Category Archives: Cruise Life

How Cruises Promote Food Tourism

How Cruises Promote Food TourismAround the world, people are understanding the potential behind food tourism – essentially the exploration of the culinary aspect of travel as an experience for visitors. Cruises play an important role here, given that each vessel brings in thousands of guests to ports where many will opt for shore excursions.

Food is a significant part of the tourist experience, and in cruise destinations, this opens a new world of market opportunities for cruise companies, local stakeholders and the destination as a whole.

On board itself, cruise ship chefs find themselves cooking a variety of different cuisines – from Thai or Indian to French, Japanese, Arabic, Italian, Mexican and more. Popular destinations such as the Bahamas, Mediterranean cities and Asian ports come with their own culinary traditions that an increasing number of guests are keen to try.

Food tourism typically covers any of the four following styles – food tours, cooking classes, wine / beer / food festivals, and specialty dining experiences. These offer guests a deeper insight into local culture and traditions through food, and an interesting new way to discover the destination.

With food tourism slowly gaining ground, many shore excursions like to offer a mix of experiences through food tours. These include visits to local markets where guests can see, touch and taste exotic vegetables and fruit. They combine these with a cooking demonstration of a popular local dish or a visit to restaurants well-versed in the food of the region.

Beer or wine tours are more common in European cruise destinations where guests can spend the day visiting vineyards or even whiskey or beer distilleries. It helps widen their understanding of the process that goes into making the beverage, and also gives them an opportunity to taste the local varieties on offer.

Culinary shore excursions can last from a few hours to an entire day, and many tour companies tailor their services to suit ship timings. Royal Caribbean, for example, offers a four-hour tour around St Maarten that takes guests across the Dutch and French sides of the island with samplings of Dutch, French and Creole food.

Similarly, P&O Cruises offers an eight-hour tour across Hunter Valley, home to Australia’s oldest and best known wine estates, with as many as 90 wineries. In addition, guests get the opportunity to taste local craft beer, indulge in regional produce and shop for home-grown and home-made products including cheese, chocolates and liquors. A food and wine pairing lunch is also part of the excursion.

In Goa too, cruise guests have been known to attend culinary tours with Rita’s Gourmet in the port town of Vasco da Gama, where they visit a fruit and vegetable market, sample an Indian breakfast or hot snacks, watch a demonstration on making masala herbal tea and black cinnamon coffee, and participate in making a Goan meal before of course indulging.

Some cruise ship chefs may be able to sign up for crew tours or take one on their own, depending on free time available. It’s a great way to widen your palate, discover new flavour combinations and gain new experiences that are sure to come in handy through the course of your career.

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Cruise Ship Chefs: Keeping up with Culinary Trends

Cruise Ship Chefs: Keeping up with Culinary TrendsThe world of cruising has come a long way since the early days, particularly in terms of food. Cruise ship chefs were earlier required to simply feed the guests as a matter of course. When luxury took over and the trend caught on, food became an important part of the cruise experience.

Cruising is a multi-billion dollar industry. Trends show that it is increasing in popularity each year and companies much keep innovating to stay ahead of competitors. For cruise ship chefs, this means understanding what’s out there and preparing for what is to come.

READ

This may not sound like something a cruise ship chef might like to do, but it can be fairly helpful. Reading up on the latest trends in the culinary world will keep you abreast of the changing times.

You can subscribe to food and hospitality magazines, follow their pages on social media or opt to get their newsletters. It could be as simple as indicating your interest in this field on various websites or social networking forums, and then reading the articles or watching the videos that can help.

EAT OUT

When in port, take the time to visit restaurants or places where the locals tend to eat. If you have the time and money, you could splurge on a meal at one of the port’s top rated restaurants. This will give you an idea of changing trends in that region.

Eating at local restaurants or visiting local markets can give cruise ship chefs a wholesome idea of the various ingredients in different parts of the world. This can help create your own flavour patterns when the time comes.

ON-BOARD TRAINING

Many cruise lines incorporate training for their staff. Safety plays a big role on board and there will be lots of training in this regard, but for cruise ship chefs, other skills also play a big role.

Opt for in-house training programmes that will help you sharpen your skills or teach you new trends. You may learn about new ingredients, styles of cooking or even new apparatus in the galley.

Sometimes, even just being aware while at work can teach you new things. For example, guests from different countries often tend to eat or choose their food differently. You may also notice a swing towards a particular type of food – perhaps health food, vegan or keto dishes, etc.

Food trends normally do not change overnight, so you may be able to incorporate some of the things you learnt in one contract to the next.

ADD VARIETY

After some experience and depending on company policy, you may get the chance to choose the kind of cuisine or restaurant you would like to work with. Here, it is important to choose different types of cuisines if you have not yet made up your mind about your favoured one, or choose different restaurants serving that same kind of cuisine.

This helps you get a deeper understanding of the latest trends in that particular cuisine style. Ask for the opportunity to work with celebrity chefs on board. Their restaurants will almost always follow some of the latest trends in the industry.

INVEST IN YOURSELF

Using some of your vacation days to update your skills may come in handy. This is not saying that you should spend your entire time off studying, but a weekend course or two in the latest skills could work wonders.

You can bring yourself up-to-date on the latest trends in your own local cuisine or visit restaurants at home that are pushing boundaries.

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How Cruise Ship Kitchens use Technology for Better Experiences

How Cruise Ship Kitchens use Technology for Better Experiences

Kitchen In the 21st century, it makes no sense for cruise ships to stay cut off from technology that people on land are so used to. This especially makes sense in cruise ship kitchens where meals for thousands of guests must be prepared and served several times a day.

In the galley around which most cruise ship chefs jobs revolve, technology has pervaded many areas. Stand mixers replace hand mixers, large vats maintain temperature and highly accurate machines help reduce human intervention for techniques such as sous vide cooking.

Today, as microbreweries make waves on shore, cruise ships are catching on too. Instead of only offering guests branded beer, some companies are starting to brew their own. Carnival Cruises has its own label and serves this craft beer on all its ships. Vista and Horizon cruises also brew their own beer on board. Technology helps maintain specific temperatures and other minute details that change the taste and composition of the beer.

Cruise ship companies are also answering demands for a more immersive experience and some have taken to having show kitchens where guests themselves can attempt a specialty dish. On Holland America, guests can enjoy live cooking demos that make use of cameras and real-time TV so they can see close ups of the chef’s techniques and the ingredients used.

In restaurants, new-age software and equipment has made its way into aspects such as menus and reservations. If guests are too busy having fun or are too late to make it to their restaurant of choice on a busy day, they can opt to make reservations on the go using built-in cruise apps. Companies including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, MSC, and NCL all have their own apps that passengers can use. MSC’s app even allows guests to simply swipe and book a dinner reservation – as well as other activities – on a wearable high-tech bracelet.

Using interactive screens also helps guests choose what they would like for meals. MSC Meraviglia, for example, offers guests the use of a large digital screen to view all the goings-on each day. Using this, they can see all the restaurants available to dine at, the times they are open, and their menus. This makes it much easier for guests to decide which restaurant they really want to visit that day and also make a reservation ahead of time.

Technology also helps with walk-ins. Guests can check which restaurants have tables free at that particular time or whether the specific restaurant they want to eat at has free tables for their preferred meal.

Royal Caribbean has taken the digital experience further by experimenting with virtual reality in cruise ship dining. While still in the concept phase, the project attempts to combine virtual reality with food for a multi-sensory dining experience.

Many cruise ships are now gearing their new technology towards energy efficiency with speed. German manufacturer MKN has developed automatic systems that clean pans within two minutes without the use of chemicals. Its combi steamer even has digital displays that note the amount of energy and water used during a cooking process for better efficiency and sustainability.

Other companies such as Halton Marine have developed energy saving galley hoods that reduce environmental footprints.

Put together, new technology and software in galleys makes for an interesting and efficient experience for both guests as well as cruise ship chefs.

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Why Passion is Required in a Cruise Ship Chefs Jobs

Why Passion is Required in a Cruise Ship Chefs JobsThe culinary world is a fast-paced, constantly evolving and hard working industry. Learning how to be a chef and keeping up with trends can suck the life out of you. This is the basic reason why it is so important to have passion for your work, particularly as a cruise ship chef.

Being a cruise ship chef is a demanding job

The world of cruise ship chefs involves hours of hard labour, behind the scenes. It is extremely rare that a cruise ship chef is called out by a guest to be thanked. You will probably be one of dozens working on the menu for the day, ensuring everything is up to standard. Having an undying passion for cooking will ensure that no matter how thankless your job is, how badly your day went down and how tired you are at the end of it, you will still wake up the next morning raring to go. Every day of your contract.

Evolution is the name of the game

Guests on cruise ships are no longer satisfied with the same food every day. Even classics need to be top-notch, treated with care and sometimes put a spin on to remain relevant. As a cruise ship chef, your job may require you to ensure that the menu developed by the company is followed to the T. This does not mean there is no evolution or change. Menus are often revamped from one season to the next, or you may be transferred to another vessel. Keeping the passion for being a chef alive will ensure you get through what might seem a mundane job to a point where you make the decisions.

The process of passion is baptism by fire

Passion is not just a heartfelt desire to do something for the rest of your life. It survives the test of time and the ravages of hard work. To do this, one must go through the process of passion. Whether it is a full-scale graduate course in hospitality or a series of rigorous short-term diplomas in culinary specifics, there may be days when you ask yourself if you are truly cut out for the industry. But this is where the passion for the culinary arts is born. If you love what you do, you will persevere through the short-term for long-term gains.

Learning is an important part of passion

In the culinary world, simply knowing you have passion is not enough. Learning is an important part of cruise ship chefs jobs, particularly in the fundamentals. Having a good grip on the basics is the foundation for tweaking skills and techniques even later in life. Keep an eye out for masterclasses by renowned chefs, tutorials and workshops to continuously learn new things and broaden your horizon.

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Cruise Ships & Local Produce

Cruise Ships & Local ProduceCruise ship chefs no longer have the liberty of sticking to ‘common ingredients’ in the galleys. Sure, the regulars are available, but trends are pointing to a more nuanced guest list and a more travelled palate. In that sense, knowing local cuisine and how to use locally sourced ingredients is now paramount.

Today, guests on a cruise ship are not shy about asking where their food is from. Many are concerned about sustainability and animal cruelty, so part of cruise ship jobs includes knowing as much about the ingredients as you can.

To feed the thousands who embark on cruises each trip, vessels must plan the menus for all of their restaurants well in advance. All their ingredients and stocks are also tendered for and ordered weeks ahead of the actual trip. So it helps to know which ingredients are good at each port.

New Zealand, for example, is known for excellent quality mussels, while Sydney by contrast is famous for its oysters. Cruise ships stopping in Hawai’i will most likely pick up tons of fresh pineapple from there because that’s what’s good.

Using locally sourced ingredients also reduces costs for cruise ship companies. Vendors are able to provide the freshest produce at port with a reduced cost of transportation. This, in turn, could also reduce prices of the food. For example, it is logically cheaper for an Australian cruise to buy good quality beef from a port in the same country than for them to source special wagyu from Japan. The wagyu might still be available on board, but the prices will certainly be higher.

Smaller ships find it much easier to localise their menus, particularly those sailing around the Mediterranean or even in Scandinavia. Holland America’s seafood brasserie offers guests a fresh catch of the day, picked up in ports it stops at. This means that cruise ship chefs would need to learn how to clean and cook the various species of fish common in that area.

Similarly, the Princess’ cruises in Alaska takes interested guests out on a fishing excursion and encourage them to get their catch cooked on board anyway they like. It’s a unique experience for guests and presents a lovely challenge for cruise ship chefs too.

Using locally sourced ingredients also helps the communities of the ports cruise lines visit. Lindblad Expeditions, for example, has developed a close connection with farmers and vendors in the Galápagos Islands and Ecuador, sourcing a variety of ingredients from kale, chillies and tomatoes to pork, craft beer, even cocktail mixers and sugar from them.

Working with locally produced wine and cheeses is also very common. This presents a nuanced challenge for cruise ship chefs, as cheeses in particular have very specific tastes and using them as an ingredient requires precision and care.

Menus on board cruise ships now feature gourmet-style items such as quail, cold-smoked salmon, and wild forest mushrooms, artisanal cheeses and seafood that is unique to a certain area or port.

Learning more about the food of the ports on the itinerary and the various ways to cook them can not only enhance cruise ship chefs’ knowledge but also their skills and techniques that will hold them in good stead throughout their careers.

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Five Types of Wines and What to Pair with Them

Five Types of Wines and What to Pair with ThemStudies show that global consumption of wine is increasing. In the US, imports of rosé from France grew as much as 4,852 per cent since 2001, according to food industry analyst Food Dive. With many cruise ships ferrying US passengers, this trend is sure to find its way on board as well. As such, it is important for those with cruise ship jobs in the food and beverage section to know the wines being served on board, and what to pair them with.

Commonly, wine is divided into red and white, but as cruise ship chefs would know, there are five basic types. Let’s look at each with suggested wine pairings.

RED WINE

The colour of red wine doesn’t usually come from black grapes as these fruit have a greenish-yellow pulp. The colour and flavour of the wine is extracted from the skin of the fruit. New wines can look a bit purple, while slightly more mature wines turn red, and older wines get deeper to brown.

Look at pairing food such as mushrooms and truffles with a Pinot Noir, a hearty steak with the usual Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux red, and Malbec for heavy Asian meat dishes and spicy barbeques.

WHITE WINE

It is the colourless grape pulp that normally goes into making white wine. Black grapes are also used to make white wine, but the vintner must be extremely careful when separating the pulp from the skin. The liquid from the pulp is then allowed to ferment completely to make dry wine or only partially for sweet wines.

Go with Chardonnay for a meal comprising fish in flavourful sauces, but if there are tangy elements to the dish choose a Sauvignon Blanc instead. You could also pick something a little more region specific like Portugal’s Vinho Verde or Spain’s Verdejo. For lighter flavours choose a Chablis, Arneis or Pinot Grigio.

ROSÉ

To make rosé, a vintner uses only a small amount of dark grape skin, enough to lend colour and a hint of flavour but not enough to make it a true red. There are numerous ways to make rosé, and a wide variety of grapes from around the world are used for different flavours. It is currently an increasingly popular choice with millenials.

Rosé is in fact a great wine for cheeses thanks to its fruitiness. It’s the perfect wine for Mediterranean food. During the summer, suggest Italy’s Bardolino Chiaretto with salads, grilled fish and raw oysters. Guests who prefer slightly sweeter tastes can go with Portuguese varietals that can even be paired with mild curries and rice-based dishes.

SPARKLING WINE

Sparkling wine is the fizzy variety of wine. Natural fermentation either in a bottle or in a large tank causes a high concentration of carbon dioxide which gives the wine this fizzy quality. Champagne is the most famous sparkling wine, and in the European Union the name is legally reserved for wines made of grapes grown in the Champagne region of France.  

Champagne is known to pair well with slightly salty dishes, so it’s a great option to offer with savoury hors d’oeuvres including foie gras, smoked salmon and caviar. Use a rosé sparkling varietal such as the beloved prosecco with Asian food and antipasti, or the slightly cheaper cava to go with sushi and tapas.

DESSERT WINE

Dessert wines typically have a higher amount of sugar than the others, but its specific categorisation differs around the world. To make dessert wine, vintners either use naturally sweet grapes; fortify the wine with sugar, honey or alcohol; or extract the water content to concentrate the sugar.

The go-to method of pairing sweet wine and dessert is to offer an acidic wine for items that incorporate fruit and an intense wine for a strong flavoured dessert. If sweetness is the main element, cruise ship chefs must ensure that the wine is sweeter than the dessert. California’s famous Zinfandel goes well with rich caramel pecan fudge or cheesecake, Hungary’s Tokaji can be paired with cheese plates or sweet cheese desserts, Moscato with raspberry or strawberry desserts, and Moscatel with heavy chocolate ones.

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How Cruise Ship Chefs Prep to Feed Thousands

How Cruise Ship Chefs Prep to Feed ThousandsImagine having to feed 5000 guests and 2000 crew three meals a day every day. Consider the logistics, planning and hard labour that goes into an operation this size. But this is just a typical day on some of the biggest cruise ships sailing the seas.

For cruise ship chefs, jobs fuelled by passion are the only way to see through contracts that stretch months long. Thousands of guests go through tons of food every day, and the mantra for any top-of-the-line hospitality venture is to make sure that no one goes hungry and that the products are of excellent quality.

So how do they do it? Everything depends on prep work. For a galley operation this size, a specific hierarchy is involved that ensures each chef knows his or her job and that tasks are divided. Volumes are such that many chefs will be handling the same or similar jobs at their hierarchical level.

Cruise ships load a week’s worth of supplies and produce that caters to all the dining areas. This means much of the food is made on board, which helps keep dishes fresh and tasting great.

In some cases, cruise ship chefs work in what can be looked at as a commissary kitchen where the main preparation happens. Here, fish and other meats are thawed and marinated, vegetables, fruits and produce are cleaned and cut, marinades and sauces are made according to international food regulations.

Depending on what level of the hierarchy you are at, you could spend the entire day shucking corn, pin boning fish fillets, chopping onions or cleaning pineapples. Cruise ship chefs jobs at this level also involve making marinades, sauces and soups, including pesto and marinara for pastas, French onion soup, chimichurri or aioli or béarnaise for steak.

You get juggled around in the schedule so it’s not likely that you will spend all of the 6-8 months of your contract doing the same thing. As a chef, this allows you to form proper technique and hone your skills so that at the end of your contract, you could potentially do all of these tasks blindfolded.

These are great skills to have for career growth and can prove vital for your climb up the hierarchy, whether on board a cruise ship or a shore job in a restaurant, hotel or club.

Having food prepared at this stage, enables the cruise ship galley for each restaurant or for chefs higher up in the hierarchy to make dishes quicker. Produce needs to be prepped many different ways for different dishes.

For example, a soup might need puréed carrots while an Asian stir-fry may need it julienned. This means at some point along the chain, the tasks involved include washing and peeling the carrots, and then either boiling and puréeing them or slicing them thinly.

With this prep already done, all that is required is preparing the mise en place – putting together all the ingredients required for a particular dish so that chefs in the restaurants need only grab what is required and have the dish out the doors and served to customers within a shorter span of time.

Prepping thus increases efficiency of delivery and overall quality of the final product.

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Cruise Ship Chef: Where You are Headed

Cruise Ship Chef: Where You are HeadedTaking a course in cruise culinary arts is just the start of your career as a chef. It marks the beginning of a long but lucrative professional life in one of the most strenuous industries out there. Cruise ship chefs jobs are among the hardest, considering the hours put in and the physical demands.

It helps to know the goal you aim to achieve, for without an aim, it makes getting through the ranks much harder. Many of the people you will work with as a cruise ship chef may not have a background in culinary education. They would start at the very bottom of the hierarchy where qualifications and experience are not required.

These positions include dish washers or pot washers and galley stewards and cleaners. Other entry level positions within the galley include assistant storekeeper / assistant provisions master who reports to the chief storekeeper or provisions master. For these roles, a knowledge of food and beverage is required as well as accounting.

However, if you enjoy cooking and are looking at getting creative, focus instead on roles that can take you far ahead in this line. Fresh out of culinary school, it is advisable to get some experience on shore in a restaurant or hotel.

With this, you have a far better chance of getting into entry level galley positions such as baker trainee, pastry trainee, or cook trainee. It is here that most chefs either look at gaining experience in a particular sector or get a foothold in the line they are sure they want to pursue.

From a cook trainee, you can get promoted to a commis 3 or third cook where you will be in charge of the mise en place, take directions from those in higher positions with regard to food preparation and also explain ingredients and dishes when working in the buffet.

Similarly, you can work your way up to commis 2 or second cook and commis 1 or first cook, where your responsibilities get larger and you supervise those below you in the preparation of mise en place.

Following this, you will be promoted to demi chef de partie and later chef de partie, the former being an assistant role to the latter. In these roles, you will be responsible for actually cooking the meal according to the menus decided by the executive chef and other management. You will need to understand cooking in volumes and ensuring that portions as well as presentations are all consistent and standardised.

Additionally, chefs de partie need to assign responsibilities to and monitor the performances of entry-level positions to ensure that quality is maintained at all times. At this point, you will be in charge of training new recruits and also assigning their schedules and overtime if any.

From here, you will move to a more managerial position in the cruise ship chefs jobs hierarchy. As a sous chef, you will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the galley. Large cruise ships will have more than one sous chef looking after a particular cuisine or a particular restaurant. It is at this level that quality is cross-checked not just in food but also in service, storage and even finances. A certain amount of training is also imparted by the sous chef, often to chefs de partie for it to filter down the hierarchy.

The executive sous chef works with the executive chef to ensure the smooth functioning of the galley. At this level, the menus are discussed and planned, guest inputs are taken into consideration and implemented if desired, and serving arrangements are amended. The executive sous chef also works in tandem with the provisions master to ensure that the galley receives and utilises the best and freshest produce and ingredients in the most efficient way possible.

At the very top is the executive chef who is in charge of the entire galley, ensuring that the thousands of guests under his/her charge are well-fed and happy. Ultimately, the executive chef is responsible for the final order of food requirements, ensuring everything is in line with the budget, training in public health and safety, and that the food looks and tastes exactly as promised.

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How To Ace Fine Dining as a Cruise Ship Chef

How To Ace Fine Dining as a Cruise Ship ChefFine dining is a big part of cruise ship vacations. Guests pack for the occasion and arrive with high expectations. Cruise ship chef jobs that cater to them demand perfection and passion every day.

Learn & practice

The key to doing well at a fine dining restaurant on a cruise ship is to absorb as much information as you can. It may not be possible to land a cruise ship chef job at a fine dining restaurant on your first contract, but keeping your eyes and ears open will get you there faster.

When you have time, speak to the cruise ship chefs who work there and understand more about the demands. Note the importance of presentation and flavour, and how they go together to create a dish that excites all the senses. After all, fine dining is an experience.

In between contracts, you can attempt to practice some of the new skills you learnt, or perhaps even pick up new ones.

Work for celebrity chefs

If you get the chance, opt to work at celebrity chef fine dining restaurants – whether on board or on land. The standards are of a completely different level altogether as celebrity chefs have their entire brand hinging on their names.

They are not always working at the restaurant but has a head chef in his/her place who has control over the quality of the food. The celebrity chef will come in now and then and make time for staff, so it is good to interact with them and note all the advice they offer.

Working at a celebrity chef’s fine dining restaurant can mean very long days but the experience pays off in the long run.

Follow the rules

On cruise ships, hygiene is paramount. Every cruise ship restaurant must follow international standards for ensuring a clean and sanitised work atmosphere. Failing this could lead to the cruise ship being suspended from service.

Some of the basic rules include personal hygiene and correct methods of storing and preparing food. Many fine dining restaurants on cruise ships offer demos and open kitchen meals for a more interactive environment for guests. This makes personal hygiene, kitchen cleanliness and appearance doubly important.

Top dishes

Every restaurant has its go-to dish that guests most look forward to enjoying. As a cruise ship chef at a fine dining restaurant, your job is to learn how to make it perfectly. But that doesn’t mean you should stop there. Go ahead and try to reinvent dishes during your time off. Take a basic and play with it.

Some of the most popular dishes at fine dining restaurants on cruise ships around the world include the tuna tataki and miso black cod at Nobu’s Silk Road and Sushi Bar at Crystal Serenity, Silversea’s nine course tasting menu at its Asian restaurant Seishin, Seabourn’s chestnut and porcini mushroom soup with honey-spiced squab-and-fig empanada, 36-ounce porterhouse steaks on the Seven Seas Mariner, and lobster ravioli and osso buco at Disney Fantasy’s Palo.

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Top Continental Cruise Desserts

Top Continental Cruise Desserts

Food is on everyone’s mind when they go cruising. A 2012 study suggested that cruise passengers typically put on more than a pound a day as companies offer increasing varieties of food – not just dessert – and even have midnight buffets for peckish folk.

In short, guests love to try out as much food as they can and often, a little push will have them reaching for another taste. With dessert, it’s much harder for them to resist temptation and cruise ship chef jobs have them doing all they can to amp up presentation while keeping taste in focus.

Despite all the choices available, here are some of the most popular Continental desserts served on cruise ships:

Baked Alaska

Top Continental Cruise Desserts

The tradition of taking this dessert out in a parade before alcohol is poured over and set aflame goes back decades. It is said to have originated when refrigerators only just began to enter cruise ships and companies wanted to use it as a selling point. The Baked Alaska parade is considered a tradition on Carnival cruise ships.

A Baked Alaska is a combination of ice cream and sponge cake slices covered in meringue. It can be placed in a very hot oven to brown the meringue, or it can be doused in alcohol such as rum and then flambéed on service.

Molten chocolate cake

Top Continental Cruise Desserts

This gooey chocolate dessert is popular across cruise lines due to its decadence. It is another Carnival favourite and can be found in almost the main dining halls of all its vessels.

Most often made in a single serve ramekin, molten chocolate cake can be served hot with a side of ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce and garnished with mint. Its main ingredients are melted butter and chocolate, eggs whipped with sugar and sometimes a little flour. Its main characteristic is a gooey molten chocolate centre hidden by a springy sponge covering.

Bread and butter pudding

Top Continental Cruise Desserts

A bread and butter pudding – also called a whitepot – is a staple in British cuisine. It brings the flavours of home to English guests on board and cruise ship chefs must learn to make it perfectly. Holland America is well known for its delicious bread and butter puddings.

This dessert emerged as a way to use up stale bread, and even on cruises they will use day-old bread to get the right amount of sogginess. Thick slices are slathered in butter and layered on a tray or oven dish with raisins before a thick vanilla custard is poured over and the dish is baked. Sometimes flavoured jams are also spread on the bread – strawberry, raspberry, marmalade, blackberry and mixed fruit are common options.

Some cruise ship chefs like to add liqueur to give it a bit of a twist.

Cheesecake

Top Continental Cruise Desserts

It is hard to travel anywhere in Europe without finding some version of the cheesecake or other. This dessert probably originated with cheese-making itself, starting off with a basic honey-sweetened smooth cheese. Cheesecake is a popular dessert on most cruise ships.

They can be either baked or set in a refrigerator. Typically, a cheesecake has a base of crushed biscuits or sponge cake. The main portion is a mix of smooth soft cheese mixed with sugar, eggs and vanilla for flavouring. It can be topped with whipped cream, flavoured sauces, fruit or even just dusted with powdered sugar.

Cheese board

Top Continental Cruise Desserts

As it turns out, there are people in the world who do not like sweet dishes. There are others who are unable to eat sweet dishes – either by way of a health issue or simply to keep calorie counts low. Here, a cheese board comes in as the perfect dessert, not just for these guests, but also for those who simply love cheese.

A cheese platter is an excellent idea on board a cruise ship as most cheeses keep for while. Cruise ship chefs ensure they offer a variety of cheeses to suit tastes. There will be samples from blue, firm, soft and aged as well as from different types of milk – cow, goat, sheep, buffalo.

Alongside, you will have a selection of bread or crackers and a variety of preserves, chutneys, mustards and caramalised onions. Common accompaniments include cured meats, and sometimes nuts and dried or seasonal fruit.

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