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Overview of Royal Princess Dining Options
The 3560-passenger Royal Princess was launched in 2013, and Princess Cruises kept many of the great dining options seen on other Princess ships. In addition, the cruise line added some new eateries where guests can savor interesting dishes. The ship has 14 different places that offer food.
On each voyage, the Royal Princess also offers special extra-surcharge meals designed for a special dining experience. For example, guests can dine at the Chef's Table Lumiere. This small private dining experience is in a lovely section of the Allegro dining room with a sheer curtain enclosing the amazing table and providing just the right amount of privacy.
Another special meal is the Wine Maker's Dinner, which is held in private wine cellar rooms of the Symphony and Allegro dining rooms. This dinner for up to 12 guests focuses on the pairing of wines with each dinner course.
The Royal Princess also offers guests the opportunity to have a special dinner or brunch on their own balcony. This... "Ultimate Balcony Dining" has been very successful on other Princess ships and is a perfect romantic dinner or brunch. Waiters serve the meal by courses and dining al fresco on your own private balcony is certainly memorable.
All of these special meals require advance reservations.
Let's take a detailed look at the dining options of the Royal Princess cruise ship.
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- Main Dining Rooms - Symphony, Allegro, Concerto
- Crown Grill
- Horizon Court and Bistro
- International Cafe
- Alfredo's Pizzeria
- Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar
- Casual Take-Away Restaurants - Trident Grill, Prego Pizzeria, Swirls
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Main Dining Rooms on the Royal Princess
The Royal Princess has three main dining rooms, all of which look similar and have elegant decor and more space between tables than I've seen on some ships. Diners order from a menu, with multiple selections for appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, and desserts. There's also a selection of simpler items (shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad, grilled salmon, chicken, steak) that can be ordered if none of the nightly specials appeal to you.
Allegro (deck 6 aft) is the ship's traditional dining room, with two seatings for dinner--first seating at 6 pm and second seating at 8:30 pm. With traditional dining, guests sit with the same other assigned travelers at the same table each dinner.
Symphony (deck 5 midship) and Concerto (deck 6 midship) offer Anytime Dining at every dinner. Guests who select this option can dine anytime between 6 and 9:30 pm. It's also possible to make reservations at a specific time.
Open seating breakfast from a menu is also offered in one of these dining... rooms each day.
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Crown Grill on the Royal Princess
The Crown Grill is a popular classic steakhouse found on all Princess ships. On the Royal Princess, it's located just off the Wheelhouse Bar aft on deck 7. This location provides a nice place to meet and have a drink before or after dinner.
This specialty restaurant has a surcharge, but most agree the extra cost is worth it. The premium seafood and meats are exceptional. I'm a real fan of carpaccio and had never tasted it made from lamb. One of the things I love about dining on cruise ships is the opportunity to try new dishes like this appetizer. It was as good as expected, as were the salad with a yummy grape-balsamic dressing and the filet mignon and loaded baked potato.
My friend and I enjoyed trying the different salt selections, but neither of us could tell a significant difference in their tastes. We did like the colors--who knew that salt came in black or pink?
Crown Grill Menu
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Sabatini's on the Royal Princess
Like the Crown Grill, Sabatini's is found on all the Princess ships. As its name suggests, this specialty restaurant features an Italian menu. It's one of my favorite large ship dining venues, and I especially love the china plates, which I've admired on other Princess ships. On the Royal Princess, Sabatini's is on deck 5 forward near the reception desk. In addition to dinner, the restaurant serves a delicious, relaxing breakfast to those guests staying in the suites.
The menu at Sabatini's starts with a selection of antipasti, pasta, main courses, and desserts. On this voyage I tried the marinated shrimp on shaved fennel and fava beans with a touch of white truffle oil followed by the lobster served three ways shown in the photo above. Both were excellent.
The sommelier staff did two wine tastings on our Royal Princess cruise to northern Europe and the Baltic States. The first featured red wines from Tuscany (Super Tuscans) that were available at Sabatini's. It... was nice to be able to screen several wines and make an informed decision before our dinner there, especially since these wines were unfamiliar to us. The other wine tasting featured red and white wines available at all the dining venues of the ship. These were also a nice selection. The wine and dining room staff paired the wines at both wine tastings with appropriate snacks.
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Horizon Court on the Royal Princess
The Horizon Court and Bistro cover much of deck 16 aft on the Royal Princess. This venue is the causal buffet, and has multiple action stations serving a wide variety of international cuisines. The buffet is crowded at all meals, but the area is very large and I never saw any long lines, so people moved quickly through the various stations.
The Horizon Court and Bistro is open about 18 hours a day. A continental breakfast is served in the Bistro, followed by a regular breakfast with favorites that will suit travelers from all over the world. Some of the action stations are closed late in the morning to set up for lunch, which then rolls into dinner, which is served until about 11 pm. One of the action stations is devoted to pastries and desserts and also has premium coffees.
During the cruise, two specialty meals are served at the Horizon Court for an extra surcharge. One is a Crab Shack dinner with many seafood favorites. The second is called Fondues, and features several different... cheese fondues.
The highlights of this buffet for me were the delicious salads, with many fresh vegetables and toppings; the homemade breads; the freshly made salsa and guacamole on the Mexican taco/fajita bar; and a poached fresh salmon served for lunch one day.
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International Cafe on the Royal Princess
The International Cafe on the Royal Princess is open 24 hours a day and is located on deck 5 in the Piazza. Although the premium coffee and tea are served a la carte, the breakfast, lunch and dinner items are included in the basic fare. The morning pastries and hot sandwiches for lunch were especially good.
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Alfredo's Pizzeria on the Royal Princess
Alfredo's is a sit-down pizzeria on the Royal Princess that can seat 121 guests. Located on deck 6 in the atrium, Alfredo's is open from 11 am to 11 pm. The complimentary menu includes a variety of Italian antipasti, soup and salads, pizzas, a calzone and pizza baguette, and delicious baked pastas in addition to desserts.
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Gelato Gelateria on the Royal Princess
Gelato serves Italian-style ice cream and crepes for a fee. In addition to ice cream cones and cups, this gelateria offers sundaes, banana splits, and other temptations. It's a tempting addition to a Royal Princess cruise.
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Vines on the Royal Princess
Vines is located in the Piazza on deck 5. This casual bar on the Royal Princess also serves Spanish tapas, Greek mezes, Venetian cicchetti, Latin American pinchos and Caribbean cutters to accompany the wine.
Over 30 different wines can be purchased by the glass, and some of the bites are also featured as appetizers in Sabatini's.
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Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar on the Royal Princess
The Ocean Terrace seafood bar on the Royal Princess offers a variety of a la carte ocean treasures, including oyster shooters, fresh sushi and sashimi, ahi tuna, and king crab.
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Casual Take-Away Restaurants on the Royal PrincessAlong with the numerous sit-down restaurants with their own seating areas, the Royal Princess has several casual take-away restaurants, most located around the swimming pool on deck 16. These include the Trident Grill, which serves hot dogs, hamburgers, and other grilled items; Prego Pizzeria;, and Swirls ice cream bar, which has complimentary soft-serve ice cream in both chocolate and vanilla.