Balcony Bistro

Princess serves up a taste of Brooklyn and more

By: Ana Figueroa

Passengers on board the newly launched Crown Princess can choose between three dining rooms, two specialty restaurants and the new International Cafe in the Piazza, among other dining venues. Those booked in balcony cabins also have some additional dining options that don’t involve stepping into the hallway.

Upon embarkation at the new Brooklyn pier facility at Red Hook, passengers can dial room service and have an authentic “taste of Brooklyn” delivered in time to sail away.

The “Brooklyn Balcony Nosh” consists of a famous Nathan’s hot dog with all the trimmings (served nice and hot in a foil wrapper); a mini cheesecake from Junior’s, hailed as the “best cheesecake in New York” and an ice-cold bottle of Brooklyn Brewery Lager. It’s the perfect moveable feast to enjoy as the ship glides gracefully past the Statue of Liberty and Governor’s Island and then underneath the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
Balconies on the Crown Princess feature sleek metal dining tables and chairs, which are transformed into restaurant tables at sea with linen tablecloths, floral centerpieces, fine china and silverware for the “Ultimate Balcony Dining” offerings.

A special breakfast ($25 per couple charge) includes delectable quiche and bacon, as well as bagels and lox; a cantaloupe “bowl” laden with strawberries and topped with mounds of whipped cream; a tray full of mini-croissants and other freshly baked pastries, orange juice and carafes of coffee, as well as a bottle of chilled champagne.

It’s enough of a breakfast to last until dinner. And dinnertime holds yet another unique dining opportunity. The “Ultimate Balcony Dinner” is overseen by your own personal waiter for the evening, who solicitously serves the multi-course repast.

Our waiter, Eli, was a 16-year veteran of the line, clearly proud to be on “Ultimate Balcony Dinner” duty. After meticulously setting up our table, he brought in a tray of canapes and poured glasses of wine. A short time later, he returned with an exquisite salad of fresh greens, pears and walnuts, which was a meal in itself.

Our main course followed, “surf and turf” cooked to order (guests can choose to have just the beef filet or lobster). Dessert chocolate mousse with fresh raspberries and strawberries topped off the evening, along with a choice of after-dinner drinks, served under the stars on a warm Caribbean night.

The whole experience is well worth the $100 per couple charge, especially for those celebrating a special occasion. But be forewarned: You may have to say “hello” to fellow passengers peeking over their own balconies to check out where all the laughter is coming from.