|In a rather retro move, Princess Cruises' Sapphire and Diamond -- new siblings whose dining room setup had been considered rather innovative -- have, to some extent, standardized offerings to fit in with the rest of the fleet.|
It had been recognized that Princess' attempts to shake up the dining -- by offering four themed restaurants with menus pegged to various specialties -- was a bit ambitious.
As a result of the scaling back, changes to the Japanese-built ships, which had been designed with one traditional set-seating dining room, The International, and four "restaurants," include:
The ships' four "anytime dining" themed restaurants -- Vivaldi, Pacific Moon, Santa Fe and Sterling -- now offer a standard ship-wide menu identical to that of The International; Princess has eliminated the small specialty menus (Italian, Asian, Tex Mex and steakhouse) that accompanied the International menu in these venues. As such, the restaurants' themes now only refer to ambience, not cuisine. Some of the food items from the themed menus have been incorporated into the ship-wide offerings.
Higher-than-anticipated demand for set-tablemate, set-time seating at 5:45 p.m. has swamped The International, and so Princess is now opening Vivaldi to traditional-style dining only, for just the first seating. After 7:45 p.m., it reverts to open style.
Incidentally, traditional dining times have changed to 5:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. for first and second seatings respectively.
Both ships now have a Sterling's Steakhouse. Unlike the "chain" of Sterling's, which was incorporated into the design of Princess' Grand-class vessels, the version on Diamond and Sapphire Princess occupies a section of the otherwise-unused-at-night Horizon Court (the buffet venue); open only in the evenings, the area is dressed up with linen tablecloths and such. Fee is $15 per person.
The creation of a Sterling's Steakhouse means that the ships' original Sterling's facilities -- part of the Anytime Dining concept -- have been renamed Savoy.