Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Culinary Cruises: Haute Cuisine on the High Seas



 

Amid some negative headlines about cruises, the public has missed out on hearing about incredible culinary changes taking place on the high seas.


Foodies travel hundreds of miles to satisfy their culinary curiosity. What if I told you that without grabbing a cab you can dine at some of the finest restaurants the world has to offer?
Eat at a celebrity chef’s restaurant? How about an exclusive nine-course meal prepared by an executive chef for 20 guests only? If that tempts your taste buds, consider booking a cruise.
You might be surprised at what’s cooking on the ocean.

Cruising has become the new foodie heaven. It is now all about the total experience of dining.
The cruise industry as a whole has made huge strides in moving away from the “eating constantly” concept to more of an elegant dining atmosphere. In the past, cruise lines encouraged bigger,
bolder buffets for breakfasts and lunches, then forced passengers to pick a set dinner time for the week and eat while sitting with strangers. Well, the passengers demanded change, and the industry got on board.
 


Not Your Mama’s Buffet

However close the concepts might seem, dining and eating are not the same in execution. The higher-end cruise lines still provide a buffet; however, instead of colossal mounds of food, it is about well-prepared foods. Salads are created in front of you as you stand in line, and international cuisines are represented with imported cheeses and meats, as well as the more traditional dishes. The difference is in the preparation, and plating each small portion. The buffet option is always available, and frankly, when traveling with small children, it is a superb choice.
 

The Juicy Details

Recently, I had the opportunity to travel on three different cruise lines. Each had its own perspective on cuisine. All did a phenomenal job of bringing unique and intimate dining to passengers. I was the impressed with Norwegian Cruise Line’s Getaway ship. The Getaway is one of the newest “mega ships” based out of Miami, and cuisine is their No. 1 concern. In fact, they were the first to introduce the concept of Freestyle Dining.

Gone are the days when passengers are forced to dine at a particular time and table with people they may or may not know. Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) recognized that their passengers wanted more dining options and flexibility, so they switched to a straightforward concept: The Getaway offered 28 different dining options. Some restaurants are included in the price of the cruise while others had a nominal surcharge. This way, passengers could choose each night whether they might be in the mood for Italian or French, or would just prefer to sit topside enjoying a burger and beer. The option is theirs, and they welcome it.
 

Norwegian Cruise Line offers a more individualized approach to dining, with custom pastas, crepes and more. Photo courtesy George Contorakes


Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

While on board the higher-end luxury ships, you will find that the high seas have lured some of the most famous restaurants in the world, as well as celebrity chefs. The Getaway plays host to Geoffrey Zakarian’s Ocean Blue restaurant. Here, you dine at sea while enjoying some of the most creative and delicious dishes fresh from the ocean.
  
Another exquisite dining experience is on board Holland America’s Eurodam. It offers an exclusive special evening when the ship transforms one of its existing restaurants into New York’s Le Cirque. The menu, china and flatware are all from the famed Manhattan eatery; even the art on the walls was changed to emulate what you would find in New York. The kitchen staff – trained by Le Cirque’s own chefs on their most popular dishes – provides a dining treat that makes you forget you’re at sea, as if you instead were dining in New York City among the rich and famous.
 

 Play with Your Food

Interactive specialty restaurants also have been added to cruise lines’ already outstanding restaurant options. While cruising with Celebrity onboard the Silhouette, we loved dining at the top of the ship. The Lawn Club Grill transforms the top of the vessel with a green grass exterior to make a quasi-park atmosphere with an intimate outdoor dining experience. We enjoyed making gourmet appetizer pizzas, which included tossing the dough and assembling the toppings. The main course included perfectly cooked steaks that melt in your mouth.
 

Grilled Delmonico steak with roasted shallots and watercress from the Ocean Blue Restaurant by Geoffrey Zakarian. Photo courtesy Delmonico steak ©John Montana


If you’re up for a culinary adventure, then don’t miss Qsine. This restaurant focuses on the world of food with dramatic presentations. Dishes range from sushi lollipops to a Mediterranean dollhouse filled with 12 compartments, each containing a unique dish. And the Rubik’s Cube dessert menu? A brilliant finish.

The creativity in each and every dish is delightful. NCL also offered their take on an authentic Brazilian Steakhouse called Moderno Churrascaria. There, we turned our cards over to green and dined on perfectly seared and roasted meats cut freshly from a hot skewer, or a fish filet cooked in a banana leaf. The salad bar was filled with typical Brazilian dishes, including a freshly prepared ceviche. Each meal was memorable because of the phenomenal presentation, as well as the fun atmosphere they created.
 

For the DIY Crowd  

Cooking classes at sea are also a new addition to activities on many ships. Some have seminars provided by their chefs, wine tastings and even napkin folding instructions. NCL has taken the seminar approach a step further by providing “hands on” pastry decorating classes sponsored by The Cake Boss. Each participant receives his or her own set of cupcakes or an entire cake to decorate, depending on the class that day, which is taught by the executive pastry chef. They show a variety of techniques ranging from working with fondant to using pastry bags and decorating tips.

Perhaps most impressive was that each class focused on a different decorating concept. One class was all about cupcakes; another taught us how to make an ocean-inspired cake out of fondant. I was truly amazed at the excellent instruction, but better yet were the delicious confections we took back to the stateroom.
 

The cake-decorating class provides sweet results. Photo courtesy Caryn Ros


Best of the Best

If you consider yourself a serious foodie, then you won’t want to miss NCL’s The Chefs Table. This event is only offered one night for the first 20 people who have pre-reserved the dining experience. Your evening begins by being escorted to The Haven, an ultra-private dining room where the chef prepares a two and one-half hour, nine-course meal, including wine pairings for each course. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced at sea.

The executive chef plays host by introducing each dish. During our experience, he even offered to send us recipes to our stateroom so we could take home memories from this great night. The dishes ranged from molecular gastronomy creations to simple, elegant, savory tarts. I highly recommend signing up early and experiencing this incredible evening while onboard an NCL cruise. 




 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

New Orleans Bound: Heading Down to the Big Easy

Steamboats to street musicians, incredible food and a perennial party atmosphere – the Crescent City is a prime destination year-round.

Off to See the Wizard in the Myriad Gardens

In her ongoing travels through Oklahoma, author and photographer M.J. Alexander goes over the rainbow to OKC for a screening

The Astounding Adventures of the Abernathy Boys

In her ongoing travels through Oklahoma, author and photographer M.J. Alexander visits Frederick to learn the saga of two pioneer boys who became hard-traveling celebrities.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

March 2019

Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Why celebrate St. Patrick's Day for one day, when you can celebrate it for four? #405Brewing is excited to release THREE new beers leading up to St. Patrick’s Day! All three brews are...

Cost: Free

Where:
(405) Brewing Taproom
1716 Topeka St.
Norman, OK  73069
View map »


Telephone: 405.760.5518
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

WEEK-LONG CAMPS: MAR 11 - 15 & MAR  18 - 22 2019 Join us this Spring Break as we present two exciting weeks of fun and creativity. Kids will love joining in with our performing...

Cost: $160

Where:
Oklahoma Children's Theatre
2501 N Blackwelder
Oklahoma Children's Theatre
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: http://www.oklahomachildrenstheatre.org
Telephone: 405.606.7003
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

From March 18-22, we are having a BLAST and celebrating the ultimate Spring Break! Buy an Ultimate Fun Wristband for anyone aged 8 and under and they can enjoy our additional attractions, the...

Cost: $28.95

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park
3300 Market Place Dr
Norman, OK  73072
View map »


Sponsor: Andy Alligator's Fun Park
Telephone: 405.321.7275
Contact Name: Andy Alligator's MLK weekend fun!
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

From March 18-22, we are having a BLAST and celebrating the ultimate Spring Break! Buy an Ultimate Fun Wristband for anyone aged 8 and under and they can enjoy our additional attractions, the...

Cost: $28.95

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park
3300 Market Place Dr
Norman, OK  73072
View map »


Sponsor: Andy Alligator's Fun Park
Telephone: 405.321.7275
Contact Name: Andy Alligator's MLK weekend fun!
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

From March 18-22, we are having a BLAST and celebrating the ultimate Spring Break! Buy an Ultimate Fun Wristband for anyone aged 8 and under and they can enjoy our additional attractions, the...

Cost: $28.95

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park
3300 Market Place Dr
Norman, OK  73072
View map »


Sponsor: Andy Alligator's Fun Park
Telephone: 405.321.7275
Contact Name: Andy Alligator's MLK weekend fun!
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

From March 18-22, we are having a BLAST and celebrating the ultimate Spring Break! Buy an Ultimate Fun Wristband for anyone aged 8 and under and they can enjoy our additional attractions, the...

Cost: $28.95

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park
3300 Market Place Dr
Norman, OK  73072
View map »


Sponsor: Andy Alligator's Fun Park
Telephone: 405.321.7275
Contact Name: Andy Alligator's MLK weekend fun!
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

From March 18-22, we are having a BLAST and celebrating the ultimate Spring Break! Buy an Ultimate Fun Wristband for anyone aged 8 and under and they can enjoy our additional attractions, the...

Cost: $28.95

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park
3300 Market Place Dr
Norman, OK  73072
View map »


Sponsor: Andy Alligator's Fun Park
Telephone: 405.321.7275
Contact Name: Andy Alligator's MLK weekend fun!
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The Rightly So is extremely excited to be returning to Red Brick Bar - no cover! The Rightly So is an acoustic americana duo from Buffalo, NY. Combining the sounds of classic folk and rock with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Red Brick Bar
311 E Main St
Norman, OK  73069
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Welcome to the happy-shining, phoenix-rising, reunited world of classic Smash Mouth in 2018. For the first time in nearly a decade, all five members of what is widely considered the...

Cost: $50, $75, $100

Where:
Osage Casino's Skyline Event Center
Tulsa, OK

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
Website »

More information

Brace yourself; The End Is Coming. Oklahoma popstress Layers of Pink is taking the show across the United States in light of her debut release, "The End Is Coming" EP. Come see (and hear)...

Cost: $5

Where:
Blue Note Lounge
2408 N Robinson Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Layers of Pink
Telephone: 405.837.7455
Contact Name: Dustin Fox
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags