UPDATED January 11, 2024– Shhh…don’t tell! It’s our secret… something new is happening aboard the Discovery Princess cruise ship. I’m letting you in on this secret about the exclusive 360 experience that is invitation only. So get ready! You won’t believe this!
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I have to let you in on a secret… but shhhhhh! It’s a secret. A Discovery Princess secret.
UPDATE: The 360 Experience is now available to all guests aged 13 and older aboard the Discovery Princess and the Enchanted Princess. You’ll want to reserve as soon as you get onboard, as seats are limited.
And since I previewed the culinary adventure, Princess received the prestigious Premium Ship Entertainment Gold Award from the 2023 Travel Weekly Magellan Awards for 360: An Extraordinary Experience.
On select cruise ships, Princess Cruises now has what was once an invite-only VIP culinary experience. When I first reviewed the seven-course event in this story, I entered through doors marked “Emergency Exit Only” and “Employee Access Only.” But don’t go snooping around for this. You must be accompanied by Princess staff to the cloaked venue.
Our host Rafel, who acted as sommelier and guide for the culinary extravaganza aboard the Discovery Princess, escorted us along with a concert violinist dressed in a sleek sequenced gown. Suspense and excitement were in the air.
“Are you curious?” Are you ready?” encouraged Rafel after we’d sipped the last of our complimentary cocktails in one of the Discovery Princess restaurant venues. It was the meet-up area before we left on the culinary journey. “Let’s go!”
That’s all I can tell you. I am sworn to secrecy.
As the musician touched her bow to the first strings of a classical version of The Love Boat Theme, we followed behind her, somewhat Pied Piper-like. She walked us through the masqueraded doors that happened to be camouflaged with potholes. That’s all I can tell you. I am sworn to secrecy.
360: An Extraordinary Experience
OK, I can’t help myself—the 360 Experience was so over-the-top I have to reveal a bit more.
As the doors opened, a row of bowing and smiling servers dressed in neat black outfits emblazoned with gold 360 logos welcomed us into the secret space.
The form-fitting black and gold costumes appeared to be a little Star-Treky to me. But I forgot all that after entering into a round-shaped room.
The walls of the circular room were “papered,” so to speak, with LED screens depicting moving panoramic views of the Mediterranean.
A server with the list of the twenty lucky participants’ names asked another to escort each of us to our appropriate seats.
I liked that because I didn’t have to decide which of my friends I would sit next to. So diplomatic!
Curious and excited to find out what happens next on Discovery Princess!
We were curious and excited to find out what would happen next! At that point, it was all a mystery to me, yet to be unfolded.
360: An Extraordinary Experience is here
OK, no more! I can’t reveal another surprise.
But did I mention that the table where we sat was also circular in shape? It was like a counter encircling the middle of the room where Rafel stood with gaps so he and the Discovery Princess staff could move in and out unobtrusively.
Depending on the course or pairing, the servers could easily tend our plates and tableware in front or behind us. All of us guests faced into the room, and we could see moving images projected on the circular wall round us.
Sight, Smell, Hearing, Taste and Touch | Journey of the Senses on Discovery Princess
I think I am allowed to tell you that music, scents and cuisine are all synchronized to stunning moving images.
The 360 Experience introduces Discovery Princess diners to local ingredients, growers, culinary methods, and wines that emerge from the story of each destination. And, sure enough, those elements are orchestrated with each of the seven courses.
The fabulous video images took us around the Mediterranean from Santorini to the Amalfi Coast to Provence to Barcelona. The narrator of this fantastic voyage was Brooke Shields, who played the part of a traveler discovering these favorite Med destinations for the first time.
Food and Wine Intersect With the Story
As the story of a new port encircled us on the screen, servers professionally presented a new course and poured a new wine or libation.
The chef meticulously plated each course as food as art, no matter which region it represented. Or was it art as food?
In either case, the food tasted as good as it looked. And as a foodie, I was brokenhearted not to be able to take photos of the creations.
We weren’t allowed to take pictures to keep the surprise for you and others onboard the Discovery Princess.
However, it was probably the first time I ate hot food while on a media trip.
We food and wine writers always take so many shots of the platings that our food invariably gets cold—one of the hazards of the job. Sigh!
Princess Cruises told us that the technology makes it easy to change out the videos. Guests in the future will be able to “visit” other 360 destinations around the world no matter where their Discovery Princess cruise takes them.
I would enjoy a multisensory 360 Experience of China as I don’t expect to return to that part of the world again.
Your Discovery Princess Cruise
The 360 Experiences happen only twice daily during your cruise and are limited to twenty guests, 13 years of age and over. A reservation can be booked for a $149 cover charge.
I highly recommend booking the 360 Experience as soon as you get onboard. I will be sailing on Discovery Princess in October and will definitely do the 360 Extraordinary Experience again.
Discovery Princess joined the fleet on January 28, 2022, making it Princess Cruises’ newest MedallionClass ship. Each guest sailing on a MedallionClass ship is provided with the Medallion™ wearable, a quarter-sized device.
The badge enables everything from expedited contactless boarding to locating loved ones anywhere on the ship and enhanced service like having whatever guests need to be delivered directly to them, wherever they are on the Discovery Princess.
The award-winning innovation gives guests more time to do the things they love most.
In addition, guests can share their favorite cruise moments using MedallionNet, the best WiFi at sea, stay connected with friends and family back home, work remotely anywhere on the ship, quickly post content and stream favorite movies and shows.
It’s good to know that Discovery Princess uses the latest technologies to reduce fuel consumption, treat wastewater and support Princess Cruises environmental compliance efforts.
360: First Impressions | Discovery Princess
360: An Extraordinary Experience is here | Discovery Princess
Hi, I’m Stacey
UNSTOPPABLE Stacey Travel is a travel blog focused on immersive travel that highlights food, wine and the spirituality of place. I also occasionally write about life as a Camino de Santiago pilgrim. I hope you enjoy what I post here. Feel free to leave comments! Read more…
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As is common in the travel industry, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey was provided with accommodations, meals, and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the author believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.
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