tWith all the cooking shows and food channels on TV, I love watching them all. Being transported to faraway lands, taught about different cultures and dishes, salivating at the amazing creations, and wanting to taste all those dishes - that’s half the fun of travelling. I am obsessed with Italian cuisine! It’s so fascinating to me how each region in Italy has their own signature dish and how simple ingredients can create something so incredible. I won’t lie, I just love limoncello and relish in any excuse to enjoy it.
So, if your anything like me, you fancy yourself as a bit of a foodie, and well don’t we wish we all could experience first-class dining by award-winning chef hatted and Michelin star chefs, degustation menus and chef’s tables every evening?! Well, this is one of my favourite reasons for cruising. The main dining room and buffet are wonderful and always offer an array of different dishes catering for all nationalities, but I am talking about the specialty restaurants onboard. This is a perfect way to experience some of the best cuisine and dining experiences you have ever had at a mere fraction of the cost!
Here are 5 exclusive dining experiences you can enjoy on your next sailing.
Silversea - La Dame
Named after “La Dame de Paris”. La Dame features an elegant menu created by top chefs, consisting of a beautiful fusion between traditional and modern French cuisine. You are welcomed with Champagne on arrival and you can feel you are in for an incredible evening. This an intimate setting with the white-gloved service synonymous with Silversea. Serving dishes such as foie Gras, coquilles St Jacques and caviar for starters, Limousin grass-fed beef and lobster tail for mains finishing off with a Grand Marnier soufflé with lemon sorbet as a palette cleanser in between courses. Each course is separated by a lengthy break, and each course perfectly paired with spectacular wines specific to La Dame. It is a whole evening event and you will not be disappointed.
Oceania Cruiseline - La Reserve
Available onboard: Marina and Riviera.
One of the most memorable and incredible dining experiences at sea. A wine and Champagne experience that you cannot experience anywhere else. Developed by the famous world-class chef Jaques Pepin. Choose from one of three unique pairing dinners: La Cuisine Bourgeoise, The Odyssey Menu or the prestigious Dom Pérignon Experience. Whichever menu you choose, be prepared for a gastronomic journey.
Azamara - THE CHEF’S TABLE
Enjoy an exclusive dining experience pairing multiple courses with perfectly matched wines to accentuate the flavours of each dish. For up to 14 diners and depending on the length of sailing you have a choice of multiple wine degustation menus (up to 9) which are normally specific to the region of the cruise. For example, they’ll offer a Japanese menu through Asia however, they offer the following regardless of the ports due to the popularity of the cuisine – Italian, French and Californian.
Enjoy seven beautifully presented courses, hosted by a senior officer. You will have the sommelier on hand to provide helpful information throughout the evening. These dinners will take place in the Prime C specialty restaurant and the different menus are rotated throughout the sailing. Some of the wonderful dishes you can enjoy are Chilled Crab Panzanella Salad, Scallops Grenobloise or New Potato Crusted Sea Bass. Sounds delicious and can’t wait to experience this next time I’m onboard!
Royal Caribbean Cruiselines – Wonderland
Imaginative and creative cuisine pushing the culinary boundaries think Alice in wonderland. This is no ordinary dinner this is an event!
From the moment you enter wonderland you are enveloped in the kaleidoscopic visuals with whimsical décor and mismatched furniture you will think you’ve stepped into the looking glass.
As the menu is handed to you it is a blank page, slowly revealing itself (not to give too much away). A six-course menu divided into six elements, Sun, sea, fire, ice, earth and dreams. Each dish with playful adaptations confusing one’s mind with unexpected shapes and flavours. Presented using gastronomy techniques such as edible foam and dry ice, you are bound to be wowed! Pair your meal with cocktails aka ‘Magical Elixirs’ for full sensory experience.
Celebrity Cruiselines - Qsine @ Le Petit Chef
Enjoy this very clever and unique dining experience at the Le Petite Chef. A refreshingly new dining experience on board Celebrity.
Partnering with world-renown artists of Skull mapping presented with TableMation they have created a 3D table animation to bring to life each course before your very eyes. Each course has a 3D animated projection onto your table and is beautifully choreographed to arrive thereafter. Two menus are on offer Le Petit chef and Le Petit Chef and friends. Each is a set menu and includes alternatives. Enjoy dishes such as filet mignon, Truffled Ravioli or Roasted Sea bass. This is a 2-hour theatrical event for all ages!
With each cruiseline offering specialty dining options, I encourage you to take advantage and experience these. Some are at an additional cost ranging anywhere from $35USD to $250USD per person and some are complimentary (its best to check with your consultant or cruiseline and always best to pre-book to avoid disappointment). It really is exceptional value though, on land it would cost you 4 times as much!