April 12, 2023
(2:23 p.m. EST) -- Princess Cruises is continuing to enhance the dining options on its ships, expanding its themed Alaskan culinary offerings; creating a special wine dinner developed with the well-known California producer Caymus and adding a new seafood restaurant by cruise industry favorite Chef Rudi Sodamin to select ships.
The move comes as Princess has a new class of ship debuting next year, with Sun Princess, and follows the new immersive "360: An Outstanding Experience" that the line introduced on two ships last year.
Here's a look at what's new:
Princess has seven ships in Alaska this season, which kicks off on April 29.
The Wild for Alaska Seafood menu, launched in 2022, makes it possible for guests to order Alaska seafood dishes every night in the main dining room. Fish served include multiple varieties of Alaska salmon -- King (Chinook), Sockeye and Coho -- wild Alaska cod caught by hook and line, halibut, rockfish, Dungeness crabs, wild spot prawns and razor clams.
New for this year include new Alaska seafood bowls in the World Fresh Marketplace daily. Look for steelhead salmon carpaccio, King salmon with razor clams and Alaskan crab cake. Guests who take a cruisetour up to Fairbanks to the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge will be able to order a new garden-to-table menu.
Wild for Alaska doesn't stop at the plate. New Alaskan beverages include spiked coffee- and hot-chocolate offerings; Alaska beer tastings; cocktail flights made from Alaska-distilled spirits and new themed frozen drinks such as the Ketchikan Strawberry Shortcake and the Alaskan Polar Bear. On some days, a Bloody Mary bar will be set up near the main pool.
And for those who wonder what wine goes with the state's official fish, the new Alaska Wine Experience pairs different varietals with Alaska salmon.
Sodamin keeps expanding his culinary empire within the Carnival Corporation brands. Formerly the Master Chef at Holland America Line, where he developed Sel de Mar, Sodamin also has the specialty seafood restaurants Rudi's Seafood Grill on two Carnival ships, Carnival Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration.
All of those ships feature the special "Food Faces" plates with designs that mimic Sodamin's culinary pop art creations.
Last year, Princess Cruises elevated Sodamin to become the line's first Head of Culinary Arts. So it makes sense that the Austrian chef would soon have a restaurant of its own on the line.
Enter The Catch by Rudi. The restaurant will debut on Enchanted Princess when that ship emerges from drydock on April 15, replacing Bistro Sur la Mer. It will eventually come to Majestic Princess, Sky Princess and Discovery Princess as well.
The line is calling The Catch by Rudi the first Princess restaurant primarily devoted to seafood, but surf and turf and vegetarian dishes will also be on the menu. The specialty restaurant will cost $39 per person and be available for those passengers who choose the Princess Premier premium add-on package.
Among the menu items that you could expect to see: Asian-fried calamari; lobsters with garlic butter crust; Dover sole; a Towering Trio and a Seafood Trolley that the line describes as a "feast for the eyes with fresh lobster tail, shrimp, oysters and mussels piled high."
Enchanted Princess is serving as a test case for another new concept, O'Malley's, an Irish pub featuring traditional Irish music, interactive entertainment and upscale pub food, including a new O'Malley's ribeye burger.
O'Malley's will replace the Salty Dog Gastropub on Deck 5 of the ship, but the menu seems similar. Expect Scotch eggs, fried pickles and pan-fried Guinness chicken, along with Irish beers, ales and whiskeys. A new Irish Whiskey tasting experience will also be available here, along with Guinness cocktail classes.
Salty Dog fans need not fret. The Salty Dog Café, modeled on the original restaurant on Hilton Head, will open on the ship's Lido Deck. The food here is definitely seaside bar-inspired, with items like a Prime Burger and Chicken Strip Basket. The café will have a tie-in with the land eatery, with merchandise featuring Jake, the dog with the yellow hat.
From chicken strips to Cabernet: In a move that's sure to please fine wine lovers, Princess has put together an exclusive Caymus Vineyards Winemaker Dinner. The $140 per person dinner will debut on all Princess ships sailing North America itineraries by the end of April and on all ships worldwide by the end of May.
The five-course meal, paired with accompanying Caymus wines from Napa Valley, will take place in the Crown Grill steakhouse restaurant. Each seating will accept 12 guests, with the experience offered two to three times per cruise. Passengers can reserve a spot once they board.
Caymus is becoming a fleet partner, and will be working with Princess to refresh wine menus at the Crown Grill; pairing recommendations will appear on the steakhouse menu. Later in 2023, guests will be able to visit Caymus Vineyards in Napa, as well as the Cayums-Suisun Winery in Suisun Valley, on Pacific Coast cruises that stop in California.