01 of 09
Emerald Princess Dining and Cuisine Overview
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.
Let's take a more detailed look at each of these dining options on the Emerald Princes.Continue to 2 of 9 below.
02 of 09
Emerald Princess Chef's Table - Memorable Dinner for Those Who Love Food!
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. I was lucky enough to experience this special dinner on the Emerald Princess, and our menu consisted of the following:
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
This meal was as delicious as described! It was great fun to be in the galley while dinner was being prepared. In addition to the outstanding dinner, each couple at the Chef’s Table received a complimentary photo with the chef and a personalized autographed copy of Princess’ best-selling cookbook, Courses, A Culinary Journey, which has sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide.
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.Continue to 3 of 9 below.
03 of 09
Emerald Princess Ultimate Balcony Dinner - Romantic Dinner on the High Seas
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, which I enjoyed on the Emerald Princess as she sailed away from Athens, Greece. 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. We selected the Surf & Turf, which included
- Champagne and Hors d'oeuvres
- Blue Crab Cake Baked in a Puff Pastry Crown
- Mesclun Greens and... Marinated Chevre
- Surf & Turf - Broiled Cold Water Lobster Tail and Grilled Filet of Beef Tenderloin Diane
- Princess' Chocolate Symphony and Fresh Berries
The dinner was scrumptious and the service divine, although I'll have to admit it was a little disconcerting to have two private waiters attending to our every need throughout the meal.
Sailing away from Athens at sunset and watching the tiny lights of the city twinkling on while we enjoyed this wonderful meal is a memory that will stay with me for a long time.Continue to 4 of 9 below.
04 of 09
Emerald Princess Sabatini's Restaurant - Specialty Italian Restaurant
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.
We ate at Sabatini's twice, and the food was exceptional and the service perfect both times. I especially loved the decor of the restaurant, and my favorite dishes were the crab cake appetizer, the two pasta dishes, and two of the main courses -- the roasted sea bass and the broiled langoustines. Its ambiance would be ideal for a romantic dinner for two. Sabatini's diners quickly learn to eat small portions of all the courses! I could have filled up on the crab cakes and pasta, but I'm glad I saved room for the main course.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Emerald Princess Crown Grill Restaurant - Specialty Grill Restaurant
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 some 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. Everyone at our table agreed that the "Crown Dependence" was the best dessert, but only because it was a sampling of several of the featured desserts! Several small bites of a variety of dessert never seem as filling (or fattening) as one big dessert.
In addition to the cuisine, presentation, and service, I thought the ambiance of the Crown Grill was excellent, with quiet tables scattered throughout a room paneled in dark woods and sprinkled with black... and white photos.Continue to 6 of 9 below.
06 of 09
Emerald Princess Main Dining Rooms - Botticelli, Da Vinci, and MichelangeloPrincess' 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.Continue to 7 of 9 below.
07 of 09
Emerald Princess Cafe Caribe and Horizon Court Buffets - Casual Dining
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. On our fully-booked cruise, the Cafe Caribe and Horizon Court buffets on the Emerald Princess were busy places at breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and finding a place to sit was sometimes a challenge. 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.
We ate in one of the regular or specialty dining rooms on most evenings but did eat several breakfasts and a couple of lunches and dinners at the buffet. There was an excellent selection of diverse foods at each meal, but like most buffets, the food was good, but not memorable (except for those marvelous chocolate chip cookies!).Continue to 8 of 9 below.
08 of 09
Emerald Princess Pizzeria and Ice Cream Bar - Casual Dining
The Pizzeria and Ice Cream Bar on the Emerald Princess are found near the pool on Lido Deck 15. The pizza is excellent. I loved the thin crunchy crust, good cheeses, and delicious toppings. Being a pizza lover, I was delighted to see that the Pizzeria was open from 11 am until 1 am - a full 14 hours to have a slice if the mood struck. 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.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Emerald Princess Trident Grill - Casual Dining on the Emerald Princess
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. I tried both a hamburger and a hot dog (at different times), and they were excellent.