Have you heard about Princess Cruises 360: An Extraordinary Experience? Embark on a sensory journey across the Mediterranean without ever leaving your cruise ship!
It’s not enough these days to just launch a new cruise ship, there has to be something innovative, fresh and exciting to entice new-to-cruise clients and loyal, returning guests aboard. And, we all know that one of the biggest attractions of cruising is the fabulous dining available onboard. Princess Cruises are well known for their excellent culinary options and speciality dining venues, but their new attraction for Suite guests is a truly immersive experience.
We’ve Tried It!
Princess Cruises describe it as:
A journey through the sights, sounds, textures, and scents of the Mediterranean. This destination-inspired, immersive 7-course indulgence is paired with drinks, adventures and surprises along the way.
I’m going to do my best not to spoil all of the surprises that await you. It’s hard not to research things on the internet these days before you experience them, and personally I believe it takes away from that first magical moment that you enter a venue, or sample a dish. I will admit to be being a fussy eater (I don’t like seafood), and I had some nervousness about what I might be presented with as part of the 7-course journey. However, when you have opportunity to discover something new, I say jump in with both feet and try it.
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If you want spoilers for the courses and wine served then do jump to the bottom, otherwise read on for a snapshot of the experience and my personal impressions of it.
An Impressive Performance
Our host for the 90-minute experience, Magdalena, met us with such exuberance, charm and flair that you instantly knew you were in for a memorable time. Pre-dinner cocktails (exclusively created for 360) were served, and we were encouraged to have memorabilia photos taken.
We were lead, by Magdalena and some fabulous musicians, through The Catch (speciality restaurant). Normally the restaurant would be full of diners; who will be turning their heads to see what the fuss is about, who these people are, and where they’re going. Most will never find out, because 360 really is that exclusive.
The immersive and personalised magic begins as soon as you’re seated. The circular room seats 20 people, so it’s a very intimate experience. Around the entirety of the room is a 360º screen, which uses 4K cinematography, and even your table takes part in the action.
From the warm welcome, we transitioned into the heart of the experience…
Ever dreamt of dining amidst the lavender fields of Provence or sipping wine from the Amalfi Coast?
Essentially you’re invited to cruise the Mediterranean with Brooke Shields, as she determines that she wants to “slow down” and truly experience the sights, sounds and tastes of the Mediterranean – something that we all hope to do when we travel. As she travels from Santorini to Naples, the Amalfi Coast, Barcelona, Provence and more, the courses reflect the specialities of the regions. We meet (through immersive video sequences) the people behind some of the ingredients and recipes, and you can sincerely feel their passion and pride in what they produce.
The dishes are stunningly produced. The wine pairings are exquisite and intriguing (and exclusively served in 360). The music, sights, sounds, production (and smells!) are delightfully orchestrated. The entire experience has been perfectly curated and it certainly left me feeling emotional (in a good way!) and nostalgic for some of the Mediterranean regions that I’ve previously visited.
How Can You Try 360?
Princess Cruises offer this incredible culinary journey aboard just 2 ships; Enchanted Princess and Discovery Princess. The idea of the experience is to give guests a taste of the Mediterranean, no matter where they’re sailing in the world (and perhaps encourage them to book their next cruise to the Mediterranean!). Once Enchanted Princess leaves the Mediterranean at the end of the Summer 2023 season, she will head for the Caribbean; whilst Discovery Princess will alternate seasons between Alaska and West Coast USA & Mexican Riviera.
360 debuted on Enchanted Princess in November 2022, and until now has only been available as an enticing, invitation-only inclusion for guests in any of the 46 suites onboard the ships. Coming up to a year later, word has spread… images of the highly instagrammable dishes have escaped the delightful circular venue, and videos of some of the experience have been shared. The appeal of the experience is massive, and it seems foodies are desperate to have a slice of the action.
And For Everyone Else?
While initially exclusive to suite guests, the 360 experience is now opening its doors to others. Here’s how you can be part of this magical dining journey…
The good news is that people staying in Mini-suites, Balcony, Oceanview and Inside staterooms will now be able to reserve a space for the particularly great value price tag of just $149 per person, although the priority for space in the venue will still go to Suite guests.
If you’re onboard, get your reservations in straight away for the chance to experience the extraordinary! Alternatively, passengers who reserve a future suite accommodation on any Princess ship at non-refundable rates will also be invited to the dining experience.
The next ship in the fleet, Sun Princess, will NOT feature 360: An Extraordinary Experience; but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be an immersive dining experience… possibly more news to come on this.
Is it worth it for $149 per person?
100%. This is an amazing culinary adventure. There are similar venues/concepts around the world. In fact there’s something almost identical available in Dubai, which starts at around £550 per person, and I think that’s before wine pairings!
Do not read on unless you want to know exactly what will be served to you.
We’re in Greece, in the Pelopennese region, learning about the benefits of olive oil, and some of their techniques of farming and manufacture, from Tassos, an olive farmer.
Olives, mini pita breads, olive oil and some excellent tzatziki.
The screens move on to the iconic buildings and landscape of Oia, Santorini, where fishing is still a strong tradition.
Grilled octopus with feta cheese, pepper puree and pickled red onions.
Onto to Naples, and the vineyards of Vesuvius. We enjoy the first wine pairing of Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio, whilst the vintner explains, on screen, the techniques from as far back as Roman time, that are still used today.
This delicious wine is served with a delectable dish of fresh mozzarella di bufala, tomato and balsamic glaze.
From there we (Brooke Shields) hitch a ride on a classic Vespa and head off down the Amalfi Coast to a glorious lemon orchard, and to see the family’s Nonna, who shares her recipe for Pasta al Limone.
The second wine pairing (make sure you finish your glass of white wine!) is a wonderful surprise! The screen changes to divers exploring a ship wreck and the sea bed of the coast of Catalonia, so your first thought of what’s to come is potentially another seafood course.
You’d be wrong. Cue an introduction to the owners of ElixSea, which is a grenache-based red wine, aged, rather surprisingly, underwater! Turns out that the more turbulent the waters, the better the quality of wine! Personally, I don’t like red wine, but I really enjoyed this!
This came with a perfectly sized plate of serrano ham, spicy chorizo and pa amb tomàquet.
The Spanish producers include edible flower growers, prawn fishermen and a truffle hunter (with a cute dog!).
Here we have a beef tenderloin, prawns, grilled aubergine, carrot and a knob of butter cleverly disguised as a truffle!
We finish strong in France, and the lavender fields of Provence. As the bees (that share the fields) start buzzing over your table, we realise that honey will be integral to the last course too.
I am buzzing about dessert! A lavender and honey mousse, accompanied by very cute jelly bees, a white chocolate ring, and (I saved this until last) a honey filled white chocolate!
We’re still in France, so we should celebrate the journey that we’ve been on like the French would… with Champagne!
Ready to taste the Mediterranean on the high seas? Find your Princess Cruises holiday today, or call our Cruise Experts on 02380 658 386, and discover a dining experience you’ll never forget.