A Sailable Feast: What's New in Cruise Food

Courtesy fallbrook50/myBudgetTravel

Come on, be honest: The all-you-can-eat buffets and huge selection of on-board restaurants and cafes are among the top reasons to head to sea.

A survey published last summer revealed a nugget of info that probably comes as no surprise to seasoned travelers: Cruise passengers like to eat. Nearly three-quarters of travel agents said that their clients look for added choices of unusual and special restaurants when selecting a cruise.

It seems as if cruisers' appetite for more and more on-board food options is endless. Here are three new developments that they may find tempting:

On the "Waterfront"

One of the most exciting features on Norwegian's new ship, the Breakaway, is simply called the Waterfront. It's an open-air boardwalk similar to what one might expect at a seaside resort town, lined with shops, restaurants, and bars that are perfect for al fresco dining, as well as just browsing and strolling. The options at the Waterfront will include a steakhouse, cocktail bar, spots for seafood and Italian cuisine, a gelato station, and a Brazilian-style churrascaria. Speaking of which...

More Meat, Please!

When Norwegian introduced the Epic in 2010, it was the first ship to offer an authentic churrascaria, a Brazilian-style restaurant in which passadors walk from table to table serving generous slices of beef, lamb, pork, chicken and sausage. The Moderno Churrascaria restaurant concept has since been added to a few other Norwegian ships, and last month the cruise line announced that it would be rolled out fleetwide this year. The experience is a "specialty restaurant," and an added cover charge of $20 per person is required.

Southern Cruise, Southern Cuisine

When revamped steamboats start cruising the Mississippi this spring, they'll take to the river with an appropriately local take on food. The Great American Steamboat Company has tapped Regina Charboneau, a Southern chef and cookbook author who runs Twin Oaks Plantation B&B; in Natchez, Mississippi, to be in charge of the food on board. CruiseCritic reports:

As much as possible, the line will be sourcing local ingredients -- like farm-raised poultry, sustainable seafood, pecans and produce -- from the ports on American Queen's route. A jazz brunch, offered once per cruise, will showcase baked goods, salads, roasted meats (Andouille-stuffed pork loin? Yes, please) and savory dishes like grits in a smoked tomato cream sauce, one of the decadent entrees we sampled. You also won't want to miss Charboneau's special captain's dinner. The Mark Twain-themed meal features a menu of delicacies believed to be the Missouri-raised author and food lover's favorites, including a "mock" turtle soup (don't worry, it's beef).


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