Dining on an Island Princess Cruise

May 23rd, 2007, 04:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 507
Dining on an Island Princess Cruise

We are doing something different next February with friends. We are going on a the Island Princess through the Panama Canal. It was our friends' idea, so they are making all the plans.
We have "Anytime Dining." This sounds fine. It seems we will dine in the Bordeaux Dining Room rather than the Provence Dining Room; The latter being for the 1st & 2nd seating passengers. Does signing up for "Anytime Dining" mean you never go to the main dining room for special occasions?
There is also 'Specialty Dining' with Sabatini's, Bayou Cafe & Steakhouse. Do these charge extra? A surcharge of a regular go-out-to-dinner charge?
Then there is "Casual Dining" with a 24-hr buffet, late night bistro,Parisseris, wine & caviar bar, burger 7 hot dog grill, ice cream bar, pizzeria and 24-hr room service. Do they charge for these "Casual Dining" spots? I can see that the wine & caviar one would, but hot dogs & sundaes?
Veteran large boat cruisers- please enlighten us small boat folk.
janeg is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 10:08 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 43
Anytime dining means that you will eat in the Bordeaux Dining room for every meal.You book a certain time or turn up and wait for a table. If you mean by "special occasions" the formal nights then every dining room has that dress code for the evening. The evenings when they do a special ie Lobster applies to each of the dining rooms.
The specialty dining does attract a small extra charge, they are nice for a change! To my knowledge ( but we didn't use these) the 24 hours buffet, hot dog grill etc are free for the food, but I think the sundaes/drinks might have a charge. Hope that helps some.
jomf is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 06:41 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Yes, in addition to the above --- I believe the surcharge is about $20 per person and may vary by restaurant. I have only tried Sabatini's. It's very nice, but not something I really feel is mandatory to do again.

Regarding the casual dining questions,

yes there is cost for the wine and caviar bar, but not for the buffets, bistro, pizza, burger and dogs, or room service. The Patisserie is a coffee and pastry bar - pastries are free (and the same as you would get at the buffet or dining room), they served real brewed coffee (as opposed to reconstituted syrup coffee served elsewhere on the ship). There is a charge for coffee there ($1 I think) and for specialty coffees which would include liquor and flavorings.

Some ships have a sundae bar and yes there is a charge for a sundae ---- however, ice cream and sundaes are free in the dining room at lunch and dinner. On most Princess ships, at 3:30 in the afternoon in the buffett (there are two buffett lines - look for the side which is 'closed') they will be scooping delicious homemade icecream for free every day.
swaymock is offline  
Jun 17th, 2007, 12:36 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 402
By the way, the daily menus in the Bordeaux and Provence dining rooms are exactly the same, so you will not miss any particular entree. The only difference is the freedom of time and with whom you eat.
charli is offline  
Jun 17th, 2007, 12:51 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 8,201
Although jomf said, "Anytime dining means that you will eat in the Bordeaux Dining room for every meal.", that only applies to dinners, not to every meal.
abram is offline  
Feb 9th, 2008, 07:21 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 8
How was your cruise on the Island Princess through the Panama Canal? I am contemplating this cruise for April, 2009
deaston is offline  
Feb 16th, 2008, 07:40 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 507
We leave in 5 days. Still packing. Not sure how the weather will be on those first 3 days at sea- from LA to Huatulco.
janeg is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 07:08 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 24
I am going on the Island Princess in Sept to Alaska--the inside passage. Reading the messages, I gather that many things on the cruise are not free--drinks, coffees, sundaes? What about wines at dinner? First time cruisers have said they "rack up" huge bills with all the extras. Is that the experience of all of you seasoned cruisers?
annpark is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Well, ann, your experience may differ from mine as far as racking up big bills, but ---

coffee, tea, iced tea are included with meals (I think you can get milk also - and I believe juice is only available at breakfast time)

there is a charge for soda and anything alcoholic - they sell a soda card which allows you unlimited fountain cokes, diet cokes and sprites; I can't remember the price, and the price does depend on the length of the cruise, but I didn't feel it was worth it; if you buy soda as you go, you get a can, if you buy the soda card you get fountain soda. I usually have one fruity martini a day (around $6) and sometimes wine with dinner.

There are a few Princess ships with an ice cream/sundae bar near the pool which you do pay for. All ships have ice cream available at lunch and dinner in the seated dining rooms (at no additional charge). Also, each day at 3:30 in the buffet they set up a sundae bar which is at no additional charge.

At least one day you MUST go to afternoon tea. White-gloved waiters serve tea (duh) and these adorable little sandwiches and pastries, scones with cream and jam, etc. It's such a treat. No extra charge for that either.

I rack up the biggest bills buying photographs and jewelry and 'stuff' in the ship's store, not to mention what I lose in the casino.
swaymock is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 11:31 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
I just came from Dawn Princess to Alaska, assuming all Princess cruises have the same drinks policy.

Breakfast: house coffee (and decaf), milk, assorted teas, OJ and apple juice - I wouldn't say "free" I would say "included"

Lunch: coffee, tea, iced tea.

Dinner: coffee, tea, iced tea.

If you want "fancy" coffee like mocha or capucchino, pay up! You will give the cabin card to the waiter, and get the bill on the last day. Same for any alcohol.

Ice-cream: a choice of 3 items on every dinner menu is free. Actually, all desserts are great! Too good if you ask me

If you drink soda, you'll have to pay for it - either each time, or pre-pay in advance.

How large the bill is, depends on your drinking habits. Princess does allow 2 bottles of wine on-board. We put our in luggage (Mr. Again knows how to pack).
FainaAgain is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 11:48 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 165
We were on the Coral Princess this past Jan. Sabatini's was $30 cover while Bayou Cafe was $20. There were 5 couples of us traveling together and all of us preferred Bayou Cafe over Sabatini's. The lobster at Bayou was to die for. Although $5 extra it was worth it. The buffet had ice cream machines free for lunch and dinner. Do go to "Tea" at least one afternoon. Awesome!! Anytime dining was great for the 10 of us. We took turns calling for reservations anywhere from 5:30 until 8:30 depending on what was happening during the day. No problem getting a table. On last night we were brought a HUGE platter of fried shrimp and fried calamari as soon as we sit down. None of us had ordered it!!.
fosterag is offline  
Jul 27th, 2008, 02:52 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 68
My wife and I par take very little of the spirits and not much of the soda waters on a cruise and drink only regular coffee and tea. I guess you could call us sticks in the mud but seriously we enjoy cruising on Princess lines because you pay for what you eat or drink and not for what someone else does. If we want a nice glass of wine we order it and the same with an occasional soda. We live in the wine country of Sonaoma County of California and have access to some great wines and Princess has some of these on it's wine list(at a large mark up) if we want it. On a Regent ship we went on the wine that they served that they said was free with the cruise, well; let's just say it was not from one of my favorite winerys.The tips were included in the price also as well as the sodas and other things that we didn't use. So we helped pay for other people's cruises. What I'm trying to say is you get what you pay for. The one Regent cruise was the same price as our last two Princess' cruises with everything included. With the total days on the Regent cruise being 10 days and the two Princess cruises being 26 days. Both being Balcony cabins in the same spots on the ships. Now I'm rambling on but the Princess line has good food in it's regular dining rooms and in it's buffett and if you want to pay extra and go to a Sabitinis or wherever go ahead. Just have a good time and good cruising.Island Princess is a smaller ship but not the smallest so it will have less places to dine but you will not go hungry and don't forget the Hot Dogs and Hamburgers to hold you over. When we were on the Tahitian Princess at 700 passengers we made out just fine and there was no anytime dinning but we sill got plenty to eat.
RONREYN2008 is offline  

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