Cost to participate is $75 per person and includes food and wine. The Chef's Table is limited to 10 passengers, and reservations can be made online.
At Chef's Table, passengers can chat with the chef while he cooks the night's meal as they snack on hors d'oeuvres and cocktails in the galley. Participants then dine on a special multi-course menu, served only at Chef's Table, and sample wine in a designated area of the ship's main dining room. Dessert is served with a side of conversation as the chef rejoins the group to answer questions and share cooking secrets.
The executive chef on each ship selects from several pre-designed Chef's Table menus and may make changes based on seasonal ingredients and the location of the ship. Vegetarian and lactose intolerant cruisers needn't feel left out -- other menu alterations are made in accordance with passengers' dietary needs. The maitre'd contacts participants before their meals to inquire about food likes and dislikes and dietary restrictions; the Chef's Table Dinner menu is then changed accordingly.
As we said -- Chef's Table is available to only 10 cruisers each night on ships that carry more than 3,000 passengers. Parties of less than 10 passengers must be willing to share their appreciation of fine dining with like-minded strangers.
Because of the large proportion of interested cruisers in comparison to the limited availability of Chef's Table, which a Princess spokeswoman tells us has sold out on every cruise, we recommend that passengers book their spot as early as possible. If the program is sold out, you can opt for an off-hour galley tour or welcome your inability to get reservations as incentive to stick to your new year's resolution diet.
Passengers who purchase a seat at Chef's Table receive a complimentary autographed copy of the Princess Cruises Cookbook, Courses, A Culinary Journey, and a photograph with the chef.
Cruisers can book reservations onboard, by calling Princess Cruises at 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the Princess Cruises Web site. --by Caroline Costello, Editorial Assistant