Caribbean Cruise – Sea Day Aboard the Emerald Princess (Day 10)

posted in: Blog, Caribbean, Cruise, Recipes, Tours, Vegan | 33

IMG_1569Cooking 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!

IMG_1571We “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
salt
fresh basil
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.

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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!

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It was great to go behind the scenes to see how some of our food was prepared!

IMG_1590Carving flowers out of turnips!

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There was also a wonderful display of carved fruits, chocolate, and pastry created by the chefs and pastry chefs on the ship!

IMG_1580Carved watermelon

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IMG_1594A very detailed cake that looks like a book!

IMG_1592Sugar sculptures

IMG_1595Eiffel Tower carved out of white chocolate

IMG_1596Mmmm…chocolate!

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IMG_1599Big 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!

IMG_1601Maitre 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!

IMG_1607Baked Alaska

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!

IMG_1608Tofu Vegetable Stir Fry

IMG_1611Eggplant 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.

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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?

Lauren
Follow Lauren:

Lauren is one half of "Justin Plus Lauren". She loves to travel, take photos, and write all about it! Lauren eats a plant-based diet and seeks out yummy vegan food on her travels. She loves nature, animals, outdoor adventures, coffee, and her cats, Chickpea and Peanut.

33 Responses

  1. Agness
    | Reply

    I’ve never been on a cruise. It was always way too expensive for me, but seeing how it all works behind the scenes must be an amazing experience. Wow, I’m impressed by carved fruits, chocolate, and pastry created by the chefs and pastry chefs on the ship! It’s a real art!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      There are some last minute deals for cruises these days that make it pretty affordable – they even have some 1-3 day “repositioning” cruises that you can take between Vancouver and Seattle (for example) or in California that would give you the taste of a cruise vacation for a pretty low price! I know I got us a reduced price for being a past passenger, plus we got some on board credit during a sale with a local travel agent. Hopefully you will get to go on one someday 🙂

  2. BavarianSojourn
    | Reply

    I have been on a couple of cruises in the past and the kitchens and food have always really really impressed me (as has the appetite of some of the guests!! :D) !

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      The appetites of the guests are quite impressive! haha! The kitchens are so impressive, just the sheer size! and it was so clean!

  3. frankaboutcroatia
    | Reply

    Hihihi .. as someone who has worked on a cruise ship, this post bring lots of memories :). It’s always interesting to see what’s going on behind the scene. Visit to the galley is something, isn’t it?! As for the sea day, that’s the day that people from navigation department love, and everybody else working on the cruise ship hates 🙂

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Oh wow you worked on a cruise ship! I would love to hear stories about that – I’ve read a couple of books about people who have worked on cruise ships and there are some crazy stories!!!

  4. Dave
    | Reply

    That Baked Alaska is quite the creation! It’s so cool that they allow you behind the scenes – their artistic skills are very impressive.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      It is nice that they have a tour like that – it makes us appreciate how much work goes into everything even more!

  5. Stacey Veikalas
    | Reply

    Very Fun we took a Mediterranean Cruise with our kids a few years back and we loved loved loved it
    the kids never wanted to leave the boat. How fun that they let you see how things
    were done! Awesome thank you for sharing!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      I would love to go on a Mediterranean cruise someday. I’m glad your kids had so much fun – it would be a really fun family vacation to go on a cruise!

  6. Mrs Chasing the Donkey
    | Reply

    Yum….. I just ate a huge lunch, and now I am hungry again. What a really cool tour, my hubby would love that. Those watermelon carvings are great, people are just so darn creative! Big thanks for linking up with us to #SundayTraveler again

    • Mrs Chasing the Donkey
      | Reply

      PS I tweet all of the posts, but your @ handle in now showing so you want see them 🙁 YOu may wanna look at that.

      • Justin and Lauren
        | Reply

        That’s strange…when I click on the “tweet” button at the top of the post it shows up. Are you using our twitter handle @JustinLaurenXO ? We don’t have it as @JustinPlusLauren since it wouldn’t let us have that many characters in our twitter name. But I really appreciate that you are tweeting all of our posts! Thank you so much!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Thank you for stopping by and hosting #SundayTraveler! The fruit and chocolate carvings were quite amazing! They are so talented!

  7. Claire (@Kurea_San)
    | Reply

    Those watermelons are pretty impressive! Looks like some very talented/creative chefs on board.
    Claire xx | somewhere… beyond the sea

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Definitely! I don’t know how they do it! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  8. Adelina | Pack Me To
    | Reply

    I went on a cruise to Alaska and went behind the scenes too. The tour of the kitchen was so cool. I love behind the scenes stuff. And yum Baked Alaska so good. Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler again!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      I would love to do an Alaska cruise someday to see all of the amazing glaciers – it is totally on my list! I’m glad you also got to go behind the scenes! What cruise ship did you travel on, was it also Princess?

      • Adelina | Pack Me To
        | Reply

        It was Royal Caribbean. I guess most cruise ships do similar things. It was really cool actually – got to see a number of glaciers and all that beautiful scenery.

  9. Caitlyn O'Dowd
    | Reply

    It looks like so much fun! I’d definitely sign up for a tour like this if I go on a cruise someday (I’ve always got my eye on those European river cruises).

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Oh, I’ve got my eye on the European River Cruises, too! They look spectacular!

  10. I always like the behind-the-scenes tour of the galley as it really impresses me that they are able to serve so many people at each meal. It must truly take a lot of coordination. I like all those fruit carvings and chocolate sculptures in your photos. I wonder if they make new chocolate art for each cruise or do they reuse it? This cruise sounds like tons of fun. Did you have a carry-on to get you through the last night since they took your luggage so early? I don’t think it’s ever been the night before on any cruise I’ve been on.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      I’m not sure if they make new chocolate sculptures, but they likely have to make new fruit ones as I would imagine they would go bad! I couldn’t imagine having the talent to do all of those carvings, they are so intricate! Yes, we each had a carry-on to carry all of our toiletries and overnight items, so it wasn’t a problem!

  11. Molly S
    | Reply

    All the food looks lovely! The behind-the-scenes your of the galley was really interesting – it’s amazing how they manage to cater for so many people. And I love the fruit carvings!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      It was really interesting to go behind the scenes and see what a huge working kitchen as like – definitely a cool experience!

  12. Anabela Neves
    | Reply

    We were on Emerald at xmas and the cooking demonstration was very funny, I just wished they had a camera up above so we could see what they were actually doing up close.

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      I was on the Crown Princess in the past and they had an overhead camera that was projected on TV screens that actually showed what they were cooking. They should definitely bring that type of thing to the Emerald as it would have been nice to see a close-up view of the food, I agree!

  13. I’ve never been on a cruise, but whenever anyone posts their dinner pictures I become convinced I would just spend the ENTIRE time eating. And how cool that you got to tour the kitchens!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      Lots of people do spend the entire time eating 😉 But really, there is food everywhere at all times – you could never go hungry on a cruise!

  14. Angela Anderson
    | Reply

    I always enjoy seeing what most do not know behind the scenes. It takes a great amount of work to feed and run large tourist destinations (or in your case ships).

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      I truly admire all of the hard work of the crew members on board the ships, or at tourist destinations. Everyone works so hard and we were very thankful!

  15. Ashley Hubbard
    | Reply

    The things that they can make out of food blows my mind…those turnip flowers are cool! Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler!

    • Justin and Lauren
      | Reply

      You’re very welcome as always! And thanks again for having us! Those turnip flowers were so cool, weren’t they!

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