The Traveling Steve's

Belize City by Day, and The Chef’s Table on the Sky Princess by Night

Note: Steve (DOS) and I are both back from our 7 day Caribbean cruise on the Sky Princess. I’m continuing this blog post from our next port-of-call in Belize.

Day Four: Port of Belize

We started our day aboard as usual in Sabatini’s Restaurant; a specialty restaurant perk for full suite guests. The service and food are excellent there, and it’s a quiet and leisurely way to start the day.

We had a shore excursion booked for 11:15, and as this was a tender port we were told to allow at least an hour to get to shore where we would meet the group. After breakfast, we walked down to the deck four tender boarding area at 10am, but were told to wait upstairs in the Piazza, and they would make an announcement when the tender would return.

I try to go-with-the-flow and stay positive, but I must honestly say of all the many cruises we’ve been on from any cruise line, this was the longest tender port ever, both for waiting for it as well as the ship to shore tender ride itself. Most tender ports utilize the ships lifeboats as tender vessels which ensures a quick tender to port. In Belize, however, the tenders are operated by the port of Belize, and even with just two ships in port (Carnival and our Sky Princess), the wait time getting a tender (we had priority tickets so that wasn’t the problem; there were just not enough tenders) was quite excessive.

We waited over 45 minutes for the next tender, and we (and everyone else) would have been late for their shore excursion had not the other earlier excursion been late too! As we would later learn a new word for the day they say in Belize; “Un-belizeable”, this was our first instance of “Un-belizeable” : the tender operations! ?. We did manage to get a great photo of the ship though as we sailed away on the tender.

Once we arrived on shore it took a while to get the couple hundred people off the tender, walk down the pier, and eventually find out where to meet for our shore excursion, along with everyone else doing the same thing.

Our shore excursion was a simple trolley-train ride around the downtown area of Belize, and was a 1/2 hour late starting due to the late tender, which arrived on “Caribbean Time”. While waiting inside a mini-mall of sorts, we lined up across from a Pharmacy that would sell you just about anything, no prescription needed. Hmmm. No thanks!

When we finally got on the trolley train, they first took our temperature, sprayed our hands with sanitizer and told us a mask would be required a mask for the whole trip (it’s $500 fine if you are caught without one), even on the outdoor, open air trolley. I didn’t mind the temperature or hand sanitizer, but a mask on an outdoor open-air trolley in the Caribbean heat; Un-Belizeable! ?

This was our first time visiting Belize, and at least from what we saw it was not what we expected. I’ve heard Belize is a great place for diving and snorkeling, and judging by the clear water (and lengthy 35 minute tender ride from shore) there must be some great areas for this as well as resorts, we just didn’t see anything that would entice us to go back.

The long term plan for Belize is to connect several of the small islands together via bridges (like a mini Florida Keys area), and construct a docked port so ships don’t have to tender. The building of the dock look like it had started way out in the distance as seen from the tender, but finishing that and then building the bridges will be very costly and take perhaps years to build. When completed, hopefully the island of Belize will be easier to visit and lure more tourists to its beautiful waters.

Anyway, here is a gallery of photos from the trolley ride in Belize.

After the trolley tour, we took the long tender journey back to the ship. The ship was actually docked over 5 miles away, and the actual tender took 30 – 40 minutes one way. Fortunately we didn’t have a wait to take the tender back like we did going over to the port.

Back on the ship, we had a light lunch as it was after 2pm and we had a real treat for our dinner that evening at 6:30pm. . .

The Chef’s Table

The Chef’s Table is a premium event, limited to only 12 diners and only held twice a cruise, if at all due to the staffing and preparation it requires. The event is $115 a person, and is truly the best dining event onboard if you are lucky enough to secure a reservation for it. The Chef’s Table, unlike the other specialty dining venues, can not be reserved in advance of boarding, so we (and our fellow diners later told us) requested reservations for it as soon as we boarded the ship on embarkation day. Here was the menu for the night we went:

Right before you are first seated, a photographer takes a photo of the diners with the Chef and Maitre D’, and then an photo of each couple once you are seated. The photos are then presented to each couple at the conclusion of the meal along with a nice Princess Souvenir book.

The Chef’s Table is held in one of the main dining rooms, however at the start of the event, the Maitre D’ pushes a button, and the entire table is enclosed with curtains, providing a “private room” in the midst of the large dining room; pretty cool!

The Executive Chef explained each course before it was served, and all courses were served with a different wine. The food was outstanding (i.e. the main course was lobster, filet mignon, and rack of lamb!), while the wines were only so-so, but were replenished as you liked.

Each course was served by a team of waiters (one per diner) in the French “butterfly service” style, where all of the dishes are presented in unison to each passenger. Here the soup course is set down for each diner.

Here I am looking a bit goofy in this selfie video while the Chef explains that our next course is not dessert; it’s sorbet to cleanse our palette. To help it cleanse it even more, he adds a shot of Grey Goose Vodka to our sorbet!

And next up is the main dish we’d all been waiting for: Lobster, Filet Mignon, and Rack of Lamb, beautifully plated and presented, with a selection of fancily-prepared vegetables underneath.

We had dined at the Chef’s Table once before on the Inaugural sailing of the Enchanted Princess in November 2021, and this evening was as wonderful and as special as it was as on the Enchanted.

As if we weren’t full from all of the food and wine, the servers came around with a final dish of delicious and tempting chocolate-covered strawberries and other sweets which looked to pretty to touch!

At the conclusion of the 3 hour Chef’s Table event, the ladies were given a rose, and the men a hard-cover 50th Anniversary Princess Cruises Cuisine Cookbook, highlighting the wonderful meals served aboard Princess, and signed by the Executive Chef. (I guess they expect the men to cook for their wives back at home! LOL! Actually DOS and I each got a book instead of a rose; a much better $$ value, but the hardcover books are heavy to lug home! Glad we’re not flying!)

Considering each book alone sells for $50, The Chef’s Table is a wonderful event, and well worth the premium overcharge; a bargain actually! And finally as all good things come to an end, we gave a round of applause for the Chef, Maitre D’ and all of the wonderful servers who waited on us tonight.

The Maitre D’ once again pressed the curtain button, and we came back to the reality of sitting in a large, and now empty dining room. What an amazing night it was!

Just remember if you are interested in dining at The Chef’s Table, do reserve this as soon as you board the ship. You’ll be glad you did – and as they say in Belize; it’s Un-Beleizable! ?

Bon Appetite!

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