Written by 9:15 am Dining

Cruise Guide: Cruise lines offer culinary journeys

By Mike Coleman

Culinary journeys at sea will be as intriguing as the itineraries themselves aboard some of the worlds leading cruise ships in 2007.

At Crystal Cruises, guests will be able to savor signature dishes from award-winning chefs like Nobu Matsuhisa, Piero Selvaggio and Wolfgang Puck. It’s all included in the cruise fare. Penthouse guests can also dine in the comfort and privacy of their suites while being served the world-class cuisine, course-by-course, compliments of their very own, onboard butler.

Cunard Line guests opting for Grill accommodations aboard Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2 will enjoy the line’s famed ‘White Star Service’. Spacious suites and butler services are paired with private single-seating restaurants and exclusive lounges. All guests are treated to Cunard’s renowned, white-gloved afternoon tea service.

Oceania Cruises will also be offering some of the finest cuisine at sea in 2007, carefully crafted by world-renowned Master Chef Jacques Pepin. Look for each ship – Regatta, Insignia and Nautica – to offer the flexibility of open-seating dining in four onboard restaurants as guests enjoy a relaxed, country-club atmosphere.

Travelers sailing aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 700-guest, all-balcony suite Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner need only to sit back and enjoy complimentary fine dining at Le Cordon Bleu-run Signatures specialty restaurants. Care to take some of the recipes back home? Regent goes a step further. Cooking classes offered by Le Cordon Bleu chefs are available on select voyages.

Look for the three, all-suite Yachts of Seabourn to unveil casual dining – steaks, seafood and other grilled specialties – in the open air Sky Bar atop each ship in 2007. The option is in addition to its elegant, open-seating Restaurant which serves award-winning Progressive American cuisine designed by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer.

Silversea Cruises’ guests can enjoy complimentary en suite dining on their private verandas with meals served course-by-course by attentive waiters. Many dishes hail from the line’s La Collection du Monde, created by Michelin two-star chef Jacques Thorel. Each of Silversea’s four vessels feature oceanview suites, most with private balcony, and open-seating dining options so guests dine when, where and with whom they desire.

The premium lines (Celebrity, Holland America and Windstar) will also be offering a host of onboard amenities in 2007 designed to make life on the high seas as stress-free as possible.

Welcome champagne, nightly hors d’oeuvres, 24-hour butler service and dining room seating preferences are just some of the suite amenities guests will enjoy with Celebrity Cruises.

Holland America, meanwhile, will be bringing the luxuries of its Greenhouse Spa and Salon services to staterooms, where Mariner’s Dream Beds, with plush mattresses and Egyptian cotton towels, await guests.

And, menus have been revamped at Windstar. Look for 100 new items from acclaimed celebrity chef Joachim Splichal of the Patina Group. New onboard amenities include iPod Nanos loaded with 500 songs from 50 different playlists, Bose SoundDock speakers in staterooms and wireless Internet access in public rooms.

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