5 Dining Experiences You Can Only Find on a Luxury Cruise
Everything about a luxury cruise is, well, spectacular. But, if we had to pick our favorite onboard experiences, the stellar service, beautiful accommodations, enriching activity options, and fantastic culinary programs would be top of the list.
The all-inclusive nature of luxury cruise lines allows guests to sample as many onboard restaurants (both main dining and ‘specialty’ restaurants) without an additional charge. In addition, there are several special perks and offerings which luxury lines include for dining that you just can’t find on a mainstream cruise line.
Following are five of the top dining experiences you can only find with a luxury cruise line. Bon Appetite!
1. Enjoy Lobster Every Day
What could be more gourmet than having a lobster dinner every single night? All Regent Seven Seas Cruises ships offer a Compass Rose specialty restaurant. This eatery is open for dinner on all vessels, and lunch on Seven Seas Mariner, Seven Seas Voyager, and Seven Seas Navigator. Onboard Regent, all specialty restaurants are included with the cruise fare, so guests can opt to eat at Compass Rose as often as they choose.
At Compass Rose, guests will find an exquisite menu of entree selections available every day as well as rotating feature options. On the ‘Always Available’ menu, guests design their entrée from beef, poultry, or fish dishes, paired sauces, and sides. As a selection, guests can choose a Lobster Tail as their main dish. The starter always available menu also includes a Lobster Bisque paired with cognac cream so that guests can pair the two items together for the ultimate lobster dinner at sea.
2. Sample Cuisine from World Famous Chefs
Most luxury cruise lines have partnered with renowned chefs to develop restaurants on their ships. These chefs have helped design the physical restaurants, carefully craft the menus, and bring the fine dining experience they have cultivated on land to the high seas. Depending on the cruise line, these restaurants may be included with your cruise fare and range from casual venues to elegant specialty eateries.
Master Chef Jacques Pepin has held the title of Executive Culinary Director for Oceania Cruises since 2013. Chef Pepin has influenced many of the menus you will find on Oceania ships and developed onboard restaurants Jacques and Jacques Bistro. Seabourn partnered with Michelin star chef Thomas Keller (of French Laundry, Per Se, and Bouchon) on several restaurants - The Collonade, The Patio, and The Grill by Thomas Keller. Luxury cruise line newcomer Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection has developed a restaurant named S.E.A. in partnership with Chef Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, a three Michelin-starred restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton in Wolfsburg, Germany. S.E.A. will feature an exquisite five-star European tasting menu. Compagnie Du Ponant Yacht Cruises partnered with Ducasse Conseil (run by Alain Ducasse Enterprise) to develop its French-inspired gourmet menus and training for all chefs onboard.
3. Caviar Every Day
Nothing says luxury cruising more than enjoying caviar and champagne every day. Seabourn Cruises' all-inclusive fares allow guests to get properly spoiled by daily caviar service. Seabourn and Chef Thomas Keller have partnered to serve the Regiis Ova caviar on all five ships.
Many Seabourn sailings offer a ‘Caviar in the Surf’ beach barbeque event. This experience, held while docked in a beach port, sees uniformed staff members plunge into the water to serve guests caviar and champagne via a surfboard bar. Enjoy your caviar while partaking in a luxury bbq lunch complete with water sports, music, and fun in the sun.
4. Afternoon Tea Fit for a Queen
Pinkies up! Afternoon tea is a relaxing way to wind down your day, catch up, and prepare for the evening ahead. A number of cruise lines offer an elegant traditional afternoon tea service for guests to enjoy a selection of teas, light bites, and pastries, all served on fine china by white-gloved staff members.
Cunard offers traditional English afternoon tea service, complete with orchestra, from 3:30 - 4:30 in the Queen’s Room. Menu items include finger sandwiches, scones, pastries, and Twinings teas. Viking Ocean Cruises also offers a daily High Tea in its Wintergreen solarium, complete with tea service and small deserts. Silversea Cruises serves a daily afternoon tea on all of its ships in Panorama Lounge.
5. Learn from the Masters: Gourmet Culinary Immersion Experiences
Many mainstream and premium cruise lines offer cooking classes, but several luxury cruise lines provide culinary programming that takes it a step above the rest. For example, Oceania Cruises has a Culinary Discovery Tours experience on Marina and Riviera, combining a food-focused port visit with an on ship cooking class. In this program, guests spend time with a member of the line’s culinary team for a food immersion tour in a port to learn about the region’s gastronomy culture and then bring their findings and newly-learned skills back on board to create a meal. Think cooking demonstrations by a master chef in Tuscany or traveling to a tropical plantation in French Polynesia to gather ingredients to serve onboard for dinner.
Windstar Cruises offers Market Tours, where you go with the ship’s Chef into port to pick out local produce and other ingredients for dishes that will be served onboard that night. Regent Seven Seas ships include cooking classrooms, complete with 18 full-service cook stations. In addition, the line offers a program called ‘Culinary Arts Kitchen Classes’ with cooking classes developed by their Master Chef Kathryn Kelly.
Join the discussion
What’s your favorite culinary experience you’ve ever tried on a luxury cruise?