Many exciting, new food experiences will hit the high seas this year as cruise lines tempt holidaymakers with expanded culinary programmes, enhanced celebrity chef partnerships and new on board dining options.
2015 is all about embracing the local cuisine of destinations visited with the introduction of many new food and wine-themed itineraries, and exclusive on shore dining experiences. These will offer guests the opportunity to enjoy unrivalled culinary adventures that guarantee a trip to remember.
The Cruise Lines International Association highlights the key developments for 2015:
Azamara Club Cruises Launches New Local Dining Programme
Azamara Club Cruises has launched a new ‘Cruise Global, Eat Local’ programme for 2015 which will provide guests with the opportunity to dine at local restaurants serving authentic fare in each port of call. The programme focuses on recommending eateries that locals frequent and love, which reflect the culture and ambiance of the destinations. For example, guests can enjoy traditional dim sum at Jade Garden in Hong Kong, where delicious food is complemented by amazing views of the harbour.
New Dining Experiences for Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity Cruises has an exciting culinary year ahead. The cruise line is launching a new dedicated private restaurant for ‘Suite Class’ guests, a new exclusive class of stay which is being introduced in April.
The dedicated restaurant will offer the chance for guests to immerse themselves in the local culture with specially crafted menus inspired by the local destination and enjoy a tailor-made experience with dishes prepared on request. In addition, Celebrity is adding new food and drink venues on board Southampton-based Celebrity Eclipse, including Gastrobar – a new premium craft beer and comfort food venue, and Slush – a vibrant and stylish, poolside frozen drinks bar.
Also back by popular demand in 2015 is ‘Ben Fogle’s Great Adventures’, which offers food-themed adventures on shore such as a private Sicilian cooking lesson at the home of renowned chef, Eleanora Consoli.
P&O Cruises Introduces Culinary Talent On Board New Ship
P&O Cruises’ new ship, Britannia, which comes into service in March 2015, will bring the cream of culinary talent with the ship’s ‘Food Heroes’ – James Martin, Marco Pierre White, Atul Kochhar, Eric Lanlard and wine expert Olly Smith. These celebrity chefs are represented in the restaurants, menus, bars and the new cookery school and market cafe.
Ponant Welcomes Leading Chefs & Sommeliers
Ponant’s new ship, Le Lyrial will welcome some of the best chefs and sommeliers on board in August 2015 when it departs from Athens.
Guests include Michelin-starred chef Stephanie Le Quellec, winner of the ‘Top Chef’ competition in 2011 and Head Chef at the Hotel Prince de Galles in Paris, who will prepare the ship’s Gala Dinner and run two cooking workshops during the cruise; Philippe Faure-Brac, previously awarded ‘Best Sommelier in the World’; and Paolo Basso, a Swiss-Italian sommelier, who also won the ‘Best Sommelier in the World’ title in 2013.
Princess Cruises Partners with Master Chocolatier
Princess Cruises has announced a new on board chocolate range, including desserts, drinks and truffles.
The cruise line has partnered with master chocolatier, Norman Love to produce ‘Chocolate Journeys’. The range was unveiled on Regal Princess, Princess Cruises’ newest ship, in its inaugural Caribbean season, and will be rolled out to the rest of the fleet in 2015. The programme also includes chocolate and wine pairing, chocolate spa treatments and chocolate dessert demonstrations hosted by the on board pastry chefs.
Culinary Cruise from Hebridean Island Cruises
Hebridean Island Cruises has introduced a new ‘Flavours of Scotland’ cruise taking in the culinary heritage of the Scottish Isles. The 7-night cruise on Hebridean Princess, departing 14thApril, 2015, includes a visit to a halibut farm on Gigha, Kilchoman Distillery on Islay, oysters and honey tasting on Colonsay and cheese tasting on Mull. The cruise ends with a champagne reception at Duart Castle.
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-Class Ship to Offer Jamie’s Italian
Royal Caribbean International’s new ship, Anthem of the Seas will launch with a Jamie’s Italian restaurant which will serve simple, fresh Italian dishes created by one of Britain’s best-loved chefs.
In addition, there will be 17 other restaurant concepts on board and a new take on the main dining room with ‘Dynamic Dining’ – a chance for guests to take control of their own epicurean journey, offering more flexibility by choosing from five complimentary, full service restaurants.
Mediterranean Food & Wine Cruise from Seabourn
Seabourn has launched a new eight-day ‘Taste of the Mediterranean Food & Wine Cruise’, which offers the chance to try some of the best food and wine in Greece, Italy and France.
The cruise, which departs from Athens on 18th April, 2015, includes daily culinary events, ‘Shopping with the Chef’ excursions in local markets, cooking demonstrations by celebrity guest chefs and tastings of local specialities.
SeaDream Expands Wine Voyages Programme for 2015
After the successful debut of SeaDream Yacht Club’s Wine Voyages in 2014, eight vino-intensive voyages have been added for the 2015 season.
Each dedicated Wine Voyage provides guests with heightened wine experiences including sit-down tastings featuring wineries from Mediterranean regions visited, including one with a top winemaker, plus a Wine Master Class Tasting led by an internationally recognised wine expert – including UK wine writer Anthony Rose (The Independent and Decanter Magazine) who will join SeaDream I for a seven night cruise from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Dubrovnik on 8th August.
A La Carte Restaurants for Two Thomson Cruise Ships
In 2015, both Thomson Dream and Thomson Celebration will be refurbished as part of Thomson Cruises’ modernisation strategy, including an enhanced on board dining experience with the introduction of a brand new a la carte restaurant on each ship.
The new Kora La Restaurant takes inspiration from a Himalayan mountain pass of the same name, which borders Tibet and Nepal, and offers a fusion of contemporary Chinese and Indian cuisine. In another dining development, the ship’s Terrace Grill will add a barbecue spot, where steaks will be cooked on hot stones.