Page 22 - Enjoy the South 2016
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HOSPITALITY
FIT FOR ROYALTY
Exacting standards by name and exacting standards by nature! That is what one expects from this American-owned cruise line and it is what one gets. From arrivals at the Ocean Cruise Terminal in Southampton the welcome is efficient, right through to the check in and embarkation, everything smooth and clipped.
The Royal Princess, named by The Duchess of Cambridge in June 2013, is a 141,000-ton ship with a capacity, at
sea, of 3,560 passengers plus over 1,300 crew. A floating community sharing 19 decks – in a construction that is indeed higher than the Eiffel Tower!
Our interest in the Royal Princess on this occasion was the 50th anniversary of Princess itself (owned by Carnival Corporation) and the ensuing celebratory culinary exhibition choreographed by the charismatic and highly talented executive Chef David McDonald. And let’s face it, serving over 20,000 meals every day on a rolling
and pitching platform out of numerous galleys, while operating a bakery 24/7, and without a day off in nine months of ‘all hands on deck’, one would expect him to be pretty handy!
We are treated to an exclusive behind the scenes tour of his gastronomic empire, meet a few of his 230 chefs, and visit two of his 18 galleys. Three of the main restaurants are the same size and serve identical menus, yet offer differing booking regimes and themes; Concerto (tables booked to suit passengers’ requirements), Allegro and Symphony (both set dining times in two sittings a night 18.15 and 20.15 respectively).
After the tour we are introduced to the 12-cover private dining chef’s table ‘Lumiere’, which makes for great value at around $120 per head for a seven-course taster menu, all your wines, a cook book and one-to-one with David.
A memorable evening in Lumiere would be the perfect excuse to break up the dining propositions on a longer cruise.
So it’s muster stations in Sabatini’s restaurant for the golden anniversary luncheon.
The restaurant is a delight, bright, elegant, and it delivers like a Michelin operation... We start with a chilled seafood assiette sampler of lobster medallions, sour cream
and caviar, salmon gravlax, Ahi tuna and dressed baby shrimps and it is as beautiful on the eye as it is on the palate.
Diners had the option of strawberry gazpacho, which was a clever and highly compatible combination of the summer fruit with savoury umami undertones.
The main of rack of lamb in a French mustard herb crust was exceptional – cooked to perfection and an illustration of the capability of the kitchen in terms of quality confronted with quantity – of guests that is...
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