Monday, 20 June 2016

SHARE By Curtis Stone dining & Lotus Spa pampering onboard the Sun Princess

Princess Cruises' promise of Come Back New is so accurate! It is exactly how I felt after only one short day of being treated like royalty aboard the newly refurbished Sun Princess. I can only imagine how relaxed, refreshed, pampered and 'new' the passengers of a full cruise would feel!

I was so excited to recently be invited to an exclusive culinary immersion day aboard the Sun Princess with a handful of other bloggers to experience internationally acclaimed Aussie celebrity chef Curtis Stone's first local restaurant SHARE by Curtis Stone and also to experience first hand the state of the art pampering and relaxation facilities on board. Let me tell you right up front they were AMAZING!
 
The Sun Princess at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Sydney

After boarding the Sun Princess mid morning our culinary experience started straight away as we were greeted with a tray of mouth watering master chocolatier Norman Love pastries.

It's definitely a good day when the hardest decision you need to make is which chocolate pastry to eat!

Norman Love Pastry Selection

My tastebuds were more than happy with my choice of the Raspberry Chocolate Pinwheel which I later discovered was the most popular pastry in the Norman Love range. As if it doesn't look good enough in the photo below, let me share with you that it contains melt in the mouth chocolate mousse hidden under those lush raspberries. This chocoholic was in chocolate heaven!

Norman Love Raspberry Pinwheel Pastry

The Sun Princess pastry chefs don't just make the above Norman Love chocolate pastries, they also frequently create new special cakes which they add to the menu such as this decadent banana and hazelnut cake that Chef Rocky proudly presented us with. If only Chef Rocky could relocate off the ship and into my kitchen!

Banana & Hazelnut Cake

After our indulgent morning tea it was time to have a tour of the Sun Princess. The Sun Princess is enormous! Back when she was launched in 1995 she was actually the world's biggest cruise ship.


Photo Credit: Sun Princess

Even today, together with her sister Princess ships, the Sun Princess remains the largest passenger ship to ever cruise under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  

So exactly how big is the Sun Princess you're probably wondering. Let me tell you. The Sun Princess is 261 metres long, 32 metres wide, has a height of 49 metres above the waterline and weighs 77,000 tonnes. That fits my definition of enormous!

Walking two laps of the Sun Princess' outdoor wraparound promenade deck, which takes you right around the ship, equals 1 km!

The Sun Princess contains 14 passenger decks with 975 staterooms and can carry 2010 passengers, in addition to her 924 crew.

The latest refurbishment of the Sun Princess occurred in April 2016 so she is looking the best she ever has! 

During this multi million dollar refurbishment the Sun Princess became the first Australian-based ship to offer the new Princess Luxury bed, designed in conjunction with US sleep experts and including a plush five centimetre thick mattress topper on top of a 23 centimetre mattress. Yes, I did have a test lie down and yes, I could have blissfully fallen asleep on it!

The Sun Princess also features 4 pools, 5 whirlpool spas, 2 main dining rooms each with their own galley, SHARE by Curtis Stone and 6 other eateries including a steakhouse, seafood bar and New Zealand Natural Ice Cream outlet, 2 main show lounges, 7 lounges/bars, a sanctuary retreat, a movies under the stars outdoor movie screen, duty free shops, deluxe health centre and spa, beauty salon, sports deck, sports court inside the funnel, business centre, photo shop, art gallery, youth centre, library, card room and casino! You can see what I meant when I said the Sun Princess is enormous!

Sun Princess Pool Deck

As everyone knows, eating is a huge part of cruising. I was fascinated to find out that every seven days, Sun Princess guests consume 40 tonnes of food and drink including 10,000 bottles of wine and champagne, 10,000 cans of soft drink, 2500 litres of milk, 2400 bottles of water, 25,000 eggs, 500kg of bacon, 1.4t of chicken, 500kg of lettuce, 1.3t of rice and 375kg of coffee!

That is a lot of food and drink!

After our tour of the ship we were lead to the on board Lotus Spa to experience first hand the state of the art pampering that occurs on the Sun Princess. The variety of treatments available is vast, with something to suit everyone. There is even a chocolate body scrub treatment available!

Sun Princess Lotus Spa Therapist Marianna 

I was lucky to be pampered with a mini facial using luxurious Elemis products by the lovely Marianna, followed by an arm and hand massage using amazingly scented chocolate oil! For the second time this day I was transported to chocolate heaven! I felt soooo unbelievably relaxed and blissed out afterwards. 

Luxurious Elemis Products Used In My Mini Facial

As if all the above were not amazing enough, the highlight of the day was awaiting me next - dining in the new SHARE by Curtis Stone restaurant on board. 

SHARE by Curtis Stone is the only local opportunity in Australia to taste Curtis Stone's restaurant cuisine.

As the name suggests, the SHARE menu and restaurant has been designed to encourage diners to connect with each other and share holiday memories over a delicious meal.

I love the concept of this restaurant, namely that you choose a variety of dishes from the menu and then share them with the others at your table. There is nothing better to bond over than shared, good quality food. This is how friendships and relationships are strengthened,and good memories are created!

SHARE By Curtis Stone Restaurant On Board the Sun Princess

Everything in SHARE, from the decor to the memorabilia to the music playlist, has been specifically selected by Curtis Stone.

I wish I was an expert food photographer or a food blogger with the foodie vocabulary to do justice to the amazing Curtis Stone cuisine I experienced in SHARE. Unfortunately I'm not, but let me still share (pun intended) some of my favourites that I sampled from the menu with you and please just imagine it being that much better than I photographed or put into words. It really was THAT good!

Firstly, here's a sample of some of the tasty goodies from the chatcuterie and cheese section of the menu including Hungarian salami, Bethmale cheese and olives. The attention to detail especially with the mustard seeds was astounding! My sweet tooth also loved the honey comb on this plate.

A selection of goodies from the 
Chatcuterie & Cheese section of the menu

The 17 ingredients of the shrimp with lemon gel, turnip, citrus salt and brioche dish, including three different types of radish all combined beautifully to create the most exquisite and refreshing taste.

Out of all the dishes I tasted this was my overall favourite. The wafer of brioche was so fine it literally melted on my tongue and the lemon gel left such a lovely taste in my mouth.


Shrimp with Lemon Gel, Turnip, Citrus Salt and Brioche.

This tomato with burrato, oregano and arugula dish had a lovely rich flavour.

Tomato with burrata, oregano and arugula.

This roasted crab legs dish with Tobanjan aioli and clarified  butter is reportedly Curtis Stone's favourite on the menu. Being a seafood lover myself I absolutely loved this dish too!


Roasted Crab Legs with Tobanjan Aioli and Clarified Butter

The beef cheek pie with porcini mushrooms was also amazing! The large pieces of beef in this pie were so tender and the gravy, which was poured into the pie at the table, elevated the dish to a completely new level!


Beef Cheek Pie with Porcini Mushrooms

The potato gratin with black winter truffle and cream was another delightful winter dish to share.

Potato Gratin with Black Winter Truffle and Cream

Turbot with Gruyere crumb and spinach. Once again this dish was melt in the mouth delicious! It had a really delicate flavour. I hadn't ever tasted turbot before. After some research I found out that it's a flatfish native to the waters of the North Atlantic, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. 


Turbot with Gruyere Crumb and Spinach

Dessert was delicious! The Tarte Aux Citron with raspberry granola and meringue was the perfect way to finish off the meal. Or so I thought until ....

Tarte Aux Citron with Raspberry Granola and Meringue

.... the dessert piece de resistance, the best bread pudding I have ever tasted! 


Warm Bread Pudding with Currants and Toffee Sauce

I almost didn't taste this bread pudding thinking I was already full, and wanting the last taste in my mouth to be the amazing Citron Tart pictured above but boy, am I glad that I gave in to temptation and had some pudding as well!  It is seriously the best bread pudding ever! The rich toffee sauce poured over the pudding at the table is absolutely to die for! If you are lucky enough to be cruising on the Sun Princess you HAVE to taste this pudding!!!


Warm Bread Pudding With Rich Toffee Sauce 

Although I only experienced a day on the Sun Princess and looked on in envy as she set sail to Vanuatu that evening, one day was enough for me to 'Come Back New', feeling relaxed, refreshed, pampered, and yes, 'new'! Imagine how the passengers currently cruising on her will feel when they return!

Thank you so much to Princess Cruises and Fuel Communications for this amazing experience!

If you are wanting more information about Princess Cruises' Sun Princess click here.


Have You Ever Been On a Cruise?

Is a Cruise Your Ideal Type of Holiday?

xxx
Ingrid.

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I was a guest of Princess Cruises for this day on board the Sun Princess. 
All opinions are my own. Full disclosure policy here.

44 comments:

  1. That looks amazing! I'd go on the Sun Princess just for that pie! Epic!

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  2. The food looks incredible. I would have loved this experience, as would anyone really! I am hungry now.

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    1. It was an incredible experience and one I won't forget!

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    1. The food was amazing! I'm tempted to talk my hubby into going on a cruise for our next holiday, not least of all to experience this food again!

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  4. It was fantastic to meet you Ingrid! Wasn't it a fabulous day? The food was incredible but my favourite thing would have to have been the warm bread pudding with toffee sauce served up at SHARE by Curtis Stone - OMG best thing I have tasted ever!

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    1. It was definitely the best bread pudding I've ever eaten!

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  5. That Banana & Hazelnut Cake looks delicious!!

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    1. It looks like a piece of art! Almost too perfect to ruin by eating it - lol!

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  6. Looks like a whole lot of fun. Wish Perth did something on this scale.

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    1. It was a fun day, showing me what fun a Princess cruise would be!

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  7. wowww looks like such a fantastic day full of good!! I am so jealous!!

    Lily not Louise

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    1. It was an amazing day! I'm now wanting to book a Princess cruise to experience even more!

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  8. Sounds like such a fantastic day of tasty treats and pampering. Lucky you! I'll take a chocolate body scrub treatment please.

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    1. The chocolate oil smelt divine enough, I imagine the chocolate scrub would smell even more divine!

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  9. Oh my mouth is watering at the pics of all those delicious goodies. Just one of the things I love about cruising - yep, just call me the cruise queen - I've been on 5 and planning another one next year!

    Visiting from #teamIBOT x

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    1. Where are you planning on cruising to next year Janet?

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  10. Sure have been on a cruise before! I've been lucky to go on quite a few ships, including P&O's Pacific Aria which I went on in April/May & had a ball - would utterly recommend going to Salt if you go on one of their ships because the gooey chocolate tart with caramelised banana, honeycomb & ice cream is TO DIE FOR! Even thinking about it now is making me drool...

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    1. Gooey chocolate tart sounds so good!

      Hehe - so many of our best holiday memories revolve around good food!

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  11. Wow all that food looks really amazing! I love cruises, but I have only been on two so far. Sometime in the next year I will go cruising to the south pacific for my honeymoon. Not sure which cruise line to go with, I have been once on Carnival and once on Royal Caribbean

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  12. Oh my goodness, it looks like you had an amazing time. All those incredible food photos are making me hungry. They look sooo good! I've never been on a cruise, I'm too scared of getting seasick!

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    1. You can always take seasickness tablets. That's what my daughter did when we went on a cruise a couple of years ago. The rest of the family was fine and didn't need them.

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  13. That potato gratin looks pretty delish!

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  14. I'm a secret fan of shows like Mighty Ships and I *love* seeing behind the scenes things... I've been tempted for a while now to do a 3 day cruise as a taster :)

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    1. It sounds like a good idea doing a taster cruise to see if you'd enjoy a longer one.

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  15. This look fantastic. I have never been on a ship and just reading the enormity of it is astounding. My mum has been on a few and loves them. Very jealous Ingrid.

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  16. Ingrid, what a wonderful experience! This has made me want to go on a cruise. The food looks fantastic and the ship is beautiful. So happy for you that you were able to do this!

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    1. Thanks Lucie. It was an amazing experience and has me craving to go on a cruise soon too!

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  17. Since we went on our first cruise as a family (in the Caribbean, as you do!) we are determined to go back again one day. What an amazing experience for you guys!!!

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    1. Wow! What a place to have your first cruise. My first was in the Pacific.

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  18. I've only been on one cruise, but it was amazing! And you're right you definitely come back feeling amazing! When you first mentioned the Share restaurant, I wasn't sure I could do it. I'm a little selfish when it comes to food, but! Seeing all that you got to try, I think I could change my normal ways for all of that!

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    1. There's no rule you MUST share. You can always order for yourself and eat your whole choice yourself .... BUT by sharing with others you'd get to try more dishes. There's no way I'd be able to eat a whole Warm Bread Pudding by myself!

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  19. I can just imagine being there! I really need a day like that! I've never been on a big ship

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    1. The day was absolutely amazing! It's made me want to book a whole cruise!

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  20. Oh my gosh, those desserts! How lucky are you? I'm glad you had such an amazing experience. Sounds like such fun!

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    1. All the food I tasted including the desserts were amazing! Based on the dessert photos you've posted on your blog and Instagram Di I suspect you would love the food on board the Sun Princess, especially the Curtis Stone SHARE food and the Norman Love chocolate pastries!

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  21. All I can say is wow wow wow! You seem to score such fabulous invites Ingrid - well it's no wonder as this is a brilliant write-up. Congrats hon!

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    1. Thanks Kat! It was a "WOW" day that's for sure! I don't really get that many invites but I do write about all the invites I receive and this was a fabulous one indeed! I feel very lucky and spoilt!

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  22. Looks like an amazing time! Have a great week xx

    Blessings,
    Edye | Http://gracefulcoffee.wordpress.com

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  23. Ingrid! OMG! I'm now hungry and craving a get away trip on one of these cruises! I'm super jealous that you got to experience this, but happy that you did so that you were able to let us live through your journey! Tal xo

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