Choices for food is one of our top motivating factors behind selecting the best cruise ship for our vacation. Won’t you agree?
Food is one reason we travel, period. Sampling authentic foods in various locales drive us to visit far-flung destinations.
Although you can get a great Korean meal in Koreatown, there is nothing like sitting in a real BBQ restaurant in Sinchon, grilling your own galbi (Korean word for “rib”) and sipping Hite beer.
Yes, food is a travel motivator and it encourages people to leave their comfy confines and cruise over to a vacation destination.
Cruise ships and food experiences go together
Combining food and a great travel experience is not difficult. One way in which travelers combine the two areas is by taking a cruise. A cruise offers travelers the chance to relax and unwind in comfort, but it also allows them to visit multiple destinations.
During the day, you have the chance to explore an exotic port and at night, once back on the ship, you can dine in luxury at one of the cruise’s glamorous restaurant options. Cruises combine multiple elements for a vacation and food is one of the areas in which many excel.
Cruise ship choices for food is crucial for passenger appeal!
According to a 2018 report, 20 million people go on cruises each year. Thanks to the variety of vacation packages on offer – all you can drink, casinos, fitness escapes – cruises offer a great deal of excitement.
Of course, the food is the real reason to set sail and tackle the high seas.
The countdown to the number 1 food choice for cruise ships:
Just like there are some absolute top restaurants on the ground the same goes for the food establishments presented on cruise ships.
We have just conducted an extensive research of the world’s cruise ships, the ships’ culinary reputations, and studied the feedback from thousands of passenger reviews.
Counting down to the very best cruise ship choice for food in the entire world, let’s start with number 9 on the list:
9. Norwegian Breakaway
Variety is the spice of life and it is choice that you will be spoilt with on Norwegian’s Breakaway cruise ship. The Breakaway offers several dining options other than its dining hall.
Passengers can enjoy the Garden Cafe buffet, O’Sheehan’s Irish pub, Shanghai’s Asian fusion, and the Flamingo and Uptown Grills. In addition, the Haven Lounge and Restaurant is a great little hotspot for VIP guests. By the way, these are just the restaurant options that are included with your cruise fee.
According to Norwegian, O’Sheehan’s Irish pub is one of the Breakaway’s most popular venues. Why? The pub is open 24-hours a day.
Meanwhile, Shanghai is one of the top dining establishments on the cruise ship. It offers a traditional Asian noodle bar experience and each bowl of noodles delivers a true taste of the Orient.
Along with the complimentary restaurants, the Breakaway has eight other restaurants that are not included in the cruise ticket price. If you want choice when it comes to food, then Norwegian’s Breakaway offers it up in large quantities.
8. Disney Fantasy
Since its launch in 2012, the Disney Fantasy has built a reputation for out of this world presentation and delicious food for all ages.
You will find a rotational dining menu on the Fantasy. It is a common tool that all Disney cruises use. It is a quaint tactic that shifts guests to a new dining experience each night, but the servers remain the same.
The only setback to the rotational dining system is travelers must eat at set times rather than on their own terms.
The Fantasy has three dining restaurants, and each has a different theme. Themes include the Animator’s Palate, Enchanted Garden, and the Royal Court.
Making the Fantasy’s food choice a bit different than other cruise ships is the complimentary takeaway options. This is perfect for guests with children who cannot be bothered to experience a sit-down meals three times a day. In addition, the Fantasy has two fee restaurants.
Diners can experience a surf and turf menu at the Animator’s Palate. Meanwhile, the Enchanted Garden serves up French fare. Lunch is a bit simpler at the Enchanted Garden with pasta and sandwiches being the highlight of the menu.
If those options don’t set off your taste buds, there is also Luigi’s Pizza, Cabana’s beach-themed buffet, and the adults-only Cove Cafe.
7. Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas
If you are looking for celebrity chef dining, then the Royal Caribbean Quantum Seas is your ship.
Along with the complimentary restaurants included in the cruise-package is the fee restaurant from British television show chef Jamie Oliver. The British chef’s Italian restaurant is a wonderful option where you can eat expertly crafted recipes from the peninsula.
Oliver isn’t the only hotshot chef with a restaurant onboard the Quantum of the Seas. Florida-based chef Michael Swartz has been wowing diners on Royal Caribbean cruises for years. He began working with the cruise line in 2011 to provide delicious dining options on the high seas. His restaurant, Michael’s Genuine Pub, gets rave reviews by all who dine there.
The Quantum of the Sea also includes more than 10 complimentary restaurants. The most popular are the American Icon Grill, Chic, Coastal Kitchen, The Grade Restaurant, and Silk.
Whether it is comfort food you seek or Asian fusion, you can find it on the Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas.
6. MSC Divina
Fancy a Mediterranean cruise? Well, you are in luck with the MSC Divina. Operated by MSC Cruises, the Divina was launched in 2012. Although MSC is a company known worldwide, it is still fighting for a top spot in the cruise market in the United States. To attract customers, MSC provides a number of great incentives including children under 11 sail for free!
The Divina is dedicated to former Italian film star Sophia Loren. And like the actress, the cruise ship is gorgeous inside and out.
The Divina’s food is just as beautiful, and guests can dine on authentic Italian fare. One of the highlights of the ship, and there are many, is the Italian megastore Eataly. It provides guests with Ristorante Italia and the Manzo steak house for their dining pleasure. There is also a market selling pastas, tomato sauces, and cookbooks to take back home.
Of course, no Italian food experience would be complete without wine. You can enjoy glass after glass of ruby reds and wonderful whites. Toast a glass with a loved one at one of the restaurants designed to look like a real Italian enoteca. MSC cruises depart from Miami to the Caribbean for North American travelers. They also depart from Genoa, Italy taking visitors along the Mediterranean Sea.
5. Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises has been around for a long time. The company first set sail in 1965. The famed television show “The Love Boat” was set onboard a Princess Cruises’ ship.
That may be the company’s main claim to fame, but it also delivers high-quality vacations and amazing food. The Princess Cruise line covers some of the hottest vacation spots in the world, including Alaska, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe.
In terms of the food and dining onboard, Princess Cruises always wins points for its flexible dining times. There is also a large variety of cuisines available to guests. In fact, cruise industry insiders often claim Princess Cruises was the first to offer high-quality food made by top-notch chefs at sea. The cruise line is a great choice for foodies, and it was even proclaimed “best cruise for food lovers” by Food & Wine Magazine.
Whether you are in the mood for luxurious, hand-crafted meals made by gourmet chefs or simple hand-tossed pizzas, the Princess Cruise lines’ restaurants can dish it up.
In recent years, the company has partnered with Los Angeles-based chef Curtis Stone and Ernesto Uchimura who founded the world’s first Umami Burger restaurant. In addition, chocolatier Norman Love builds wonderous desserts and designs menus filled with chocolate-inspired gems.
4. Regal Princess
Among all the Princess cruise offers available we have found the Regal Princess to score the highest in overall food experience. Therefore, we have decided to rank this ship a notch higher than the other Princess C
The Regal Princess not only offers a diverse dining experience, but the cruise ship provides travelers the chance to eat in the dining rooms whenever they want.
Passengers can dine in the Symphony dining hall at one of two different times (5:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.). If that doesn’t work, then travelers can sit in the Allegro or Concerto rooms at any time for dinner. The main dining rooms serve award-winning ala carte foods and the menu changes every night.
Along with the main dining halls, you will find a large selection of restaurants and foods. The Regal Princess boasts two cafes, two pizzerias, a pastry shop, an ice cream shop, a BBQ and grill, and a buffet. Try not to get stuffed three times a day with so much selection.
Horizon Court and Horizon Bistro
Along with the great complimentary restaurants on offer, you will find an assortment of fee restaurants.
3. Silversea Silver Spirit
Do you want a luxury, elegant experience at sea? The Silversea Silver Spirit is the ship to accommodate those wants. The cruise ship’s suites are grandiose, and it may be difficult to leave during the day. If you do, you will find a five-star hotel and restaurant experience floating in the ocean.
The central restaurants serve-up an international cuisine with items culled from countries around the world. If you fancy dining while sunbathing at the pool, then there is a poolside bar and grill to enjoy. It turns into a surf and turf grill at night. The extravagant Seishin serves Asian food fare and features a nine-course tasting menu.
Atlantide is perhaps the lushest of the ship’s restaurants. It boasts a menu that rotates every five days and some of the items you might find on it are Baltic salmon, Argentinian steak, New Zealand lamb, lobster, spinach ravioli with truffle, and more.
There are so many highlights to the Silver Spirit’s dining options it is difficult to name them all. There is nearly one for every cuisine, at least it feels that way, and guests will be spoilt for choice during their cruise.
2. Crystal Serenity
Launched in 2003, Crystal Serenity is still going strong. It was refurbished in 2018, but still provides the service and food that has made it famous.
Crystal Serenity can claim it was one of the first cruise ships to partner with celebrity chefs. While some of the Johnny-come-lately cruise lines have joined forces with top-notch chefs, Crystal Serenity has been doing it for over a decade.
Prego is one of the ship’s most popular restaurants with celebrity chef links. It serves up dishes that appear on the menu of Piero Selvaggio’s Los Angeles restaurant Valentino. The Crystal Dining room is the ship’s main eating area and boasts an extensive menu that rarely repeats itself. There is also Sushi Bar which employs Nobu chefs to prepare meals.
Compared to some other top cruise ships, Crystal Serenity offers up just six dinner venues plus room service. However, the small number of restaurants are not a bad thing especially when the cruise ship provides guests with something different each night.
1. Oceania Marina
Chosen #1 for world’s best cruise ship food!
Built in 2011, the Oceania Marina is called an “ultra-premium” cruise ship. The food options onboard are magnificent and they go well with the experience. It is safe to say, a cruise on the Oceania Marina is not like any other.
It is often said, all of Oceania’s cruise ships serve the best food at sea. Yet, of all the cruise line’s ships, the Oceania’s fare is the best. It is most likely due to the number of options passengers have onboard. Master chef Jacques Pepin is the cruise ship’s executive culinary director and his expert craftmanship means the food prepared is five-star.
Oceania Cruises Sample Menu
Oceania’s Culinary Heaven
Guests can expect a high-quality dining experience without needing their wallets. This goes for room service too, which is complimentary. Dining highlights onboard include the Grand Dining Room where you will find continental cuisine, Toscana, the Polo Grill, and Pepin’s own Wine Spectator Magazine’s La Reserve. There are more than a dozen other restaurants onboard the Oceania. There is even the Bon Appetit Magazine Culinary Center which gives travelers the chance to test their own cooking skills.
One of the biggest benefits of Oceania’s plethora of restaurants is the minimal lines diners must wait in. The cruise line also includes all restaurants, entertainment, non-alcoholic drinks (soft drinks, bottled water, specialty coffees, teas, and juices) in the price of a ticket. Moreover, you won’t find the specialty restaurants charging for dining. The combination of not paying any extras and the high-quality food makes Marina Oceania the perfect cruise to sail on, with the best food choices.