Until this past September, I'd been on two cruises in my life. One was pretty fun but nothing exceptional and the other was just meh. I love the idea of cruising and I enjoy being out at open sea. But the bad food, overcrowded everything and feeling like we were being herded everywhere just wasn't really my thing.
So I decided that cruising was just not for me.
This past September I had the fortunate offer to try cruising one more time. The offer came from Princess Cruises for a 4-night cruise to Santa Barbara, CA and Ensenada, Mexico and would mark their first-ever culinary cruise. How could I say no when “culinary” was the theme??
To top it off, Cat Cora and Suzanne Tracht would host not just the cruise, but also do a press tour for just our small group and a handful of lucky guests who had winning lotto tickets. We're talking down-home and personal with these two inspiring women and chefs.
I won't even make you wait until the end to tell you if my mind has been changed. I'll put it this way: I spent an hour last night searching for Princess Cruises for New Year's Eve (I ran into a friend last week who said she did a NYE cruise once and it was amazing; doesn't that sound like a fun thing to do??). I've likely waited too long but I'm hoping to snag a last-minute spot. If I do, you'll be sure to see pics all over my Instagram!
The theme for our cruise was “Come Back New” and I can tell you that it's almost impossible not to after waking up each morning to the sounds of the ocean. That one small thing was enough to make sure we were relaxed. Princess took care of the rest for us!
We were on the Ruby Princess and it was an absolute dream. The ship was easy to navigate and was not only gorgeous (and so clean!) but they always had something fun going on to spoil us.
The Ruby Princess is gorgeous! #ComeBackNew A photo posted by Kristy Bernardo (@thewickednoodle) on
I brought my friend Kimberly along and we were really impressed with how friendly, organized and upbeat the staff was. There was never a “no” or “we can't do that” and it was always said with a smile. Even the spa (which had the best massages!) had a staff that was sweet and friendly. That's huge for me, being from the Midwest. I'm happiest when the people around me are happy, too, and everyone I spoke to on my Princess Cruise raved about what a great line it is to work for.
I'm going to be sharing my favorite highlights with you over the next few days. Being a chef and foodie, and besides the overall incredible fun we had, what I'll remember most is first the food. It was SO GOOD on this cruise! Not just good food despite being on a cruise, it was just FABULOUS FOOD that I would be elated to enjoy anywhere. Second would be the experience of the Chef's Table – WOW, is that amazing!! Next would be our excursions to two fabulous wineries, one in Santa Barbara and the other in Ensenada, Mexico; both were outstanding. And last, but certainly not least, my time spent with Cat Cora and Suzanne Tracht, both lovely, inspiring women. There was also a surprise cruise guest from The Love Boat that I'll reveal in the next few days!