As cruise lines continually compete to appeal to new customers, dining remains forever in the spotlight, and one of the biggest differentiators in play are partnerships with celebrity chefs, from Guy Fieri to Nobu.
This year in 2015, Norwegian Cruise Line’s collaboration with Geoffrey Zakarian ended, but they added Jose Garces on the new Norwegian Escape. Also, Seabourn Cruise Line picked up Thomas Keller, and Princess Cruises signed Curtis Stone. So, just where can you find the current slate of culinary masters onboard? Let’s take a look.
Carnival Cruise Line: Guy Fieri
Recognized most from his “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” television program, Guy Fieri knows comfort food, and his gourmet take on it can be found at Guy’s Burger Joint aboard an increasing number of “fun ships” in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet. Nowhere else at sea will you find the famed Pig Patty burger complete with an 80/20 ground chuck patty topped with one made of bacon, served complimentarily no less.
Crystal Cruises: Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa
Silk Road (Nobu Box pictured above) and The Sushi Bar on Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony are where you’ll find the Asian fusion culinary creations of Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, often known simply as Nobu. Blending Japanese, European and even Peruvian influences are dishes like succulent Lobster with Truffle-Yuzu Sauce and mouth-watering Grilled Wagyu Beef Rib-Eye with Wasabi Pepper Sauce.
Holland America Line: Culinary Council
Holland America Line has always been known for excellent food and that is with thanks not just to one celebrity chef but an entire Culinary Council comprised of Rudi Sodamin, Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Jacques Torres, Elizabeth Falkner and Mark Best contributing dishes to the premium line’s main dining room. Sample signature entrees include Apple Cider-Brined Pork Chop with Cherry-Raisin Chutney and Cedar-Baked Red Curry-Coconut Salmon.
Norwegian Cruise Line: Jose Garces and the Pubbelly Boys
New to Norwegian Cruise Line is Jose Garces with his Bayamo and Pincho Tapas Bar onboard the recently launched Norwegian Escape. Here, the Iron Chef presents his unique take on Cuban seafood and Spanish cuisine, respectively. Also, on the new ship are the Pubbelly Boys at Food Republic and their international tastes popular on South Beach like Peruvian ceviche, Japanese sushi rolls and Chinese noodles, ordered via iPad.
Oceania Cruises: Jacques Pepin
Oceania Cruises claims to offer “the finest cuisine at sea,” and it is indeed considered one of the best cruise lines for food. After all, the company’s executive culinary director is none other than Jacques Pepin. His dishes are masterfully recreated by the onboard culinary teams, and the chef graces guests with his presence on an annual hosted culinary sailing. Just one of his classic courses is Duck a l’Orange with Braised Red Cabbage and Almond Potato Croquettes.
Princess Cruises: Curtis Stone
Recently joining Princess Cruises is TV chef Curtis Stone who will be crafting dishes for the fleet’s main dining rooms and specialty cuisine for his SHARE by Curtis Stone restaurant and Chef’s Table by Curtis Stone experience on select ships. His seagoing fare features items like Butter Roasted Lobster with Caramelized Endive and Endive Foam and Twice-Cooked Duck Leg with Fennel and Bacon Jus and Parmesan Crumb.
Royal Caribbean International: Jamie Oliver and Michael Schwartz
Onboard Royal Caribbean International are both Jamie Oliver and Michael Schwartz. British Oliver brings his Italian food onto the line’s newest Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, as does American Schwartz deliver to the ships his gastropub fare. Plus, Michael also delivers special rotating six-course menus to 150 Central Park on the Oasis-class ships with dishes such as Braised Harris Ranch Beef Short Rib.
Seabourn Cruise Line: Thomas Keller
Also new to the high seas is culinary dynamo Thomas Keller for Seabourn Cruise Line. The chef behind three Michelin-starred restaurants has his cuisine highlighted across the fleet’s multiple venues, and an entirely new restaurant is in the works for the Seabourn Quest and eventually all of the luxury line’s ships. Seabourn President Richard Meadows says, “we have no doubt our guests will be as excited as we are to taste and enjoy Chef Keller’s dishes on our ships.”