By Kim Windyka
You’ve found the perfect cruise itinerary and picked the right state room, but the decision making doesn’t end there. Ahead of you — besides figuring out which cocktail to sip poolside — is a whole slew of restaurants for every palette. Whether you’re craving house-made pasta or innovative sushi, check out the most delicious eateries we’ve found aboard some of the most popular cruise lines.
Offering an exciting twist on traditional fine dining, The Chef’s Table gives a group of 12 diners a behind-the-scenes tour of the galley, led by the ship’s chef, as well as a pre-tour cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception. The experience concludes with a full-service dinner in an unusual area of the ship – such as the library or a conference room — with dishes prepared by top toques. See fresh sushi being prepared before your eyes at the Meiji Sushi Bar, or try Cucina del Capitano for family-style Italian meals that are made to order.
150 Central Park, currently found aboard the Allure and Oasis of the Seas, serves up inventive gourmet cuisine in a hip setting. A tasting menu of six to eight courses invites foodies to indulge in multiple flavors while indulging in a large selection of wines. For a tried-and-true chophouse experience, head to Chops Grille, which boasts a variety of steak and seafood specialties, or hit Samba Grill for right-off-the-skewer meats grilled in Brazilian barbecue style. In the mood for a more casual spot? Enjoy tapas and top-shelf wines from around the world at Vintages.
Cruise goers enjoy a side of ambiance with their dining experience on Norwegian. At the Teppanyaki Room, sit elbow to elbow with nine other guests as you watch the chef whip up authentic Asian fare. The Manhattan Room, meanwhile, evokes the feel of an old-fashioned New York supper club and offers dancing to boot. Sneak under the Spiegel Tent and enjoy dinner and a thrilling theatrical show with Cirque Dreams & Dinner. And when all that decadence starts pushing against your waistline, circle back with a healthy meal at Pacific Heights, which dishes out low-calorie treats, a special spa menu and Cooking Light® meals.
The upscale, reservations-only Murano is the perfect date spot, complete with a four-course menu and cuisine prepared tableside. At the playful, creative Qsine, the experience goes high-tech and interactive, allowing diners to order sushi lollipops off an iTouch menu or even decorate their own cupcakes. If being a restaurant voyeur is more your thing, take a peek at upscale Normandie’s demonstration kitchen and pick a red or white to go with your meal at the dine-in cellar.
Kim Windyka is a travel brands copywriter, bona fide Twitter addict and freelance feature writer whose work has appeared in Metro Boston, the New Hampshire Visitors Guide and the Nashua Telegraph. Despite being a Northeast native, she dreams of palm trees daily.