Friday, April 22, 2016

This is not Your Grand-daddy's Cruise... Oh wait, It Is- Caribbean Princess 2016

Anniversary/ Spring Break Cruise 2016
Caribbean Princess
Escape Completely and Come Back New

In March 2016 Chris and I took a Western Caribbean Cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess sailing out of Houston, TX for our 10th Wedding Anniversary. This beautiful floating resort took us to the following destinations: 

Cozumel, Mexico
Mohagany Bay, Isla de Roatan- Honduras
Belize City, Belize

Chris and I have been on 6 other cruises prior to this one; 4 with Carnival and 2 with Royal Caribbean. This cruise was all about trying a new cruise line and "escaping COMPLETELY" from our busy and hectic teaching and parenting lives.  This will be a multiple entry blog about not only our 7 days at sea but a food blog (Revamped style) from each of our perspectives, a comparison of the 3 cruise lines, a pictorial review of The Caribbean Princess and a few more. Thank you SO MUCH to all my followers... without you the blog would not be as popular as it is today! Be sure to click on the links below to see our daily activities on board. Each blog installment has lots of tips, tricks and insiders advice! 

Our home away from home for the next 7 days!

Sea Day #2- Jumping for Joy

Once again, we owe all of these blessings to our Lord and Savior! He has truly blessed Chris and I, as well as our family! We currently have 2 more cruises booked and 3 more after that on the horizon for the next 2+ years, with and without kids, and we are very excited to set sail once again.

Carnival Legend- 10 Year Anniversary Alaska - June 2016 
Carnival Liberty- Christmas with the Kids- December 2016
 Carnival Dream- Bahamas 11th Anniversary Cruise  March 2017 
*Carnival Breeze-Summer with the kids- Summer 2017
*Carnival Fantasy- MY 35th Birthday Celebration-September 2017

(*These are not booked... YET)

 Thank you so much for following along and until we meet again... 

Keep Calm and CRUISE ON!  

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Seafood Feast for a Princess

A Seafood Feast for a Princess- Kellie
The Best Food at Sea- Kellie’s Food Blog 

Caribbean Princess 

March 13-20, 2016

Chris and I are not only cruise addicts but let’s be honest, we are FOOD ADDICTS TOO! And when it comes to cruising this is one of the things we look forward to the most. Since this was the first time sailing on Princess we were not sure what to expect but what we got was absolutely incredible and we both agree that Princess offers the very best food (overall) at sea. This will be a complete recap of what I ate and ordered each and every day throughout the cruise. Oddly enough, with all these extra calories and meals, I managed to only gain 4.5 pounds (Thank you Plexus) and this is the least amount of weight I have ever gained on a cruise! I will highlight tips and important info in red. I hope this helps… and leaves your mouth watering!

Sunday, March 13th- Embarkation Day
Lunch- Coral Dining Room

 Bread Basket (Shared with the table)- 2.0 
These rolls were ALWAYS hard and stiff
Just cutting them to put butter on them was a real chore.

Avocado and Bay Shrimp- 4.5
This was crisp and fresh and delightful.

Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Ravioli- 3.5
Nothing to write home about.

Broiled Salmon with Lemon and Dill Sauce- 3.5
The sauce on this overpowered the fish. This made me think about how Royal just butchered every dish by having an overpowering sauce or a sauce that just didn’t work. At this point I was worried.

Sherry Triffle- 2.0
This reminded me of a buffet dessert. It may be a LONG cruise of bland desserts.

International Cafe Snack 
Tiramisu- 4.5+
I prefer a traditional cake style tiramisu but this was fabulous! 

Horizon Court Buffet
Fried Scallops- 5.0
Outstanding and I could have had them ALL day!
Tortellini- 3.0
Red Velvet Cupcakes- 2.0

Prego Pizza

Pepperoni Pizza- 5.0+ 
Wow… brick oven style pizza on a cruise ship! Incredibly tasty.

Dinner- Island Dining Room
Night #1 MDR Menu 

Smoked Haddock and Potato Chowder- 4.0
This was a great New England style chowder and the fish was cooked perfectly.

Frozen Rum-Infused Pina Colada Soup- 3.0
This was weird and sort of lame without the alcohol. 
Tasted like frozen pineapple chunks with water.

Fettuccine Alfredo in Crisp Parmesan Basket- 2.5
Since I got the appetizer portion it came in a regular bowl. I now wish I would have gotten the full portion to get the Parmesan basket.

Basa with Pineapple-Papaya Salsa- 4.5
This fish was incredible and was (at the time) the best fish I ever had in a Main Dining Room on any cruise line.

Cognac Flamed Crawfish Etouffee- 3.5
Being a southerner this was not as impressive but still good to have on a cruise.

Dessert Menu Night #1 

Crème Brulee- 4.5
Not near as good as Royal Caribbean’s Banana Bailey Crème Brulee but it was still really good.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream- 2.0
This was all chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips and was too chocolate-y

Monday, March 14, 2016- Sea Day #1
Breakfast- International Café
Assorted Donuts- 2.5
These were not as good as at home but it was the whole idea of a real donuts on a cruise ship.

Breakfast- Coral Dining Room
Breakfast Menu Day #2 

 Customized Omelet- 4.0
This took nearly 30 minutes to cook and was not as good as I would have hoped. 
But once again no picante… Why does every cruise line have to have chopped tomatoes as “salsa”? Just pick up some Pace Picante while in Houston… Trust me, all of your southerners will appreciate it!

Assorted Danishes- 2.0
These were all hard and not flavorful. This was disappointing!

Assorted Juices- 2.0
All of these juices seemed watered down and I was not impressed with the quality.

Lunch- Café Caribe Mexican Themed Buffet
Overall Buffet- 4.5+ 
This food was really good and was “Tex-Mex” enough for both Chris and I. The fajitas and guacamole were just as good if not better than most restaurants here in Houston. We were highly impressed. Look for this the 1st sea day.

Tea Time- Coral Dining Room
The overall presentation of this afternoon treat was superb and highly impressive. This was by far the best Tea Time we have ever experienced on a cruise ship and this is where Princess won me over!

Scones- 5.0 
There were not even hard… hot and fresh out of the oven with homemade whipped cream and preserves.

Vanilla Cake- 4.5
A moist and flavorful cake is hard to find on a ship… This one was perfect.

Éclair- 4.5
The presentation alone on this was beyond what I would have expected. It was VERY rich!

Assorted Sandwiches- 4.5
These were sandwiches you would actually WANT to eat (BLT, Ham and Cheese, Egg Salad).

Dinner- Island Dining Room
Formal Night #1 (Night #2) Menu 

Crabmeat and Monterrey Jack Cheese Quiche- 5.0
Easily the best appetizer I have EVER had!

Chilled Sweet Corn and Potato Soup- 2.5
The taste was great but it was COLD! Just too weird!

Farfalle alla Rustica- 2.0
This ended up tasting like stew over pasta!

Pan-Seared Barramundi- 4.5
This was an incredible fish and the sides were complimentary but Babins (Local Cajun Restaurant) is still better.

Shrimp “Daniele”- 4.0
These shrimp were large but bland.

Dessert Menu Night #2 
Banana Fosters- 3.5
Great flavor and texture but the almonds were not complimentary of the dish

Ship Coffee- 2.0
Bitter and BOLD!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016- Cozumel
Breakfast- Horizon Court Buffet 
Overall Buffet- 4.0+
Overall this breakfast buffet was the best we have experienced and we enjoyed all of the food items. The made-to-order omelet station allowed you to order and have it brought to you by a waiter which was a nice touch.

Lunch- Trident Grill and Prego Pizza

Cheeseburger- 1.0
This was a HUGE letdown and just awful. I literally watched the guy put the frozen burger on the grill and grill it. It was tasteless and just not worth it.

Mexican Pizza- 4.5+
This pizza was SPICY but some of the most tasty pizza I have EVER had!

Afternoon Snack- International Café

Mushroom Quiche- 3.0

Strawberry Shortcake- 5.0
Easily the best I have ever had.

Afternoon Tea Time- Coral Dining Room 5+

Again, this is the best tea time I have EVER had on a cruise ship!
Absolutely SUPERB and a MUST-DO while on a
Princess ship. 

Dinner- Island Dining Room
Night #3 Menu 

Chicharrone De Pollo- 1.5
 Weird Chicken Nuggets… No thank you!

Chilled Granny Smith and Cider Soup- 4.0
This basically tasted like cold, runny applesauce.

Classic Caesar Salad- 2.0
This salad was very dry but the croutons were softer than the bread.

Pan-Seared Striped Corvina- 4.5
This corvina was even better than Chop’s Grill on Royal Caribbean and was the best corvina I have had. Perfectly cooked and paired. If you are a seafood lover… try this dish!

Grilled Seafood Skewer with Mango & Lime Salsa- 4.5
This selection of various seafood was astonishing. The red snapper alone was amazing. Again, seafood lovers take note.

Dessert Menu Night #3 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016- Roatan, Honduras
Early Morning Coffee Stop- International Cafe 
International Cafe Coffee Shop Menu 

This is all included if you purchase the $29 coffee card! 

Iced White Mocha- 4.0 

Outstanding for a cruise ship! 

Breakfast- Coral Dining Room
Day #4 MDR Breakfast Menu 

Ham and Cheese Omelet- 2.5
Where was the cheese?

Lunch- Horizon Court Buffet
Overall Lunch Buffet- 4.0
The sandwich selections were great as was the quiche. We still think it is the best buffet at sea.

Dinner- Coral Dining Room ITALIAN NIGHT 
Italian Night (Night #4) Menu 
 We had to be moved to the non-Anytime dining room because of space. The service was just as good in this dining room.

Seafood Antipasto- 4.5
Once again they did not disappoint in the seafood category.

Iced Peach Bellini Soup- 3.5
This was a little weird to drink your soup and was watered down.

Spaghetti con Polpette (Spaghetti & Meatballs)- 4.5
This dish had REAL authentic Italian flavor.

Filetto di Salmone alla Griglia (Itallian Salmon) – 4.0

This fish was cooked perfectly but was very bland.

Capesante e Gamberi Gratinati (Italian Scallops)- 4.0
These tasted perfect but were on a bed of mashed potatoes and that seemed to overpower the dish. It would have been better with more scallops and less potatoes.

The scallops were HUGE! 

Traditional Tiramisu- 4.5+ 
This was perfect and the best tiramisu I have had on a cruise ship.

Thursday, March 17, 2016- Belize
Breakfast- Horizon Court Buffet
Overall Buffet- 4.5

Lunch- International Café
Greek Salad- 4.5
Beware... the olives are NOT pitted!

Avocado Sandwich- 4.0
Quiche- 4.0

Dinner- Island Dining Room
Night #5 MDR Menu 

Coconut Red Snapper Ceviche-4.5

They do this dish and style VERY well! 

Twice Baked Goat Cheese Soufflé- 4.5
Not as good as Chop's Grill on Royal but still really good!

Strawberry Sorbet- 4.0
I like this intermezzo theme and this treat in the middle of the meal. 

Sautéed Orange Roughy-5.0+ 
This was the best overall dish of the cruise and best I have had while on a cruise.

Seared Diver Scallops- 4.5
Much better than the previous night. 

Dessert Menu Night #5 

Dessert Wine- 4.5
This was fantastic and well priced too! 

Friday, March 18, 2016
Breakfast- Coral Dining Room
Day #6 MDR Breakfast Menu 

Mexican Omelet- 4.5
This one had plenty of cheese and was the best of the cruise.

Northwestern Breakfast Treat- 2.0
This was a weird runny oatmeal type of dish that was not good at all.

Assorted Muffins- 4.5
These were not at all dry and very tasty. Where have these been?

Lunch- Coral Dining Room
Day #6 MDR Lunch Menu

New Orleans Chicken Gumbo- 2.5
This was not very Cajun-y and was cream based and not tomato based which was weird to me.

Lobster Kromeskies (crepes)- 4.5+

 These were surprisingly fried but were AMAZING. Imagine a lobster roll fried! It cannot be missed.

Prego Pizza and Trident Grill Day #6 Menus 

Dinner- Island Dining Room
Formal Night #2 (Night #6) MDR Menu 

Bacon Flavored Roll- 4.5
Finally a roll that has flavor and is not a brick!

Tian of Crab, Scallop and Shrimp- 3.5
This included caviar and I just may not be a caviar type of person. The seafood was excellent!

Escargots Bourguignon- 2.5
This was VERY underwhelming and disappointing.

Roasted Tomato Cream Soup- 2.5
Panera and Corner Bakery are much better.

Pan-Seared Filet of Ocean Queen Snapper- 2.5
I just do not like this fish. This was the one and only seafood dish that I did not like.

Broiled Lobster Tail & King Prawns- 4.5

This was the best lobster I have had to date on a cruise ship. The shrimp were bigger than the lobster itself.

Filet of Beef Wellington- 4.5

This was a great beef dish and I wish I would have ordered one just for me.

Formal Night #2 (Night #6) Dessert Menu 

Anniversary Cake- 3.5
 LOTS and Lots of chocolate.
This was completely free and presented as a coupon to give to the head waiter any night we chose. If you are celebrating an anniversary or birthday be sure to let your personal vacation planner know ahead of time. 

Late Night Texas Buffet- Horizon Court 
Overall Buffet- 3.5
This is not what I would call ‘Texas’ food but it was very good.

Saturday, March 19, 2016
Breakfast- Horizon Court Buffet
Breakfast Buffet- 4.5
Again, this was the best buffet we have encountered on ANY ship.

Lunch- Prego Pizzeria
Cheese and Pepperoni Pizza- 5.0
Once again this pizza was absolutely Incredible and delicious.

Dinner- Island Dining Room
Night #7 MDR Menus 

Trio of Seafood- 4.5
This was crisp and fresh and the avocado was a nice added touch.

American Shrimp Cocktail- 4.0
This was typical but very good.

Island Seafood Chowder- 5.0
Easily the best soup and especially chowder I have ever had!

Mariner-Style Black Muscles- 4.5

 LOTS and LOTS of muscles… with French fries? This was an interesting side dish.

All-American Meatloaf- 2.5
I had not ordered a non-seafood dish all cruise but this was a letdown.

Night #7 Dessert Menu 

Baked Alaska- 2.0
I could not even finish it... texture was WAY OFF! 

After Dinner Bailey's  $3 and you get to keep the glass!

MDR Kids Menu 

Kids Menu Banana Split- 3.5

Scoops Ice Cream Shop- 5.0
Easily the best ice cream at sea! I wish it was open later but it was FANTASTIC!

Chris and I both agree that Princess easily has the BEST food at sea and they do all of their food well. From the buffet to the International Cafe to the Main Dining Rooms all of their food was a homeroom. What made it even better was the service as also the best we have ever had while on a cruise ship. They served every dish with class and even down to the presentation of the dish it was superb. 

I did highlight my favorites and items not to be missed: 

Appetizer- Crabmeat and Monterrey Jack Cheese Quiche- 5.0 
Soup- Island Seafood Chowder- 5.0 
Main Dish- Sautéed Orange Roughy-5.0+ 
Dessert- Traditional Tiramisu- 4.5+

Chris and I are real "FOODIES" and we love to eat... especially on a cruise ship! I hope this installment has helped you know what is served on Princess and their menus. Hats off to Princess Cruise Lines... We are IMPRESSED! 

Thanks for following along... I hope this does not leave you too hungry! 

My mouth is watering... 

Until Next Time- Keep Calm and Cruise ON! 

God is good... All the time!