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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Princess Pleasures

In an effort to dine at all 3000 San Francisco restaurants(800 and counting) and to visit all 600 wineries(350 and counting), my wife Linda, Hall Of Fame son MJ and myself recently had the pleasure of cruising on the Princess Cruise line, Grand Princess Cruise Ship to the Mexican Riviera for a Christmas Holiday cruise. We cruised  from San Francisco, to Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Ensenada and back to San Francisco. Our favorite benefit was that the cruise departed and returned to the great "city by the bay" with no airports to deal with during the busy holiday season. In addition, it was a treat sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge and a photographers dream with the spectacular background of the city and Oakland Bay Bridge.

The weather, entertainment, service and food  were all fantastic on this memorable trip. We had the pleasure to meet with Executive Chef Joel Directo who trained under two famous chefs - Charley Palmer and Alain Ducasse.  

Chef Joel is from the Philippines. He surprised us by serving two special Philippine dishes with our dinner one evening. Both of these were the national dishes of the Philippines and their excellence derives from the balance of flavors, in the alchemy of the slow cooking process   First was Pancit, which is a combination of fresh noodles, shrimp, vegetables and Philippine spices and is a staple second to rice.  This dish is always served during Fiesta, birthday parties, and other special occasions.  Next was a dish called "Adobo" which is a crazy delicious slow cooked chicken and pork dish with a seasoned sauce. Whether consumed in Manila's heat or on a Princess Cruise, these dishes hold the power to change moods and alter dining habits!  The food was not only delicious but the presentation rivaled a Michelangelo work of art.

We attended a cooking seminar that Joel presented.  He prepared four wonderful dishes and gave us a lot of information about the inner workings of the food service and kitchen preparation and cooking of the food for 2400 people each day.  Joel and his large staff of over 400 serves 15,000 meals each day that includes 1700 pounds of fish, and 1,400 pounds of poultry, 1,700 pounds of beef, 1,400 pounds of pork, 300 pounds of veal and 200 pounds of lamb! Now that is a BIG protein order!

To add to all that  there are 1,600 pounds of salad, 400 pounds of shrimp, 13 gallons of mayonnaise, and 1,500 sandwiches served.  500 pounds of pasta, 2,700 pounds of potatoes, 2,500 pounds of vegetables and 550 pounds of soup are served daily.  The bakery uses 1,500 pounds of flour daily to make sweet rolls, bread rolls, bread sticks, pizza, croissants and biscuits.

In the pastry shop 6000 assorted pastries, 100 gallons of ice cream and 300 cakes and pies are served daily.
400 pounds of butter, and 6,000 pounds of fresh fruits are served daily.  In the coffee pantry 470 gallons of coffee, 62 gallons of coffee cream, and 400 pounds of sugar are consumed daily.

57 people are in the dishwashing area cleaning 70,000 dishes and 21,500 glasses each day.

Although these numbers seem shocking, the real shocker to all of it was the food was sensational! It was fresh and beautifully presented  buffet or sit down style.  The service was prompt and always friendly with servers who were willing to help with anything your mouth or heart desired.
There was also a full wine and drink list.  We chose to bring wine from our cellar for a modest $15 corking fee. It was really a holiday celebration to drink our favorite wines for 8 nights in a row! We were very happy with our decision to bring our wine.

 In conclusion, this is a great way to plan a future Holiday Trip.  Not only do you avoid cooking and cleaning up, but the entertainment for all members of the family is spectacular.  Las Vegas styled shows were on twice each evening and music was buzzing in all 5 of the ship bars.  There are family games and informational presentations as well as a huge big screen movie theatre over the outdoor swim pool.  The gym and Rumba classes also provide a great way to work off all the luscious desserts you may have sampled the night before.
 The Holiday spirit was alive and well and the Magic of Christmas was bursting on board this floating resort.
 Princess line Holiday Cruise rocks.😋😋😋