Like every other foodie, I’m constantly searching for the next over-the-top experience. I look for events like cooking classes where we make fresh squid ink pasta, ocean-to-table lobster fishing off the coast and cooking it on the beach, or fine-dining restaurants with the latest on-trend dinners. I’ve had some memorable times, like the dinner I ate on the patio of the Café Oriente as the sunset over the Palacio Real in Madrid and the illuminating lights twinkled or having a Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. I plan something new every trip, sometimes more than one if the opportunity arises. Occasionally I map out whole travels around foodie excursions. And I’m not the only one. On cruise ships alone, tens of thousands of diners pursue that special meal every year to create a memorable vacation.
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A Bit of Background
So, when Princess Cruises invited me to a new, invitation-only experience in Los Angeles, I couldn’t resist. But, unfortunately, the representative was a bit elusive as I questioned about the event. So, what was this mysterious dining experience?
The 360 Experience is exclusive. Guests booked in suite accommodations on Discovery Princess and Enchanted Princess or guest sailing on those ships that book a future cruise with suite accommodations on any Princess ship, including Princess Premier, at non-cancelable rates. You can also receive invitation-only access by participating in specific VIP casino gaming and retail event sailings. Unfortunately, with two seatings nightly, the venue can only accommodate 20 guests in each seating. So you’ll need to plan to have this limited experience.
Since I would be traveling from Michigan to Los Angeles, I was hesitant. The flight would take longer than the event, but my fear of missing out won over my hesitation.
The 360 Experience on the Discovery Princess
Princess President John Padgett revealed that “360 is a fusion of master storytelling, world-class cuisine, visual entertainment, and ground-breaking technology that manifests in what can only be described as an Extraordinary Experience. 360 is a remarkable adventure that immerses our guests into the compelling cultures and flavors of the Mediterranean in a 90-minute celebration of the senses.” That still wasn’t a lot to go on, but I was all in by now.
No matter where the Discovery Princess travels, you’ll cross the Mediterranean to destinations like the spectacular hilltops of Santorini, the Amalfi Coast, Barcelona, and Provence. They can configure and adapt 360: An Extraordinary Experience to other destinations in the coming years. However, the Mediterranean took the debut spotlight.
The fully immersive 360 journey engages all of your senses with the tastes, sights, sounds, touches, and aromas of the Mediterranean. You’ll find the experience as memorable as it is priceless.
LED walls surrounded us in a circular format, placing us into featured destinations using stunning 4K cinematography. The Mediterranean took center stage as Brooke Shields, renowned for her extensive modeling, film, and TV careers is the voice of Bethany, the voyager who takes guests on the sensory journey. She drew us into her memories as a fellow traveler who relives her adventures and local connections made in each destination, making her travel journal come to life.
Food at the 360 Experience
They introduced us to local ingredients through synchronized authentic storytelling, imagery, music, scents, cuisine, and stunning visual film. The story of each destination emerges from artisans, passionate purveyors, and culinary methods told through a gourmet dining experience.
While I can’t reveal the specific dishes or ingredients served in this seven-course explosion of flavor, I can tell you that I did try a new item that I hadn’t been willing to try before. If you’re a foodie, you’ve most likely seen each of these ingredients on a menu somewhere. However, like me, you may not have tried it because you weren’t sure you would enjoy it, and the expense may have put you off. At the 360 Experience, each plate is pre-selected and artfully presented, so you won’t need to make agonizing decisions over what to eat and how much it costs. Instead, enjoy each course as your server offers it.
As a travel writer who writes through the lens of food, I regret not being able to take pictures of these fantastic dishes or provide even summary descriptions. But, then, it would ruin the surprise, and that’s part of the fun!
Food Allergies and the 360 Experience
If you have food allergies, you may be concerned about a meal cloaked in mystery; however, even though I have allergies, my concerns were unfounded. Before traveling, I submitted my food allergies to the coordinator, and the chef carefully prepared each dish with my allergies in mind. In addition, each server had only two guests to attend, so they could ensure each plate met our specific needs. We even let them know before traveling if we would be drinking alcohol or not so that they could plan accordingly, as an alcoholic beverage accompanied many of the courses.
While the 360 experience is shrouded in mystery, and I can’t reveal many details, I can tell you it was definitely worth the trip. Of course, as a foodie, I’ll continue to look for memorable dining experiences worldwide. But I believe I have already found one I’ll never forget.
For more on the water foodie experiences, check out this article:
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