Most cruise lines also offer food-focused possibilities during land activities. Along with onboard cooking demonstrations, Seabourn features Shopping with the Chef excursions in various ports. These chef-led trips are generally limited to 15 people and head to local markets for the freshest ingredients. The new, complimentary Private Events offerings from Windstar Cruises often have a culinary component; themes include “Phuket: A Feast for the Senses” and “Rhodes: The Tantalizing Tastes of Greece.” In addition, Windstar sailings typically include a tour to a local market with the executive chef. Oceania Cruises also offers Culinary Discovery Tours, which are shore excursions for foodies. Some of the possibilities include “The Exquisite Flavors of Provence” in Marseille, France; “Fish and Spice Markets with Turkish Luncheon at Grand Bazaar” in Istanbul; and “Biodynamic Farm & Island Foods Tasting” in the British Virgin Islands. Azamara Club Cruises®’ Cruise Global, Eat Local outings point guests toward culinary gems that offer authentic local dining experiences around the world. Passengers can pair lunch with a tour, take a private car or go to the restaurants independently.
Culinary Theme Cruises
Many lines now offer themed culinary cruises. For instance, Celebrity Cruises® has partnered with Bravo’s Emmy® Award-winning Top Chef to create the popular Top Chef at Sea experience on board their ships. Almost every sailing includes Top Chef at Sea programming, like interactive quickfire challenges and Top Chef night in the main restaurant. Plus, on a special Top Chef Signature Sailing, guests can vacation with popular cheftestants from the show.
Of course, the focus on quality cruise ship food over quantity means many more choices for health-conscious guests on board, ranging from light to gluten-free and vegetarian fare. Crystal Cruises® caters to a variety of dietary needs, offering diabetic, vegetarian, vegan and gluten- and trans-fat-free options with an emphasis on beautifully presented, fresh, flavorful and satisfying meals. Oceania Cruises® features delicious Canyon Ranch SpaClub® signature dishes, as well as Culinary Discovery Tours that promote healthy eating, such as its biodynamic farm visit and tasting on Tortola. Regent Seven Seas Cruises® also offers flavorful vegetarian and nutritious Canyon Ranch SpaClub® specialties in the Compass Rose restaurant, including steamed Shanghai dumplings, broiled Cornish hen, steamed Maine lobster tail and chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce. Paul Gauguin Cruises serves vegetarian, gluten-free and low-carb options on both of its small ships, and additional options are available on request to accommodate dietary restrictions.