Regal Princess begins her Caribbean cruise season on November 6 with a short preview sailing, followed by a schedule of seven-day cruises to ports in the Eastern Caribbean. We have talked before about the many features of Regal Princess and sister-ship Royal Princess, what we believe represents the future of Princess Cruises, and could not be happier. An expanded heart-of-the-ship atrium alone is noteworthy as are some bold changes that honor the line’s past while positioning it for the future. Also onboard when Regal Princess arrives: a new dining program with a destination focus that showcases regional culinary specialties.
“One of the joys of travel is experiencing the culinary specialties for which a destination is known,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “So now when our guests cruise with Princess around the world, they’ll be able to enjoy some of the most celebrated local dishes onboard as well as ashore.”
The new program brings a destination focus on regional menu items created with local produce, spices and seafood, beginning with a focus on Caribbean cuisine. To be eventually rolled out fleet-wide, specialties will change in the Mediterranean, Alaska and Hawaii.
What does that culinary destination focus mean in the Caribbean? Below is a sampling of what those on Regal Princess will experience, complete with a description from the cruise line:
- Arawak’s Caribbean-Style Pork Chop – Prepared with traditional Jamaican jerk spice and curry, and served with red beans, rice and rum sauce, this extraordinary dish earned Princess Cruises Corporate Executive Chef Alfredo Marzi the top prize at the 8th Annual Bacardi Bartender and Chef Cruise Competition.
- Red Snapper Mojito – Featuring ceviche accented with fresh mint, mango and avocado, and finished with a splash of rum, this was the winning dish created by Princess Cruises Executive Chef Antonio Cortese at the 6th Annual Bacardi Bartender and Chef Cruise Competition
- Island-Spiced Jerk Chicken – A marinade of rum, molasses, tangy lime juice and thyme, plus sweet-and-fiery Scotch Bonnet peppers, infuses this tender chicken dish with the spirit of the islands.
- Caribbean Cocktails – The Caribbean Cooler is the perfect poolside cocktail, with coconut rum, melon liqueur, banana liqueur, citrus mix and pineapple juice. The West Indies Yellow Bird offers a classic taste of the region, featuring a shaken melody of rum, galliano and banana liqueur with orange and pineapple juice. The Cool Runnings cocktail, a favorite of the Caribbean Islands, features a delicious combination of rum, banana liqueur, blackberry brandy and grenadine, blended with coconut and pineapple.
We like the whole idea of a destination focus, whatever that might mean. Originally the domain of small ships that could get into places where big ships could not go, we’re seeing a focus on destination-specific programming on big ships as well. Sure, this effort by Princess Cruises simply adds a few menu items with a regional flair. But its a step in the right direction that complements their already-popular dining program, headlined by their pioneering Anytime Dining concept.
More than a way to compete with other cruise lines, a focus on experiencing the places we visit with all our senses makes for a more enjoyable travel experience…and that’s what it’s all about.