Taste, it's a wonderful and delectable thing. Literally providing numerous delicious moments, our taste and desire for good food and libations is a part of our journey of life. And when we travel, then cuisine, and all that it means to us, is often at the heart of some of our best experiences. Cruise lines today continue to raise the bar in both the food arena and in their cocktail and wine choices on board, so much so that we thought it was time to delve more deeply and find out more about their offerings. 

HAL_Culinary WaveCourtesy of Holland America

Seabourn partners with Chef Thomas Keller

Ultra-luxury and award-winning cruise line Seabourn has launched a new era in culinary ‎excellence. 

Renowned American Chef Keller, of Per Se and French Laundry fame has created a series of  menus which are now being featured aboard Seabourn Quest in a new bespoke restaurant. And soon, The Grill by Thomas Keller will be unveiled on the Line's ‎newest ship, the 600 guest Seabourn Encore launching in late 2016 followed by a venue on sister ship, Seabourn Ovation launching in 2018.

Seabourn - The GrillCourtesy of Seabourn - The Grill on Seabourn Encore

Seabourn Quest is the first of the cruise company's three current ships to have a Keller restaurant while menus throughout multiple dining venues on Quest, Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Sojourn feature an array of dishes ranging from first courses to mains and desserts as well.  

To introduce an unparalleled dining experience unlike any other at sea, Chef Keller, his veteran staff and Seabourn’s executive culinary team have collaborated in menu development and training. And, in an effort to ensure a consistent presentation, Seabourn has even acquired Homage by Thomas Keller in Checks pattern, the white porcelain dinnerware by Raynaudused in Chef Keller’s own fine dining restaurants. A remarkable partnership sure to please guests’ palates and more!  

Holland America Launches a New Era with Exciting Innovations

The recently christened, beautiful ms Koningsdam, newest ship in the highly regarded Holland America fleet brings fabulous new dining opportunities for its guests and a first at sea as well. Not only are there many guest favorite restaurants on board, along with some great new additions, there is also a unique experience of being able to blend your own wine courtesy of a partnership with Chateau Ste Michelle.

HAL Culinary Arts CenterCourtesy of Holland America

If you’ve always wanted to be a winemaker then Blend is for you. For a charge of $129 US you can spend an hour or so with a winemaker and work towards blending your own wine which you can then take and enjoy in your room or at dinner. Choose from a variety of Chateau Ste Michelle blends such as a cabernet franc, a Cold Creek Merlot, a Canoe Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon and more. It’s a fun way to spend an hour, engage with other guests and determine the wine that tastes the best for your palate. And it’s only on Holland America.

HAL Grand Dutch CafeCourtesy of Holland America - Grand Dutch Cafe

New fine-dining options at alternative restaurant Sel de Mer, a French seafood brasserie are enticing guests, as is an immersive farm-to-table concept dinner experience in the Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food and Wine magazine. The delightful Grand Dutch Café has also proved to be very popular serving traditional Dutch treats along with coffees, drinks and European Beer.

Norwegian Cruise Line Introduces À La Carte Specialty Dining

Always a company seeking to offer its guests the utmost in freedom and flexibility, Norwegian Cruise Line has introduced à la carte specialty dining for its signature restaurants. Guests will now be able to enjoy and savor an array of tastes and gourmet dishes and determine for themselves how many courses they wish to enjoy during a meal.

NCL_ModernoCourtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line - Brazilian Churrascaria at Moderno

Launched late last year on the Line’s newest ship, the Norwegian Escape, guests are now able to choose to dine at any of the 11 complimentary dining spots or experience new flavors at the specialty restaurants (and guest favorites) such as La Cucina, Le Bistro, Cagney’s Steakhouse plus the new Bayamo by James Beard Award winning chef Jose Garces on an a la carte basis. There are enhanced menus offering guests the freedom to select as many courses as they’d like to enjoy with per-item pricing. Whether guests wish to have a light meal or a favorite appetizer and soup or salad, or perhaps indulge in a multi-course gourmet extravaganza with a Maine lobster, fabulous steaks or Chateaubriand, Norwegian’s a la carte options will have guest’s taste buds wanting more and creating their desired dining experience.

NCL CheeseCakeCourtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Other ships in the fleet also offer this popular option and guests can continue to reserve their dining times ahead of sailing, by visiting MyNCL. There is no charge to make a reservation and guests will have any a la carte selections added to their onboard account at the time of dining.

Avalon Waterways Gets Fresh!

Known for its innovative and award-winning Suite Ship design, Avalon Waterways always seeks to add new ideas, creativity and appeal to its river ships and cruise offerings. And now they are literally bringing fresh ideas to the table! Starting in 2017 the company is teaming up with two of Europe’s rising culinary stars – the Wrenkh brothers – to design Avalon Fresh.

Avalon_Wrenkh BrothersCourtesy of Avalon Waterways - The Wrenkh Brothers

Avalon is listening to its guests and their interest in eating healthier and vegetarian food options that taste great. Having always provided travelers with a wide selection of nutritious and delicious recipes Avalon Fresh is taking this idea to a whole new level. It is about creating wholesome menu items where garden-fresh, local ingredients from small farms are married with a sprinkling of culinary ingenuity. This exciting collection of new food will apparently be so mouthwatering that many guests will be surprised at how healthy these dishes are – and all prepared with the highest quality ingredients by the onboard culinary experts.

Avalon Panorama Sky BistroCourtesy of Avalon Waterways - Panorama Sky Bistro

And for guests who prefer a regular menu then Avalon delivers here too; always with an extensive menu and offering a dinner with specialty items from the day’s destination as well as a choice of wine including those from the region. And on each Avalon cruise, the company brings a local chef on board to interact with guests while preparing a special menu. On the company’s fabulous Suite Ships guests can also enjoy the Panorama Bistro – a more casual atmosphere for dining and which offers small bites and tapas-style dishes, hand-paired with local wines.

Celebrity Cruises Tantalizes – a Fusion of Food and Film

Modern luxury cruise brand Celebrity Cruises recently premiered its sumptuous new sensation at sea, “A Taste of Film” on Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Millennium, joining Celebrity Infinity which debuted the new Rooftop Terrace, a chic modern lounge with breathtaking sea views and the setting for this new onboard experience.

This is one of the most delicious and indulgent ways that cruisers can enjoy both a beautiful outdoor space as well as a rich cultural and culinary moment, along with stunning views of the sea. And what more could one ask!  A Taste of Film, a new multi-sensory experience presents films that evoke a specific cultural, culinary or destination offering paired with cuisine that brings the scenes on the screen to life through guests’ taste buds.

Celebrity_Rooftop Terrace LoungeCourtesy of Celebrity Cruises - The Rooftop Terrace Lounge

Celebrity’s first film was “The Hundred-Foot Journey” which tells the story of a feud between two adjacent restaurants in a small French town: one operated by a recently relocated Indian family and the other a Micheline-starred French restaurant. The cruise line’s culinary team, led by Michelin-starred Cornelius Gallagher, has specially crafted a multi-course tasting menu inspired by the award-winning film’s French and Indian cuisines, which guests can enjoy throughout the film.  A great way to showcase Celebrity’s fine dining choices.

Originally published in Dream Voyages Fall 2016 issue.


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