A cruise is the chance to sample a huge range of gastronomic delights including dishes created by Michelin-starred and celeb chefs, and these cruise lines are the culinary crème de la crème
Holland America Line
Holland America Line’s luxurious new ship, MS Koningsdam, offers its guests several fine dining options, including a new seafood brasserie: Sel de Mer, serving excellent French classics such as salt-crusted whole fish and bouillabaisse on an à la carte basis, and an excellent and newly redesigned casual buffet: Lido Market, with themed serving positions. HAL favourites: the Pacific Northwest-themed steakhouse, Pinnacle Grill ($35 cover charge), Italian restaurant Canaletto ($15 cover charge), and Asian-inspired Tamarind ($25 cover charge), with a newly added sushi bar, feature on board too.
Foodie guests wishing to join hands-on experiences can take cookery lessons, or try the new immersive farm-to-table dinner experience in the new Culinary Arts Center. Wine lovers will adore BLEND, a new venue created in partnership with Chateau Ste Michelle winery in Washington State, where guests can learn about wine and even blend their own wines. Guests on board MS Rotterdam and MS Eurodam, can experience the three Michelin-starred Jonnie Boer’s stunning ‘Taste of De Librije’ menu ($69 cover charge including wine tasting). Happening just once per cruise, the Pinnacle Grill is transformed into Boer’s iconic Dutch restaurant. It’s a truly unforgettable experience.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Seven Seas Explorer’s guests will work their way through over 2,000lbs of lobster during a typical 14-night cruise. Regent Seven Seas’ brand new all-suite vessel offers breathtaking luxury, with everything from gourmet fine dining (on specially designed Versace place settings) to alcoholic beverages including Champagne and premium spirits, complimentary on board.
Gourmet dining experiences include the open-seating Compass Rose and the more casual eatery La Veranda. Speciality offerings include chic French restaurant Chartreuse, offering such delights as hand-cut Charolais steak tartare in a hazelnut-Dijon emulsion topped with Perlita caviar d’Aquitaine. Also on board, pan-Asian Pacific Rim showcases stunning dishes inspired from a diversity of Asian cultures, such as sweet, crisp tempura-battered Canadian lobster with shiso leaf, finished with an orange ponzu sauce and spicy mayonnaise. Finally, private dining club-inspired Prime 7 offers gourmet steaks, chops and seafood in a lush, intimate setting.
Add in the state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Kitchen where guests can take part in a wide range of cookery classes and demonstrations, and the new Gourmet Explorer Tours offering ultra-premium culinary shore adventures including Michelin-starred dining, experiences like winery tours and cheese making, and it’s easy to see why Regent has dubbed the Seven Seas Explorer ‘the world’s most luxurious ship’.
Viking Ocean Cruises
All the elegant ships of the Viking Ocean Cruises fleet include meals, as well as wine and beer served at the table, in the price of the cruise. Guests can choose from up to 11 different dining options, from quick-fix burgers and pizzas at the Pool Grill, to authentic Italian cuisine at Manfredi’s, where guest favourite Bistecca Fiorentina, created in the open kitchen, is somewhat of an institution.
Next to Manfredi’s you’ll find the intimate setting for The Chef’s Table, with a five-course paired tasting menu. The dishes are seasonal and regional, with five themed menus taking inspiration from the ship’s destinations, with wines chosen to match. A typical ‘sweet and salty’ menu includes such delights as a fruity tomato and watermelon gazpacho enhanced with fresh basil, orange-marinated veal tenderloin served with pumpkin and a slow-cooked red onion marmalade, and an exquisite dessert of Grand Marnier bavarois accompanied by a basil jelly and strawberry sauce and finished with black Hawaiian lava salt.
Norwegian-style deli Mamsen’s, serving Scandinavian-style open sandwiches is a perennial favourite. The excellent World Café offers a global cuisines buffet-style, and afternoon tea is served in the Wintergarden.
Viking offers more al fresco dining space than any other ship at sea, allowing guests to feast upon a delicious Venetian risotto while watching the sunset over Venice.
Norwegian Cruise Line
In line with NCL’s tag line ‘feel free’, guests really are free to dine however they please, with no assigned seating or fixed dining times. NCL’s newest ship, Norwegian Escape features even more dining choice on board with two brand new speciality restaurants created in partnership with Iron Chef star Jose Garces: Cuban-influenced Bayamo ($15 cover charge) served both in the chic Latin-themed dining room and al fresco, and Pincho Tapas Bar, delivering traditional Spanish tapas prepared à la plancha in front of diners.
High-tech new Food Republic will offer guests the opportunity to undertake a culinary journey straight from their iPad menus, offering global fusion food in a unique setting with à la carte pricing. Guest favourite Teppanyaki returns with its Japanese ‘food as theatre’ offering of flying shrimp, onion volcanos and breathtaking knife action, all performed front and centre on the grill by the highly skilled Hibachi chefs.
Wine lovers will appreciate The Cellars, Norwegian’s first wine bar, created with Napa winemakers Michael Mondavi. Guests can sip wine while savouring the ocean view, or join new ‘Tasting Table’ events to discover new wines, or try blind-tasting ‘black glass’ classes.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival’s newest ship, Carnival Vista, delivers more outside seating than any other Carnival ship, so it’s easy to dine al fresco in main dining and speciality restaurants. Innovative casual dining options include the new Seafood Shack, offering sublime lobster rolls along with the freshest snow crab and shrimp (and the happiest staff at sea), plus 24-hour options such as Guy’s Burger Joint – a collaboration with celebrity chef Guy Fieri – and 24-hour freshly made pizza.
For us, fine dining premium steakhouse Fahrenheit 555 steals the show with luxurious surroundings, a first-class wine list, impeccable service, high-end steak and seafood and decadent desserts. The exotic menu of Ji Ji Asian Kitchen whisks diners away for a culinary tour of pan-Asian cuisine (don’t miss the Jiaozi shrimp pot stickers with pea shoots, radish and green apple salad). Add in Bonsai Sushi, family-style Italian dining at Cucina del Capitano, and experiential dining at The Chef’s Table and there really is something for everyone.
Click here for Top 10 Cruises For Foodies Part 1.
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