Mary Sorbet (topped with a splash of Grey Goose Vodka)
  • Trio of Beef, Veal, and Pork Tenderloin on Medieval Spiked Flambe Roastie
  • Jus, Salsa Verde, Bearnaise Sauce, and Cafe de Paris Butter
  • Dirty Rice with Corn and Pine Nuts, Grilled Asparagus and Charred Cherry Tomatoes
  • Potted Stilton with Port Wine and Walnuts, Rosemary Biscotti
  • Iced Amaretto Parfait, Vanilla Plums, and Brandy Snap Tuile
  • Coffee or Tea and Homemade Gourmandises

The Chef’s Table experience can be reserved by up to 10 passengers on select nights during the sailing. After its debut on Emerald Princess, Chef’s Table was introduced on all Princess ships fleet wide.

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Ultimate Balcony Dinner - Romantic Dinner on the High Seas

Emerald Princess Salad at Ultimate Balcony Dinner
Linda Garrison

Staying in a balcony cabin can add much to your cruise vacation experience. And, the sea breeze is just a sliding glass door away! If you have a balcony, enjoying a romantic meal outside with your mate can be one of the best memories you will bring home from your cruise. The Emerald Princess has 24-hour room service, including a special "Champagne Balcony Breakfast", which is a treat for honeymooners or romantics.

If you really want to be pampered and have a romantic dinner alone on your balcony, Princess Cruises has the "Ultimate Balcony Dinner" on its ships. This dinner is ideal for romantics or those seeking a special memory.

Princess' Ultimate Balcony Dinner starts when you book the meal and select your main course--steak, lobster, or both.

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Sabatini's Restaurant - Specialty Italian Restaurant

Table Setting in Sabatini's Restaurant on the Emerald Princess
Linda Garrison

Sabatini's is one of two specialty restaurants on the Emerald Princess cruise ship. Its menu is Italian, and the cover charge is reasonable for the excellent authentic Italian fare. A meal at Sabatini's starts with a selection of antipasti, followed by soup, salad, pasta, main course, and dessert.

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Crown Grill Restaurant - Specialty Grill Restaurant

Crown Grill Restaurant on the Emerald Princess
Linda Garrison

The Crown Grill is the traditional steakhouse specialty restaurant on the Emerald Princess. Like Sabatini's, the Crown Grill has an extra charge, but the excellent cuisine and service is worth it for those who enjoy a special dinner.

The menu at the Crown Grill starts out with excellent appetizers, soups, and salads, but the restaurant's forte is its premium seafood, chops, and steaks, accompanied by a good variety of vegetables. The Crown Grill also has Maine or Brazilian lobster available for a small additional cost. The ambiance of the Crown Grill is excellent, with quiet tables scattered throughout a room paneled in dark woods and sprinkled with black and white photos.

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Main Dining Rooms - Botticelli, Da Vinci, and Michelangelo

Michelangelo Dining Room on the Emerald Princess
Linda Garrison

Princess' Personal Choice Dining means more than just specialty dining at an extra charge. The Emerald Princess also has several excellent dining venues included in the basic cruise fare.

The three main dining rooms--Botticelli, Da Vinci, and Michelangelo--all look very similar. Each is on one deck, with tables seating from 2 to 10 passengers each. The dinner menus are also the same, so the selection is more a matter of either a set time or a flexible time for dinner. Dinner includes appetizers, soups, salads, main course, and dessert. Popular favorites such as shrimp cocktail and grilled salmon or chicken are always available. Lotus Spa Cuisine items (lower fat/lower calorie) are clearly marked. When booking a cruise, passengers choose either "traditional" dining or "anytime" dining for dinner.

The Botticelli Dining Room offers traditional, two-seating dining at 6:15 pm (first seating) and 8:30 pm (second seating) each evening. Passengers who enjoy the classic cruise experience of assigned table mates and time each evening will dine in Botticelli's. On our cruise on the Emerald Princess, this dining room was very popular, demonstrating that many cruisers still enjoy traditional dining.

The Da Vinci Dining Room and the Michelangelo Dining Room are the two "anytime" dining restaurants, and serve dinner from 5:30 pm to 10 pm each evening. Passengers just show up whenever they wish and with whomever they wish to dine. If one of the restaurants is full, the passengers are given one of those square pagers used in many restaurants ashore. They can then go browse in the shops or enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail until their table is ready. It's very easy, and perfect for those who like flexibility in dining.

The Da Vinci Dining Room is also open for breakfast and lunch for those who prefer a more formal meal or don't like buffets.

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Cafe Caribe and Horizon Court Buffets - Casual Dining

Emerald Princess Casual Buffet Dining
Linda Garrison

Before or after a long day ashore or by the pool, many passengers enjoy a quick, casual meal. They don't want to dress up or take the time to have a sit-down meal in one of the dining rooms.

The Emerald Princess has several casual dining venues, including a 24-hour buffet at the Cafe Caribe and Horizon Court. The buffet is divided into different sections, which helps keep the lines shorter (or nonexistent). However, it can sometimes be a little confusing if you are looking for a specific item, and it is found in a different place (or not at all) in the different buffet lines.

Each day at lunch, a different international cuisine is featured at one of the buffets such as Oriental or Mexican. This isn't noted in the daily "Princess Patter", but is worth checking out if you are craving sushi or burritos for lunch. You might get lucky!

The dinner buffet also has a different theme each evening such as seafood, French, Greek, Indian, Bavarian, Mediterranean, or wild game.

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Pizzeria and Ice Cream Bar - Casual Dining

Emerald Princess Pizzeria and Ice Cream Bar
Linda Garrison

The Pizzeria and Ice Cream Bar on the Emerald Princess ​are found near the pool on Lido Deck 15. The pizza is excellent. For those who love pizza, but don't want to get dressed or leave the cabin, the Emerald Princess crew will deliver a hot pizza directly to your cabin for an extra fee.

The Pizzeria also has a neighboring ice cream bar with premium ice creams. The ice cream bar also features sundaes, milkshakes, and floats. Unlike the pizza, the ice cream costs extra.

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Trident Grill - Casual Dining on the Emerald Princess

Trident Grill on the Emerald Princess
Linda Garrison

Grilled hamburgers, chicken, and hot dogs are popular lunchtime favorites, and the Emerald Princess has its own outside grill, the Trident Grill, on Lido Deck 15. Like the Pizzeria, the Trident Grill is open from 11 am to 1 am, a full 14 hours.

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