Imagine Quail & Venison Terrine with a gingered red and white onion compote over a mesclun salad, an elegantly pressed tune and salmon sushi and a twice baked goat’s cheese souffle with garlic to start you off, followed by a Skillet-Fried Orange Roughy or Broiled Scallops with a sweet Japanese wine sauce, mushrooms and asparagus as your main accompanied by a nice glass of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Now imagine the same set of dishes aboard a luxury cruise ship in the middle of Asia while you’re taking in some of the most spectacular historical sites around the coast of Japan.
Imagine while you’re not taking in the sights off the cruise ship, you’re basking in the sun on one of the decks, taking in a jacuzzi under the stars or a late night film? Or, after one of their fabulous margaritas from one of the pool bars, you sit on your room deck watching nothing but the open sea. Then, of course you’re ready for dinner again, and the next night and so on….
Princess Cruises did more than excite my palette aboard the Diamond Princess this past summer as I cruised around Japan with a stop over in South Korea. Every night, I took in savory dish after savory dish, experiencing what I would call “culinary delight,” not an easy task when you’re cooking for well over 1,000 people over the course of only two seating times. Be sure to read up on our write-up of the cruise itself which is loaded with photos and useful details including links for newbies.
And for those of you who didn’t think cruises were for foodies, think again. If quail and venison isn’t your thing, or you’re not in the mood for fish, you could opt for a potato gnocchi, a triology of lamb chop, braised veal breast and chicken kebab, or a Cocoa spice-rubbed pork tenderloin with French ratatouille and truffled mashed potatoes. Yum!! Is your mouth watering yet? That was one night’s offerings to give you a taste.
Below, the Beef Wellington.
Lobster with asparagus in a creamy sauce with capers.
Dessert, so delicious and beautifully presented.
Did I mention you can have champagne brought to the room — with dessert, cheese and fruit, chocolate covered strawberries or whatever else you desire.
The maragaritas were also out of this world – my favorite was from the bartenders who tend bar at the bar in the rear of the ship, adjacent to the adult only pool. Look at the size and presentation! The Australians turned me onto this one — thanks to my friends “Down Under.”
Below, the dining staff doing the Baked Alaska dance one night after the main meal was served in the dining rooms. It involved a bit of a congo line, dancing and clapping. See our video and you’ll get a taste of what I experienced on board.
Other options over the course of the cruise that stood out for me in addition to several salads I loved, included the game & wild mushroom pate, the chilled Granny Smith and cider soup with cinnamon and calvados brandy, the steamed cod over a lentil salad, the Red Snapper mojito ceviche with mint, mango, avocado and a splash of Bacardi Rum (yum!!), the seared Barramundi filet with pineapple papaya salsa, a pork curry and a Tandoori fire-roasted tiger prawn dish with yogurt raita and saffron basmati rice.
Notice the cultural diversity in their cooking — from Japanese influenced sauces, Indian curries and a Latin Ceviche preparation of the Red Snapper to the very English Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding and Gravy and the very French Coq au Vin served in a burgundy wine and bacon crisps, pearl onions and croutons.
There was also a delicious Alaskan Style seafood soup with white fish, salmon, shrimp, mussels and crostini, a chicken liver tartlet with fried onions, a tropical fruit kabob appetizer with papaya, kiwi and winter melon (bring on the by-the-sea fresh and health options), a yummy Black Bean chowder with golden fried tortilla strips, a grilled calamari steak and poached baby squid and a chilled Spanish Gazpacho with cucumber, bell pepper red wine vinegar, olive oil, tabasco (whoahh) and lemon juice.
Heavier meat options included red wine and shiitake braised beef short ribs, a spinach, mushroom and Swiss cheese quiche, a roast rack of pork with glazed artichokes and the beef pot roast braised in Barolo wine with Tuscan vegetable batons and grilled cornmeal cakes. On Italian night, I had to try the Scaloppine di Vitello al Marsala with green beans, cherry tomatoes and creamy mashed potatoes.
Dessert was always a surprise but if you didn’t want one of the more traditional cakes or richer creation, you could always ask for a lighter option or simply have cheese and grapes or a plate of fruit. It’s no wonder that so many people put on 8-10 pounds after their cruise — in other words, even if you’re not a serious foodie, you’ll likely find that you can’t resist the culinary temptations, whether it be the sit down meal offerings at dinner or the numerous options in the Harbor Court, which is always there for your convenience.
Below the Santa Fe, Savoy, International, Pacific Moon and Vivaldi dining rooms.
In addition to the main dining rooms and Horizon Court for buffet dining noted above, there is also Sabatini’s, a fine Italian restaurant, the Sterling Steakhouse, Trident Grill for burgers and dogs, the Prego Pizzeria, a patisserie, ice cream bar and wine bar as well as 24-hour room service. Sweet!
For an added romantic touch, you can order a Champagne Breakfast, which includes a half bottle of chilled French champagne, basket of homemade pastries, cold smoked salmon with dill cream cheese and toasted lemon brioche, fresh fruit and forest berries and a Quiche, not to be confused with my champagne and chocolate covered strawberry treat above.
For the over the top romantic, you can line up a Lobster Balcony Dinner, which includes cocktails, canapes, a flower bouquet, an 8×10 photo, a half bottle of chilled Champagne, a Pacific Blue crab cake baked in a puff pastry crown, marinated chevre and mesclun field greens, a broiled lobster tail or a grilled filet of beef tenderloin with chateau potatoes, veggies and a mushroom demi-grace or a Surf & Turf, which includes both the lobster and the grilled filet of beef tenderloin. YUM!!! And, of course they include a chocolate quartet Mousseline for dessert.
Check out Princess Cruises links for more information on how to plan a cruise. They have a great website that allows you to search by destination, length, time of year and so on.
Be sure to check out other posts we wrote on the region, which include the excursions or solo trips we took of the stops on this cruise, Tokyo, Tokyo restaurants in our Japanese Food and Japan restaurants section and hotels in our Japan Hotels (& Lodging) section, which for this trip is focused on the hotels we stayed at before and after our tour in Tokyo. There is also more information, articles, fabulous photos and videos in our Japan (Travel to Japan), Tokyo (Travel to Tokyo) and South Korea (Travel to Korea) section.
Note: I was hosted by Princess but all opinions expressed here are entirely my own opinion.