Celebrity Chefs on Land and Sea


What's cookin' in cruisin'…are celebrity chefs.

On the same day, two major cruise lines were promoting associations with celebrity cooks. Actually, only one was a celebrity cook, the other a celebrity chef. Sounds like splitting pasta hairs to me.

In both cases, your taste buds will have to wait.

Royal Caribbean is engaging the cook, Paula Deen of the Food Network, for one cruise, on Mariner of the Seas from Galveston in late January. The cruise will coincide with the Super Bowl and you can be sure Mama Deen will be hoping one of those good ol' southern teams will be in the game. She's from Savannah (so the Atlanta Falcons would do just fine) and southern cooking is her specialty at The Lady & Sons restaurant she operates with her two boys, Jamie and Bobby.

On Mariner of the Seas, events she'll be part of include a "welcome pajama dessert party", the Deen Family Olympics, Not Your Mama's Meals and, of course, a Super Bowl party. There's one catch, although it's more of an incomplete pass: It's really a Pre-Super Bowl Party because the ship returns to Galveston before Super Sunday's opening kick-off. It has to be booked at pauladeencruise.com, which is also accessible from her website, pauladeen.com.

Norwegian is engaging the chef, Geoffrey Zakarian. He's also a Food Network star and he's going to have his own restaurant on NCL's new ship, the Breakaway, once it starts sailing from New York next spring and early summer. The restaurant is Ocean Blue, a "luxury seafood dining experience" — that means it'll come with a price tag.

Chef Zakarian will preside over the restaurant and will prepare and supervise it just as he does his two land-based restaurants in New York, The Lambs Club and The National. Except, of course, that he won't likely be on the Breakaway as much as he'll be on land. Norwegian CEO Kevin Sheehan says it's like winning the culinary lottery: "We win big…but so do our guests." Opening day for the restaurant, and for Breakaway, is May 12.

Here on land, I have my own celebrity chef, seven days a week. She may dispute the celebrity part but there are no doubters when it comes to her cooking talents.

Now, if only some cruise line would recognize that!

Sapphire Princess
7 nights
December 22, 2012
Los Angeles (return): Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Ensenada
Cost per day: $114

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