When you think of dining on most cruise lines, massive buffet tables and tacky chocolate fountains likely come to mind. These specialty culinary cruises flip that on its head, treating passengers to thoughtfully designed restaurants, interactive cooking experiences with professional chefs, and a chance to explore international cuisine as the locals do.
Serious home cooks who want to learn from the best can feed their cooking show obsession on these specialty cruises offered by .
While at sea, guests get the chance to watch's live demonstrations up close, and partake in hands-on workshops covering everything from homemade pasta to cake decorating, with help from experts, including food editors and recipe developers for Cook's Country magazine and on-screen test cooks from the show. In addition to gleaning tips from the pros in Q&As, they'll get a chance to show off their kitchen smarts via kitchen trivia.
Routes: Alaska Inside Passage, Northern Isles, Canada & New England Discovery
If you'd rather spend your time on the ship relaxing so you're ready to eat your way through each port city, these culinary-themed Shore Excursions created in partnership with are the way to go. Select port locations on Holland America Line cruises offer immersive experiences for foodies who want to explore the local culinary scene.
Locations throughout Northern Europe and the Mediterranean welcome travelers for hand-on cooking classes, culinary walking tours and winery visits, where they have the chance to sample street food and other specialties served at spots off the beaten path. Hunt down fresh ingredients in Barcelona's La Boqueria, learn the art of Smorrebrod in Copenhagen, or even cook up a meal at one of Santorini's most famous restaurants.
EXC Tour cities: Bergen, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Helsinki, Reykjavik, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Talinn, Barcelona, Cadiz, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Livorno (Florence), Malaga (Granada), Kotor, Monte Carlo, Naples, Thira (Santorini), Venice
Rubbing elbows with some of the biggest names in the food and wine industry is a daily occurrence on these specialty cruises. Famed chefs and beverage directors are onboard alongside guests, guiding them through cooking and cocktail demos, hosting detailed presentations and serving an intimate, reservation-only dinner at the ship's Pinnacle Grill.
Learn from greats like Master Mixologist, Dale DeGroff, restaurateur and cookbook author David Burke and master chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres while dining on high-end fare throughout your voyage. Winemakers and enologists from Chateau Ste. Michelle also accompany select cruises, offering onboard vino-blending sessions and their expertise on wine and food pairings.
Routes: Norse Legends, Colors of Canada & New England, Western Caribbean, Alaskan Explorer, Glacier Discovery, Summer Cuba, Azores and Normandy, Tropical Caribbean, European Splendour, Viking Sagas
The newest ship to join the Celebrity Cruises fleet is designed to cater to the tastes of any food lover. If you thought the buffets on past cruises left something to be desired, the should have something to satisfy your cravings with a whopping 29 different food and beverage venues onboard.
A wide variety of elegant restaurants, including a raw bar, steakhouse, French bistro and plethora of bars and lounges, allow guests to sample different cuisines every day (or even every meal). Those who like to Instagram their plate before digging in should check out Le Petit Chef, the 3D dining experience created with TableMation Studios in which an animated character appears beside your plate and prepares the dish just before it's served.
Routes: France, Monaco and Spain; Spain, France and Italy; Western Mediterranean, Eastern Mediterranean, Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean
For travelers who want a more intimate culinary experience, Celebrity Cruises has created a unique seven-night , featuring appearances by star-studded celebrity chefs en route to Bermuda.
Those onboard get the opportunity to meet Top Chef All-Stars winner chef Richard Blais and Top Chef finalist chef Bryan Voltaggio, dine on their impressive dishes, and even join them on a Chef's Market Discoveries excursion, where they'll assist guests in shopping for ingredients and preparing a private dinner on the ship.
If that's not immersive enough, there are also cooking demos and private classes offered to help passengers hone their cooking skills throughout the journey.
Routes: Bermuda Cruise
There's no shortage of culinary greatness to be experienced in France, which is why explores the best that each region has to offer.
Embarking from Paris, the ship stops off in such charming places as Lyon, Avignon and Cote d'Azur, allowing passengers to take in stunning landmarks and sample local specialties along the way.
A Taste of Normandy excursion takes them to a hillside cheese farm near the coast, and countless other edible adventures await onboard: Pastry demos, a special crepes lunch, cheese and wine tastings and a food-and-wine-pairing dinner.
Routes: Paris to Cote d'Azur, Paris to Barcelona, Paris to Nice, Paris to Paris, Vienna to Munich, Paris to London
For those more interested in the drinkable specialties of each place they visit, Avalon Waterways offers a wide range of exploratory beer- and wine-focused cruise routes. will stop off at historic breweries and learn European brewing techniques with beer experts onboard, while will explore ancient wine cellars and sip and swirl alongside a certified Master of Wine. Between glasses of Bordeaux and steins of Hefeweizen, there's also plenty of room for culinary exploration in the form of foodie walking tours and cooking classes.
Embark/disembark cities: Paris, Cote d'Azur, Nice, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Prague, Budapest, Berlin, London, Bucharest, Bordeaux, Rome, Basel, Munich
Top-notch food is the priority on any trip with — famed chef Jacques Pépin is the executive culinary director, curating the gourmet options, including Italian, French, Asian and fresh seafood, which means there are no massive buffets in sight.
Aboard the Marina and Riviera ships, guests can experience La Reserve, a food-and-wine-pairing restaurant in partnership with Wine Spectator; and , a state-of-the-art kitchen hosting cooking classes and demos with master chefs from around the world. Culinary Discover Tours take the experience off the boat, inviting passengers to source ingredients at markets and dine at local restaurants.
Embark/disembark cities: New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Montreal, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Barcelona, Venice, Rome, Monte Carlo, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Chile, Papeete, Lima, Oslo, Athens, Reykjavik