Most cruises are chosen for their destinations but today’s cruising experiences often include celebrity chefs and fine dining. The Foody Traveller investigates what’s on offer in both deep sea and river cruising.
A number of their chefs have very kindly given us their favourite recipes which we have included in our Cruise Recipes feature in the Reviews section.
Deep Sea Cruising
Carnival’s ships are based in the Caribbean all year round for 2014.
Carnival Cruises and successful restaurateur, cookbook author and television star Guy Fieri have come together to cook up the best burgers at sea, and best of all, they are free!
Guests have a choice of succulent fresh-off-the-grill burgers designed by Fieri, or they can make their own at a condiment bar by adding a variety of tasty toppings. Burgers are complemented by hand-cut fries.
For lunch, a snack or early dinner, guests can drop by this laid-back poolside dining venue modelled after a road-side burger joint on an iconic coastal highway. www.carnival.com
Hurtigruten ships have sailed Norwegian waters since 1893. Today they continue the tradition of introducing passengers to the beautiful Norwegian coast in their current fleet of classic ships built since the late ‘90s.
Eirik Larsen has been working as a chef at Hurtigruten for more than 11 years – both on Hurtigruten ships along the Norwegian Coast and on the expedition ship MS Fram which is sailing in Greenland, Svalbard and Antarctica.
Eirik has taken part in national and international cooking competitions, and worked at restaurants in Norway and Europe before he joined Hurtigruten. Cooking, he says, is not only his work, it is his passion.
By developing new menus and food concepts Eirik contributes to the culinary experiences Hurtigruten guests enjoy on board. One of his most popular on-board dishes is Salted leg of lamb from Geiranger and vegetables. www.hurtigruten.com
Oceania Cruises has always had a reputation for the high quality of meals served in its dining rooms but did you know that it is the only line to have its own at sea cookery schools on board Marina and Riviera?
The Bon Appetit Culinary Centres feature individual work stations complete with hobs and offer themed cookery classes depending on which regions the ships are sailing in. Apart from the themed classes guests can also learn how to prepare and cook fish, make specialities from the line’s Asian-fusian restaurant or healthy dishes similar to those served in the spa.
The lessons are under the guidance of professional chefs, who also accompany visits to local markets and food producers and buy the ingredients for the classes.
Apart from the cookery school Oceania Cruises also offers six speciality restaurants with no supplement for speciality dining and a wine tasting centre.
Oceania Cruises’ Culinary Director, Franck Garanger, started as an apprentice in “Le Vert D’eau”, a Michelin star restaurant in Angers, Loire Valley in 1984 with jean Francois Piers a French master chef. In 1994 Franck joined Silversea Cruises before joining Oceania Cruises as number two to MasterChef, Jacques Pepin.
During his time Franck has cooked for Nelson Mandela and the King of Jordan and is responsible for the creation and implementation of all new menus that feature on Oceania Cruises five award-winning ships. www.oceaniacruises.com
Holland America Line
Holland America Line offers holidays to more than 350 destinations, ranging from Australasia and the Far East to South America and the Amazon, and Alaska and the Caribbean. The ships are noted for their cuisine which includes special touches like hors d’oeuvres at cocktail hour and the Culinary Arts Centres.
Alongside the main dining room and lido dining opportunities, the ships feature the Italian restaurant Canaletto and a steak and seafood specialist restaurant Pinnacle Grill; the latter, once every cruise, is transformed into New York celebrity restaurant Le Cirque. Holland America Line’s Signature-class ships also offer Tamarind, a high-end Pan-Asian restaurant.
The line’s award-winning master chef Rudi Sodamin revolutionised dining on board cruise ships. He was the youngest person ever to become Corporate Executive Chef aboard the legendary Queen Elizabeth 2 at the age of 24.
He has cooked for royalty and other heads of state, and won numerous honours and awards, including being bestowed with the title Maitre de Cuisine of France (only five others who were not French-born have ever received this title). www.hollandamerica.co.uk
Thomson Cruises, part of TUI UK & Ireland, is the third largest cruise line in the UK. There are four ships in the Thomson Cruises fleet – Thomson Dream, Thomson Majesty, Thomson Celebration and Thomson Spirit.
Thomson Cruises offer a great experience with great entertainment and food on board. Gratuities are also included in the cost of the cruise giving customers peace of mind when budgeting their cruise holiday.
Executive Chef Anthony Williams, Thomson Majesty, grew up in St Thomas, Jamaica, where he trained as an electrician. He worked for the Island Sugar Company and several private firms before realising his passion was for cooking and took a job in a cruise ship galley, where he worked his way up to Sous Chef.
Since joining the Thomson team he was promoted to Executive Chef in 2011. He’s still inspired by his grandmother’s culinary skills and likes nothing better than getting back to his Jamaican kitchen roots. www.thomson.co.uk
MSC Cruises famous for its Mediterranean cruises and out-look, also offers seasonal itineraries to the Caribbean, northern Europe, South America, South Africa, the Canary Islands and the United Arab Emirates. With the addition of MSC Preziosa the fleet now has 12 state-of-the-art ships.
Their Executive Chef, Simone Pinato, born in the small Italian province of Rovigo in 1983, grew up in the countryside surrounded by chickens and home-grown vegetables. At the weekends and during summer holidays from school, Simone worked in the kitchens of prestigious hotels before becoming a sous-chef at 21. Before bringing his passion and professionalism to MSC Cruises, Simone worked with multi-Michelin-starred chef Bruno Barbieri.
Simone Pinato loves using the finest Italian ingredients for his quick and simple to make at home favourite tagliatelle recipe. However, you can still achieve delicious results by using ingredients found in your local deli / supermarket. www.msccruises.co.uk
SeaDream Yacht Club
During 2014 SeaDream Yacht Club offered four Wine Voyages, including a special Wine Education Voyage. Following on from this SeaDream Yacht Club has been approved by the British Wine and Spirits Education Trust to deliver wine courses, exams and certifications starting in spring 2015.
The British Wine and Spirits Education Trust offers courses in four levels from one to four. Guests may now take the first two levels on board SeaDream. The aim of the Level 1 is to give a basic introduction to wine followed by food pairings.
Both SeaDream I and SeaDream II are positioned in the Mediterranean from May to October 2015.
With a maximum of only 112 guests and a 95-person award-winning crew, the company offers a ‘yachting, not cruising,’ experience as the size of the vessels allows them to sail into small harbours and ports around the world, many inaccessible to larger ships.
SeaDream also offers innovative dining, including an optional Raw Food menu and traditional Japanese menu. Whenever possible the chef welcomes guests to the local market in selected ports to assist him in collecting fresh local seafood and produce for the evening meal. www.seadream.com
P&O Cruises has a fleet of seven ships offering holidays tailored to British tastes combining excellent service, a sense of occasion and attention to detail.
When Britain’s biggest cruise ship Britannia launches March 2015 it will showcase some of the finest artisan food and drink producers from the UK celebrating great British products ranging from the likes of gin to cheese and charcuterie to chocolate and beer.
Britannia will also feature The Cookery Club with James Martin – a dedicated cookery school with 24 work stations – under the direction of experts and regular guest chefs.
The company has already introduced its Food Heroes concept with some of the biggest talent in the British culinary scene making guest appearances on board ships. These include James Martin, Eric Lanlaord, Marco Pierre White, Atul Kochhar and wine expert Olly Smith.
Eric Lanlard. a master pâtissier, author and TV personality, has changed the face of British patisserie. Eric is Brand Ambassador and the face of the baking web site www.BakingMad.com, a one stop site for recipes, tips, videos, competitions and special offers. He also runs regular baking classes at his Cake Boy boutique, a unique destination café in south west London. www.pocruises.com
Royal Caribbean International has announced that it is opening the first Jamie Oliver eaterie at sea.
The Jamie’s Italian dining experience will be available on-board Quantum of the Seas from autumn 2014 and Anthem of the Seas from spring 2015.
The addition of Jamie’s Italian to the restaurant portfolio aboard the Royal Caribbean ships reflects the company’s plans to completely reimagine dining at sea.
Smaller, flexible and personalised main restaurants and a collection of smaller, modern and distinct eateries such as ‘Jamie’s Italian’ and experiential restaurant ‘Wonderland’ will cater for the full spectrum of a food lover.
This new approach to dining will feature exclusively on Royal Caribbean International ships ‘Quantum of the Seas’ and ‘Anthem of the Seas’ replacing the Captain’s Table style dining usually associated with the cruising experience. www.royalcaribbean.com
Award-winning river cruise line AmaWaterways has a new beer-themed cruise for a spring 2015 sailing through the Dutch and Belgian waterways on board the luxury river cruiser AmaLyra.
The Tulips & Beer Cruise, departing Amsterdam on 31 March, 2015 is themed around Dutch and Belgian beers and regional cuisine and offers special excursions for beer-lovers, including five brewery visits. The cruise will be hosted by US beer expert, journalist and author of three books about beer, Don Russell, also known as Joe Sixpack who will hold lectures about beer during the and talk guests through a special beer-pairing dinner.
The cruise also includes chances to taste Dutch cheeses and Belgian chocolates and to visit some of the famous Dutch bulb fields, including the famous Keukenhof Gardens, as well as participate in the ship’s usual programme of hosted excursions ashore. www.amawaterways.co.uk
The River Cruise Line
The River Cruise Line specialises in providing special and unique cruises along some of Europe’s most famous waterways. There are cruises through mainland Europe, along rivers like the Danube and the Rhine, as well as holidays further afield through Russia and the Baltics. They have a selection of cruise ships ranging from the small and friendly mps Lady Anne to the fourstar ms Serenity offering a variety of themed cruises.
The themed cruises include the Gastronomic Delights Moselle tour, where guests can watch Head Chef Alvin Andrade, mps Amsterdam, demonstrating his skills. Originally trained in five-star holiday resorts of the Philippines and later by top European chefs aboard other river cruisers, Alvin Andrade has been cooking on the mps Amsterdam since 2009.
Although gifted across the kitchen, he likes to focus on main courses and soups, leaving starters and deserts in the hands of his talented assistant cook, Adam Pluchinsky. www.rivercruiseline.co.uk