The cruise industry
loves food. It probably goes without saying, but passengers do as well. A
shipping line’s food offering is often the clincher when it comes to making a decision
between which cruise company you will travel with – especially as passenger
tastes evolve and we crave a more culturally diverse culinary journey.
There’s almost a race
amongst cruise lines to announce the signing of the next celebrity chef. And let’s
face it, because of the reduced-cost on-board dining pricing structure, for many
of us, it could be the only time that we can afford celebrity-chef dining
So who is winning
that race to be the best?
According to Food and Travel Magazine, it’s clearly
Royal Caribbean International.
RCI was voted Best
Cruise Line Overall in the Food and Travel Reader Awards 2015 recently
announced in Mexico. It
is the second consecutive year that the cruise line was honoured by Food and
Travel, a leading tourism and lifestyle magazine that combines adventure,
gastronomy and photography with recipes and insider tips for travellers.
So how is RCI getting
it so right? By offering an amazing array of dining options and giving
passengers a real choice when it comes to dining. The
Dynamic Dining program allows passengers to pick and choose restaurants and
dining times each day and night. It’s that
flexibility that sets RCI apart. Dining
options do change from ship to ship, but here’s a sample of what RCI offers.
When the mega-liner Ovation of the Seas comes to Australia
this year, there will be restaurants by British food sensation Jamie Oliver
(Jamie’s Italian) and James Beard award-winning chef Michael Schwartz whose
Michael's Genuine Pub will be the first American-styled gastropub at sea. “Royal Caribbean shares my approach to food and dining, which is to
serve simple, fresh ingredients in a warm, inviting ambiance,’’ Oliver said, about
the launch of his on-board restaurant.
Then there’s also Chops Grille, the
company’s signature steak house that has a distinctly New York feel about it.
The menu is very American (pan-roasted jumbo scallops and colossal shrimp
cocktails), the waiters are wonderfully attentive and the wood panelling and
seating gives a Wall Street feel to the experience.
At a Chops Grille, on any RCI ship in the
world, you can order “USDA prime beef raised in Iowa and Nebraska, dry-aged in
a climate-controlled room for nearly four weeks to achieve the pinnacle of flavour,
tenderness, and aroma”. Now that’s pretty impressive.
Australians have had a long affair with
sushi, and Izumi – the traditional Japanese restaurant – serves up an explosion
of authentic Asian flavours with every mouthful. Windjammer, the company’s
dining mainstay, is constantly reinvented on RCI’s new ships and chefs are now
creating meals in an interactive environment. The marketplace style of dining
allows them to serve a truly international style of cuisine ensuring that
diners never tire of the same menu.
In a new fun twist, there’s a dining option
called Wonderland where guests are invited to take a journey down the rabbit
hole and determine what is real and what is invented. The menu is designed
around themes – Sun, Sea, Earth, Dreams, Ice and Fire – and plays with temperature,
textures, portions and flavours to create unexpected, postmodern dishes. It
certainly is the wow-factor dining option on Quantum Class ships.