Cooking demonstration on board!
This was our last day on board the cruise ship – noooooo! We were totally not ready to leave the ship or have our vacation come to an end! It was another sea day aboard the Emerald Princess for our final day of the cruise and we were able to relax a bit, have some fun, take care of business, and see some entertainment on board. In the morning, I woke up again before Justin, so I wandered down to the International Cafe for a coffee. Then, I went to the buffet and picked up breakfast for the both of us to enjoy on our stateroom balcony. When I returned to the room, Justin was awake and we were able to do just that. Our first order of business for the day: attend the cooking demonstration in the Princess Theatre and go on a tour of the galley!
We “Strongly Agree” that the food on board was amazing!
Cooking Demonstration and Galley Tour
First, we headed to the Princess Theatre to see a cooking demonstration by the Executive Chef, Giuseppe Pollara, and the Maitre d’Hotel, Generoso Mazzone, of the Emerald Princess. They created three dishes for us that are served onboard, including a pesto linguine that can easily be made vegan! It smelled amazing in the theatre as they cooked the food before our eyes. The two were actually quite hilarious, making little jokes at each other’s expense. They were quite the comedic duo, even more funny than some of the evening entertainment on board! At the end, several staff members from the kitchen that were “behind the scenes” in preparing all of our food came out. They were each holding a letter to spell “Strongly Agree”, which is how they were hoping we would fill out our satisfaction surveys that got emailed to us after the cruise. As for the food, we definitely filled out the survey that way as we loved everything that we ate and the care that we received!
|Princess Cruises’ Linguine Al Pesto Alla Moda Ligure (Vegan version)Ingredients:
1 lb red bliss potatoes
1/2 lb fresh green beans
1.5 lbs dried linguine
3 cups fresh basil leaves
4 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pine nutsInstructions:
1. In a blender, puree the basil, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil into a smooth paste. Add salt and pepper.
2. Place the potatoes in 2 quarts of cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Remove the potatoes when they are tender, but not falling apart.
3. Slice the potatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Blanche the green beans in 2 quarts of salted boiling water for approximately 6 minutes, until the beans are slightly tender, but still have a crisp to them.
5. Chill the beans in ice water until they are ready to be served.
6. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil, then put the linguine in the boiling water for roughly 8 minutes for an al dente pasta.
7. When the pasta is done, transfer all ingredients (pesto, potatoes, green beans and pasta) into a saute pan and stir the mixture together.
8. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees, and when heated place the pine nuts inside to brown up for a few minutes.
9. Garnish with the pine nuts and fresh basil.
The galley is the compartment of a ship, train or aircraft where food is cooked and prepared. We were fortunate enough to go on a tour of the Michaelangelo Dining Room galley where our dinner was prepared on a nightly basis.
The first thing we noticed was that the kitchen was immaculate. Next, everything was made out of stainless steel – the surfaces, the appliances, the storage areas – it was everywhere! I thought of it as a kitchen on steroids. Every appliance, refrigeration unit, or counter top was huge compared to the regular version that we might see at home. Of course, the kitchen had to be gigantic to accommodate the 3000+ passengers on board and their daily meal requirements!
It was great to go behind the scenes to see how some of our food was prepared!
Carving flowers out of turnips!
There was also a wonderful display of carved fruits, chocolate, and pastry created by the chefs and pastry chefs on the ship!
A very detailed cake that looks like a book!
Eiffel Tower carved out of white chocolate
Big Ben as a cake!
When we walked out of the galley, we met the Executive Chef, Giuseppe Pollara, and the Maitre d’Hotel, Generoso Mazzone! They had a table with some cookbooks to sell and autograph, but there was absolutely no pressure to purchase them. In fact, when we walked out and they saw my camera around my neck, they both greeted us so warmly and said, “Would you like a photo with us?” Of course we did!
Maitre d’Hotel, Generoso Mazzone, Lauren, Justin, and Executive Chef, Giuseppe Pollara
What a wonderful way to start our day! For the remainder of the morning/afternoon, we went up to our favourite spot by the Spa Pool and Sanctuary, and relaxed on two deck loungers in the sunshine.
At some point in the afternoon, we headed back to the buffet for our last lunch at the Horizon Court. We had salad with our favourite dressing, balsamic vinaigrette. It was delicious and we probably ate a salad with this dressing every single day of our trip. There were also potatoes, steamed veggies, rice, couscous, snap peas, and of course…bread! We ate lots of bread and rolls on this trip, oh my!
After lunch, we went to Club Fusion to play Bingo once again. We met two very sweet ladies from Wisconsin and shared a table with them as it was quite crowded for this final round of Bingo. There was a large prize up for grabs worth thousands of dollars! At one point, the ladies were one number away, and at one point, we were one number away, too! Unfortunately, the four of us did not win, although I found myself cheering them on just as much as I was hoping that we won!
The worst part of our day was packing our suitcases! We had to set them out in the hallway before we left for dinner that night. We were provided with luggage tags to put on our suitcases that corresponded with the time in which we were scheduled to depart the ship. The suitcases were collected that night from the hallway and taken down to the bowels of the ship. When the ship arrives in the port first thing in the morning, the luggage is unloaded and placed in the terminal for collection. Everyone collects their suitcases from the terminal when they leave the ship. This is done to reduce congestion in the elevators and to assist people who might not be able to carry their suitcases for long distances. Could you imagine every passenger carrying 1-2 suitcases down the elevators all at once? It would be a disaster! Of course, there was that anxiety that our suitcases wouldn’t be there when we went to collect them, but we weren’t really worried about it. Besides, I’m not sure who would want to take our suitcases filled with dirty laundry!
At dinner, we enjoyed more tasty food! On this last night of the cruise, there was a special presentation in the dining room – the Baked Alaska parade! The lights were dimmed and the servers paraded through the dining room, each carrying a Baked Alaska – a dessert made from ice cream lined with slices of sponge cake and topped with meringue. A video of the parade will be posted soon! We didn’t end up consuming any Baked Alaska as we’re both vegan, but it was a feast for the eyes to see these cakes being paraded throughout the dining room!
Back to our food: Justin ordered a salad and his main course were eggplant fritters with tomato rice, which he said tasted great. I requested the same tofu stir fry dish from the night before as it was so yummy. We didn’t realize this, but in the case of special dietary requests, the chefs still prepare the dishes in larger portions. Since Justin and I ordered different dishes tonight, the chefs actually had an entire extra plate of tofu stir fry! So, our waiter brought that out for Justin in case he wanted to eat some of it. Justin lucked out and got to eat two main courses!
Tofu Vegetable Stir Fry
Eggplant Fritters with Tomato Rice
We bid our farewells to all of our favourite people that worked so hard on the ship to make our stay comfortable – Andrew, the head waiter; Maryna, the friendly hostess at the Michaelangelo Dining Room, and Justin’s friend from back home who worked in the photography department on board, Mike.
We attended the “Who’s he Cuckoo” game show in the Explorer’s Lounge where three cruise staff members told stories of their past jobs, and we had to guess who was lying. We were able to ask them questions about their former professions to gauge whether or not we thought they were telling the truth. The funniest story came from Ally who used to “milk dogs”, which happened to be a true past job! Of course, it was just to assist a neighbour’s dog from down the street when she was younger, but it was quite the odd job description. Everyone kept asking questions about that one.
Last of all, and a highlight for me, we attended the International Crew Talent Show! This was an opportunity for various crew members who worked on board the Emerald Princess to showcase their hidden talents. Before the show started, tons and tons of balloons were blown up and hit all around the theatre. It was so funny to see everyone, young and old, hitting balloons all over the place. My apologies to the lady that I accidentally hit straight in the face with a balloon (oops!) – things got a little out of hand! Justin and I had some fun with this (you’ll see in our upcoming video!). Back to the talent show, there were so many talented staff members on board the ship. There were singers, dancers, pianists, guitarists, rollerbladers – you name it! I’m glad that some of the crew members get to perform in the spotlight and focus on something outside of their regular tasks for a little while!
At the very end, the cruise directing staff performed a skit called “If I Were Not Upon the Sea“, which is a cruising cult classic. I’m not sure what the origins of this sketch comedy routine are, but it was definitely something to remember! It was hilarious when the cruise director, J.J. walked out in a tutu and fake boobs! A portion of this will also be included in the next video I post!
Another funny story: we left the theatre after the Crew show and I was carrying a balloon with me. We were up on deck 7 and there was a girl on deck 6 directly below us. I was looking out over the Piazza and I could see her holding a balloon to pose for a picture. Suddenly, out of nowhere, her balloon popped and she jumped a little! Then, she pouted because she didn’t have a balloon for her photo. So, I let go of my balloon and it floated down below towards her and she caught it. She didn’t see me or know that I dropped it down. To her, it must have seemed like this balloon floated down out of nowhere! I’m sure that gave her a funny story to tell!
Have you ever toured any “behind the scenes” areas before? What is your most memorable meal while on vacation?