Last Updated on 02/11/24 by Rose Palmer
As Princess Cruises’ newest Royal Class ship, the Discovery Princess is a popular choice for cruisers, and it offers itineraries to many of the cruise line’s most popular destinations.
On my recent sailing on this beautiful ship, I tried to fit in as many of the Discovery Princess’ dining options as I reasonably could in one week. This was quite the challenge for my waistline, but my taste buds certainly appreciated it.
A one week cruise was not nearly enough time to try the many dining choices on the Discovery Princess, because there were A LOT! I certainly had plenty of complimentary venues to choose from, all of which were included in the base cost of my cruise.
The ship also had casual dining restaurants for an additional small fee along with the specialty restaurants for a slightly larger additional fee. Princess also offered unique dining experiences and the Discovery had more than its share such as the Chef’s Table, the Caymus Winemaker Dinner, and the very special 360 dining experience.
Each day’s Princess Patter listed the opening hours for all the dining venues on board.
The Discovery Princess dining options – complimentary dining
What I liked about the Discovery Princess was its abundant complimentary food venues. Even if I didn’t want to try any of the special dining options, I would have been quite satisfied with the variety of complimentary dining available to me.
Main Dining Rooms – Decks 5 and 6
The Discovery Princess had three large, beautiful main dining rooms: Juneau (deck 5 midship), Skagway (deck 6 midship) and Ketchikan (deck 6 aft), named for some of Princess’ most popular Alaskan ports of call. The Skagway dining room is also where the Reserve Collection dining was available.
Princess offers the Dine My Way program which let me choose when and where to eat dinner in the main dining rooms. I could choose to eat at the same time and in the same dining room each night, or I could mix it up which is what I like to do. Some cruisers like to make reservations ahead of time, especially for a larger group. I just showed up at the dining room of my choice and never had to wait very long to get seated at an individual table.
All three main dining rooms were open for dinner every night and they all served the same menu. Each evening the dinner choices were a mix of new dishes along with a selection of Princess favorites. On my cruise, the Skagway dining room was also open for breakfast and lunch each day.
The main dining room menus clearly identify vegetarian options. At this time, Princess had also brought out an expanded vegan menu in its dining rooms which should make it easier for those that follow such a diet.
I am a tea drinker and try to attend the afternoon tea offered on sea days at least once during a cruise. Waiters provided choices of delicate sandwiches, small pastries and of course, scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserves. And tea.
International Café – Deck 5
The International Café is one of my favorite food venues on a Princess ship. I like to come here for a continental breakfast (I really love the almond croissants) or a light lunch. This was the only food station that was open 24 hours so it was always ready to satisfy those nighttime snack cravings as well.
This was also the spot to get specialty coffees and teas. While the food at the International Cafe was part of the basic cost of the cruise, the coffee was an extra charge unless you purchased one of the drink packages offered by Princess.
Bistro and World Fresh Marketplace buffet- Deck 16
The buffet on the Discovery Princess was very large and had more than enough choices at each meal. The full buffet was open during specified hours for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (the Princess Patter listed all the hours of operation).
In between each major meal rush, only one part of the buffet was open as they set up for the next meal, so there was always something available to nosh on. Note that the food service here did close late in the evening and was not open all night, but I could access the coffee, tea and water station any time of day.
I liked that each day the buffet also offered a selection of dishes from a specific country. During my week long cruise we had Italian, Mexican, Bavarian, Brazilian, British, All American, and Mongolian stir fry.
Pastry Shop and Juice Bar – Deck 16
The buffet area had a dedicated space where I could get a different variety of desserts each day. On this cruise I learned that Princess makes all its breads and desserts on their ships from scratch. Considering the quantities they produce, this is quite impressive. I was impressed that there was a gluten free section here as well.
The Pastry Shop was also where the fresh juice bar was. Fresh squeezed juices were included with the cost of some of the drinks packages, otherwise, there was an extra charge.
Slice – Deck 16
I do like getting a quick slice of pizza on the pool deck when I watch something on the big screen. Princess has been dubbed with making “the best pizza at sea” and I think I agree. I could choose from a cheese pizza, a pepperoni pizza, or a daily special like vegetarian or Hawaiian.
Salty Dog Grill – Deck 16
The Salty Dog Grill was a good spot for a quick burger and fries or one of their specialty hot dogs while sunning at the pool, or at lunch, or any time of day for that matter. It tended to be quite busy at lunch when everyone was hanging out by the pool, but was not very busy in the evening.
Swirls – Deck 16
Love the soft serve ice cream here, especially the chocolate.
Room service on the Discovery Princess
One of my favorite things to do on a Princess cruise ship is to get room service breakfast delivered to my cabin in the morning. I filled out the dedicated card with the items I wanted, hung it outside on the doorknob the night before, and then, voilà, next morning I had my breakfast delivered at the specified time.
I always look forward to drinking my tea on the balcony while I watch the ocean go by. It’s such a calming way to start the day.
Travel Tip: When I took this cruise, there was no charge for ordering a room service breakfast when using the dedicated cards. Ordering room service by other means (via the app or by phone) incurred an extra cover charge depending on whether I had purchased one of the special fare packages or not.
Other included dining opportunities
Suite, and Platinum and Elite loyalty guests also had other included dining opportunities.
A section of the Skagway main dining room was set aside for the exclusive use of those cruisers that booked Reserved class mini suites or full suites. Reserve dining includes a menu with additional choices, a dedicated wait staff, and seating without any wait time or the need for a reservation.
Platinum and Elite members cocktail hour
For Platinum and Elite Captain’s Circle members, a daily reception was offered in the early evening which was usually held in the Vista Lounge. A beautifully presented selection of small bites made for a nice appetizer before dinner. Discounted drinks were also available.
Concierge Lounge – deck 14
For suite guests, the Concierge Lounge also offered a wide selection of foods and beverages throughout the day.
Breakfast at Sabatini’s
Suite guests also have the option to eat breakfast in the Sabatini’s specialty restaurant. I understand the made to order menu is very good.
Casual dining on the Discovery Princess
Travel tip: Princess Cruises offers different types of booking packages that include drinks, gratuities, dining and more. Depending on the type of package purchased (or not), extra fees may be incurred for casual and specialty dining.
This post explains all there is to know about the Plus and Premier Princess drinks and fare packages: Princess Cruises Drinks Packages – Which One is Best?
Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar – Deck 7
I love sushi and was disappointed that I only had time to eat here once during my cruise. I like this as a light lunch or a quick snack. There was a choice of a fixed price set menu that came with an appetizer along with a chef’s selection of sashimi and sushi rolls.
Since I did not want to eat that much, I just ordered one roll from the a la carte list: in this case, the Tres Amigo roll which had tuna, salmon, hamachi, jalapeno, avocado, crispy tortilla chips and cilantro.
Gigi’s Pizza – Deck 7
Gigi’s pizza is a sit down restaurant that has a selection of Neapolitan style pizzas and other Italian dishes. The set menu price let me choose an appetizer, a pizza or pasta dish, and a dessert.
Again, I didn’t want that much food so I ordered just the Princess pizza which was made with tomato sauce, mozzarella, Parma ham, shaved parmesan, cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Yes, it was quite good.
Salty Dog Gastro Pub – Deck 5
This was the first time I had a chance to try the Salty Dog Gastro Pub. With the fixed price menu I had a choice of 2 plates and 1 dessert. I chose the Emmenthal and gruyere grilled cheese with white tomato soup and the signature SDG burger which was a rib eye and short rib patty topped with pork belly, gruyere, kimchi beer battered jalapeno, and charred onion aioli all on a brioche bun and truffle fries on the side.
This was all sooo much food – I think it would have been enough for two. The burger was a huge mouthful, and the combination of tastes was interesting (though not my personal favorite). I really liked this adult version of grilled cheese and tomato soup, always a good comfort food for me.
Gelato – Deck 5
I love gelato and like to try it whenever I have the chance. I could have gotten a variety of fancy gelato desserts here but I preferred just two plain scoops either in a dish or in a cone.
Note that my Gelato order was an extra charge and was not included in any of the Princess Fare packages.
Discovery Princess specialty dining restaurants
For a special event or just a special evening, the specialty dining restaurants on the Discovery Princess were ideal. Menus for the Princess specialty restaurants can be found here.
The Catch by Rudi – Deck 7
The Discovery Princess is the fourth ship in the fleet to get The Catch by Rudi specialty restaurant. Featuring mostly seafood dishes presented in fun and innovative ways, the menu was developed by Rudi Sodamin, Princess’ Head of Culinary Arts.
I’ve been fortunate to eat at The Catch by Rudi twice, each time trying new dishes, and they were all amazingly good and creatively presented. For seafood lovers like me, this specialty restaurant was a culinary delight.
I was able to choose an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert. The smoked salmon sensation appetizer was a fun presentation with the salmon under a smoke filled glass dome. The salmon also tasted good – just a little smokey and not dry.
My Triple S main course was also creatively presented, with a big langostino hanging over the plate from a specially designed plate support (though hard to photograph well). As the name implies, the Triple S was scallops, shrimp, and salmon, and was served with fingerling potatoes and sauteed veggies.
In addition to broad range of seafood dishes, the menu also offered pate of duck liver and steak frites with peppercorn sauce as non seafood choices along with a vegetarian option.
Crown Grill – Deck 7
The Crown Grill menu caters primarily to meat lovers and features a variety of steak cuts for the main course. Even though they offered different types of steaks, I always end up getting the fillet beaasue it is so tender. As always, this meal did not disappoint me.
For those that prefer something other than red meat, there were also seafood and vegetarian dishes on the menu.
Sabatini’s – Deck 5
I love Italian food and Sabatini’s always satisfies my pasta cravings. Despite having eaten at a number of Sabitini’s on different Princess ships, I usually end up ordering the lobster ravioli because I really like it. Nothing wrong with that.
Crab Shack pop up – Deck 5
The Crab Shack Pop Up was back! As the name implies, this dining venue was not available all the time – the Princess Patter or the dining line had the most up to date information. On the Discovery Princess it was offered at the Salty Dog Gastro Pub during lunch on a sea day. It was a set menu with three choices of soup and two choices of seafood pots.
This was my first time trying the Crab Shack and I loved the food! My meal started with hush puppies, followed by Alaskan shellfish chowder served in a sourdough bread roll, and then followed by a huge pot of king crab legs, shrimp, and mussels (this was the Alaskan seafood pot). Picking the crab meat out of the shells was a little bit of work, but oh so worth it!
Special Experiential dining on the Discovery Princess
Princess offers some great special dining expereinces that are a foodie’s delight or are just a great way to celebrate that once in a lifetime moment.
Ultimate balcony dining
I’ve tried the Ultimate Breakfast Balcony Dining which was one step above room service and truly was the ultimate way to indulge and relax on a sea day. After the room service attendant set my balcony table and loaded it up with all the food and drinks, all I had to do was try and eat it all (not possible) and enjoy the view.
There was a plate of fruit, a plate with salad and a small ham and cheese quiche, a plate with smoked salmon with toasted English muffins and cream cheese, a plate with breakfast pastries, a carafe of hot water and tea (I could also have had coffee), orange juice, and a small bottle of authentic champagne so I could make a mimosa. Yes, some of this food became an afternoon snack.
I could do balcony dining either as a breakfast experience or a dinner experience which is more pricey.
The Sanctuary is the adults only retreat at the front of the ship. Time here needed to be reserved, either for a half day or the whole day. The retreat came with its own menu of light snacks and meals. There was also the Sanctuary version of afternoon tea which I’ve always liked.
On this particular cruise I sadly did not have time for the Sanctuary but I have enjoyed it on other Princess ships.
Travel tip: I try to book time in the Sanctuary as soon as I board the ship, especially for a sea day or a scenic cruise day. I could book a specific lounger or a cabana.
Caymus Winemaker Dinner
Princess has partnered with the renowned Caymus Vineyard from Napa Valley to develop a wine and meal pairing just for their ships. The menu and the wine pairing was designed specifically for this Princess experience by Caymus Vineyards’ founder Chuck Wagner.
This was the first time I tried the Caymus winemaker dinner and I really enjoyed all of it. The meal started with an amuse bouche of slow-braised beef short ribs with broccoli tartare and grated horseradish.
The amuse bouche was followed by a choice of one of two appetizers: beef carpaccio with celeriac, arugula, shaved parmesan, orange zest and balsamic glaze OR marinated fresh oyster mushrooms and wood ear mushrooms with green pea granita, roasted hearts of romaine lettuce, and smoked citrus dressing. The wine paired with the appetizer was the Mer Soleil Chardonay from Monterey County, California.
The first course was fresh summer truffle risotto with parmigiano Reggiano that had been aged 36 months. The accompanying wine was the Caymus Suisun the Walking Fool Red Blend from Suisun Valley, California.
For the main course I once again had a choice of two entrees. A prime beef tenderloin and blossom artichoke paired with the Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California. I chose the seared king salmon and giant prawn with Peruvian potatoes, baby green courgettes and lemon beurre blanc sauce served with Sea Sun Pinot Noir from California.
Next up was a charcuterie and cheese plate which we could pair with our personal favorite wine from the evening.
And even though by this point I was full, I couldn’t turn down dessert: a delicious Chocolate Raspberry Dream, which was a concoction of dark chocolate mousse, chocolate raspberry cream, and raspberry compote, combined with a cornflour crisp, and accompanied by a bottle of Emmolo Sparkling Wine from California.
I enjoyed every course of this special meal and would happily do it again.
Chef’s Table Lumiere
At my first Chef’s Table experience on the Ruby Princess, I was told that Princess started the Chef’s Table concept at sea. I have had the opportunity to try the Chef’s Table on several Princess ships and have loved all these experiences. For me, the unique dishes that were presented were a gastronomic delight.
On the Discovery Princess, the Chef’s Table was held in Lumiere, a beautiful, dedicated space in the Ketchikan dining room designed just for this experience. After everyone sits down, a specially lighted curtain wraps around the diners to provide a sense of privacy and luxury.
The Chef’s Table is offered a limited number of times on each cruise with about 10-12 guests per sitting. On my particular week long sailing, it was only available once. To express an interest in taking part in the Chef’s Table, I let the dining department know as soon as I get on board.
Travel tip: The Chef’s Table can only be reserved on the ship and cannot be booked ahead of time. I put my name on the list as soon as I boarded. There was an extra fee for this meal and I could purchase it with or without a wine pairing.
With such a short itinerary and so many dining options, I did not do the Chef’s Table on this particular cruise, but had the chance to try the 360 instead (see below). I do describe my Sky Princess Chef’s Table experience in great detail in my story Discovering the Sky Princess dining Options Including the Chef’s Table Experience.
Princess has come up with a completely new and unique dining concept that stimulates all the senses. It is a visual and culinary experience like none other which is only offered on the Discovery Princess and the Enchanted Princess for an extra charge.
In the 360 experience, the meal is the show and the show is the meal. Throughout the evening, all my five senses were tantalized as I travelled across the Mediterranean tasting local dishes and wines. I provide all the detail in my story The Princess 360 Experience – A Performance for All the Senses.
Ordering via the Ocean Now app
One of the best features of the Princess App while on board was the ability to order a drink or food and have it delivered wherever I was sitting. If I wanted beer, wine, cocktails, a soda, or any other drink as I was sitting by the pool, I could have it brought to me.
I could also use the app to order food, either brought to my room or wherever I was on the ship. The food choices also included items off the menus from the Crown Grill and the Catch by Rudi.
Behind the scenes on a Princess kitchen tour
I was privileged to be on the Discovery Princes while attending a conference at sea with the International, Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA). As part of our conference itinerary, we had an in depth tour of the kitchens presented by Rudi Sodamin, Princess’ much awarded Head of Culinary arts.
Travel Tip: On some Princess ships, the Chef’s Table experience also includes a short tour of the kitchens. Often, kitchen tours are also offered on a sea day to all those interested. See the Princess Patter.
As a lover of all food in the carbohydrate family, I was impressed to learn that Princess makes all of its desserts and breads on board the ship from scratch. In fact, the bread and pastry area of the kitchen works 24 hours a day in order to produce all the breads, rolls, desserts, etc. offered all over the ship each day.
I certainly did not lack for choices when it came to Discovery Princess dining options. And I can honestly say that during my week long cruise, I did not have any trouble finding something to eat that I really liked. The waistband on my pants can attest to that.
Please note that I received a special media rate from Princess Cruises for this cruise as part of attending the IFWTWA conference at sea. All content and opinions are my own.
Links to all my cruising content, including all my other Princess cruises, can be found on my Experience – Cruising page.
Other Princess cruising stories:
All about my cruise to Antarctica: What is a Princess Cruise to Antarctica Really Like
Cruising to Norway with Princess: Norway Shore Excursions – How I Spent a Day in Norway’s Most Popular cruise Ports
Taking a cooking class in Costa Rica: A Costa Rica Cooking Class – Forging Local Connections On An Atypical Cruise Excursion
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