The food scene on cruise ships is changing. Foodies are travelling near and far for culinary experiences and cruise ships are prepared to wow food lovers from all corners of the world. Skip the buffet lines and main service areas for your chance to dine in Michelin-starred restaurants.
Each cruise line brings their own unique style of speciality restaurants. Some offer private degustation dinners while others feature exclusive restaurants from world renowned chefs. Although speciality dining is rarely included in your cruise package, the prices aboard the ships are fractions of what you'd pay on land. Pay just $20-$40 for a fine dining experience that will delight your senses. For a reservation at a Chef's Table, the cost will be around $100 per head.
If cruising the world eating delectable food created by top-rated chefs sounds like your cup of tea, then check out the following ships in the Australian region to experience it firsthand.
Image: P&O Cruises
For an extraordinary, exclusive dinner party book a night at the Chef's Table on one of five P&O cruise ships (Aria, Dawn, Eden, Explorer and Jewel). Start with cocktails and appetizers, then listen to the Executive Chef as he introduces each course and its wine pairing, and finish with a tour of the Galley. Also aboard on each of these ships is Salt Grill restaurant from Australian celebrity chef, Luke Mangan. Expect a creative flare of Aussie ingredients in his signature dishes.
Chef Curtis Stone of Melbourne is not only making programs for TV, he's creating fresh, mouth-watering dishes aboard the Sun Princess cruise ship. Indulge in a 6-course degustation dinner at his restaurant SHARE, a modern chic vibe with fresh food from the land and the sea. His influence has also taken over the main dining room with a Crafted by Curtis Stone section on the menus. Read more about SHARE under our food blog section.
The Love Boat cruise line also made waves when it announced that two Michelin-starred chefs had joined the Princess vessel Majestic. Chef Richard Chen's restaurant, Harmony features a modern twist on classic Cantonese dishes. Enjoy tantalizing authentic French fare at Chef Emmanuel Renaut's La Mer restaurant.
With over 40 restaurants across the globe, it was about time international-superstar Jamie Oliver took to the water. Try his Italian cuisine on Royal Caribbean Cruise's Ovation of the Seas and ogle over his authentic Italian dishes. Also aboard the Ovation of the Seas is James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz's American gastropub. Michael's Genuine Pub boasts of homegrown craft beer, specialty cocktails and taking bar snacks to an exciting level. Hang out for a few pints or book a table for lunch or dinner. You'll leave full and delighted. Also from Royal Caribbean offering multiple specialty dining experiences are Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas. Feast on rustic Italian fare at Giovanni's Table, fresh hand-rolled sushi and other Japanese dishes at Izumi, and try Rita's Cantina for flavorful Mexican eats and wash it down with a few margaritas.
Many know Guy Fieri and his bleached spiky hair from his TV program, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, but he also owns restaurants and he launched Guy's Burger Joint on Carnival Spirit. Build your burger at the toppings bar or grab one of Guy's favourite combinations. Visit Nouveau Restaurant for an impressive menu of the finest selection of steaks, lamb chops, lobster and fish fillets on board. A reservation at The Chef's Table is also available on Spirit. Make your reservation for up to 12 and experience an intimate dinner led by the master chef.
The Verandah Restaurant, found onboard Cunard Cruise Line's Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, is a luxurious dining treat from twin British chefs Nicholas and Mark Oldroyd. On this specialty menu you'll find a homage to France's traditional dishes with a contemporary element.
Have you dined in a specialty restaurant at sea? Share your experience on our Facebook page.