Is a Culinary Cruise in Your Future?

cruise ship

Special interest cruises are trendy and fun. For the food lover, whether an experienced chef or a weekend grill-master, a culinary cruise offers all of the relaxation of a cruise vacation right along with culinary classes and demonstrations. If you have racked up some vacation time why not look into one?

Examples of Culinary Cruises

Several cruise lines offer food related cruises with celebrity chefs, wine cruises, and culinary experiences in exotic locations.

Oceania Cruises

Oceania is a leader in culinary cruises. Not only do they offer a variety of itineraries, locations, and experiences but the are one of the few cruise lines that invites guest to roll up their sleeves and actually cook. They work work with Bon Appetit magazine to develop unforgettable experiences for epicureans. Their culinary centers feature individual work stations with induction cook tops.

These culinary experiences generally coordinate with on shore excursions to regional markets and opportunities to try local foods and wines. Some specific cruises for 2014 include:

  • French: You’ll learn French cooking techniques during ten days of cruise time between Istanbul and Athens.
  • Italian: While visiting places like Sicily, Amalfi, and Tuscany you’ll learn how to make Italian family favorites.
  • Tapas: Learn to host a tapas party with authentic recipes while experiencing popular Spanish ports.

Windstar

Windstar offers yacht style cruising. They’ve partnered with Saveur magazine to offer the culinary enthusiast the opportunity to experience a food adventure on one of their casual cruise experiences.

Silversea

Silversea is another cruiseline that offers cooking schools as well as wine pairings, market tours, and more. The classes are free when you cruise on certain themed voyages. These cruises range from 7 to 16 nights.

Norwegian

Norwegian Cruise Lines has a gourmet Chef’s Table experience on some of their cruises. It allows you to attend a nine-course, two and a half hour meal with a small group of twelve or so people. You’ll start with champagne and taste your way hrough a variety of dishes accompanied by complimentary wines which have been hand selected by a master sommelier. You’ll also get a tour of the galley. There is a charge for the Chef’s Table experience.

Paul Gaugin

This is a single, small ship which is limited to only 330 passengers and sails only around Tahiti and Polynesia. It offers a seven day culinary cruise with seminars, classes, and fishing trips once a year.

Look Around

While these are some popular culinary cruises they are certainly not the only ones. If this sounds like something you would be interested in then look around, check with the cruise lines, and check cruise websites. Be sure to ask plenty of questions and make sure you understand if the events are covered under the cost of the cruise or if there are other fees involved.

Most of these cruises give you plenty of time to enjoy a sunset from the deck, explore new places, and contemplate the depths of the ocean. Plan carefully so that you aren’t just taking the cruise for the culinary events but so you are also getting a chance to enjoy your dream vacation.

Turn Any Cruise into a Culinary Adventure

If you can’t coordinate a culinary themed cruise with your allotted vacation time why not plan your own epicurean adventure on a regular cruise? There’s no reason that you can’t explore local markets and eat at local cafes. Take time before your trip to research the ports you will be visiting and the unique dishes and markets of that region. Once on board you can talk to your steward or the servers at your dinner table — they almost always have some great ideas. After all, they’ve been to those same ports over and over again!

Vacation time should be restful, relaxing, and exhilarating.  For most people, who are interested in food, all of that can be accomplished on a culinary themed cruise adventure.

photo credit: archer10 (Dennis) via photopin cc

- Marye Audet

Marye Audet is an author, freelance writer, and editor. Cooking, baking, and recipe development have been a major part of her life since she baked her first loaf of bread at age 13. Luckily, with a husband, eight children, a son in law, and three grandchildren she has enough test-tasters to handle the steady stream of experiments that come from her kitchen.

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