It’s no secret one of the best things about cruising is the food, but you may not realise how varied the options are with themed restaurants and vegan-friendly menus. I’ve asked some top cruise bloggers to share their favourite dining experiences at sea that just may inspire some of you foodies into booking…
FRESHLY MADE – FINE DINING
I was recently invited by Viking Cruises UK to experience their ship, the Viking Sea, and many of my meals were exceptional. A galley tour revealed that everything I ate onboard was made everyday from scratch, even down to the gelato. Carole from Paul And Carole Love To Travel shares;
We had the most spectacular meal on the Marella Dream Cruise Ship in the speciality restaurant Mistrals. The starter of prawns was exceptional, followed by a melt in your mouth steak and the trio of puddings was divine! The service was amazing and it was a night we will never forget. It was on par with an experience we had with dinner at The Ivy in London it really was that good!
Afternoon Tea – Viking Sea
AFTERNOON TEA AT SEA
It’s true that some of the meals you’ll enjoy may be as good as (if not better) than your favourite restaurants on land. Afternoon Tea is something many of us in Britain have become accustom to in a fancy hotel for a birthday or celebration, but on a Cunard or Viking cruise you could enjoy this tradition everyday! This is something Emma from Cruising Isn’t Just For Old People really enjoyed;
Afternoon Tea onboard Cunard’s Queen Victoria was unlike anything I’ve ever had before or since. Served in the ‘Queen’s Room’, a grand ballroom where a string quartet or classical pianist would be playing. It’s white glove service and they come around time and time again offering you sandwiches, cakes and scones – all of which were delicious!
Onboard the spectacular Celebrity Edge you can have a meal on a ‘Magic Carpet‘, a dining room suspended over the open ocean. Cruise lines are becoming incredibly creative with their alternative/speciality dining options in order to tempt passengers from the traditional dining rooms. Often these experiences come at an additional cost, but in many cases prove good value for money. Victoria, blogger of Lost Ashore loved the Norwegian Epic’s Spiegel Tent…
The acrobatic show itself is a lot like a scaled down version of Cirque Du Soleil, only you watch it while you eat. It’s an experience like nothing on this earth and was definitely worth the cover charge! The atmosphere was positively electric; acrobatics are difficult enough on land, they only become more impressive on a moving ship.
Wonderland – Harmony of the Seas
One of the most immersive restaurants I’ve seen onboard a ship was Royal Caribbean’s Wonderland, something Marcus from Sparx Adventures was particularly wowed by;
Wonderland throws away the rule book for how a restaurant should work and takes you on a journey of culinary discovery. Upon entering the restaurant you find yourself immersed in a surreal and whimsical landscape where the food is categorised by element, rather than course. So for instance, seafood can be found within the sea section. My top tip is to let your velvet-clad waiter take control and curate your culinary journey through the night, don’t be scared!
With people becoming more conscious about their food and how it’s sourced, the demand for meat-free and vegan friendly options on cruise ships is soaring. Vegan Cruiser Sanna has experienced first hand the changes occurring in the industry, including a fleet-wide vegan menu on Oceania Cruises where she enjoyed her best meal at sea onboard MS Nautica;
Our extravagant dining experience started with our eyes, as the tables were beautifully set with gorgeous Versace bone china, gleaming silverware and wonderful Riedel glassware.
My main course was the finest vegan cooking I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy, an involtini stuffed with tofu, spinach and capers with pasta and olive tapenade sauce – delicious, so flavoursome and cooked to perfection.
The one area where most cruise ships fail is the provision of dairy-free desserts – not on Oceania – a vegan ricotta pie with raspberry and vanilla sauce, I was in food heaven at this point wanting to take the chef home with me!
Silk – Anthem of the Seas
Even the fussiest of eaters will be catered to on a cruise, and family-friendly cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and P&O will close off a restaurant for around an hour for families. Cruise Mummy loved P&O’s Children’s Tea in the Horizon Buffet where little ones could tuck into their favourite classics like fish fingers, spaghetti hoops and potato letters;
The children’s tea is perfectly-timed to fit in with when children normally eat at home and finishes just as the kids club opens. Most nights we’d take our little ones to the Children’s Tea then drop them off at the kids club and then head off to one of the other restaurants to enjoy our meal in peace. Perfect!
Cooking classes are also becoming more commonplace on cruise ships, when Britannia launched in 2015 ‘The Cookery Club’ began offering passengers the opportunity to experience making dishes under the instruction of ‘food heroes’ like James Martin and Cake Boy Eric Lanlard. Viking Cruises has a similar concept where participants explore local food markets for ingredients to later cook onboard in your own private ‘Kitchen Table’.
Do you feel more tempted to cruise for the dining experiences alone? Let me know what appeals to you most from these experiences. Thanks to all the contributors, go check out their blogs!