Monday Myth Buster – Myth: Cruise food is just endless, boring buffets
Buffet shmuffet! Cruise food embraces the whole culinary rainbow from casual pub grub to Michelin star magic.
Generally the bigger the ship, the bigger the choice of chow with buffet-style food offered as just one option alongside cafes, 24-hour room-service, formal dining rooms and more intimate speciality restaurants inspired by the world’s greatest cuisines.
Sushi fans can set sail with Crystal Cruises and sample the Japanese-Peruvian food of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa in Silk Road and the Sushi Bar. Highlights include his world famous salmon tartar with Seyruga caviar, black cod with miso, and the east meets west dessert bento box.
Atul Kochhar, the first Indian chef to win a Michelin star, has a restaurant named Sindhu aboard P&O’s Azura, which serves contemporary Asian dishes. If Italian cuisine is your one true amore then MSC offers pastas homemade from the highest quality Italian mills semolina, whilst hand-tossed Neapolitan style thin crust pizzas by Chef Alfredo Marzi are available at Alfredo’s Pizzeria on Grand, Royal, Regal and Sapphire Princess cruises.
Dining options on Regent Seven Seas include double-cut Kurobuta Berkshire pork chops, New Zealand lamb chops, and all manner of cuts of USDA Prime steak, dry-aged for a minimum of 28 days, and served in portions from 12 ounces up to a whopping 36 ounce porterhouse.
Oceania offers La Reserve wine tasting centres on its Riviera and Marina ships, both of which feature hands-on culinary studios where guests can take Moroccan, Turkish, Mexican or Nordic cookery classes.
For fans of the traditionally British it’s worth knowing that Viking produce a beautiful afternoon tea of pastries, finger sandwiches, macaroons and a wide selection of teas including mango white and gunpowder. They also offer a Kitchen Table program involving a shore excursion to a market followed by a cookery lesson and shared dining experience on board.
Larger ships may boast a wider variety of restaurants (megaships have up to 25) but smaller vessels and river cruises are better placed to explore ingredients at source and in context. Hurtigruten serve sustainable, seasonal locally farmed and deliciously fresh food on their Norwegian coastal cruises including handpicked cloudberries during autumn, whilst European Waterways offer charters on an eight-person hotel barge complete with a canal-side cooking class, on-board culinary demonstrations, a truffle-hunting excursion, a tasting in the Minervois hills and a trip to a farm that breeds petit-gris escargots; not a buffet in sight!
By Sarah Glayzer