All by itself, food is a reason to cruise. You can count on delicious food emerging from the ship’s galley on a regular basis, with no effort (or clean up) on your part.
But on some ships, passengers who love to cook can do so, learning new techniques and mastering new flavor profiles in the process. Here’s a look at some cruise lines and ships that let passengers watch master chefs at work and get some hands-on instruction, too.
Holland America Line’s state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Centers are purpose-built for cooking classes and demonstrations. Some of these are delivered by the ship’s own chefs, and some by guest chefs who specialize in regional cuisine. Just think of learning to make lobster three ways (butter poached, sauced with beurre blanc, and grilled) during a cruise of the New England coast; or creating the perfect mango cheesecake while cruising the Caribbean.
Oceania Cruises’ Riviera and Marina offer hands-on cooking schools in their Culinary Centers. You don’t need to be all that experienced – classes provide lots of individual attention and guidance from master chefs, so even novices can be successful. In some ports, you can accompany your instructor in a search for fresh ingredients on shore. Class offerings include some that teach the techniques of award-winning chef Jacques Pepin, Oceania’s executive culinary director.
Princess Cruises takes passengers into the ship’s galley for a Chef’s Table event. This isn’t a “quiet hours” galley tour – participants enter the kitchen during the bustle of dinner prep, watching, learning and helping the staff prepare that evening’s dinner. Then, it’s on to a special table to enjoy the meal, which often showcases the region’s best ingredients. During the dessert course, the head chef sits down to discuss the meal, answer questions, and share a few culinary secrets.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises helps passengers expand their cooking skills in the Culinary Arts Kitchen aboard the Seven Seas Splendor and Seven Seas Explorer. The kitchens feature fully-equipped workstations with induction cooktops. Everyone from beginners to skilled cooks receive individualized, hands-on instruction from chefs trained in classic French techniques. Classes vary from one cruise to another and may celebrate the cuisines of Greece, Morocco, Patagonia, Tuscany or other flavorful destinations.
Several other cruise lines offer hands-on experiences with regional cooking techniques and ingredients via shore excursions. To explore the options and pick a ship and itinerary that will feed your culinary interests, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.
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