October is National Plan a Cruise Month and the cruise industry is celebrating every aspect of cruising, especially cruise cuisine. Today’s cruise traveler knows one thing about cruise cuisine – expect the unexpected. Much to a cruise traveler’s benefit, most cruise lines now offer a wealth of options to satisfy any appetite and please any palate. From specialty menus to made-to-order dishes, there is a wide range of dining options aboard a ship that may surprise even the most seasoned traveler.
“Most people think of a deluxe buffet when they think of cruise dining and, while that is one option, there are plenty of additional dining delights available on a cruise ship,” said Cindy D’Aoust, Acting CEO of CLIA. “Today’s cruises offer specialty dining options that invite guests for once-in-a-lifetime palate experiences.”
Here is a sampling of seven cruise cuisine surprises:
- Eat Local: More and more cruise ships are indulging in local cultures and sourcing their onboard ingredients from their cruise destinations. Cruise chefs are finding everything from strawberries to red snapper from local food markets in destinations around the world. Guests onboard American Cruise Lines’ American Eagle can enjoy seafood with a Cajun and Creole flair, all fresh and locally sourced.
- Specialty Diets at Sea: Cruise ship culinary staff is trained to accommodate any dietary restrictions and preferences from vegetarian and gluten-free to allergies. Windstar Cruises’ guests who mention a special diet to the culinary team while onboard are provided with amazing service to find the best options. One guest tells a story of asking the culinary team to “just bring her fruit” every night after dinner for dessert. Each night, she was treated to an imaginative presentation of seasonal (and local where possible) fruit with a variety of healthy toppings.
- Dining Delicacies & Rare Finds: Cruisers can please their palate with local destination delicacies and rare dishes for once-in-a-lifetime epicurean experiences. Carnival Cruise Line offers adventurous eaters a “Rare Finds” menu with dining offerings, including spicy alligator fritters, ox tongue and more.
- Wining & Dining: There is more than culinary options at sea, a thirst for fine wines and spirits is also quenched on today’s cruise ships. The MSC Divina offers a wine blending class that lets passengers create, bottle and label their own wine, while the Seabourn Odyssey features an extensive wine menu with more than 200 wines from the world's top wine-growing regions.
- Top Chefs & Artisans: There are celebrity chefs and top culinary artisans abound on cruise ships, each whipping up menus full of culinary specialties. Holland America Line’s Culinary Council is made up of five world-renowned chefs, including Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Faulkner, Jacques Torres and Mark Best whose unique dishes are offered in the Main Dining Room.
- Become a Cheftestant: Cruising foodies can learn a thing or two about cooking up something special with onboard and on-shore cooking classes. Beyond cooking classes, many lines offer the chance for guests to become “cheftestants” in culinary show downs, like Celebrity Cruises’ Quickfire Challenges, in partnership with Bravo’s Top Chef.
- Specialty Ships Fit for Foodies: Many cruise lines offer specialty cruises focused on cooking, dining and all things culinary, perfect for epicurean travelers. Oceania Cruises offer hour-long Culinary Discovery Tours led by a chef instructor where guests can interact with regional culinary experts and explore local food markets, restaurants, vineyards, farms and cooking schools.
For more information about cruise cuisine or how you could enter to win one of 31 cruises from October 1 - October 31, 2015, please visit www.cruisesmile.org.
About Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) – One Industry, One Voice
Celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2015, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the unified voice and leading authority of the global cruise community. As the largest cruise industry trade association with 15 offices globally, CLIA has representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. CLIA’s mission is to support policies and practices that foster a safe, secure and healthy cruise ship environment for the more than 22 million passengers who cruise annually, as well as to promote the value, desirability and affordability of the cruise vacation experience. Members are comprised of the world’s most prestigious ocean, river and specialty cruise lines; a highly trained and certified travel agent community; and cruise line suppliers and partners, including ports & destinations, ship development, suppliers and business services, committed to the sustained success of the cruise industry. For more information on CLIA, the cruise industry, and CLIA-member cruise lines and travel agencies, visit www.cruising.org or follow Cruise Lines International Association's on the CLIA Facebook and Twitter fan pages.