Remember when everyone thought cruising was all about standing in a conga line, waiting to serve yourself from a fairly ordinary buffet?

Well, not all cruise lines are created equal, with so many having now eschewed the wait-in-line mentality and given customers a really decent dining experience.

Most of the major and more popular cruise lines are way up on their culinary act, so for those who may still be a little nervous regarding a cruise ships’ food offering needn’t worry at all. Be warned: not every cruise line has put the time, patience and resources into making their meals rock (in some cases, quite literally). After a trip to the US to see how the Princess Cruises crew puts their entire food and event offerings together, which seems is no simple task, it’s clear that the effort is paying off in spades.

With the Southern Hemisphere cruise season well and truly upon us, it seems each day there is a mega ship or two docking in a harbour or port somewhere is Austalia. And, it was Princess Cruises who invited me to check out its international operation. With that, I spent some time at the Princess head offices in Los Angeles to meet the people who are working behind the scenes to elevate Princess Cruises’ on-board experience.

From working with a world-renowned sleep doctor to ensure a better night’s sleep for all its guests, to creating carefully curated menus with Michelin-Starred chefs, the Princess fleet wants to lead the pack in the world of cruising. It is also making sure its entertainment, suites, and, most importantly, food is top notch. The concept of ‘ordinary’ food seems to be a thing of the past as major cruise lines continue to partner with seriously good chefs.

The crew of us were lucky enough to meet some of the chefs engaged by Princess Cruises as we made our way to Los Angeles to see how the kitchen kinds work their magic. Here are a few whose tastes will tantalise ship ahoy taste buds.

Ernesto Uchimura

This LA-based gastro-pub has been turned into a star on the high seas with award-winning chef Ernesto Uchimura having joined forces with Princess Cruises. The chef is the name behind the original Umami Burger restaurant and also he also started Plan Check Kitchen + Bar in Los Angeles. So popular his offerings have been on land, his The Salty Dog Gastropub experience has been transferred to the the Wheelhouse Bar on board some of the cruise lines’ ships.

I mean, it must be quite an honour to have been voted as having the ‘Best Burger at Sea’ by Cruise Critic! The on-board Salty Dog Gastropub also has the ‘The Ernesto’ – a crafted rib eye burger created by the chef just for sailing. We had a taste on a gastro-tour, and yes, it definitely is worth a try.

Curtis Stone

Princess Cruises partnered with the award-winning chef Curtis Stone a few years ago when he created SHARE. As the name implies, it’s all about, well, sharing, and with dishes like a charcuterie starter course; butter poached lobster with caramelized endive; twice-cooked duck leg with fennel, bacon jus and parmesan crumb; tagliatelle with roasted alaskan crab, chili and parsley and potato gratin with truffles and cream available on the ships Ruby Princess, Emerald Princess, and Sun Princess.

Angelo Auriana

Another chef celebrating his sea-faring delights is from LA-based Italian chef Angelo Auriana, who has joined up with Princess to concoct a menu for six of the ships, including Golden Princess who is currently calling Melbourne home for the next 5 months. The restaurant, called Sabatini’s includes handmade pastas, risotto and seafood.

Emmanuel Renaut

Exclusive to the majestic ship, cruise-lovers who are wanting something a little more casual, with an atrium style vibe, are mad about French, bistro-style dining with a contemporary twist at Ranaut’s restaurant called La Mer.

The chef holds the title of ‘Meilleur Ouvrier de France’ (best craftsmen of France) and Chef of the Year by Le Chef. The chef’s locons de Sel restaurant has even received three Michelin stars. Now that, from any regard is mighty good form.

In addition to the ‘celebrity’ chefs, Princess has a venue in Santa Clarita where all of their Princess menus are tested and tweaked. It’s called the Princess Cruises Culinary Development Centre and it’s where all the menus are created in LA, then rolled out across the Princess fleet across the world.

The details:

Princess’ newest ship, Majestic Princess balcony fares for a 12-night cruise to New Zealand departing Sydney on Friday 25 January 2019 start from $2,689 AUD* per person, twin share. For more information visit princess.com, call 13 24 88 or see a licensed travel agent.

Melissa Hoyer was a media guest of Princess Cruises in Los Angeles to’ meet the chefs’.  

Source: delicious.