Luxury dining is making waves at sea as high-profile chefs form partnerships with some of the world's leading cruise lines.
Among the first was Australian chef and restaurateur Luke Mangan, who's now widening his portfolio of outlets with Salt Grill on P&O's new Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden ships.
"We had the same vision: we wanted to have the best restaurant at sea," says Mangan of his five-year relationship with P&O. His Salt Grill restaurants now feature across P&O's entire fleet and a raft of chef collaborations at sea have followed.
Princess Cruises has announced a partnership with Australian Los Angeles-based chef Curtis Stone across its 18 ships. His seafaring restaurants will be called Share by Curtis Stone and feature a signature communal table. Items from a "Crafted by Curtis" menu will also be available in the Princess fleet's main dining rooms, starting in October on Golden Princess, with fleet-wide expansion slated for the end of the year. "I've worked feverishly to create elegant, tasty dishes that I'm really proud to serve," says Stone.
Royal Caribbean has a Jamie Oliver restaurant on Anthem of the Seas, the second ship in its Quantum class, while another high-profile player, California-born Thomas Keller, has signed with luxe line Seabourn. Keller's signature restaurant will be launched early next year on the Seabourn Quest.
Also in the works for the New Year, passengers aboard Carnival Cruises will be able to enjoy exclusive cooking demonstrations, lunch and masterclasses by Australian chef Massimo Mele aboard three cruises to Tasmania in January and April.
Extending the movement to river cruising, APT plans to launch a Wine Ambassador program on its European routes. Bruce Tyrrell (Tyrell's Wines) and Thomas Keith Hardy (Thomas Hardy Wines) are among the line-up of Australian vintners enlisted to host tastings and special dinners, lead local winery excursions and present workshops on wine-making techniques, heritage and traditions.
With talk of more gourmet offerings under way, there's never been a better time to book your next voyage.
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