Princess Cruises – A Culinary Adventure!

My review of the Ruby Princess and our culinary cruise with Cat Cora!

Hi, friends!

It’s Monday and I’ve got the blahs. Work is usually fun, but the weekends are always more fun! Am I right?

So, I thought I’d start the week out with a little review of my recent Princess Cruise aboard the Ruby. Nothing like starting out the week with some vacation photos to get you really missing the weekend. 😉

(Just a reminder – Princess invited me and a guest along on the cruise. This was a paid work trip for me, but my opinions are, as always, my own.)

selfie

I dragged my high school BFF, Courtney, along for the trip. And by dragged, I mean she climbed in my suitcase, passport in hand, and wouldn’t get out until I promised she could come along for the ride. We had a great time together – such a fun break from our usual get-togethers involving our group of children, applesauce snack packs, and dirt. But, like most of our time spent together, there was still plenty of wine to be had on the ship.

The view of Santa Barbara aboard the Ruby Princess!

As I mentioned, we sailed on the Ruby, a Princess ship with 1,542 cabins.  Courtney and I were lucky enough to share a balcony room. I’ve cruised before, but I’ve always had an inside cabin. Never again! Being able to open the balcony door and step right out for some fresh air and gorgeous views just made this trip 100 times better.

Our room was right next door to Kristen and her friend, so we got in a little morning balcony time together each day, too!

The Ruby has tons of dining options. The buffet and quick service restaurants were great for a quick meal. We ate the buffet for breakfast every morning. I loved the Indian options they had – it was fun to try something new to me!

A delicious steak from the Crown Grill on the Ruby Princess!

The traditional dining room had delicious food and great service. The specialty restaurants were my favorite though. Of course. I’m a spoiled brat.

We ate at both Sabatini’s (Italian, wonderful fabulous Italian) and Crown Grill (a steakhouse – as amazing as you’re imagining).

The Chef's Table experience aboard the Ruby Princess!

The staff aboard the Ruby were extremely helpful and kind. We even had a chance to tour the galley and meet with the executive chef, an experience that is generally only available once or twice per cruise to about 10 guests each night. It was seriously magical.

The food was nothing short of divine.

We had appetizers in the galley, along with champagne. We were then escorted to the dining room where the chef prepared us a t00-many-courses-to-count dinner. The wild porcini risotto was the best I’ve had, the raspberry sorbet palette cleanser had a shot of vodka poured over the top (yum!), and the roast veal shank and beef tenderloin were cooked to perfection and seasoned expertly.

Of course, the wine flowed the entire time and we had our own sommelier there for perfect pairings.

The Chef's Table experience aboard the Ruby Princess! This was the chocolate timbale with hazelnut mousse!

As for dessert? Well, I’m still dreaming about the chocolate timbale with hazelnut mousse. Like, for serious dreaming about it. The macaron was perfection – I can’t make a macaron at home, can you imagine making one on a boat?!

I haven’t even mentioned yet that we had a couple of celebrity guests along for the ride! Silly me.

Cat Cora was aboard the ship all week with us, along with Suzanne Tracht (chef and owner of Jar Restaurant), and the hostess of the ship just so happened to be Jill Whelan – she played Vicky on The Love Boat! How fun is it to cruise with celebrities? Pretty fun.

Cat and Suzanne hosted a cooking demo for guests and Cat signed copies of her book for those who wanted to take a second to meet her and get their book signed. Pretty rad!

Tour of the Monte Xanic Winery in Ensanada, Mexico!

Cat also hosted a tour of the Fess Parker Winery in Santa Barbara. More on that and the most adorable photo of some hipster doggies to come soon.

Suzanne hosted a tour of the Monte Xanic Winery in Ensanada, Mexico. I have more to say about this one, too. Also, I have to tell you my thoughts on actual Mexican food from actual Mexico, because it’s about dang time I got to experience that, y’all.

I also wrote a bit about our trip and shared a recipe for low carb meatloaf a couple weeks ago. Click for the story and recipe!

Thanks for following along on my travels. If you’d like to do so in real time, be sure to follow me on Instagram!