The most noticeable changes involve the ships' main dining room menus. On tap are brand-new dishes, including more ethnic fare than before (Pan-Asian, Mediterranean, Latin American), such as Orient Sesame Coated Seared Tuna over Spiced Cucumber. Other extras include bite-sized desserts, specialty sandwiches and a greater number of healthy Lotus Spa options. Pan-seared, grilled and braised items will be prevalent. And for the carb-lover in all of us, there will be a wider choice in breads such as flatbread and focaccia, and whole grain.
The physical menus, too, will receive an upgrade: look for a new layout in bound leather (and modern white-on-white china).
Savor these additional details:
Better breakfast options. Slept in? No problem: Princess will now offer breakfast favorites at lunchtime in a "Late-Late Riser" category; offerings will change daily and are available in the main dining room only.
Enhanced buffet service. At all meals, tables will be preset with cutlery and napkins -- one less thing to carry back from the food stations. Also, servers will offer table service of not only bar drinks but also self-service items like juice and water.
Special touches. If you've sampled the fresh-from-the-oven cookies at Crown Princess' atrium cafe, you'll be just as stoked as we were to learn that the snack is going fleetwide; all ships will now offer an afternoon "cookies and milk break." You'll find the snacks in the atrium and also on deck, where servers will walk around with the gooey goodies and dispense milk from five-gallon containers worn via a backpack. Another great, fresh option: in-cabin delivery of Princess' tasty, thin-crust pizza -- made to order and available whenever your ship's pizzeria is open (hours vary by ship).
Redesigned cuisine in the alternative restaurants. Another concept that was road-tested on Crown and is now being rolled out fleetwide via this enhancement is that of revamped offerings in alternative restaurants. The line's signature Sabatini's Italian trattoria will offer the same head-spinning number of courses -- but each will be a little lighter, to keep the experience more of a tasting than a gorging. And all of Princess' steakhouses will adopt the steak-and-seafood theme introduced at Crown Princess' Crown Grill (the names of the existing steakhouses won't change).
The new initiatives will roll out to the rest of the fleet gradually over this and next year.
--by Melissa Baldwin, Senior Editor