Credit: Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises food and beverage director reveals all – from how many teabags are used to a dish everyone should try

Author: Lucy Abbott

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Princess Cruises offers a mouth-watering selection of food and drink onboard, but have you ever wondered what it takes to direct the entirety of the food & beverage department onboard a Princess Cruises ship? Maria Harmadi, food and beverage director onboard Enchanted Princess tells all.

What does 38,600 glasses of wine, 3,000 dozen eggs, 1,200kg of bananas make? That’s right, a week with Princess Cruises onboard Enchanted Princess.

You don’t even have to step outside of Enchanted Princess to experience a delicious slice of Italian pizza or creamy gelato.

So, indulge in some handmade cuisine from scratch with Princess Cruises, after all, wherever you are onboard, you won’t be far from your next dining venue.

Dive into the world of food and beverage with a behind the scenes look into what makes the cuisine onboard Enchanted Princess so good – our stomachs are rumbling already.

And who knows more about food and beverage onboard Enchanted Princess than the one and only food and beverage director Maria Harmadi? Read on to discover more…

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Q: What are the most rewarding and challenging things about being a food and beverage director?

A: The most rewarding aspect of my job is to work with amazing people and experience culinary journeys meanwhile providing memorable cruise vacations to our valued guests.

The challenging aspect is sometimes evident in the multi-tasked management of Bar, Galley and restaurant. This multi-faceted organisation within the Hotel department is the largest with numerous teams completing different functions.

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These teams are the foundation of the dining, food and beverage presentation and experience. I feel great pride in the Food and Beverage portfolio as it transcends sublime details from market to table.

Maria has to juggle managing the Bar, Galley and restaurant. Credit: Princess Cruises

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Q: How did you get into this career?

A: After my graduation from college, I joined Dawn Princess in the year of 2000 as a Buffet Steward.  

This opportunity opened my eyes and ears to a new world.

This combined my knowledge from obtaining my College degree in Commerce and Economics in Catering with my limited experience in Hotel reception. 

The experience gained within the cruise industry remains invaluable as I progressed over the years. Each platform afforded me the latitude to eventually becoming Food & Beverage Director.

In Budapest, the Museum of Fine Arts rewards a visit. Credit: Shutterstock

Q: Where is home for you? Do you enjoy the lifestyle of being away at sea for so long?

A: My home airport is Budapest, Hungary.  Life of the Seafarer is a unique but enjoyable one; I live and work on board, enjoying the diverse culture of guests and teammates – for 22 years.

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Q: What’s your favourite port of call and why?

A: Every port of call has its own charm. There are memorable historical, archaeological and culinary attractions to each destination.

If I need to choose a favourite to sail with Princess Cruises, it would be Santorini because of the breath-taking views and its delicious Greek food.

Maria's favourite cruise destination is Santorini. Credit: Shutterstock

Q: What is the most bizarre food request you have had from a passenger?

A: Haggis - unfortunately we don’t have the ingredients and the facilities to make it on board.

Q: If you could have one dinner guest, who would it be and why?

A: Celebrity Chef Nigella Lawson, it would be interesting to hear her culinary journey to the public view.

Maria recommends trying out the fresh pasta served in onboard restaurants like Sabatini's. Credit: Princess Cruises
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Q: What is a dish you think everyone should try?

A: The delectable taste of fresh home-made pasta is a must on the Enchanted Princess.

The pasta recipe is made by an Italian with years of culinary experience bringing its authenticity to the palate.

Sauces tickle the taste buds into divine dishes of Fettuccini Alfredo. 

- READ MORE: Princess Cruises offers first authentic gelato experience at sea -

Q: What is the most expensive dish onboard?

A: Lobster tail or Surf n’ turf .

Feeling hungry?

All that talk about Princess Cruises delectable cuisine offerings has got our stomachs rumbling too.

So, next time you are onboard Enchanted Princess, or any Princess ship for that matter, you can navigate the restaurant options like a pro with the advice from Maria - try out the homemade pasta and if you are feeling fancy, lobster tail.

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About Lucy Abbott

Lucy is a cruise journalist who has sailed on a variety of ships, from expedition to river – with her favourite being expedition cruising.

Lucy is interested in new sustainable ways to cruise as well as how cruising is becoming accessible for all.

She works together with Kaye Holland to keep the World of Cruising website up to date with all the latest cruise news.