Dining on luxury cruise ships has been elevated almost to an art form. Having a famous name behind the menu adds cachet, although the celebrity chefs generally appear in person on only one or two cruises a year. No matter – guests enjoy the chef’s signature dishes in tastefully decorated specialty restaurants. Guests can pick and choose from a world of gourmet cuisines, from elegant French to classic Italian, the finest sushi, regional or fusion Asian and Scandinavian delicacies. Wines are expertly served by the sommelier and “artisanal” cheeses and breads often feature. Bon appetit!
Murano is found on six Celebrity ships, the newest being Celebrity Reflection. The décor is classic and the dishes are French-inspired “with a contemporary twist”. Loup de Mer is a popular dish based on grilled Mediterranean sea bass. Some dishes are prepared and served at the table, adding an element of entertainment to immaculate service.
Silk Road and the Sushi Bar
Renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa brings his unique fusion of Japanese and Peruvian influences to Silk Road and The Sushi Bar on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. Nobu-trained chefs serve dishes such as lobster with truffle-yuzu sauce and Nobu periodically cruises with Crystal and runs classes for guests.
Dieter Müller is a Michelin-starred chef whose specialities are modern dishes influenced by French, Asian and Mediterranean cuisine as well as by his roots in the Baden region of Germany. Chef Müller cooks on board Europa for his eponymous 26-guest restaurant 70 days a year. The “late-riser’s breakfast” is a nice touch.
Columba Dining Room
Scottish chef Paul Sim has catered for the Queen on board the 50-guest Hebridean Princess and his menus feature the very best locally sourced produce, particularly seafood and game. Two gala dinners are held on each seven-day cruise; haggis and “tatties and neeps” are piped in and the captain makes an address.
Compagnie Du Ponant
As you would expect on a French-flagged ship, the main dining room on Deck 2 is chic and elegantly appointed, and the service is professional without being pompous. The cuisine is, naturally, French-inspired but the chefs also whip up specialities of the regions that the ship is cruising through.
Oceania Cruises Mariner & Riviera
La Reserve is the most exclusive of the nine dining venues on board sister ships Marina and Riviera. It seats 24 guests and offers wine tastings during the day (developed by Wine Spectator) and elaborate seven-course dinners paired with vintage wines in the evening. Veteran master chef Jacques Pépin is Oceania Cruises’ executive culinary director – salut!
Princess Cruises’ Royal & Regal Princess
Chef’s Table Lumiere
This unusual dining room is a private space within the main Concerto restaurant. It’s surrounded by a “curtain of light” (strings of fibre-optic lights) and seats 12 guests at a custom-made table inlaid with mother of pearl. The executive chef cooks the dinner (French-inspired) and discusses tricky haute-cuisine techniques.
Regent Seven Seas’ Voyager, Mariner & Navigator
A sophisticated take on the classic American steakhouse, Prime 7 serves top cuts of beef – filet mignon, porterhouse and “Côte de Boeuf” bone-in rib steak – and traditional starters such as oysters Rockefeller and Maine lobster. The comfortable leather chairs and subtle décor are reminiscent of a classy gentlemen’s club.
Seabourn Odyssey, Quest & Sojurn
Seabourn is a member of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, one of the world’s most prestigious gastronomic societies. Restaurant 2 seats 50 guests for degustation-style dinners accompanied by select wines. Dishes are imaginative and exquisitely presented and while the atmosphere might be informal, the food certainly isn’t. Lobster and duck are standouts.
Silversea’s Silver Spirit
All five ships in the Silversea fleet have a Le Champagne restaurant that serves a superb six-course tasting menu based on Relais & Châteaux menus. On Silver Whisper and Silver Shadow’s Le Champagne is a glass wall of etched quotations about the fabled wine; “Come quickly, I am drinking the stars” is one supposedly uttered by Dom Perignon.