As this was my first luxury cruise, I couldn’t help but be amazed by all the dining options onboard the Discovery Princess. With a delightful array of restaurants that cater to every culinary preference, it was impossible to eat at every one of them…although I tried. The opportunities are endless, from included casual eateries to fine dining with cover charges. Here’s what I discovered.
Read More: Which Cruise Line is Right for You?
Discovery Princess Restaurants Overview
Indulge in the main dining rooms and enjoy multi-course meals paired with delectable wines in sophisticated settings. Or you can grab and go at casual eateries outside or inside decks. Families with kids, couples, and solo travelers appreciate the choices on the Discovery Princess.
While on the six-day Pacific Coast Wine & Food Experience from Vancouver, Canada, to Los Angeles, California, I tried many restaurants on board. Even though there are more than 17 ways to dine on the Discovery Princess, I came away with some favorites and will share my thoughts with you here.
About Princess Cruises
Princess Cruise Lines, famous for The Love Boat, boasts 15 ships in their fleet (soon to be 17). The Discovery Princess is the newest ship, launched in 2021, and this Royal-class cruise ship offers luxurious amenities and cutting-edge technology for its 3,660 guests.
Princess is known for their strong culinary culture. Chef Rudi Sodamin became the first head of culinary arts for Princess Cruises in 2022. Chef Rudi is a lively character, has authored 14 cookbooks, and is the most decorated Chef at Sea.
Our group was fortunate to tour Chef Rudi’s kitchen below decks and learn the intricacies of production for serving guests.
To maintain consistently plated meals, laminated photos, and instructions are attached to each station.
Giant stainless-steel vats of soup, countless trays of rolls, and specialty dishes that are works of art are created in the galley kitchen daily. Bakers make an unbelievable 6,000 bread rolls per day.
She Buys Travel Tip: Take advantage of the flexible dining options. The Discovery Princess offers traditional fixed dining times and the option to dine at your leisure. This flexibility allows you to tailor your dining experience to your schedule and preferences.
1. Chef’s Table Lumière
If you’re a food enthusiast or just starting to explore the culinary universe, the Chef’s Table Lumiere offers a remarkable experience to commemorate a special event. Savor champagne and appetizers before diving into a sumptuous multi-course meal, meticulously prepared and presented by the ship’s executive chef.
She Buys Travel Tip: Plan to maximize the dining options onboard. Many specialty restaurants require reservations, so booking your spots early is a good idea.
2. Crown Grill
The warm, wooden ambiance and the spectacle of a theater-style kitchen at Crown Grill, a steakhouse renowned for its premium aged beef, filet mignon, and fresh seafood, provide a cozy dining experience in a sophisticated, traditional setting. Both times I dined at the Crown Grill, I sat at a table away from the kitchen, so I didn’t watch the chefs prepare and cook the high-quality cuts of beef, chops, and seafood they are famous for. However, the service was prompt, and the food was delicious.
Caymus Winemaker Dinner in Crown Grill
The Caymus Winemaker Dinner, launching fleetwide, features a unique menu paired with wines personally selected by Chuck Wagner, the owner of Caymus Vineyards. The Wagner family produces diverse wines from Napa Valley and other parts of California.
Our elegant six-course meal started with tender, bite-sized pieces of slow-braised beef short ribs with broccoli tartare and grated horseradish for the amuse bouche, followed by beef carpaccio topped with a balsamic glaze.
The first course was a black truffle risotto paired with a red blended wine from Suisun Valley, California. I had seared King Salmon and a Giant Prawn still in its shell and paired it with a California Pinot Noir for the main course.
A small charcuterie and cheese selection led us into the dessert: an astonishing Chocolate Raspberry Dream. Paired with sparkling wine, you can imagine how scrumptious the combination of chocolate mousse, chocolate raspberry cream, raspberry compote, and more tasted.
She Buys Travel Tip: Don’t forget to explore the various themed nights and special dining events held throughout the cruise. These offer a unique opportunity to sample different cuisines and dishes.
3. Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria
Sabatini’s offers an exceptional menu featuring fresh, handmade pasta courses and cherished family recipes. On the Discovery Princess, you can experience The Pasta Room at Sabatini’s, where you’ll witness the art of handcrafted pasta-making and enjoy delicious, freshly-made artisanal pasta daily.
4. Bistro Sur la Mer
When I sailed on the Discovery Princess in October, I enjoyed the contemporary interpretation of relaxed French bistro dining at Bistro Sur La Mer. Renowned, award-winning, and Michelin star Chef Emmanuel Renaut infused his style into the restaurant’s genuine French cuisine.
I selected the traditional French Onion Soup with a mouthwatering flaky crust concealing the hot soup for my appetizer. The entree was scallops, dainty peas, carrots, and cauliflower, finished with a creamy white sauce poured over the center of the signature white plate with a blue rim.
The dessert was a small cake covered with honey frosting designed as a beehive. The delectable surprise inside was a gooey lavender jelly that oozed from the middle.
During our sailing, Princess announced that the name of this specialty restaurant was changing to The Catch by Rudi and would feature a seafood bonanza where you can sample everything from a catch of the day to a raw seafood bar.
5. The Salty Dog Gastropub
The Salty Dog Gastropub is a cozy and welcoming restaurant where popular pub food includes a rib-eye burger, beers, cocktails, whiskeys, and live music.
Led through the Salty Dog Gastropub on our way to the secret location where the 360 Experience was presented, the plated food and ambiance were inviting.
6. Stateroom Balcony Dining
Having breakfast delivered to my stateroom every morning was a real treat. Cozied up in the robe provided by Princess, I dined on my private balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean and enjoyed coffee and other healthy menu items.
Dining Rooms on the Discovery Princess
Alaska-themed dining rooms are located on Deck 5 Midship and Deck 6 Aft.
Our group used the Ketchikan Dining Room on Deck 6 for our meetings and presentations. Dinner is served here from 5 to 9 pm. The Chef’s Table Lumiére is at the rear of this dining room.
On Deck 6 Midship, the Skagway Dining Room serves lunch from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and dinner from 5 to 9 pm.
The Juneau Dining Room on Deck 5 Midship houses an immense wine cellar. It’s on the same deck as the Piazza, Guest Services, The Enclave, and Lotus Spa & Salon.
Discovery Princess Cruise Ship Highlight
7. 360: An Extraordinary Experience
Mediterranean destinations inspire this seven-course dining experience where exceptional wine is paired with every spectacular course. The sounds and scents come alive with immersive technology projected in the round.
At the meeting place for check-in, a photographer captured an individual portrait of each guest for use in the experience (we didn’t know that at the time). We received a turquoise cocktail in a stemmed glass with “360” emblazoned on the top while we sipped and waited for everyone to gather.
Led to a secret location by Johannes, the Master of Ceremony, we took our assigned seats in a round dining room. Two violinists played in the center of the room, which set the stage for our Mediterranean event.
The guest list is limited to 20 because the projections at each seat are precisely placed on the table. Every seat in the house is terrific.
Meals Around the World
We were carried away to the Santorini hilltops with dishes like pita rounds and tzatziki sauce, Kalamata and Chalkidiki olives, tender grilled octopus, and fresh Greek cheese.
Fresh pasta with a bright, citrusy lemon sauce and the famed Italian mozzarella di bufala brought us to Italy on the Amalfi Coast.
Tapas and cured meats carried us to Catalan, and a grilled fillet of beef dressed with a demi-glaze, partnered with truffle buttered grilled shrimp, completed our visit to Spain.
Lavender fields and bees conveyed us to Provence, France. Honey in the shape of bees adorned the plates while honeycombs teeming with bee colonies projected on our hands.
Exclusively on Discovery and Enchanted Princess, the flair of this presentation is unrivaled. Following our experience in October, Princess now offers this spectacle as a complimentary dining experience to suite guests and all other guests for a cover charge.
To say this was a memorable event is an understatement. The 360 Dining Experience is unmatched for reaching the senses. Sights, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes create an extraordinary event. If you don’t do anything else on the ship, do this!
Inclusive Dining Options at Discovery Princess Restaurants
8. Dine My Way
Personalize your dining experiences on Princess Cruises using the Medallion app on your phone. Your cruise must be paid in full to use this service. It’s good for the main dining rooms (including meals) or specialty restaurants with a cover charge.
9. Gigi’s Pizzeria
At Gigi’s, you can relish freshly prepared, personal-sized pizzas served straight from the oven. The open kitchen layout allows you to observe the culinary artists as they handcraft each pizza. You can also select beer or wine by the glass for your pizza.
It was mesmerizing watching a chef slice fresh mushrooms at his station facing the main hallway on the Piazza. I couldn’t help but stop and examine the precision, skill, and speed with which he demonstrated his craft. I can’t wait to try this at home.
10. The World Fresh Marketplace
A family-style restaurant on Deck 16 Aft, World Fresh Marketplace offers countless stations of cuisines from around the world. Daily menu specials were presented on a paper menu in my stateroom.
In Vancouver, BC, Canada, the Bavarian Dinner included traditional German cold cuts and sausages with spätzle and cabbage.
Brazilian Dinner Churrasco was served during our port time in Victoria, BC, Canada.
The cruising Sea Day special was a British Dinner with fish and chips, Scotch eggs, Yorkshire Puddings, and roast beef with all the trimmings.
An All-American dinner of burgers, spareribs, Buffalo wings, and fried chicken claimed the first day of our San Francisco port of call. On the second day, they featured Mongolian Stir Fry Noodles upon guest request.
I often selected the soup and delicious dinner rolls when I ate in the World Fresh Marketplace. I kept remembering my tour of the kitchen, seeing the giant vats of soup and row upon row of freshly baked rolls.
11. International Cafe
If you want a midnight snack, the International Café in the Piazza is open 24 hours a day. Get small-bite meals, a freshly baked croissant, pie, or quiche, and gourmet coffee and tea throughout the day.
Everyone’s favorite – pizza – is available from 11 am to 10 pm.
13. The Salty Dog Grill
Enjoy Neapolitan-style pizza or a gourmet burger outside on Deck 16 Midship while swimming in the pool or relaxing in the hot tub at The Salty Dog Grill or Slice Pizzeria.
14. Ocean Terrace Sushi Bar
The Ocean Terrace Sushi Bar overlooks the Piazza and serves sashimi, sushi, and other ocean delicacies. Order wine by the glass, cocktails, or chilled sake. All offerings are a la carte pricing.
15. Afternoon Tea
Take afternoon tea in the dining room, which has an extensive collection of teas to pick from. You’ll be served delicate finger sandwiches, cookies, and cakes.
The onboard gelateria, Gelato, makes gelato daily. Choose from classic flavors, then add your favorite toppings…or not.
If you’re looking for ice cream, Swirls is located on Deck 16, Midship. It was too cold and raining when I was outside, but some hardy souls were ordering ice cream.
While I wined and dined on the best cuisines aboard the Discovery Princess, my favorite food on the cruise were the rolls. Go figure! No matter the dining venue, all the rolls were crisp outside and moist and tender on the inside. I was amazed at such consistency.