I love cruise vacations and most of all I love experiences, earlier in the fall, I visited the Sapphire Princess while the ship was in port in Vancouver. Fortunate to have been invited by Princess Cruises for a culinary delights media tour this was one very cool and enjoyable experience.

After being cleared through security our group boarded the ship and visited the Piazza (a newly created food/lounging hub on the ship) where they feature an espresso bar café along with an International café both open 24 hours a day during the cruise. Most of the food offered at these cafes is complimentary with your passenger fare, like most cruise lines espresso coffees do carry an extra charge, though they offer an espresso beverage card/package which seemed the way to go if you love your specialty coffees.

We then enjoyed some delicious eats that included some of their pizzas as well as some Panini sandwiches at Alfredo’s, a great hideway on the ship to eat.

After our 2nd tasting lunch, the culinary team which included the Director of Food & Beverage as well as the Executive Chef we were given a guided tour through the galley, behind the scenes in all of the kitchens, one of my favourite places on a cruise ship. Here it was no exception, they have quite the food operation aboard the ship to feed the thousands of people each day while at sea.

I had the opportunity to watch the chefs in action as they gave us all a little tutorial in to making bread. This was followed by a demonstration with the Executive Pastry Chef for their special Princess Chocolate Hearts dessert.

Our next dining experience was at the Chefs Table and this was a spectacular experience with veal chops, steak, the Princess dessert and wine. Executive Chef Nino Palma presides over the Chef’s Table explaining each of the courses, while the head Sommelier describes each of the wines in detail. While on board any of their cruises on this ship, they offer the Chef’s Table Package for an additional $95 cost and it’s well worth it so go ahead and splurge.

Our last dining experience was next and it was a chance to tour and visit Sabatini’s Italian Restaurant. Here the chefs prepared our pasta and risotto dishes for us all to watch as we liked. This restaurant was beautifully appointed, warm and stylish room with its Italian theme, this is a restaurant I would be dining at a couple of times during a cruise. We were served home-made ravioli, lobster risotto along with dessert.

After our dining experiences we had some time to walk it off with a tour around the ship, one of the outdoor highlights on the top deck is the giant suspended screen where guests can enjoy movies at night, with popcorn and blankets for a cozy experience.

There are several pools and jacuzzi’s on the various decks inside and outside and when the ship is in port, you can enjoy wonderful views of the city, in this case you get to see Vancouver in all its glory. Ready, set, it’s time to set sail with Princess Cruises in 2013!