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7 of the best luxury cruise lines for foodies

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There's something about the amount of food that you can eat on a cruise ship without even noticing that is slightly disturbing - there is just so much more to choose from than you will ever find when opening the door of your fridge at home.

And with everything included, you don't even think twice… From early risers' coffee and 'just a tiny' miniature pastry, to the super healthy fruit and yoghurt breakfast buffet, but eggs and smoked salmon are fine, right? A cup of tea for elevenses, and one of those cookies, why not? It's not yet lunchtime, and you've already exceeded your normal daily calorie intake…

Crystal Esprit - Dessert buffet

Things have changed, though, and the latest developments in cruise line food are all about quality rather than quantity. From the best chefs in the world, to cutting edge foodie fashions, to gourmet trips ashore, cruise lines are adapting and updating their offering to appeal to even the most jaded palate. Here are seven of our favourite cruise lines for foodies:

Best for cookery classes: Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent's Culinary Arts Kitchen is better than ever on board their brand new ship Seven Seas Splendor, its workstations fully equipped with top-of-the-range equipment, and an enhanced series of hands-on classes with experienced chefs from around the world gives an extra level of insight into the areas you are visiting: a lens on the region, if you will. In total there are 18 new classes, designed around the diverse cuisines of your itinerary.

Regent Seven Seas Explorer - Culinary Arts Kitchen

Best for gourmet experiences ashore: Seabourn

Across the board we are seeing an enhancement of cruise lines' shore excursion programmes to give you a unique insight into a region through its food and drink. Seabourn's extensive Epicurean Collection includes experiences as diverse as shopping with the chef in local markets, visiting market gardens to see what grows locally, testing regional specialities and learning how to cook them, and gourmet meals at the best local restaurants.

Seabourn - Epicurean Collection culinary shore excursion

Best private dining experience: Crystal Cruises

The ultimate private dining experience has to be the Vintage Room on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, accommodating up to 14 very fortunate guests for a specially designed 8-course tasting menu, with paired wines introduced before each course by the expert sommelier. You can book your place at a special dinner, or take over the room for your own guests to celebrate a special occasion, or simply for the fun of it!

Crystal Serenity - The Vintage Room

Best speciality restaurant: Silversea

We are accustomed to outstanding speciality restaurants on our favourite luxury ships, ranging from Asian to Italian, and from fine dining to street food. On Silversea's upcoming new ships, Silver Moon and Silver Dawn, we are looking forward to experiencing the S.A.L.T. (Sea And Land Taste) Kitchen, a destination-focused restaurant that will showcase the local cuisine, culture and rich culinary heritage of the destinations on your itinerary. Meanwhile next door in the S.A.L.T. Lab, workshops, tastings and demonstrations will help you learn about local ingredients and artisanal techniques.

Silversea - Silver Moon - S.A.L.T. Kitchen

Best plant-based menus: Oceania Cruises

The current trend for plant-based menus is taking the UK by storm, with huge demand even from people who are not vegan, nor even vegetarian, but who want to cut their meat intake or are simply delighted by the new tastes and textures of plant-based cuisine. Our favourite shipboard offering comes from Oceania, with its strapline 'the Finest Food at Sea'. This company has always been ahead of the pack in its culinary offerings, and now has an extensive and creative selection of plant-based menus on offer across the fleet.

Oceania Cruises - Plant-based Hawaiian poke bowl

Best Michelin-inspired restaurant: The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

We have seen some outstanding chefs designing menus and training chefs on a number of speciality shipboard restaurants, with great results. But the one we are really looking forward to is the S.E.A. restaurant on board the new Ritz-Carlton yachts, where you will be able to enjoy a specialty dining experience designed by Chef Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the three Michelin-starred restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton in Wolfsburg, northern Germany. Chef Elverfeld is known for his delicate combination of simplicity and refinement.

Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection - S.E.A. restaurant by Sven Elverfeld

Best for barbecue: Windstar Cruises

We can't wait for Windstar's newly 'stretched' Star Class ships which will feature the Star Grill by Steven Raichlen, offering al fresco dining on the top deck. Steve Raichlen is known in the US as the man who reinvented barbecue, which he says is 'not a pastime, but a calling'. He is the founder of Barbecue University and a member of the Barbecue Hall of Fame! We are looking forward to tasting his blend of traditional and world barbecue with a modern twist, from maple sriracha chicken wings to Danish smoked shrimp, and from Hill Country brisket to lemongrass pork.

Windstar - The Grill by Steven Raichlen
Edwina Lonsdale
Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and, together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Cruising.

More about Edwina
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