cruises for foodies

Cruises for Foodies

For many people, sea cruises are a long day’s journey into dinner, undoubtedly the main event of the day. As mealtimes roll relentlessly past, the captain has the good grace to deliver a number of countries to the side of the ship. Emphasising the ‘fine’ in fine dining, the cuisine on cruise ships has pushed the envelope to ensure the culinary experience at sea rivals the best restaurants on land. But it’s worth noting that while many hipster restaurants back home have turned their back on classic cuisine in favour of fusions of this and mélanges of that, chefs on cruise ships don’t go in for these half-baked fads and uphold the premise that if the prose is purple, the food is overrated.

Celebrity Cruises has a long-held and well-earned reputation for punching above its weight when it comes to cuisine. Their mantra may be ‘modern luxury’, but the vibe is personal choice, nowhere more so than in the speciality restaurants. Here passengers can enjoy a sophisticated dining experience in a relaxed atmosphere while the quality of ingredients and presentation is amongst the finest at sea.

Another cruise line that’s a foodie’s favourite is Oceania Cruises. There is so much emphasis placed on gastronomy that 25 per cent of the crew on each ship is employed in the preparation of the renowned cuisine. On Marina and Riviera there’s also the Culinary Arts Centre where up to 24 guests can take part in interactive cooking demonstrations. This studio offers hands-on instruction and focuses on workshops and audience participation. The state-of-the-art centre has been fitted out with food stations, complete with induction cook tops, ovens, utensils, sinks and every other conceivable cooking implement. Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new 750-passenger Explorer has introduced a lavish Culinary Arts Centre.

Holland America Line’s new Koningsdam also has a Culinary Arts Centre with show kitchen boasting individual cooking stations used for cookery demonstrations and hands-on classes by visiting celebrity chefs as well as the ship’s own expert chefs. In the evening, the room transforms into a dining concept called ‘Dinner at the Culinary Arts Centre’ – an immersive experience where chefs prepare simple, artisanal dishes in the show kitchen and guests enjoy each course as it’s freshly prepared.

In recent decades cruise passengers were more than happy to select from an extensive menu that rarely pushed the parameters of culinary ambition. Today, whatever ship you chose, the choice of cuisine is as diverse as each restaurant is delicious. There’s no disputing that from a culinary perspective cruise lines walk the talk and sate the appetites of the most demanding food mavens. For details about fine cuisine on the ocean waves call our cruise specialists now on 0800 484 0314 or click on www.barrheadtravel.co.uk.

Gary Buchanan

Gary Buchanan has been a specialist cruise writer for 22 years contributing to national newspapers and consumer publications. He is the author of five books about cruising and spends over seven months every year at sea sailing the world’s oceans. He’s a former chairman of the British Guild of Travel Writers, Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and in 2014 he won the Cruise Lines International Association Award for Best River Cruise Feature.