Celebrity chefs, locally sources ingredients and cutting edge food technology are all well and good, but spare a thought for the dining venue itself. Cruise lines are going out of their way to make the whole experience of eating exemplary, from table to tastebud.
Here are eight of the coolest dining venues you can find onboard a ship.
Wonderland, Harmony of the Seas
The world’s largest ship will take to the water in May next year and will feature the first two-storey Wonderland dining room. Wonderland can already be found on sister ships Quantum and Anthem of the Seas and has a fantastical Alice in Wonderland themed décor in purple, grey and black. On Harmony the two floors of the dining room will be connected by a sweeping curved staircase and the top level will be rimmed by a wrought iron railing.
Dragon Lady, Pacific Eden and Pacific Aria
A lot has been made of P&O’s new Pantry dining concept, but the line’s two new ships will also have a seriously stylish pan-Asian restaurant, Dragon Lady. Decked out in rich purples and steel grey the room is decorated with Asian-inspired artwork and latticed screens.
Ocean Blue on the Waterfront, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway
With all that beautiful scenery and fresh sea air it seems a shame to eat all your meals inside. Norwegian’s Waterfront is a casual, boardwalk-style outdoor area with a restaurant serving seafood snacks. It’s designed to feel just like being by the beach.
Wintergarden, Viking Star
The bright, airy Wintergarden is designed around Viking Star’s main pool and is the most popular spot for afternoon tea. Its classic Scandinavian design features plenty of blonde wood, minimalist furniture and columns that reach up to branch out like trees across a glass ceiling. It’s a calm and serene space that stays true to the Nordic routes of the line.
Aqua Amazon, Aqua Expeditions
Diners don’t have to miss a minute of the view when they sit down to eat onboard Aqua Amazon. The dining room sits almost on the waterline and floor to ceiling windows wrap all the way around the room. And with just 24 passengers onboard, you’re sure to get a good seat.
Culinary Arts Centre, MS Koningsdam
When it launches in early 2016, MS Koninsgsdam will have a state of the art culinary school and show kitchen that will transform into Dinner at the Culinary Arts Centre in the evening. Open cooking stations let guests see their meals being prepared and fresh herbs are harvested from a glass-enclosed area just off the kitchen.
Restaurant 2, Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Quest and Seabourn Sojourn
Seabourn’s second dining venue is seriously slick with black walls and laquerwork set off by plush red seating. The Asian-inspired décor is set of by low lighting and matched by the inventive degustation-style menus. It’s an intimate space that seats just 50 diners a night and is often booked out even before the cruise departs.
Grand Epernay, Celebrity Solstice
Designed by famed American interior designer and architect Adam Tihany, Grand Epernay is Solstice’s main dining room and seats up to 1,400 people. The design was inspired by celebratory champagne and bubbles, which can be seen in the glass chandeliers, glass staircase and white and silver colour scheme. The highlight is the two-storey circular wine tower that houses more than 2,000 bottles encased in transparent glass fins.