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    Pasta DinnerThese days, everyone is watching what they eat; and while reality cooking shows won’t make you the next Gordon Ramsay, they do make you appreciate a well-prepared meal on land – and sea. A new epoch has begun where every cruise traveler is a potential food critic, and a sub par restaurant is no longer acceptable “because the cruise fare was such a bargain.” Passengers want to savor the meal, but they also want a little creativity. To satisfy their growing hunger, cruise companies have been stepping it up to offer some mouth watering innovation that we can all take a bite out of.

    Recently, Celebrity made headlines by introducing the Lawn Club, an area on the top deck with real grass for guests to relax. Although it’s an interesting concept, let’s face it: laying in the grass gets old pretty fast, so the company is spicing it up with the industry’s first outdoor restaurant that lets passengers put on the chef apron. Experts will be on hand to help passengers prepare their own pizza and meats that can be grilled to order. The Silhouette will be the first ship to be fitted with the new venue in the fall of 2011.


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    Oceania Cruises has consistently received high marks for its on board dining, and when the new Marina debuts on her maiden voyage (January 22, 2011), the vessel will unveil a culinary arts center with 22 cooking stations and all the kitchen gadgets you can dream up. Hands-on cooking workshops will be available on all itineraries, and shore excursions will take guests behind the scenes to local food markets.


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    Holland America also has a showcase-like culinary arts center, and in October of last year the company created the Culinary Council, a collaboration of some of the world’s most acclaimed chefs who provide guidance and signature recipes. To add to its epicurean prowess, the cruise line is rolling out “An Evening at Le Cirque” in its signature Pinnacle Grill, modeled after Manhattan’s landmark restaurant. The cuisine will have all the same French flair, with notable dishes like “Lobster Salad Le Cirque,” côte de boeuf, (that’s a magical cut of beef for the non foodies out there), and of course, the heavenly crème brûlée – which will can be purchased separately if you’re left longing for more.

    Lastly, if you like to pair your cruise cuisine with fine wine, Food and Wine Trails provides luxury themed cruises (and tours) to the Mediterranean, Alaska, and beyond. On most cruises, the owners of featured wineries will hop aboard to share their knowledge (and samples!) with guests.

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