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Supper on the High Seas Goes Higher

It used to be that scoring a seat at the captain’s table was the ultimate cruise ship dining experience. But now passengers of Santa Clarita’s Princess Cruises have another upscale option thanks to celebrity chef Curtis Stone. Princess has partnered with the TV star for the new on-board restaurant Share by Curtis Stone. Share debuted on the Ruby Princess and Emerald Princess ships in December, replacing Italian restaurant Sabatini’s, which remains aboard other Princess ships. The company would not disclose financial terms of its partnership with the Australian chef, known for co-hosting Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and “Around the World in 80 Plates” as well as starting high-end Beverly Hills restaurant Maude. “We believe the partnership is perfectly aligned as food and travel bring people together,” Princess spokeswoman Karen Candy told the Business Journal. Menu dishes include butter-poached lobster and twice-cooked duck with fennel as well as an assortment of wines and desserts. Passengers who dine at Share are charged $39, which includes an appetizer, main dish, dessert and beverage. Though it is not the cruise line’s first specialty restaurant, it is the first time Princess has partnered with a celebrity chef to create an authentic menu, according to Stewart Chiron, cruise expert and founder of CruiseGuy.com in Miami. “The menu … will offer options not found aboard any other cruise line,” Chiron said. “He’s partnering with one of the most well-known cruise lines in the world and it could be a new audience for him to market his own product to.” Specialty restaurants are not an original concept in the industry. Cunard Line in Valencia partnered with Todd English – a celebrity chef and popular TV personality – to open a restaurant aboard its Queen Mary 2 ship in 2004. The two have maintained that partnership for 11 years, though it will be discontinued in June. However, Chiron said such partnerships are often hit or miss and that a longstanding relationship such as English and Cunard’s is rare. “Oftentimes these chefs don’t really add a lot of value and the cruise lines resort to doing it themselves,” he said. “(Still), I’m confident that after extensive research Princess found a good fit for them.” As part of the partnership, Princess also debuted Crafted by Curtis menu options in the main dining halls fleetwide last year. In addition, Princess will add a Share restaurant to the Sun Princess in April. “Cruise lines invest millions of dollars in their dining programs and as the industry continues to evolve, new experiences are continually being offered to freshen up the onboard experiences so that their dining programs are not just the best aboard cruise ships, but are the best in the world,” Chiron said. – Champaign Williams

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