Whose kitchen rules? We’re about to find out, as luxury cruise lines step up their culinary cruise offerings with more and more hands on experiences for 2020.

Regent Seven Seas has launched its own deluxe smorgasbord of 16 new cooking classes – rated among the top foodie experiences for luxe travellers.

This comes on top of Norwegian stablemate Oceania Cruises, which has trademarked the term “Finest cuisine at sea” and has been offering cooking classes at its culinary centres for some time.

Cruise passengers on board Marina and Riviera tour traditional markets, dine at renowned restaurants and then hone their skills at The Culinary Centre. Chef Instructors, headed by  Executive Culinary Director Master Chef Jacques Pépin, have a “genuine passion for experiencing the world’s cultures through the lens of food and cooking.”

Arch rival Silversea plans to  launch the “most immersive culinary concept ever” with S.A.L.T. –  the Sea And Land Taste program next year.

Opening on Silver Moon in August 2020, it offers guests the richest gastronomic experience, reflecting destination through taste, from market trips and special dinners in the S.A.L.T. restaurant to cooking demos with local guest chefs in the “cooking lab”.

RSSC’s onboard kitchen

Among 16 new Culinary Arts Kitchen classes that will debut during the 2020 inaugural season of Seven Seas Splendor, are the following:

Island Fusion

Each with a unique culinary footprint, the Caribbean islands are the perfect place to learn about where you are travelling through the regional cuisine. Local traditions and native ingredients illuminate the indigenous culture and natural resources of each island, while the influences of France, Spain, Africa, India and China reveal how the culinary heritage of the Caribbean was shaped by colonialism.

Farmstand Fabulous

This class focuses on how to shop and cook like a chef, inspired by what you discover at the farmer’s market or in the produce aisle. Learn to approach your shopping trip like a blank canvas that takes shape based on what fresh ingredients you find in season. Recipes will change depending on the region and time of year, but the techniques for preparing seasonal masterpieces remain tried and tested.

Treasures of the Aegean

Cast off the mythology surrounding Greek food in this immersive class that reveals the essence of the Mediterranean diet and one of the healthiest cuisines in the world. Through favourite dishes from Corfu, Crete, Rhodes and Santorini, discover local ingredients and traditional techniques used to prepare these recipes during a magical exploration of Greece and its mouth-watering food.

Batter Up

After learning about batter-based recipes ranging from French crêpes and Tuscan flatbread to Santorini tomato fritters and Turkish zucchini fritters, you will see – and taste – that the simple things in life are often the best. Sweet and savoury, crunchy and fluffy, memorable and delicious … you’ll savour it all as you explore the world, one batter at a time.

The Nourished Kitchen – Plant-Based Comfort

Whether you follow a plant-based diet or simply wish to introduce more plant-based dishes into your culinary repertoire, learn the hottest new trends that embrace the flavours of nature’s bounty and enhance longevity. Prepare healthy, innovative and delicious plant-based recipes developed with the Teaching Kitchen Collaborative of Harvard University and The Culinary Institute of America.

Sensuous Spain

The rich tradition and culinary integrity of Spain are evident in its tapas – small plates best described as little bites with big flavour. As you sip sangria blanca and prepare classic tapas recipes, you will begin to understand why many believe that tapas are more than food – they are a lifestyle. You’ll be ready to share this delectable lifestyle with friends at your next Spanish-themed dinner party.

Tapas from the Spanish menu

World of Flavour – Street Food

If you’re familiar with the joy of finding a buttery waffle at a street stand in Belgium or a delicious falafel at a family-run stall in Haifa, this globetrotting exploration of street food is for you. Learn about secret ingredients, special techniques and family recipes that our chefs have discovered as they’ve travelled the world in search of great street food and conversed with the locals who create it.

The Seven Seas Splendor is high end luxury

The two-hour classes were designed by Kathryn Kelly, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ executive director of culinary enrichment. Chef Kelly, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, has spent 40 years travelling to explore the world’s many different cuisines and the cultures that created them. She and other Master Instructors teach the classes.

Our curriculum appeals to a broad range of tastes and caters to all experience levels, from beginner to seasoned chefs, delivered in the most advanced teaching kitchen on the seas,” Chef Kelly said. “We teach the culinary techniques that chefs use every day, build a recipe and skills repertoire that can be easily transferred to guests’ home kitchens, explore cuisines, spices, recipes and ingredients from our ports of call, and most of all, have fun together sharing stories with people who enjoy cooking.”

Chef Kelly added: “When I was younger, we used to go to friends’ homes and they would pull out their projector and tell us about their trip through pictures. Today, our guests can share their cruise experiences at home by cooking meals for their friends that represent the destinations they explored during the voyage.”

The new classes will be expanded to Seven Seas Explorer in April 2020.

Guests attending classes in the Culinary Arts Kitchen will receive highly individualised instruction, as each student will cook from their own personal workstation for authentic, hands-on training, and see close-up details on large-screen monitors. Eighteen individual cooking stations sit atop three long curved rows with white quartzite countertops and stainless-steel accents. The workstations are fully equipped with top-of-the-line induction cooktops, stainless steel sinks and a comprehensive collection of additional cooking essentials. The state-of-the-art culinary centre also features floor-to-ceiling windows to offer magnificent ocean vista views from its perch on Deck 11.For the contemporary cruiser, sample Carnival Kitchen offerings will include Carnival Classics Workshop Class with Dinner, which will allow guests to explore signature Carnival dishes such as tuna tartare, saffron risotto and warm chocolate melting cake, as well as The Orient Unknown Class with Dinner, which offers the opportunity to learn about the cuisines of Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Meanwhile, even contemporary lines are getting in on the act.

Carnival announced plans to debut a new hands-on culinary experience, called Carnival Kitchen, on the Carnival Panorama when the new cruise ship launches in December. Guests sailing on the new vessel will be able to enjoy more than 15 onboard cooking classes inspired by the international cuisines served on the ship.

carnival kitchen
The new kitchen stations on board Carnival Panorama

The Cake Workshop will provide step-by-step instructions for cake making, from layering and filling to using hand-made fondant and edible decorations, and the Pasta Master Class will allow travellers to try their hand at preparing homemade pasta and pairing them with scratch-made sauces.

Additional classes include sushi rolling, pizza making and pie baking, among others, and participants have the opportunity to sample their creations. One-hour and two-hour morning, afternoon and early evening sessions are available primarily on sea days and can accommodate up to 18 guests at a time. Reservations can be made on the cruise line’s website pre-cruise or at any restaurant once onboard.

pasta making
Pasta making is a popular class on board

Carnival Kitchen will have nine marbled-granite cooking and prep stations with individual sinks, refrigerators and stove tops, as well as all necessary tools, utensils and ingredients. The space is accented with white and grey pattern-tiled floors and steel ceilings and walls, as well as a dedicated dining area for guests in the evening classes to enjoy a themed sit-down dinner included in the price once the classes commence. Class prices range between $30 and $59, and Carnival Kitchen-branded items are available for purchase onboard.