If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you know it’s impossible to go hungry — the massive floating hotels offer huge buffets, sit-down dinners and plenty of light snacks in between. But some cruises in particular truly shine when it comes to delicious eats. Gourmands, set sail for these three foodie adventures:
At the beginning of March 2012, Celebrity Cruises launched a new food-focused program called Excite the Senses. With this series, cruise guests enjoy cooking classes, wine and French cheese pairings, food demonstrations, special dinners, and mixology courses designed by the fleet’s personal bar man, Junior Merino, aka “The Liquid Chef.” He also runs the ship’s Molecular Bar, where you can order cocktails made with ginger foam and rose petals.
The next Excite the Senses cruise leaves on July 14, aboard the Celebrity Summit and heads to Bermuda. If you can’t make that one, the good news is all 11 of the Celebrity Cruises’ ships offer fresh, top-notch cuisine, under the guidance of the director of culinary operations, chef John Suley. That means on any given night you could savor oysters Rockefeller, prime rib or French onion soup.
Whether you’re sailing to Istanbul, Venice, or Aruba, you can expect to dine like the king of the sea onboard one of Oceania’s ships. One reason the fare remains so good on this cruise line is that famed French chef Jacques Pépin holds the position of executive culinary director. Each menu reflects the foods and culture of the areas the ship visits. For example, if you’re heading to Bora Bora aboard the Marina, you’ll have the opportunity to appreciate dishes such as papaya, mango, and kiwi salad, and butterfly tiger shrimps in star anise cream.
Or, you can head to one of the specialty restaurants onboard, such as the wine-focused La Reserve by Wine Spectator, which serves elegant dishes such as cream of porcini soup with foie gras, and butter-poached Brittany Blue lobster. All of Oceania’s ships present the same quality of food and service — not surprising given the name behind the plate.
Aboard this cruise line’s two ships, Serenity and Symphony, you can sample food by celebrity sushi chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Italian maestro Piero Selvaggio, who runs Valentino in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Eat in the ships’ main dining room or head to Selvaggio’s Prego, an Italian restaurant onboard that serves signature dishes from Selvaggio’s restaurant. To sample innovative sushi, sashimi, and Japanese delights designed by the famous Matsuhisa, dine at Silk Road — the master trained each onboard chef.
Numerous top vinos from around the world are available for sipping, and each cruise features special wine pairing dinners in its “cellar.” In addition, you can arrange for the wine sommelier and cheese sommelier to join forces for a truly special coupling to match your destination, be that Barcelona, Odessa, Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires. Crystal also offers Wine & Food Festival themed cruises that feature celebrity chefs, mixologists and even micro-breweries; the next one takes off from New York to Reykjavík on May 23.
Photos Courtesy of Oceana Cruises, Linnea Covington and Crystal Cruises