Loosen your belt and prepare to feast as four of the most luxurious cruise ships show their culinary classics to the Cruise Passenger team in Sydney Harbour. Let’s do lunch!


SHIP: Sirena


CUISINE: Asian fusion

Dare to compare - we take the luxe lunch test (because someone has to!)

The line boasts the “finest cuisine at sea” and when the newest vessel in the Oceania fleet sailed into Sydney Harbour for the first time, it did indeed serve one of the best meals of the season. Oceania prides itself on its galley offerings and was one of the pioneers of the cooking school at sea.

The 684-passenger Sirena has undergone a $50 million facelift and it shows.

Speciality restaurant Red Ginger, with its Asian fusion cuisine, served up a five-course meal with three entrees: sesame encrusted tuna tataki with wasabi cream, signature dish of spicy duck with watermelon and cashew nut salad and tom kha gai (chicken lemongrass and coconut soup).

For the main course, there was a choice of four dishes: miso glazed sea bass wrapped in hoba leaf, lobster pad thai, bulgogi rib-eyed steak or Thai vegetable curry.

Dessert was a bounty cake filled with coconut and vanilla.

All up, a delightful meal with big flavours and big serves. And what made the meal extra special was the impressive presentation.

We had the choice of eating with a selection of different chopsticks from red lacquer to ivory, personally selected by a waiter. There was also a choice of speciality tea at the end of the meal from a white Japanese tea made with pear and ginger to lemongrass and ginger tea.

CRUISE LINE: Regent Seven Seas

SHIP: Seven Seas Voyager

RESTAURANT: Chartreuse

CUISINE: Modern French

Dare to compare - we take the luxe lunch test (because someone has to!)

Chartreuse draws inspiration from chic Parisian fine dining restaurants. It oozes charm and boasts some of the best ocean views on deck 5.

We started lunch with caviar served in a tiny glass bowl sitting in ice. Our main course was beef tournedos and dessert was fresh strawberries in a chocolate mouse cup. For seafood lovers, there was a choice of Dover sole with lemon and capers or poached Chilean sea bass in chablis sauce.

The menu is extensive, the service attentive and the food deliciously French without the heavy sauces.


SHIP: Seabourn Encore

RESTAURANT: The Restaurant

CUISINE: Modern American

Dare to compare - we take the luxe lunch test (because someone has to!)

Seabourn Encore launched with great fanfare earlier this year and is soon to sail in our waters. Seabourn goes for classic lines and no bling, so hardly surprising its main eatery is The Restaurant. No fancy names here!

Why bother when you are plating up smoked salmon and osetra malossol caviar, cauliflower and green asparagus soup en croute, sweet butter poached Nova Scotia lobster or slow beef tenderloin and pan seared foie gras.

And for dessert, illanka transparency (chocolate mouse). Thanks chef Kurt Timmermans for a great meal.

CRUISE LINE: Silversea

SHIP: Silver Whisper

RESTAURANT: The Restaurant

CUISINE: Regional

Dare to compare - we take the luxe lunch test (because someone has to!)

The 383-guest Silver Whisper focuses on serving contemporary cuisine with impeccable service.

Menus feature regional specialities to reflect the voyage destination. So if you are cruising the Chilean fjords, roasted sea bass is served. If Whisper is heading to Mumbai, special Indian chicken korma will be the menu.

Then there are signature dishes from La Collection du Monde, which have been created exclusively by the Grands Chefs Relais
& Chateaux.

Silver Whisper prides itself in being a little bit old-school. Some might even say stiff.

While the ship is definitely a bit more fancy in its decor than Seabourn, it still stuck to a simple name for the dining experience. Yes, we went to
The Restaurant.

We started with its signature caviar, lobster thermidor for main and finished with Grand Marnier soufflé. All terribly well served. All very traditional. But a surprise for today’s palate, searching for newer and fresher flavours.