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Cruise Ship Dining Review
Richard H. Wagner
Above: The pub lunch is held in the Crown Grill Restaurant.
Above: For a proper pub-like atmosphere.
Below: The classic fish and chips.
Above: Chicken curry.
Below: Bangers and mash.
On sea days, Caribbean Princess offers an “English-style Pub Lunch.” It is a very popular offering, which is an interesting alternative to the lunches offered in the main dining room and in the buffet restaurant.
The pub lunch is held in the Crown Grill specialty restaurant on Caribbean Princess. When I first encountered a pub lunch on a Princess ship, it was held in the Wheelhouse Bar - - a trademark Princess venue that has a British-inspired nautical décor. However, the demand for the pub lunch is so great on Caribbean Princess that a larger venue is needed. The Crown Grill is a good alternative venue. While holding the pub lunch in that restaurant means that the pub lunch is not in a bar, the wood-paneled ambiance of the Crown Grill does give it a British-flavor.
Even though the pub lunch is not held in a bar, guests can have a drink with lunch. After handing you a menu card, the waiter asks whether you would like a drink to accompany lunch. Beer, of course, is featured. But you can order mixed drinks, wine or soft drinks as well. There is a charge for such drinks. You can also have tap water and I observed that a substantial number of guests do.
The menu for the pub lunch is not always the same. Only the classic fish and chips was on the pub lunch menu each time during my most recent cruise on Caribbean Princess. Some of the other pub grub dishes that appeared on the menu one time or another included steak and kidney pie, Scotch egg, breaded prawns and chips and a ploughman's lunch.
I was most impressed by the bangers and mash. This traditional English working class dish that combines sausages with mashed potatoes. (The sausages are called bangers because those made with too much water sometimes explode while cooking). Here, the sausages had just enough spice to be tasty but not overpowering. The potatoes were fluffy and provided a good counterpoint to the bite of the sausages.
Another standout was the chicken curry. Curries have become the most popular fast food in Britain and thus it is appropriate to include this traditional Indian dish as an offering on a British pub lunch menu. While Princess' curry was nowhere near as spicy as curry is in India, it escaped the blandness of the curries that you often encounter on a cruise ships. Rather, it had a subtle personality that was assertive but not loud.
Shipboard pub lunches do not usually include dessert. However, the menu on Caribbean Princess always presented a traditional British dessert offering. One time it was bread and butter pudding; another it was sherry triffle.
The service during the pub lunches was always friendly. However, as might be expected, there were some delays during peak hours as the staff tried to cope with the sudden avalanche of guests.
In sum, the pub lunch on Caribbean Princess is a good change of pace that allows you to sample a different cuisine in the attractive setting of the Crown Grill restaurant.
Cruise ship dining review - - Princess Cruises - - Caribbean Princess - - Pub Lunch