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Cruise Ship Food: Dishes And Delicacies

Mention the word “cruise” and the word “food” is usually not far behind. Today, we’re giving you a “taste” of some of the dishes we’ve enjoyed on a variety of cruises and a variety of ships…

Crown dessert balcony dinnerThe presentation is as immaculate and tasteful as this Crown Princess chocolate raspberry dessert.

Riviera-red ginger diningSeafood delicacies like this from the intimate, upscale Asian restaurant known as Red Ginger on the Oceania Riviera.

Allure-IzumiHot Rock (525 degrees) is the name of this specialty at a specialty restaurant, Izumi, on Allure of the Seas.

Freedom-cheesecake steakhouseCheesecake (and wine to match) — the perfect postscript to a meal when dining in the renowned steakhouse on the Carnival Freedom.

Eclipse-elegant expressA treat that comes when you have “Elegant Tea” on Solstice Class ships like the Celebrity Eclipse.

Epic-slime cakesThis baby’s called “slimecakes” — the Nickelodeon spin on “pancakes” on the Norwegian Epic and, yes, it does taste better than it sounds or looks.

Coral-chef's tableOn the Coral Princess, the Chef’s Table includes an old standby — surf ‘n turf — or steak and lobster, exquisitely cooked and displayed, of course.

Reflection-dessert buffetEvery ship has them, the fabled dessert buffet, and this caloric delight is from Celebrity’s newest ship, the Reflection.

Cruising: It’s All About The Food

Chef Curtis StoneFor some of us, there’s an old (and probably outdated) saying that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…i.e., good cooks get good husbands. The subjects may have changed but the principle has not.

Good cooking gets many cruisers.

As the year winds down, there are two more examples to validate that thinking.

1) Princess Cruises has been hyping the fact that Chef Curtis Stone has opened his own restaurant (SHARE) on select ships, such as the Ruby Princess and Emerald Princess, with more likely to follow. The “headlines” are “Chef Curtis Stone invites you…” and “Chef Curtis Stone shares his love with this special ingredient…”  and “A favorite family recipe from Chef Curtis Stone…”

2) The new Godmother of the Oceania Sirena — next year — will be Claudine Pepin, who has the right surname to be in the kitchen creating cuisines-des-spectacles. She is, of course, the daughter of the famous Jacques Pepin, who is Oceania’s master chef and The Pepinswhose restaurant is named after him and on two ships, the Riviera and the Marina.

See, it’s all about the food.

While we wouldn’t know Curtis Stone from Oliver Stone (we would know him from Sharon), it’s clear this Aussie “Celebrity Apprentice” grad has many followers and many exquisite recipes. He also has a restaurant in Beverly Hills called Maude, which means that a lot of the beautiful people enjoy his menus. And now a lot of cruisers will, too.

Claudine Pepin, also apparently, has some healthy credentials to go with her healthy food. Her Dad, who turns 80 before Christmas, made it big with Julia Child at his side on PBS and now Claudine’s stepping up in class with him at her side. She also had a PBS show — Cooking With Claudine — and this year has her first cookbook on the shelves for Christmas, Kids Cook French.

As generations of cooking go, both she and Curtis Stone represent a passing of the torch.

Or at least the spatula.

In the news…

• MSC Cruises offers 2-for-1 Caribbean fares for balcony guests starting April 23
• Flash from the past: Verandah Restaurant to open in June on Queen Mary 2
• Two sets of tourism students spend a day on Norwegian Epic in Cannes

Today at portsandbows.comSuite time with Celebrity

Carnival Fantasy
5 nights
January 27, 2016
Charleston (return): Nassau, Freeport
Inside: $409
Cost per day: $81

Friday File: The Food Of Alaska

When you cruise to Alaska to enjoy the local cuisine, you can expect to have seafood…and seafood…and seafood. It’s what Alaskans have long consumed for survival, with a little caribou or reindeer added for variety, and it’s what passengers on the Star Princess had the most opportunities to enjoy. Did we mention that you should like seafood? Below are some of the dishes we encountered (also consumed) on our 11-day journey — with a little culinary variety, of course…

1-Crab Shack

The Crab Shack is a special feature on the ship and the dishes include a healthy array of counterparts from the sea.


Catch-and-eat…in rainy Ketchikan yesterday, Nancy caught three rockfish and four fellow fruitless fishers helped eat them.

2-Halibut burger

As part of the Alaska experience, Princess serves yummy Mermaid Burgers (halibut) on the pool deck, on select days.

9-Smoked salmon

One of the attractive room service orders are these bites of smoked salmon, enhanced with a little shrimp and caviar.

6-Denali Brewing

In Talkeetna, the Denali Brewing Company serves beer cheese soup, a spicy dish that’s more cheese than beer.

3-Liars salmon

King salmon really is royalty in Alaska, so it was a natural at Liarsville, a funky little town on many Skagway shore excursions.

7-Salmon belt

In Juneau, this is one of the places where you can see salmon, before they hit your dinner plate in the restaurants.

4-McKinley crab

Another member of the royal food family is this crab double dip (King and Bering Sea) from the McKinley Lodge.

5-Reindeer meatballs

A break from the seafood…mushroom caps stuffed with reindeer from King Salmon at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge.

8-Sabbatini dessert

Something sweet to finish — creme al caffe, served only at one of the ship’s specialty restaurants, Sabatini’s.

In the news…

• Nine Holland America passengers perish in Alaska plane crash
• New ships Carnival Vista, Viking Sea on the move in shipyards
• Quantum of the Seas set to begin Asian assignments

Today at portsandbows.com: Coming next year — Harmony of the Seas

Carnival Ecstasy
4 nights
September 28, 2015
Miami (return): Key West, Cozumel
Inside: $209
Cost per day: $52

Balcony Breakfast Princess Treat

ON BOARD THE STAR PRINCESS — Can there be a better wake-up call than sitting on the Breakfast-1balcony of a cruise ship with a glacier looming on the outside and a young man from Buenos Aires delivering a four-course breakfast from the inside?

If there is, we have yet to experience it.

This is the “deluxe breakfast” treatment you get from Princess Cruises, for $45 per couple. In Alaska on the Star Princess, the menu’s a little different because, well, it’s Alaska. That means instead of the quiche lorraine you might get on some ships, it’s fresh crab accompanied by a little crab quiche.

“Eat it first,” suggested Rodrigo, our Argentine amigo, “so it doesn’t get cold.”

Sitting on cruise-ship balconies in Alaska usually means hot dishes cool off, even when it’s past 9 a.m. We thought the food might stay warmer if we ate later…okay, that’s our story and we’re sticking to it. The crab was so good it barely had time to cool off and, except for coffee, the rest of the breakfast was temperature friendly.

Course two…cold smoked salmon to rest on a toasted lemon brioche dusted with dill cream cheese. Course three…a cantaloupe dish filled with fresh blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, garnished with “clover honey chantilly creme” that enhanced fruits that were already sweet. Course four…oven fresh pastries that stayed fresh if not warm in the cool air.

BreakfastPlus orange juice and 375 ml of prosecco (a champagne and orange juice clone), with coffee that stayed hot in a thermal bottle.

As good as the breakfast was (who needs lunch after that?), the star of “breakfast on the balcony” was most definitely cold.

Pick a glacier…

In the news…

• Virgin Cruises to have three 2,800-passenger ships on the water by 2020
• Carnival Corporation second-quarter earnings nearly triple last year's 
• Refurbishments now complete for all six ships in Windstar's fleet

Today at portsandbows.com: Free air on Emerald cruises until next week

Crown Princess
10 nights
September 23, 2015
Los Angeles (return): San Diego, Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Loreto, Puerto Vallarta
Inside: $799
Cost per day: $79

Norwegian, Food And Andy Stuart

Some of us like hot toast. Hot enough to melt better. It happens at home. It rarely, if ever, happens on a cruise ship. The only time we’ve ever experienced it, or at least the closest it has come to being reality, is on the Norwegian Epic and the reason was simple. We were having breakfast at O’Sheehan’s, a mid-ship eatery with mostly down-home food, and the toaster was right there. We couldn’t touch it, but we could see it and the toast was hot enough.

Norwegian is having food issues right now. Good and bad.

Andy Stuart, a bright guy who is the company’s new president, has been dealing with Andy Stuartseveral. It started with a charge for room service delivery. That was followed by a ban on taking food back to your cabin. Then came removing the $15 cover charge on Asian eateries. And finally, establishing a new sushi menu with a la carte pricing.

You might say Stuart’s plate has been full.

When passengers complained, as they did about the room service charge, he modified it by not charging for continental breakfast and coffee. When they complained about being ordered not to take food to their rooms, he dropped the regulation. He found that passengers loved not paying $15 for Asian dining when the numbers jumped to 250 customers per night in the restaurants. He found that a la carte sushi was not only palatable, but popular.

Stuart is upgrading the room-service menu, to justify the cost and encourage more passengers to use it. He’s in the process of upgrading food in the buffet with better options, on the theory that every passenger visits the buffet at least once, so it’s critical to have them leave with a good taste, so to speak.

It’s reasonable to assume that O’Sheehan’s will have a name change, since the quickly departed Kevin O’Sheehan was Stuart’s predecessor.

But about the toast, Andy…

In the news…

• MERS outbreak triggers Royal Caribbean cancelations in South Korea ports
• Viking plans maiden North American call for New York in October 2016
• Cruises to nowhere no longer allowed from U.S. ports (Cruise Critic)

Today at portsandbows.com: MSC's Seaside Class ship going to Miami

Costa Deliziosa
7 nights
October 18, 2015
Venice (return): Bari, Corfu, Santorini, Athens, Dubrovnik
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $71

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