Thursday, January 16, 2014

Grand Princess Cruise - Food 101

This is our second time aboard the Grand Princess and just when I thought I had the food selection figured out, something new always showed up. If I might offer a bit of advice. Eating on board a cruise ship is like a marathon,  not a hundred yard dash. You will always be able to eat, 24/7, so pace yourself! We have never gained weight on a cruise because we keep our activity level high to compensate for the extra intake. We save the weight gain for the holidays. There are many venues for food, the Princess Patter lists the hours for each daily.

Breakfast Options

We  favor the Horizon Court Buffet on Lido Deck. There is an endless array of food to please any taste. Avril is more open to new food items. You will see vegetables, salad and baked beans on her plates.  I tend to lean towards bacon, eggs and toast. On this trip I also enjoyed congee, wonton soup and loved the roasted tomato. I look at other peoples plates for food inspiration.

Grand Princess Horizon Court Breakfast

Another option for breakfast is a sit down - plated breakfast, offered in a designated dining room, served exquisitely by uniformed waiters. It is a five star hotel style experience but we steer towards the casual for breakfast. Room service is available all day and we tried it out for breakfast several mornings. At night,  just before you retire fill out the breakfast card  and hang it on your cabin door. At the time you designate it will arrive with a knock at your door. Nothing like a carafe of hot coffee to chase the sleepy away. I like the croissants and Avril recommends the breakfast sandwich.

Grand Princess Room Service Breakfast


I was describing to my daughter that when cruising we eat many small meals. She mentioned that Hobbits eat that way. While researching this reference,  I  stumbled across  Elevenses. This is an old English tradition similar to afternoon tea but served mid-morning. We embraced this style of eating with passion at the International Cafe in the Piazza of the Grand Princess. The cafe is open twenty four hours and serves pastries and light entrees. It is great option for any meal time. The specialty coffees are an extra charge and I recommend purchasing a discount coffee card.

Elevenses - Grand Princess International  Cafe


Oh yes, there are many choices for lunch too. The Horizon Court and Dining room are open with wonderful options. We became quite fond of Alfredo's Pizza in the Piazza. Alfredo's is named for Alfredo Marzi, the master chef for Princess Cruises.  We learned on our previous cruise that ordering individual pizzas was just too much food. We split a hand made artisan pie and washed it down with  a glass of wine.
Alfredo's Pizza Grand Princess

On sea days the Upscale Crown Grill is turned into a British Pub and serves a great fish and chips plate.
Fish and Chips Grand Princess
Located on Lido Deck adjacent to the Horizon Court Buffet are a burger - hotdog grill, pizza - poolside and an ice cream bar. All are good options for lunch or dinner. Here is link to the complete list of meal outlets and their open times.
Hotdogs Burgers and Ice Cream Grand Princess

Cocktail Hour

There are a huge number of bars located on board, try a few and pick a favorite. We gravitated to the Wheelhouse bar where our favorite barman Juan made wonderful drinks, plied us with snacks and best of all made us laugh. There was a small group of fun people who hung out there just before dinner hour. There are daily specialty cocktails mostly Hawaiian in nature. Avril tried a few and was very pleased. I stuck with my vodka martini. Cheers!
Wheelhouse Bar The Grand Princess


Dinner is all of the above plus extra choices. All of the venues mentioned above are open and serving dinner. We choose the "traditional" seated dinner in the DaVinci Dining room, early seating (5:30), because we like it. You sit at the same table every night and are served by the same waiters. We ask for a table for two but have also enjoyed being with other guests at larger tables. There is a later seating and a choice of  anytime dining where you show up and be seated at the first  available table. There are upscale - extra charge restaurants available but we have enjoyed the service in the dining room so much we hate to change. The menus has new items every night so there is no need to repeat. It took us a few cruises to realize that you can ask for some of everything, if you want. They will accommodate most any request so if you want two entrees, three salads and several desserts just ask. It is almost like being a kid in a candy store with a pocket full of money!

Salads and Appetizers DaVinci Dining Grand Princess

Entrees DaVinci Dining Grand Princess

Dessert DaVinci Dining Grand Princess

I am sitting here very hungry after writing this post. I wonder why? Next post will be about our first visit to Hawaii. If you have any comments, questions or answers feel free to email me at If you are Princess Cruises, let me know how my pictures, ideas, observations or words could help you market your fine ships. Aloha!


Zoomie said...

You must have been exercising nonstop between meals not to have gained weight during that cruise! Wow, what a spread!

Chilebrown said...

I have absolutely no will power. All my meals would star out with dessert, then meat and then more dessert. Question; "Upscale-Extra Charge" dining options, how much are we talking about? What would be the big difference?

Greg said...

Zoomie- Avril does 45 minutes of Zumba dancing. The ship is almost a thousand feet long. Just walking back and forth racks up miles. We walk up and down the stairs. Yoga too. I dunno why it works ;)
Chilebrown- The upscale restaurants are 20-30 a person. The steak house is extreme meat. More than I could eat. They are smaller, intimate rooms.We have tried them on other cruises. I ended up spending $120 because I decided to have fancy wine and cognac.