Cruise.com Blog

Cruise Deals, Information and Cruise Updates

Due to the growing interest in all things culinary, cruise lines are heating things up and adding flavor to an already fantastic onboard experience, with a wide variety of food and wine theme cruises. Imagine taking a cooking class with famous master chefs and joining them to explore local food markets to find the freshest ingredients for their masterpieces. From preparation of signature dishes, to cooking and the best part, tasting the delicious cuisine, these special culinary theme cruises offer a different and fun learning experience. They are ideal for gourmands and novices alike, as well as for those seeking a unique travel experience.

Culinary Page

A culinary cruise is something foodies dream about! Not only do these sailings offer the opportunity to cruise in luxury from one magnificent port to another and enjoy countless onboard amenities, but they also offer the rare chance to meet world-famous chefs and experience their creative magic first hand. For those who have always wanted to learn how to prepare gourmet cuisine, know more about wines and be taught professional chef techniques, culinary theme cruises are the perfect place to learn it all.

Culinary theme sailings offer many special features for guests. You will be provided with unique experiences, including exclusive shore excursions, private cocktail receptions, special dinners with master chefs and wine paring workshops, all enhancing the cruise experience.

Epicurean Delights

Other gastronomic events include visiting chef selected local restaurants while in port and savoring local vintages while expert sommeliers explain the different wines from worldwide regions and how to best complement meals with the proper selection.

Another highlight of many of these sailings is that you may get the rare opportunity to accompany the chefs to the local food markets while in port, one of the special facets of your gastronomical adventure. You can learn first-hand how to select the finest and freshest produce, unique spices and other ingredients for that night's dinner. Welcome to foodie heaven!

Cuisine and travel are inextricably connected. A destination’s unique flavors provide insights into local cultures and regional customs. On culinary theme cruises, world-renowned chefs, wine experts and mixologists share their special talents and knowledge to make the entire experience truly memorable.

Epicurean delights from all parts of the world can be sampled on a variety of culinary cruises. From Paris and Provence, to London, Rome and Brazil, to the islands of the Caribbean, a special feast awaits. Discover the culinary traditions of different regions of the world by way of their diverse cuisines and take your travels to a new level. Another benefit to these theme cruises is that you get to share your vacation with people who share your culinary interests. A great way to make new friends! These cruises can be a once in a lifetime experience, not to be missed.

Many cruise lines, such as Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Paul Gauguin Cruises, MSC Cruises and Silversea Cruises, offer a variety of culinary theme cruises. The highlights of these departures vary.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises Wine Cruise Celebrity Cruises, which has always emphasized the importance of fresh gourmet cuisine, is offering several of these epicurean sailings. There is a reason they are called "Excite the Senses Culinary Theme Cruises," as they are expected to do just that, with a wide variety of food and wine experiences, such as special dinners prepared by master chefs, cocktail parties and wine tastings.

A special feature of these cruises is the opportunity to get a true sense of onboard culinary operations with a "behind the scenes" experience, including a rare private galley tour, offered on each of these sailings, a must see for any foodie.

Another highlight of these culinary theme cruises is that they are fun and interesting, with food and wine tastings, cooking classes and the chance to hobnob with the culinary team and world-famous chefs.

Kicking off these epicurean voyages is Chef Jacques Van Staden, nominated for "Rising Star of the Year" by the prestigious James Beard Foundation. Along with the culinary team, the highly acclaimed chef will headline tastings, demonstrations and dinners, where you can meet him, as well as partners from Celebrity's "wine and spirits" program. Under their tutelage, you can pick up professional hints that you can use in the future, whether entertaining or preparing family meals.

Van Staden, along with Junior Merino, known as "The Liquid Chef," will also be onboard the first theme cruise. The award-winning mixologist, earned the moniker for his revolutionary concepts, using a fusion of exotic and unexpected flavors. One such example is his signature “Coming up Roses” cocktail, which includes Merino’s special rose syrup and Moët & Chandon Champagne Brut. The two will host a “reservations only” cocktail party and a pairing dinner at Qsine, one of Celebrity’s chic onboard specialty restaurants.

These theme cruises will give you the special opportunity to meet a guest chef during a cocktail hour, attend cooking demonstrations and book-signings. The chef will also teach cooking classes and you can also participate in a “Star Chefs” cook-off competition or simply observe it. One of the best parts is getting to experience an exclusive food and wine pairing dinner onboard in the elegant and chic Murano Restaurant.

Other notable hosts on subsequent culinary cruise departures include Pastry Chef Thierry Houlbert, Executive Chefs W. Thomas Szymanski, Rufino Rengifo and Dominique Gamba, plus sommelier Chanelle Duarte.

Chef Steve van der Merwe will host a cruise that will feature activities themed around culinary exploration and the culinary traditions of Bermuda.

Crystal Cruises

Crystal Culinary Cruise Crystal Cruises will be hosting the ultimate “foodie” cruise, called Bordeaux and Beyond,” with celebrity favorite Nobu Matsuhisa, known to the world simply as “Nobu.” The famous chef, recognized for his unique Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine, will be onboard the Crystal Serenity, where you will be able to taste dishes he has personally prepared. What an amazing opportunity!

While the famous chef is scheduled to be on this particular theme cruise, his culinary presence can always be felt onboard. His world-famous cuisine has been served onboard Crystal since 2003, and he has personally trained all chefs and designed the menus. Nobu also makes yearly ship visits to make sure everything is being done perfectly in his chic specialty restaurants, Silk Road and the Sushi Bar.

In addition to Bordeaux and Beyond, Crystal Cruises also has a number of departures that are part of their Wine & Food Festival. These culinary theme cruises will also include an intimate hands-on cooking class in an onboard kitchen, limited to just 10 to 12 guests, as well as autograph signings of “NOBU’S Vegetarian Cookbook” and “NOBU the Cookbook,” and photo opportunities, where you can have your picture taken with the star chef. Where else could you have this VIP opportunity?

Nobu will also make nightly appearances and mingle with guests at his onboard specialty restaurants. Additionally, there will also be an “Omakase” dinner, with sake-tastings, sake champagne pairings and Japanese hors d’oeuvres, hosted by Sake Master Fumio Hazu, the man behind Nobu’s exclusive Hokusetsu sake, plus explanations of each course.

Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises Culinary Cruise Bon Appétit magazine to offer their Bon Appétit Wine & Food Festival on the Marina. Culinary stars, such as award-winning Chef Ken Oringer, will host these special cruises. Oringer, a the recipient of the highly prized James Beard award for “Best Chef in the Northeast,” is owner of three highly acclaimed Boston restaurants: Clio, Uni and Toro, with Uni selected as “Best Sushi Bar” by Boston Magazine in 2008.

One of Oceania’s “Signature Sailings” is the “Jacques Pépin Cruise” held on the Marina. Jacques Pépin will lead Q&A sessions and demonstrate his cooking techniques in the ship’s “Bon Appétit Culinary Center.” This state-of-the-art hands-on kitchen studio, found only Oceania’s Marina and the Riviera, boasts individual cooking stations for guests to equally participate along with the chef, an exceptional opportunity for any gourmand.

Jacques Pépin, who has served as Oceania Cruises’ executive culinary director for several years, and was personal chef to Charles de Gaulle. He will be available to meet guests onboard in the lovely chic French bistro, Jacques, his namesake restaurant.

Additionally, wine experts and editors will be onboard for these palate-pleasing cruises. Book signings, workshops and other culinary activities provide a broad perspective to the gourmet enthusiast.

Silversea Cruises

Silversea Culinary CruiseLuxury Silversea Cruises is featuring several Relais & Chateaux culinary cruises that will feature its prestigious cooking school, the first and only one at sea. The complimentary program features a special culinary curriculum, which includes hands-on instruction and entertaining events.

Designed exclusively for Silversea by Relais & Châteaux, a series of tantalizing culinary events await you. This unique epicurean program was designed by Chef David Bilsland, Silversea’s culinary trainer, who along with Chef Jacques Thorel, owner of L’Auberge Brettone in France, will host the program.

Witness culinary creativity up close with exciting “Cooking Demonstrations” and “Cooking Competitions,” where you can watch the chefs create their signature dishes, paired with wines selected by the sommelier. Both entertaining and educational, they showcase the very best in culinary techniques.

You can also join a limited group of fellow epicureans at “Lunch & Learn,” an event offering small groups the opportunity to sample a fabulous meal of specially prepared dishes.

At select ports, “Market to the Plate,” presents a unique and memorable experience, when you can accompany the chef with a limited group on a market tour to shop for fresh ingredients which will then be transformed into regional specialties.

Paul Gauguin Cruises

Paul Gauguin Culinary Cruise If you are looking to further your culinary interests in a tropical paradise, there is Paul Gauguin Cruises. Sailing year-round in Tahiti, French Polynesia and the South Pacific, is The Gauguin, the 5-star ship of Paul Gauguin Cruises. Parisian Chef Jean-Pierre Vigato, owner and chef of the two-star Michelen-rated Restaurant Apicius in Paris will host a Tahiti and Society Islands culinary theme cruise. While his signature menu is feature on all of the line’s sailings, Vigato will also prepare gourmet dishes and demonstrate his techniques.

Once in a lifetime culinary experiences and epicurean delights await on these gastronomical adventures. Don’t wait to reserve a culinary cruise and bring out that chef within. Eat, drink and savor the world!

To book your amazing Culinary Cruise, visit Cruise.com or contact one of our cruise experts at 888-776-0659.


Oceania Marina

The big event for cruisers who love any kind of upscale food and wine experience is Oceania Cruises brand new ship, Marina, setting sail in early 2011.

And what an experience it is going to be. Think of the finest cuisine at sea served in SIX (that's right, six) open-seating, gourmet restaurants – each one with its own look and feel. The culinary artist behind this world class dining adventure is none other than Master Chef Jacques Pepin working in conjunction with Marina's staff of culinary experts. The Marina will also offer a new wine tasting center in conjunction with Wine Spectator Magazine, where guests can learn about and sample fine wines selected by Wine Spectator’s connoisseurs.

The Terrace Café, infused with natural sunlight from floor-to-ceiling windows and the option of dining inside or al fresco is a marvelous place for a sumptuous breakfast, lunch that features an international menu or dinner with a Mediterranean flair.

The Grand Dining Room, fashioned to look like a 5-star European restaurant, will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner (with a minimum of six appetizers and nine main courses) in elegant surroundings.

Feel like a journey to France? Then visit the stunning French bistro Jacques, named for Jacques Pepin. The menu is a unique take on classic French cuisine, served amid an intimate décor that can only be described as 'magnifique'!

Red Ginger sends you and all your senses to Southeast Asia. In a stunning setting that unfolds in perfect harmony, this restaurant offers a striking menu of Asian classics.

If it's the timeless elegance of a private club setting that you seek, then opt to dine in the Polo Grill, the classic definition of a steakhouse at sea offering menu classics such as Caesar salad prepared tableside and beef that has been aged a minimum of 28 days.

If your senses yearn for an evening in Italy, then dine in Toscana, where Tuscan cuisine is served in an elegant Italianate setting. Many of the recipes used here originated with the grandmothers and mothers of Marina's own Italian culinary staff. Similarly, the sommeliers are from long lines of wine-producing families. Best of all, there is no additional charge for any of these memorable dining experiences.

For the grandest afternoon tea of all, complete with freshly made scones and real clotted cream, head for Horizons at 4:00 PM to savor an excellent cup of tea in gracious surroundings with strong music playing softly in the background.

In the mood for a gourmet hamburger, hand-cut French fries or homemade gelato? Head for the casual laid-back ambience of Waves Grill located just steps away from the pool.

The Marina offers two very private retreats at an additional cost – La Reserve and Privée – lavish venues where a few privileged guests can gain an appreciation for the infinite pleasures of food and wine.

At La Reserve, guests may sample a flight of wines hand-selected by the sommelier, often reflecting the areas of the world where Marina is sailing, or simply to highlight the wine's own special characteristics. Other days, La Reserve will host premium wine tastings or exclusive food and wine pairing dinners for a maximum of 24 very fortunate guests.

Then, there is Privée – perfectly named to describe the most exclusive dining experience at sea. Privée may be reserved for a single party of up to 10 privileged guests per evening. Lavishly decorated with leather and crystal, Privée transforms dining into a truly memorable occasion, with a 7-course degustation menu exclusively designed just for that evening by the Executive Chef. For culinary drama at sea, Privée has no equal.

After all of this extraordinary food and wine, if you still want more, then join the Bon Appetit Culinary Center's classes for some hands-on instruction. Expert, Master Chefs provide classes in a professional kitchen atmosphere complete with individual cooking stations. On each cruise itinerary, shoreside events and market tours allow guests to expand their knowledge and appreciation of local cuisines. And, you can choose from a curriculum of classes or a la carte instruction.

Endless luxury, endless oceans, endless elegance coupled with extraordinary food and wine – that’s the ultimate cruise experience found only on Oceania Cruises Marina.