Dining at sea can be an extravagant affair, with portrayals of luxury cruise ship dining having made their way into mainstream media for some time now. While the grandiosity of dining rooms of the past may have remained in vogue for the most part, many things have changed since then. Cruise lines now benefit from ever-evolving technology, and as you’ll see in this feature, innovative technology has transformed modern-day dining into an unforgettable experience just begging to be Instagrammed.
With the guest experience in sharp focus for cruise lines, much of the modern technology implemented on cruise ships has been created with the guest in mind. In recent news, MSC Cruises wooed the press and potential guests with the introduction of its app, MSC for Me, which enables guests to make dinner reservations from anywhere on the ship. Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Line rolled out the iConcierge and Royal Caribbean showed off its innovative Royal iQ. In addition, many operators are now introducing tablet stations and interactive screens to streamline the guest experience.
But technology isn’t the only factor determining the best dining experiences at sea. As you might expect, menus play a major role in providing unforgettable dining experiences. And it’s not just what’s on the menu that counts, it’s the name attached to it that often makes all the difference. Increasingly, cruise lines are looking to celebrity chefs and household names to bring that added wow factor to their menus. Collaborations with famous chefs have always proved successful in the past, but recent partnerships have made quite the impact. Seabourn’s partnership with Thomas Keller at The Grill and Crystal Cruises’ partnership with famed Nobu chef, Nobu Matsuhisa, have been particularly successful examples in recent years.
From the classics to the truly avant-garde, we’ve managed to narrow down the world’s most exciting dining experiences to just five of the very best.
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Considered to be a timeless staple of cruise dining, Cunard Line’s opulent afternoon tea is a reminder not to overlook the classics. As neatly uniformed waiters step out from the galley with shiny trays piled high with petite finger sandwiches, it’s hard not to be wowed by this dining experience. An ode to dining experiences of times gone by, Cunard Line’s afternoon tea is far from simple and more than satisfying. Guests looking for their caffeine and finger-sandwich fix will be pleased to know that Cunard’s afternoon tea is not only complimentary, but is also available every day, even when the ship is in port!
More of a dining experience in the sea than at sea, Seabourn’s Caviar in the Surf experience is surely one of the most exciting on offer to date. The luxury cruise line’s famous beach barbecue will leave you with nothing but fond memories and wanting to relive the experience over and over again. Dressed in full uniform, Seabourn’s crew serve champagne and caviar from the water. From there, a gourmet beach barbecue lunch consisting of a multitude of indulgences, from lobster to steak and fruit piled high, is served.
In a debut partnership between Celebrity Cruises and TableMation Studios, Le Petit Chef is a dining experience unlike any other. As guests await their meals, a 3D projection (created through the process of skullmapping) of tiny animated chefs cooks their meal before them. When it’s ready, real-life waiters emerge from the kitchen with the freshly cooked dish. If you’re concerned that this dining experience is more novelty than quality, fear not: the menu is filled with equally exciting French fare.
Epitomizing elegant dining at sea, Prime 7 is a classic steakhouse serving dry-aged prime beef. Found across the entire Regent Seven Seas fleet, Prime 7 offers an upscale dining environment, complete with an even more upscale menu. Guests onboard any of Regent Seven Seas’ vessels can enjoy a variety of top-end cuisine, with popular menu items including tuna tartare, clam chowder, whole Maine lobster, and, of course, numerous prime steaks.
Spearheaded by master chef Rudi Sodamin, Pinnacle Grill is a well-loved favorite among the cruise community. Here, guests can enjoy tasty food in a romantic setting, with nightly specials from chef David Burke. On the menu you’ll find fresh fare, from beef carpaccio to seafood cioppino and beyond. Additionally, once per cruise, Pinnacle Grill transforms into Sel de Mer, an upscale French seafood brasserie.
Are you looking to gain inspiration for your next menu or further your understanding of future dietary and wellness trends? Join us at the Marine Catering Forum, an interactive platform designed for cruise catering professionals and suppliers to the galley.
Across two days, Marine Catering Forum will focus in on some of the industry’s most prominent topics. The session ‘Designing Marine Catering with the Guest Experience in Mind’ will highlight the need to meet customers’ expectations through providing vast varieties of food, as well as shedding light on how to understand and translate guest feedback. Elsewhere, the session ‘Produce & Menus’ will cover recent dietary and wellness trends, offer insight on catering for regional preferences, and advise on how to develop your global supply chain. For those looking for more technical insights, join us for the ‘Legislation & Regulation’ sessions, which focus on marine health and safety across the board.
Secure your seat at the conference by registering for your free pass today. Plus, see who will be speaking at the inaugural event, with companies including Virgin Voyages, MSC Cruises, and Winnow!