pointedview (pointedview) wrote,

Cruise food

I know at least one of my friends is going on a cruise soon, and I thought this information might be of interest. It's something I'll have to keep in mind whenever my husband and I have the opportunity and means to go on a full-on vacation.

Article from USA Today on cruise cuisine, preserved for posterity behind the cut:

'Cruisine': Options abound for dining at sea
Cruising and dining have always gone hand-in-hand. But while cuisine
is still one of the main focuses on most large cruise ships, gone are
the days of limited, fattening food choices. In fact, it's goodbye
midnight buffets – with their connotations of excess and
overindulgence – hello sushi, salad bars, and appetizing light
entrees. Sure, you could still pack on a few pounds during a cruise,
but you now have lots of options that are light and healthy, yet

Choice is the big buzz word these days when it comes to "cruisine."
This applies not only to the varied cuisine types but also to when and
where passengers can dine. Most major cruise lines now offer numerous
options in addition to the traditional two seatings in the main dining
rooms, including alternative, upscale restaurants, casual buffets in
the dining room and room service. Note that alternative specialty
restaurants usually charge a flat fee ($20 to $25 range per person) to
cover tips for the waiters, etc. and reservations should be made soon
after embarkation.

Here's a rundown of the food and wine offerings on the major cruise lines:

A & K's informal dining room fosters camaraderie between passengers
and naturalists. Even though A & K's ships are small, the line's wine
list is large, with over 100 choices. www.abercrombiekent.com

Carnival recently announced a new alliance with renowned French master
chef Georges Blanc, who operates six highly acclaimed restaurants in
France. He has created Georges Blanc Signature Selections for all
Carnival ships and provided training to the line's master chefs.
Another popular dining feature is the reservations-only supper club,
available only on Carnival's eight Spirit and Conquest-class ships.
And if you like the wine you try on board, Carnival has launched a new
mail-order wine club, with bottles selected by Carnival President Bob
Dickinson delivered directly to your home. www.carnival.com

While Celebrity Cruises' alternative restaurants on its
Millennium-class ships resemble a classic liner, the cruise line also
embraces innovation: Celebrity was the first line to offer pizza
delivered right to passengers' staterooms. Another unique "cruisine"
feature is Gourmet Bites, which are carried around the ship by waiters
in the wee hours instead of fattening midnight buffets. www.celebrity.com

Clipper Cruise Line's fleet of small ships offers extensive regional
foods and drinks based on the ship's destination. This includes
excursions that introduce local delicacies such as sipping traditional
tea while in England and visiting vineyards in Portugal. www.clippercruise.com

Costa ships celebrate Italian cuisine, with its Trattoria Italiana
specialty restaurants operated by some of the most famous Italian
chefs such as Marchesi and Zeffirino. At Costa's Notte Mediterranea,
passengers receive a passport and must secure stamps from various
lounges representing Mediterranean countries to show that they've
sampled the international cuisine. www.costacruises.com

Once again this year, Crystal Cruises is featuring a Food and Wine
Festival aboard 12 cruises. During these voyages, cooking
demonstrations, gala dinners and wine tastings are offered by top name
sommeliers and chefs. All Crystal departures also offer Wine Makers
Dinners whereby ten to 14 guests can pay extra for gourmet menus and
four to eight unique wines. www.crystalcruises.com

Delta Queen's steamboats emphasize regional American cuisine found
along the waterways they ply. For example, if your cruise explores the
Heartland, you'll find Memphis ribs on the menu, or along the lower
Mississippi, Bayou stuffed catfish is sure to be offered. www.deltaqueen.com

Disney Cruise Line is known for its unique rotation dining program
whereby passengers sample different restaurants nightly and their
waiters move along with them. Some other unique Disney dining features
include character breakfasts for kids and tea with Wendy from Peter
Pan. For adults only, there is the upscale Palo specialty restaurant.

As part of its Signature of Excellence program, all Holland America
ships now have Culinary Arts Centers. These state-of-the-art show
kitchens offer specialty chefs on over 60 cruises throughout 2006 as
well as food-related activities for kids. All ships also have a
Pinnacle Grill alternative restaurant featuring Northwest cuisine and
steaks. www.hollandamerica.com

Since MSC Cruises' roots are in Italy, the company offers Italian
specialties on all sailings, as well as exotic "breads of the day" at
dinner. The line's newest addition, MSC Musica, has a variety of
dining experiences ranging from a sushi bar, complete with Zen garden,
to a wine tasting bar and even kosher wines. www.msccruises.com

Norwegian Cruise Line is known for its "Freestyle Dining" whereby
passengers can dine where and when they want. A new feature is plasma
screens in lounges so that guests can see how long of a wait there is
at all the various restaurants. The line's alliance with Cooking Light
magazine allows it to offer low-calorie yet tempting dishes while
former White House chef Henry Haller has created a "President's Menu"
of dishes fit for dignitaries. www.ncl.com

Princess Cruises' "Anytime Dining" allows a lot of flexibility in
times and venues for dinner. The Crown Princess, which debuts in June,
has three new venues that allow passengers to watch artisan chefs
while they dine: Vines wine and seafood bar, Crown Grill steakhouse,
and the International Café which boasts an Italian street café
atmosphere in a piazza-style atrium. www.princess.com

Regent Seven Seas was the first line to introduce permanent Le Cordon
Bleu restaurants at sea. RSSC's Navigator has an Italian restaurant
complete with singing Italian waiters, while the Voyager and Mariner
serve Indochine cuisine. Additionally, the line offers complimentary
pouring wines along with extensive wines for purchase. www.rssc.com

Most (but not all) of Royal Caribbean's ships have alternative dining
rooms for dinner, including Portofino Italian restaurant or Chops
Grille. The Voyager class ships have 1950s-inspired Johnny Rockets,
complete with dancing servers, as well as Café Promenade which serves
pizza, sandwiches and sweets 24 hours daily. www.royalcaribbean.com

Seabourn pours a selection of wines for free at dinner while also
featuring Vintage Seabourn, which allows passengers to pre-purchase
specialty wines. The line just launched a new restaurant on its ships
called "2" which pairs two complementary dishes in each of six
courses. In addition, during afternoon tea service, guests can now
choose from loose, rare teas from around the world. www.seabourn.com

Silversea Cruises recently revamped its specialty restaurants into
Relais & Chateaux wine-themed restaurants where the focus is on
upscale vintages. Food is then designed to complement the wine,
instead of the other way around. Guests can enjoy rare and costly
wines while only paying the normal nominal fee to dine in the
restaurant. www.silversea.com

Tags: food, travel
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