SPONSORED BY HOLLAND AMERICA LINE
Across the board, cruise lines are upping their foodie game. They’re attracting Michelin-starred chefs to craft their menus, creating culinary-themed shore excursions that showcase the local ingredients found at each port of call, and packing their ships with upscale restaurants that rival those in New York City.
Cruise lines are doing this because they know the best voyages are those that take your taste buds on a culinary vacation. One of the main reasons we travel is to find new flavors to please our palates, after all. But which cruise line surrounds you with the most delicious options? As many Vacation agents will tell you, Holland America Line is always at the top of the foodie list. They provide the complete package of culinary events, from decadent dining on board to cooking classes. Here’s an overview of what’s in store.
THE CULINARY COUNCIL®
For Holland America Line, it all begins with the Culinary Council®. This celebrated group of six world-class celebrity chefs shapes the overall direction and vision of the food and beverages you’ll enjoy on board, making certain that every detail—from the amuse-bouche to the dessert cocktails—is executed with culinary precision and creativity.
Shall we meet this fine-dining lineup of culinary superstars? It includes Chef Rudi Sodamin, a celebrated, classically-trained talent who holds the prized position as Holland America Line's Master Chef and Culinary Council® Chairman. With Rudi you’ll find Dutch-born chef Jonnie Boer, mastermind of the Michelin three-star restaurant De Librije; American restaurateur David Burke; Jacques Torres, a French-trained master chef known as “Mr. Chocolate;” Seattle icon Ethan Stowell; and sushi master Andy Matsuda.
These six—along with master mixologist Dale DeGroff and wine critic James Suckling—ensure that every bite you enjoy on board is one paired perfectly with the ideal beverage, creating night after night of pure dining bliss.
The Culinary Council® shape the menus of every onboard eatery, from the cafés to the main Dining Room. In fact, the Dining Room is the site of a special Culinary Council® dining experience held once per cruise. At this elite event, you’ll feast on a five-course menu created especially for that cruise by these culinary experts, each morsel accompanied by wine pairing recommendations.
More decadent dining options will be yours throughout the ship. Take a seat at the Pinnacle Grill to feast on the finest fare from the Pacific Northwest, including sustainably raised beef from Washington’s Double R Ranch and wild-caught king salmon from Alaska. Or head to Rudi’s Sel de Mer, named after the Master Chef, of course, to sample classic French dishes reimagined with modern flair.
Additional culinary delights can be found at Tamarind, where the flavors and culinary traditions of Southeast Asia, China and Japan are on full display. And at Canaletto, Italian classics like branzino ai ferri, garlic shrimp ravioli and cannoli alla Siciliana will have you shouting, “Buon Appetito!”
The long-time partnership between Holland America Line and FOOD & WINE® has delivered immersive culinary experiences for more than a dozen years. Now, this partnership has evolved into an exciting, engaging and ever-expanding selection of culinary-themed shore excursion tours that explore food, wine and culture in some of the world's most renowned gastronomic hot spots. In partnership with FOOD & WINE® Holland America Line has crafted exceptional excursions that show the culinary side of destinations in some very special ways, combining food and culture with entertaining and unique experiences.
Food is not the only thing you’ll learn about on your cruise. At BLEND by Chateau Ste Michelle, the only purpose-built wine-blending venue at sea, you’ll dive into the production of fine wines, from grape to glass, taught by the ship’s wine expert. Afterward, you’ll be able to create your very own blend, chosen by you from five barrels of single-vineyard red wines. Do you have what it takes to become a master vintner? You’ll find out at BLEND.
Inspired by this article and want to speak with a travel agent to plan your culinary voyage? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts match you with an expert travel agent, who can customize a cruise vacation that will dazzle your senses.