A look back at my experience sailing with Princess Cruises on a 4-Day California Coastal Culinary Cruise with Iron Chef Cat Cora aboard the Ruby Princess ship.
Last month I had the incredible opportunity to sail with Princess Cruises on the Ruby Princess for a four-day California coastal cruise along the Pacific. Special guests Iron Chef Cat Cora and Suzanne Tracht of Jar Restaurant in LA were along for the ride providing unique culinary experiences throughout the trip.
In addition to two celebrity chefs, there were also eight other bloggers on board including many of whom I consider dear friends including Aggie, Kristen, Bree, Kristy, Karly, Deb, Christin and Shelly.
The icing on the cake? I got to bring along my college BFF, Briana, who is married to my friend Kevin who I met my freshman year at Boston University. They were both in our wedding party and now live in Boston with their two boys close in age to our boys. Having a week of quality time together would prove to be invaluable.
Our first full day was at sea so we had time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast before attending the live cooking demo with Cat Cora and Suzanne Tracht. They each prepared several dishes made with classic California flavors and seasonal ingredients including an incredible celery apple salad I hope to recreate soon. After the cooking demo Cat hosted a book signing and took photographs with guests on board.
That afternoon we explored the rest of the ship and relaxed by the pool. I intentionally left my laptop at home so that I could truly absorb the experience and be in the moment.
Looking back, I am so grateful for these little moments of time together where we could reconnect, reminisce over a drink and catch up on life as busy working moms.
That evening, we attended the Captain’s Welcome Party and champagne waterfall in the Piazza which is the central atrium within the ship lined with shops, restaurants and live music performers. It is also home to the International Cafe where I could get my espresso fix 24/7. Such the life, right?
The next day we arrived in Santa Barbara for our first excursion. Cat Cora would be hosting us for our visit to Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard. More to come on this experience in a future post.
After a day of wine tasting in Santa Barbara, we headed back to the boat to get cleaned up for the Chef’s Table, an intimate one-of-a-kind dining experience I will never forget. This exclusive behind-the-scenes event brought us back of house and immediately took me back to my years working in the hotel industry and catering large events.
After touring the kitchen, sampling appetizers and meeting with the chef, we headed to our private table in the dining room for a 10-course dinner including raspberry sorbet drizzled with vodka and a mushroom risotto I won’t soon forget.
Just when we thought we couldn’t eat another bite or take another sip of wine, it was time for our next stop and second excursion in Ensenada, Mexico.
We got on the shuttle and drove about an hour to Monte Xanic for a winery tour and tasting led by the most handsome tour guide I ever did see.
After sampling the incredible Mexican wine, we meandered down to a little lake for a seafood inspired luncheon prepared by a local chef. I couldn’t resist taking this photo of the beautiful Deb capturing the moment.
As an avid seafood lover, I was blown away by each dish that came out, one after another, each better than the last. We dined on smoked oysters 3-ways, local abalone, quail caught just hours earlier and more. It was food sent from the gods and I soaked up every single second.
One our way back to the boat, our bus driver made a special stop in downtown Ensenada so that we could sample the local fish tacos and mango margaritas. More to come on these fresh fruit margaritas soon. Trust me, they will be worth the wait.
Overall, this four day cruise was the perfect amount of time to feel refreshed, revitalized and energized to #ComeBackNew. Stay tuned in the weeks to come for more about my recent adventures with Princess Cruises including tips for staying healthy and active while cruising!
Have you ever cruised before? What are your favorite itineraries? I’m already planning my next trip!
Your passport is waiting.
Disclosure: Princess Cruise Line has compensated me for my time to share my recent experiences on board. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Lemon Bowl possible. All thoughts are my own.
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