When most people think of food on a cruise they mostly visualize big amounts of pizza, endless buffets and most of all lots of calories.
Luckily a lot is possible on cruises nowadays food wise. Recently we were on board SEADREAM1. In the evening they offer different menus. One of them is raw & vegan. It is probably the only cruise line that does that. The chefs are trained by the prestigious Hippocrates Health Institute in Palm Springs. I tried several of the plates such as the raw lasagne or the cashew lemon cheesecake and they really tasted delicious. Eating raw food in warm climates also makes sense.
SeaDream’s Corporate Chef Sudesh Kishore
Another thing I never encountered before was the SeaDream Caviar Splash. Basically the waiters dressed in a Caribbean outfit wade into the water with a surfboard on which they put caviar and champagne. Imagine yourself in your swimwear with a glass of champagne in one hand and a toast with caviar in the other one…not bad right?
In May last year we were on board the EUROPA2. This German ship has 7 restaurants. It feels like eating out in a five star restaurant every day. Top class staff in adapted uniform makes sure that you have a pleasant moment in their restaurant.
Next to the main dining room, which has always schnitzel on the menu (it is a German cruise line after all), there is Taragon with its French bistro atmosphere and authentic cheese trolley. Our favourite was the Asian inspired Elements restaurant with delicious meals such as Indian Yellow Lamb Curry or vegetarian Vietnamese; Green Papaya in Coconut milk.
For dining al fresco there is the Yacht Club restaurant and for sushi cravings there is Sakura. In the mood for pasta there is the Serenissima restaurant. It is possible to make a reservation in the Grand Reserve for an exclusive wine tasting.
They do have the very best quality on board. We got the chance to see the cellars. Impressive. And we got to meet executive chef Martin Ohlemann. It was inspiring to hear him talk about the food they serve and his international team. People who want to eat gluten free or do have other allergies don’t need to worry. If they let know their food preferences beforehand the kitchen staff is well prepared to make sure they will have delicious meals adapted to their needs. It is also the only ship I saw some Ayurvedic meals on the buffet. And if you have nice weather, do have breakfast on your balcony. It is just divine to have your selection of breakfast served to you on your balcony.
Hotel Manager Franz Neumann
Chef Martin Ohlemann went shopping in Saint Malo
What I loved on EUROPA 2 was the possibility to have a private table every time. When you are travelling I guess you do want to spend some private time with your loved ones and not with a table of strangers.
That said one of my favourite cruises stays cruising with STAR CLIPPERS. It was my first real cruise and I loved every single aspect of it. The sailing, the close contact with the crewmembers. It is a small ship so you dine every time in the same restaurant. And every time with different people. This means that you do get to know lots of people which is nice – sometimes. For lunch there is the buffet and in the evening there is a menu.
In 2013 we made a book about VIKING GRACE, the new concept cruise ferry by Viking Line. This ferry travels daily from Stockholm to Turku and back. Most of the people only stay one night on board. Luckily we had more time to enjoy all the restaurants and entertainment on this beautiful ship.
Oscar is the à la carte restaurant, there is the champagne & wine bar; Seamore, the Aurora buffet that offers a breakfast buffet in the morning and a fantastic authentic Scandinavian smorgasbord in the evening. I loved the Sweet & Salty to work and eat a snack. But also in the Retro bar there are sandwiches and cakes to choose from. They all have their own distinctive look & feel. Love that ship and their enthusiastic crew.
What about the big ships I hear you asking. Last year we were on board NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY. A big ship with lots of restaurants and entertainment. There is the complementary dining in the buffet restaurant the Garden Café. You can also take your plate outside. A favourite for many is the American style restaurant O’Sheehans for ribs and other comfort food. Savor & Taste are the main dining rooms for à la carte dining. In the Manhattan Room you can dine but also try some ballroom dancing. While in the Uptown Bar & Grill you can find burgers & co.
There is also a number of specialty dining options. There is Italian in La Cucina, French in Le Bistro, Brazilian in the Churrascaria steakhouse, show and Japanese food in the Teppanyaki restaurant, Cagney’s steakhouse for Angus Beef, oriental specialties in the Shanghai’s noodle Bar, oysters and crudos in the Raw Bar and sushi in our favourite restaurant Wasabi. Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian has his Ocean Blue restaurant, which has also a counter on the waterfront. They serve delicious lobster rolls.
Show in the Teppanyaki restaurant
We loved the possibility to dine outside on the Waterfront promenade on the ship and were astounded that it was not always fully booked. Americans do love their air conditioning compared to Europeans.
More recently we travelled with CROISIEUROPE from Cambodia to Vietnam, already two delicious food countries. On board the Cambodian chef Tith cooked Asian specialties next to European meals. The chef had worked in international hotels and was eager to learn all the well-known dishes around the world. I had the opportunity to see them at work in their small ship kitchen. Where all the kitchen staff moved around expertly, while they prepared lunch.
In September 2013 we were on board LE SOLEAL by Compagnie du Ponant. Something needs to be said about French cuisine. They sure know how to pick quality. Here we experienced the best breads, impressive seafood platters, the best cheeses and the yummiest desserts. No counting calories here.
Beautiful table set up on Le Soléal
Last year we were invited for a ship visit in Zeebrugge on EURODAM. I got the chance to talk to the Holland America line’s Master Chef Rudy Sodamin. It was great to listen to his passion for food and as I discovered, photography. The charming Austrian chef is responsible for the development of fine dining on the Holland America Line ships. We got the opportunity to try some of his dishes for lunch on board such as duo of Veal ‘Maître Cuisinier de France’ or Cedar Planked Halibut.
You see I don’t think you can get easily bored with food on a ship. Obviously the more expensive lines offer often more restaurants and better quality food but still all ships have options to please everybody whether you are a vegetarian, vegan or meat lover.