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INSIDER DINING GUIDE TO
With commentary from Executive Chef Guido Jendryztko and Maitre D'Hotel Lugi Pascale
Richard H. Wagner
The overall approach to dining on Ocean Princess is the same approach as throughout the Princess fleet. “We are cooking the same menus, the same recipes. We are cooking the same food. We use the same products,” explained Executive Chef Guido Jendryztko.
“The standard at Princess Cruises is always first class service,” added Maitre D'Hotel Lugi Pascale. “ Any [Princess] ship you go on, the standard of service is the same. We have tried for many years to standardize all our products - - food and service - - as much as we can.”
Of course, there will always be some difference because different people are cooking the food. “A cook is a creative job,” the Chef noted. “I can tell the painter what color he has to use in painting the picture but the rest is up to him. With the cook it is the same. You can have ten cooks cooking the same dish and you have ten different dishes. Every single dish, a cook puts something of himself inside.”
Accordingly, the cooks are trained and supervised so that “the test is the taste of our customer - - what he likes, not what you like. We want to please our customers.”
The Main Dining Room
The Club Restaurant is Ocean Princess' main dining room. It is a relatively large room at the stern of the ship on Deck Five. However, it is elegantly decorated with a sophisticated country club décor.
It is open for breakfast, lunch (sea days only) and afternoon tea on an open seating basis. Guests can share a large table with other guests or opt to sit by themselves. For dinner, it follows the traditional two seating system with each guest having an assigned table at either the first or second seating.
According to the Maitre d', the key to the Club Restaurant's success is the “personal touch. This size of ship is more personal. It is more like home. The passengers get to know each other. When they come into the dining room, they already know what to expect - - - great food, great service with a friendly smile on the face. It makes a difference.”
The Chef elaborated pointing out that because the guests are served by the same waiters each night, the waiters come to know the guests. “You know them, you know their needs, what they like. You know that person. You know that he likes Coca-cola or she prefers white wine over red wine. You take all of this information in talking with the passengers. When the gentleman or the lady likes to have a glass of wine already [at the table], it is already there without him or her asking for it. It is something that the dining room offers to make them welcome. I think that this is the difference with other cruise lines – they do not give so much attention to small details which to the passenger are very important.”
The menus in the Club Restaurant cover a wide-range of cuisines. “If you look at the history of Princess Cruises, most of the high chefs were Italian or Italian-influenced. [But] with the menu selection we have, we try to please every nationality. So it is not that we do just Italian dishes. We have Asian dishes, we have German dishes. There is always a dish that you really like. We cover all of the international cuisines.”
Above: Tables in the Club Restaurant .
In addition, to offerings that change each night, the menus have a set of offerings that are “always available.” These are popular international favorites. “We have the Always Available and we have a vegetarian dish [each night]. People are sometimes afraid to ask for [such dishes]. The way we have designed the menu, they are already there.”
Similarly, the restaurant strives to accommodate special needs and diets. “We really take care about the individual person. Here, on small ships, we can really take care of people with diets and special requests.”
Above: The galley.
Below: Seating in the Panorama Restaurant.
The Panorama Restaurant is the ship's buffet restaurant. Located high on Deck 9 at the stern of the ship, it has an indoor section as well as an outdoor section. Indoors, the room is done in a light refined style. Outdoors, the restaurant offers spectacular views over the ship's wake.
“The Panorama is for people who just want to grab something. They don't want to sit down and be served, wasting time. 'I just want to grab something fast, I don't want to be dressed up, I don't want to be stressed with my dinner,” explained the Chef.
“Upstairs in the Panorama, you can pick up something, you have more choices. You can say: 'I want that piece of fish but I also want to have the goulash, I want to have the pasta, I want to have the lamb chop. I can mix the dishes.' You can make like an appetizer menu with a piece of that and a piece of that.”
We have a beautiful view outside. We are leaving the port or there is a beautiful sunset. I want to be upstairs to see the sunset.”
The Panorama has its own bar so you can have a drink with your meal. In addition, there are waiters in the restaurant to assist you.
“They are there to serve basic needs - - to make sure that you have your cutlery, to make sure that you have a glass of water, to make sure that you can enjoy an espresso or a coffee to harmonize the whole day there, to make it nice.”
In addition to the buffet stations and the pizzeria, the Panorama presents a series of special offerings over the course of a cruise. “Our pastry chef likes to show what he can do so we give him one table for this Chocolate Extravaganza. Or we have a salmon carving. It is a nice whole piece of salmon poached. Or we have sushi, tapas - - we have something special to please everyone.”
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