Last updated: 01:00 AM ET, Thu November 19 2015

Opinion Home | Captain’s Blog: Cruise Tips and Advice

  • Amber Nolan | November 19, 2015 1:00 AM ET

    7 Cruise Lines Foodie Travelers Should Be Watching

    7 Cruise Lines Foodie Travelers Should Be Watching

    Photo courtesy of Holland America

    As food-themed television shows continue to captivate viewers, specialty restaurants have found a place on cruise ships and culinary cooking classes are gaining popularity. In addition, more cruises are featuring private dinners, food-themed shore excursions and even cooking competitions. Here are seven cruise ideas for the “foodie” traveler.  

    Holland America

    Holland America was a pioneer of cooking demonstrations with its popular Culinary Arts Center, and the venue has become a signature attraction fleet wide. Presented by Food and Wine magazine, the center showcases regional workshops, teens and kids cooking classes, guest chef demonstrations, and other hands-on learning experiences. When MS Koningsdam debuts in April 2016, the center will transform into a farm-to-table dinner concept in the evenings, complete with a glass-enclosed greenhouse adjacent to the kitchen.

    P&O Cruises

    P&O’s new ship, Britannia, debuted the dazzling “Cookery Club” that features Britain’s “Food Heroes.” Guests can experience a two-hour cooking class as well as exclusive chef’s table dinners, Q&A sessions, and book signings with famous chefs and wine connoisseurs. Select voyages in the Mediterranean and elsewhere feature these television stars.

    Princess Cruises

    On Princess’ “Ultimate Cruise Tour,” passengers can take a sneak peek into the inner workings of the galley and meet the executive chef. While exploring the production and storage areas, guests can sip champagne and will also receive an official chef’s jacket. A new partnership with chef Curtis Stone includes special “Crafted by Curtis” menu items available in the main dining room across the entire fleet, as well as a chef’s table and a new specialty restaurant concept designed by Chef Stone.

    Azamara Club Cruises

    Azamara is known for its outstanding dining onboard, but the cruise line takes its culinary program to shore as well. The “Cruise Global, Eat Local” program at Azamara Club Cruises includes an in-depth guide to dining in ports of call and private transportation arrangements to a chosen restaurant. With “Insider Access,” guests can experience exclusive dinners during select shore excursions for a chance to mingle with locals.

    Oceania Cruises

    Oceania offers a customized hands-on cooking school with chefs from around the globe in a state-of-the-art kitchen. Students prepare dishes themselves with the help of these experts, and passengers can join the chefs in port while shopping for local ingredients. On select voyages, “Culinary Discovery Tours” are offered such as Roatan, Honduras where cruisers can visit hydroponic gardens of the Blue Harbor Tropical Arboretum followed by a beachfront cooking demonstration.

    Royal Caribbean

    Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class ships have more than 20 different dining options spread across the seven distinct neighborhoods, giving the feeling of dining out in the big city. The Chef’s Table is an exclusive enclave within the top rated steakhouse, Chops Grille, which allows up to 16 people to experience a five-course, upgraded menu and wine tasting. This add-on dining package is also available at 150 Central Park, the trendy, “farm to ship” concept from James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz.

    Celebrity Cruise Line

    Thanks to a partnership with Bravo, Celebrity Cruise Line features “Top Chef at Sea,” based on the Emmy award-winning show. Guests can join cooking demonstrations and competitions, private dinners and chef-hosted shore tours. In addition, the company has several fabulous restaurants onboard, including Qsine (on Solstice class ships) and Blu (for Aqua Class guests). 


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Amber Nolan Captain’s Blog: Cruise Tips and Advice

Amber Nolan Amber Nolan loves to be on the water, and although she enjoys the fun and excitement of larger cruise ships, she prefers setting sail on smaller vessels to unique destinations. Originally from western New York, this restless traveler has a knack for finding creative ways to travel and befriending interesting characters along the way. On her most recent adventure, she hitchhiked on private aircraft across the United States. She previously served as the cruise editor at Sherman’s Travel but her work can also be found on and USA Today Travel. She current resides in South Florida.
Journey on an Avalon River Cruise

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