In this incarnation, the sister ships will offer five main dining rooms. Of these, just one will provide the traditional set-seating-set-tablemate experience. The other four – and this is the innovative move – will feature specific cuisine styles, such as Italian (Vivaldi), steakhouse (Sterling), southwestern (Santa Fe) and Asian (Pacific Moon).
Each of the specialty restaurants – no extra service fee imposed – will offer specialty dishes. These include, for instance, Farfalle alla Scoglio, Ossobuco or Cannoli in Vivaldi. Highlights of Sterling Steakhouse will feature Prime Rib, New York Steak and apple pie. The Pacific Moon's Asian dishes will include dim sum, sushi, and five-spice mandarin duckling. And in the southwestern-themed Santa Fe, options include fried catfish with roasted corn relish, fajitas and kahlua rice pudding.
Folks who opt for the traditional dining room won't be left out in the cold; chefs will rotate some of the specialty items onto the regular menu. And vice versa: Personal Choice diners who are loathe to miss the traditional prime rib or lobster culinary celebrations will find them added, as appropriate, to specialty restaurant menus.
Both Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess will also feature Sabatini's, the cruise line's popular alternative restaurant. There's a $20 service fee to dine there. Other restaurant options include Horizon Court, the 24-hour buffet restaurant.
Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess are currently being built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) in Japan. The two 113,000-ton, 2,670-passenger vessels will debut in March and June 2004, respectively. Diamond Princess' inaugural cruises will focus on the Mexican Riviera before repositioning to Seattle for the summer Alaska season. Sapphire Princess will begin its inaugural summer season in Seattle offering seven-day round-trip Inside Passage cruises.