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Dining On Board the Caribbean Princess

Cruise dining to save your bottom line

Cruise ship dining (and the Godzilla-worthy buffets) can quickly morph into float and bloat. Something about freeing ourselves from the gravitational pull of everyday life unhinges us and we shamelessly indulge our hedonistic foodie urges.

Mrs. & Mr. GoGirlfriendMrs. & Mr. GoGirlfriendBut dining while cruising doesn't have to destroy your cruising mojo. Onboard the Caribbean Princess I'm learning that you can sin - without paying the price. The buffets are a "guilty-pleasure" but there's also a healthy selection of gluten-free and veg-friendly entrees and sides - and copious amounts of tropical fruit. What's more, the wait-staff is happy to substitute just about anything to accommodate whims and dietary needs.

If you're planning a cruise, read on for my lessons learned during my first week of dining onboard the Caribbean Princess.

  • Go ahead and order the 14 oz Rib-eye steak at the Crown Grill, but skip the fully loaded baked potato and ask for a side of freshly steamed veggies. If you're a winter refuge, you'll appreciate the freshness of vegetables that haven't traveled thousands of miles to reach your plate.
  • If you're craving crème brûlée at the Palm or Island dining room, ask for two spoons to share with your partner. Or order a sampler of the day's desserts for a taste rather than an over-indulgence.
  • If you share my horror at bidding ciao to fettuccini, don't. Pair your pasta with a salad (like the steamed veggies) that's high on flavor and healthy goodness to balance out the sin.
  • The daily cocktails are delish, but they're also packed with calories - a Pina Colada has 800 calories (that's 2,400 if you have 3). Instead, choose a Cosmo or a Bloody Mary so you have more room to splurge on that pasta, the cheese, those desserts...
  • Our cabin is on the 11th floor and taking the stairs can be a religious experience. Especially after a glorious meal on the 7th floor, with cocktails under the stars on the 16th floor.
  • Sea days can be a challenge - especially with 24-hour buffets. Go for a walk or run outside (2.7 laps around the Caribbean Princess equals 1 mile) or take a couple laps around your cabin with your partner. Either way, you'll work up an appetite for your next meal.

Princess Gourmet farePrincess Gourmet fareVacations are all about indulging, but balance your food fantasies with more control at alternate meals. Eat your way through the endless buffet at breakfast but opt for a salad at lunch. Enjoy the red wine, but couple it with lots of water.

Next week I'll be interviewing Executive Chef Antonio Cereda and Maitre d'Hotel Giorgio Pisano on the Caribbean Princess for his view on feeding 3,000 passengers and more than 1,000 crew members. He makes it all look so easy...


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