Cruise ships are stepping up their cuisine, with top chefs jumping on board.
Despite experiencing a bit of a renaissance, cruise ships can't entirely shake their image as floating RSLs for retirees in Hawaiian shirts. However, it would appear the people who think that (which included me, until recently), are the people who have never been on a cruise.
Cruises are really upping the ante when it comes to their design and quality, particular when it comes to food.
While cruise fares typically include all meals, for travellers who think a good holiday just isn't complete without a unique food experience I encourage you to reserve a night at one of the ship's restaurants. In fact, you might just get a meal designed by one of the world's very best chefs, from Jamie Oliver to Nobu Matsuhisa.
Here are some of the best cruise ships in Australia offering top notch dining options for your seabound holiday.
Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity Solstice is Australia's most popular cruise, partly thanks to its dedication to a top notch food and beverage offering. The ship has 11 bars and restaurants, headed up by Michelin-starred chef Cornelius Gallagher. It also holds foodie events, such as the 'Taste of Film' - an evening of watching a food-centric film while enjoying the meals you see on screen - and chef-led food tours at several destinations.
You must book yourself in to a restaurant while you're on board, whether you want fresh seafood at Sushi on Five or moist and delicious meatballs at Tuscan Grille. Celebrity has also been recognised with several awards for its world class selection of wines.
Image: Celebrity Cruises
Pacific Explorer, P&O
This particular P&O line is home to two well known names. Celebrity chef Luke Mangan is bringing deluxe burgers to the ship with his venue, Luke's, while Australia's best pizza restaurant, 400 Gradi, dishes up world-famous neapolitan pizzas. Thanks to recent refurbishments, the dining options included in your fare on Pacific Explorer have also emerged as sophisticated experiences.
Image: P&O Cruises Australia/Facebook
Ovation of the Seas, Royal Caribbean
Even Jamie Oliver is getting his restaurants on cruise ships. Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas boasts a Jamie's Italian restaurant, where passengers can go for a casual pasta meal for $15 USD at lunch and $30 USD for dinner. For something more unique and experimental, the ship's Wonderland restaurant claims to be dedicated to "imaginitive cuisine".
Image: Royal Caribbean/Facebook
Crystal Symphony, Crystal Cruises
If you want to enjoy the best seafood out at sea, you'll want it from Nobu. The internationally renowned sushi chef, Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, has a couple of Crystal Cruise eateries including Crystal Symphony's Silk Road and Sushi Bar. Your first dining experience at Silk Road is complimentary (plus a suggested $7 tip), but after that it will set you back $30 USD per person.
Image: Crystal Symphony
[Feature image: Supplied/Celebrity Cruises]