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Repeates

Specialty Dining Reservations on Caribbean Princess

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We are looking at booking the specialty dining restaurants on CP for our upcoming cruise in June.  Wondering if anyone has a favorite or feedback on the restaurants?  Is it even necessary to pre-book before the cruise, or can we just make reservations once we are there? Is it better to book these on non-formal nights and eat in the main dining room on formal nights?  Also trying to figure out what time the production shows are so that we can plan our dining reservations before those.  Thanks!

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Sometimes restaurants fill up, so I would book at least one in advance if you really want to go.  I prefer Chops.  I am not a fan of the current Sabatini menu, but that is an individual preference.  

I ate a Chops the first night then day 2 tried to make reservations for later in the week and they had nothing left at any time.

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You can make reservations onboard or before, whichever you want.

4 minutes ago, Repeates said:

Is it better to book these on non-formal nights and eat in the main dining room on formal nights? 

We usually book these on formal nights to avoid the formal night dress, but it's really up to you.

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The two main specialty restaurants are the Crown Grill @ $29/pp and Sabatini's Italian Trattoria @ $25/pp. There will also be the Crab Shack held some evenings which is also $29/pp. The Caribbean also has Planks and Steamers @ $12/pp.

You can find menus on line

https://www.princess.com/ships-and-experience/food-and-dining/specialty-restaurants/

https://www.princess.com/ships-and-experience/ships/products/dining-specialty/planks-bbq.html

https://www.princess.com/ships-and-experience/ships/products/dining-specialty/steamers-seafood.html

https://www.princess.com/ships-and-experience/ships/products/dining-specialty/crab-shack.html

We enjoy the Crown Grill, but of course it's up to your likes and dislikes. You do not have to pre-reserve. On boarding day you can call the dining line or visit the restaurant in the afternoon. You can not pre-reserve the Crab Shack, Planks or Steamers. If you pre-reserve you will be charged at the time of booking. If you wait until you are on board then the charge will go to your onboard account and net against any OBC that you may have. Some people book on formal nights so that they do not have to dress up. Sabatinis & the Crown Grill are smart casual all the time, the others are casual. Some people want to go to the dining room on formal nights to get the lobster tail usually served on the 2nd formal night. It's really up to you.

Theater shows are normally like 7:15/7:30 and then 9:15/9:30. There are lots of other activities throughout the evening which may include a comic or singer in Explorer's Lounge.

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Posted (edited)

skynight pretty much nails the nuts & bolts of it.

 

From an editorial perspective my wife and I just got off the Caribbean Princess on Saturday; we ate once at each Crown Grill and Sabbatini's, as we typically do every cruise we take.   We were on last July as well and did the same thing; one night at each.  We thoroughly enjoyed the meals at both places and felt each was worth their respective fee.  I pre-reserved both since we had specific nights in mind and didn't want to chance it, but in past experiences I've not had trouble making a reservation for 2 once I got on board.  I've never tried for same day or even next day though, so I can't really speak to how far in advance they fully book up.  Unless they limit the number of patrons at one time in Sabbatini's it seems hard to imagine having any trouble getting reservations there even same day or walk-in for that matter.  This is just based on my own observations of how many people have been dining there in the 5:30-7:00pm timeframe each time we've gone....maybe 50-60% capacity.  My sample size isn't huge, but I really don't feel like I've ever seen Sabbatini's bursting at the seams for free space. Crown Grill on the other hand seemed a good deal more filled up at any given moment.

 

Going to these on formal nights is a great idea if you're trying to dodge getting dressed up but still want more than just lido food.  I didn't realize until this year that this was even a possibility.  Before I figured it out by reading around here I assumed Sabbatini's/Crown grill followed the same dress code as the MDR's.  We ate at Sabbatini's in July in formal wear.  Should have gotten our pictures taken and then gone back up to change back into more comfortable clothes for dinner.  Makes total sense that they don't [have the dress code], I just didn't research it.

 

Passed on Planks/Steamers this time around.  These have only been available for our last 2 cruises and we did try Planks last year.  It was decent as I recall.  We didn't intentionally avoid it this year, it just didn't end up happening/wasn't that high on the priority list.  I do wish we'd given Planks another run; kind of an oversight and missed opportunity for a little more variety.  If you've eaten much BBQ across the southern states/texas this won't crack the top of your list for BBQ joints but that doesn't mean it's terrible - I still recommend giving it a shot for something different in the mix.  Should not have a problem getting a reservation or probably even getting seated without one.  You cannot make reservations in advance of the cruise for planks or steamers; you'll have to do it once on board.  Also oddly enough they can't give you a reservation at the restaurant itself...I found out the hard way if you ask the person manning the entrance for a reservation for a later time they will just refer you to the main phone number to dial for all reservations.  Steamers menu just doesn't speak to me at all.  I don't dislike all seafood but I'm admittedly a lightweight in what seafood I'll eat...which is essentially just not too-fishy fish, shrimp, lobster, scallops.  There are only a few options at Steamers and while the fried plate option is pretty close, every choice has something I won't eat as part of it....mussels, clams, etc.  I also dislike being difficult with a custom order as much as I dislike ordering food I know I'm not going to eat, so given the vast array of other options on board we just move along; no big deal.

 

Big thumbs up to the premium Ernesto burger at The Salty Dog, which was also available later in the week as a free option in the MDR.  Someone correct me if I'm wrong - this showed up later in the week, correct?  I feel like I looked for it earlier in the week in the MDR based on cruisecritic reports that it was available there, but it wasn't.....then it was there a few days later.  Similarly there were crown grill steaks available for a premium charge in the MDR at some point during the week but it didn't seem like it was every night.  I feel like the premium charge they put for the crown grill steak in MDR wasn't that great of a value.  I want to say it was $19, but I think that's basically just the steak dish...as opposed to $25 in CG itself for the full array of courses.  Please someone revise my price estimate if I'm off there.

Edited by PMGS247

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5 hours ago, Tak8 said:

Sometimes restaurants fill up, so I would book at least one in advance if you really want to go.  I prefer Chops.  I am not a fan of the current Sabatini menu, but that is an individual preference.  

I ate a Chops the first night then day 2 tried to make reservations for later in the week and they had nothing left at any time.

Chops??

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59 minutes ago, JF - retired RRT said:

Chops??

Think the confusion is because the OP used Caribbean Princess in the title but in the description use CP (Sea Princess) and the response was to CP vice CB (Caribbean Princess).

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6 hours ago, Tak8 said:

Sometimes restaurants fill up, so I would book at least one in advance if you really want to go.  I prefer Chops.  I am not a fan of the current Sabatini menu, but that is an individual preference.  

I ate a Chops the first night then day 2 tried to make reservations for later in the week and they had nothing left at any time.

Chops is a restaurant on Royal Caribbean not Princess - did you mean Crown Grill ???

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Memoak: Yes, I meant Crown Grill which is better than Chops.

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I am not a foodie by any stretch of the imagination, and am not at all impressed by the new Sabatinis menu.  Give me a plate of lasagna or veal anyday.  Is this new menu a hit with cruisers, or not?

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20 hours ago, stoneharborlady said:

I am not a foodie by any stretch of the imagination, and am not at all impressed by the new Sabatinis menu.  Give me a plate of lasagna or veal anyday.  Is this new menu a hit with cruisers, or not?

 

I was a fan.  My choices....

 

Lamb Skewer

Lamb Ravioli

Veal Marsala

Whatever they call that that ridiculous fishbowl chocolate dessert

 

All four were excellent.  Lamb Ravioli's surprised me as my favorite thing I ate all cruise...right there with crown grill filet & lobster tail.  At first I thought I could have gone for another lamb skewer it didn't seem like a ton of food but considering I felt like I was going to burst by the time we walked out I can't really complain about not enough food.

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