For savvy cruisers, food – good food – is an integral part of the overall travel experience. Just as we enthusiastically search out new restaurants and culinary experiences at home, we look for them when exploring the world by sea.
Fortunately, today’s top cruise lines are up to the challenge of providing their guests with dining experiences and culinary offerings that rival the best of the best on land. At Cruise Specialists, we work hand-in-hand with our clients to ensure we match you with a cruise ship and itinerary that meets and exceeds the culinary experiences you desire.
OUR COMPLIMENTS TO THE SUPERSTAR CHEF
Cruise lines are increasingly turning to the world’s top chefs to train their chefs and develop menus for the fleet, with
Jacques Pépin, Nobu Matsuhisa, Jamie Oliver and Thomas Keller being just a few of the high-profile names. See our chart at right for more big name chefs and their respective cruise lines. Some cruise lines boast partnerships with prestigious culinary associations and brands – for example: Silversea with the esteemed Grand Chefs Relais & Châteaux, Seabourn with Chaîne des Rótisseurs™, and Holland America Line with Le Cirque.LET’S GET COOKING!
For those eager to replicate the specialty dishes they’ve enjoyed while cruising – and pick up a cooking tip or two from the best in the business – there are floating cooking schools as good as any you’ll find on land. In Holland America Line’s Culinary Arts Center, guests can take notes during one-hour complimentary demos or don an apron for hands-on classes at fully-equipped stations.
Likewise, on Oceania Cruises’ Marina and Riviera, foodies can learn from the pros (including Jacques Pépin himself ) at The Culinary Center, and Silversea guests can delve into the culinary arts at the only cooking school at sea designed by Grand Chefs Relais & Châteaux.
Pictured here the new Culinary Center aboard the Regent Seven Seas.FOOD AND WINE CRUISES
A number of cruise lines offer designated theme voyages for food and wine aficionados. This fall, Oceania Cruises gourmands can explore the Mediterranean with Jacques Pépin, who will offer cooking demos and accompany the group on special epicurean-centric shore excursions. Or they can sail with Pépin’s daughter, Claudine – an acclaimed chef herself – on a closer-to- home roundtrip voyage from New York.
Celebrity Cruises offers themed voyages with accomplished chefs. Crystal devotees can choose one of the cruise line’s Wine & Food Festival sailings, which include lectures and tastings on board and ashore. And Silversea passengers can learn from respected guest chefs and world-class vintners on culinary and wine voyages.
For an enlightening education on European food and wine, consider a river cruise. They are well-known for offering events that introduce guests to the food and drink of a particular region, and offer expert-hosted voyages showcasing popular wine regions.
FOOD EXPLORATIONS ASHORE
According to Skift media’s recent Megatrends Defining Travel report, “Food has an unmatched ability to communicate a unique sense of place. Local cuisine provides a direct connection to the history of a region, the soul of its people, and the rhythm of daily life. Travelers today are hungry to explore behind the scenes of any given destination, and they’re using culturally specific food to discover and understand the world like never before.”
To be sure, virtually every cruise line features shore excursions highlighting the local cuisine.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises® offers a number of complimentary tours that allow you to explore regional foods and beverages with a knowledgeable local guide. Cruises aboard their new ship, Seven Seas Explorer®, promise “a local culinary experience like no other.” For a supplemental fee, these Gourmet Explorer Tours introduce travelers to esteemed wineries and restaurants in the company of a master chef.
Holland America Line invites guests to check out Alaska’s craft beer scene in Anchorage. Cunard takes passengers Port-tasting in Oporto, and Paul Gauguin Cruises tempts with a Polynesian feast on Bora Bora.
Love visiting locally-owned restaurants – the ones beloved by the people who live there? Azamara’s “Cruise Global, Eat Local” guide provides curated recommendations to authentic local restaurants around the globe. Azamara will even arrange private transportation to and from your chosen restaurant if you like.
CRUISE SPECIALISTS CULINARY CONNECTION
Our cruise consultants and shore excursion team work to bring you an extraordinary culinary experience. Knowing the demand for food and wine experiences is high, we integrate these opportunities into our shore tour programs. For example, a recent Cruise Specialists shore tour on Holland America Line’s Grand South America & Antarctica Voyage included a visit to a jungle lodge in the Amazon. There, guests enjoyed local products prepared by the chef on location, including meats, fish, vegetables and tasty tropical fruits. Guests on Cruise Specialists shore tours have also enjoyed winery visits, tasting a selection of wines and learning about them firsthand. During our hosted voyages, we feature group dinners in the ship’s specialty restaurants. Often, special guests such as the captain himself will join us for these exclusive gatherings.
The above is, of course, just a tiny taste of the culinary adventures that await you aboard ship and ashore.
Your Cruise Specialists cruise consultant can steer you to the cruise line, ship, itinerary and shore excursions that parallel your tastes and pinpoint your specific interests.