Best Restaurants at Sea
Gone are the days when dining on a cruise ship simply meant your choice of Continental classics like beef Wellington, followed by dessert like baked Alaska prepared tableside. Today, many cruise ships are catering to uniquely modern and varied palettes, in some cases courtesy of partnerships with celebrity chefs. Along with showcasing authentic cuisines from different parts of the world, these new culinary ties mean travelers can sample fare developed by big culinary names whom they may have only read about in the past. So bon voyage … and bon appétit!
1. Norwegian Cruise Lines Teams With Cake Boss, Iron Chef
Also onboard will be Geoffrey Zakarian, Food Network’s most recently crowned “Iron Chef” and judge of Chopped, who will launch 3 restaurants aboard Norwegian Breakaway: Ocean Blue, serving what the line calls “beachy” seafood classics, such as roasted sea scallops, black sea bass and dover sole; Ocean Blue on the Waterfront, a more casual option serving items like lobster roll and fried calamari; and The Raw Bar, with seafood fare including oysters on the half shell and salmon tartare.
2. Carnival Cruises Teams With Food Network’s Guy Fieri
Located by the pool, Guy's Burger Joint, as Fieri’s venture is called, caters to burger lovers everywhere. With a delectable side of hand-cut fries, the burgers come topped with a wide variety of options -- from BBQ sauce to chili -- that we can only assume are inspired by Fieri’s travels for his TV show. Best of all, there’s no surcharge for dining here.
3. Oceania Cruises Teams With Jacques Pepin
Another must-try is Jacques by none other than master chef Jacques Pepin. This is the well-known TV cooking show host and cookbook author’s first restaurant venture on land or sea to bear his name. The heart of the menu is the rotisserie, which was engineered to be operable at sea, and turns out black-footed chicken and Provençal-style racks of veal crusted in olive tapenade. Of course, since this is a classic French restaurant and love letter to Jacques’ motherland, you can choose from a rich foie gras terrine, warm goat cheese salad, cheese-topped onion soup and garlicky escargot, as well as steak frites and pistachio-studded saucisson Lyonnais. Finish your meal, appropriately, with a visit from the cheese trolley.
4. Celebrity Cruises’ Specialty Restaurant
Here, even dishes that sound simple enough on the menu turn out to be full of presentation surprises. Start with sushi rolls presented as lollipops or make-your-own guacamole. Or consider ordering spring rolls (which appear to be served on metal springs) or Middle Eastern small plates served in a series of cubes that look a bit like cubby holes. End the meal in an equally playful manner, with cupcakes you and your tablemates frost and decorate yourselves.
5. Crystal Cruises Teams With Nobu Matsuhisa
For sushi-loving cruisers, a meal at Silk Road is as good as it gets: Picture the chef’s signature rock shrimp tempura, which comes tossed in spicy creamy sauce, followed by the often-imitated miso-glazed black cod. Valentino at Prego, too, is a joy to dine in: The restaurant is based on the celebrated Valentino restaurant in Santa Monica, and the menu is full of rich dishes that feel worthy of a special event, from antipasto platters to creamy mushroom soup and risotto.