Cruise ships are well known bastions for gluttony, from the lobster dinners to midnight buffets; although tastes are evolving and the traveling public has become more sophisticated. The cruise industry has taken note of the public’s taste for Food Cruises , “Food and Wine are hot right now”, said Michelle Fee CEO of Cruise Planners. Michelle runs one of the most respected cruise travel agencies in America and shared her knowledge in regards to food and wine becoming a key focus in the cruise industry. This weekend Michelle will be facilitating a round table discussion about cruise industry trends at the Los Angeles Times Travel Show.
According to Michelle Fee, “Entertainment on cruise ships are no longer just about showsgirls with feathers dancing on the stage; food has become the entertainment on ships.” For example Oceana cruise lines is taking food cruises to the next level by hosting culinary education programs presented by Bon Appetit. One of the more impressive classes is called “Tuscan Treasures’, where attendees will learn to make such dishes as prune stuffed gnocchi with Foie Gras sauce, Gnudi and cecina. Oceana also offers programs where you can visit local markets to select ingredients for the cooking class.
One of the most impressive foodie opportunities is being offered by Crystal Cruises, who is headlining Chef Nobu Matsuhisa.He is scheduled to host dinners, classes, and sake tastings on their Black Sea cruise. Michelle Fee indicated that each cruise line offers a slightly different approach to food and wine. For example, “Holland America tends to bring celebrity Chefs for culinary arts demonstrations.” I did some research and learned that Food and Wine magazine is associated with these demonstrations and classes. I joked around that the Chefs are starting to become the new entertainers aboard the ships. Celebrity Cruise lines places a larger focus on Wine pairing s and education by offering Sommelier led tastings, vineyard tours, and classes.
All of the cruise lines are making the meal experience a central part of the cruise. According to Michelle, “gone are the days of structured early and late dining dinner schedules. Most of the larger ships will feature multiple restaurants, so that you decide what you want to eat and when you want to eat.” I found an article on USA Today about Norwegian Cruise Line’s brand new ship called the “Breakaway”, which will feature a quarter mile long ocean facing boardwalk lined with restaurants, bars and shops. Literally you can go restaurant tasting and bar hoping on a cruise ship. Of course if you still like the idea of eating dinner with the same people for the entire cruise, that option is still available.
If you want to learn more about cruising, I recommend that you read the follow blog posts from Travel Blogger www.siteswithstacey.com She has outlines her experiences with various cruise lines and some practical tips and tricks for getting the most of of your cruise. She has outlined quite of few highlights of her food during the cruise.