“When it comes to cruise ships, there’s nothing like the experience of dining on a full-size ship. They come with all the advantages of a traditional cruise, but with a pinch of adventure. On a full-size ship, the dining options are as varied as the passengers, and that’s what makes them such a draw.
A cruise is a great way to immerse yourself in a new culture. It’s also a great way to see the world, but one thing that has always been overlooked by many cruisers is the dining options—or lack thereof.
When it comes to dining, there are options galore. From the comfy (and sometimes cramped) dining room of luxury cruises to the open kitchen of fine dining in the sky, the choice is yours. But, when it comes to dining on-board, what’s in store? Episodic dining experiences? New methods of cuisine? Or maybe it’s old-fashioned (and maybe even cheesy) buffet lines. Which will satisfy the most passengers in the next few years? Take this survey to find out.
More cruise lines than ever before are investing in entertaining, engaging, and unique dining experiences to attract more passengers to their particular cruise line or cruise ship, from Disney Wish’s newest Avengers-themed restaurant to Celebrity’s Le Petit Chef dining experience.
Is it possible that the future of cruise travel will place a greater emphasis on gastronomic experiences?
Celebrity Cruises has created a dining experience exclusively for Celebrity ships: Le Petit Chef. This experience turns the average dinner table into a theater, using 3D laser projection displays to entertain and delight as the main character, Le Petit Chef, prepares your dinner. The Celebrity Apex will feature the newest animation, Le Petit Chef & Family.
“We wanted to provide our visitors with a unique dining experience that combined entertainment and food. “It’s something really special that you won’t find on any other cruise line,” said Fabio Scaglione, Celebrity’s Director of Food and Beverage Operations.
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TableMation Studios and Skullmapping, the developers of Le Petit Chef, spent 23,000 hours producing each animation for the experience, or around 24 hours for each five-second section.
“Cruise ships are a perfect arena for our unique experience, and when it can be applied throughout the whole fleet of ships, it gives cruise lines even more value by allowing them to reach a wider range of customers and attract newcomers. Cruise guests are constantly looking for one-of-a-kind experiences, and we can provide them in the most thrilling and engaging manner possible…” TableMation Studios’ President and CEO, Michael Bickel, said.
Since its inception, Disney Cruise Line has been assisting families in experiencing, not simply tasting, their meals. The Disney Wish, the company’s newest ship, is intended to provide a whole new level of family-friendly and Disney movie-inspired culinary experiences.
From Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure, which brings Elsa’s magic to life and recreates the Aurora Borealis on the ship’s windows, to the ambitious Worlds of Marvel’s “Avengers: Quantum Encounter,” families will be able to not only enjoy a themed dinner, but also follow interactive stories that immerse them in these worlds.
“When we started out to develop the Disney Wish, we wanted to create immersive, story-driven restaurants that would give our visitors so much more than a meal,” says Danny Handke, Senior Creative Director at Walt Disney Imagineering. We’re utilizing this dedicated time each night to provide families with new and exciting ways to engage with some of their favorite tales and characters via experiences that aren’t available anywhere else.”
“We understand that having the whole family at the dinner table together is a rare treat for many of our visitors, and we want to make the most of these priceless family memories. As a result, we’ve created elaborately themed, highly interactive, and action-packed dining experiences based on two universally beloved franchises, ‘Frozen’ and the Marvel Cinematic Universe,’ that will immerse families in fun-filled adventures with some of their favorite characters,” continued Handke.
Worlds of Marvel – Disney Wish – Family Dining (Photo via Disney Cruise Line)
Finally, Windstar Cruises, which specialized in small-ship sailing, has been a James Beard Foundation approved cruise company for many years. Special culinary-themed voyages with famous chefs and their delectable meals are part of the relationship, but the cruise line also concentrates on offering culinary tours and locally sourced, regional cuisine aboard.
“The themed voyages feature chef demos, which are usually on at-sea days, as well as a hosted four-course dinner one night of the trip when the chef takes over the entire menu,” said Christopher Prelog, President of Windstar Cruises. Each themed cruise chef also contributes unique dishes, which are subsequently included on Windstar’s menus across the fleet and sailing areas. So it’s a lot of pleasure to see some of our previous guest chefs’ meals on our menus now, and our visitors enjoy eating these well-known chef’s creations even when they aren’t on a themed gourmet cruise.”
“Food is unquestionably my passion, and I grew up in and continue to work in the business. I began my career as a waiter on cruise ships, so food is a big part of who I am and a big part of what Windstar does. Because you’re traveling, we’d want to emphasize the area cuisine’s outstanding tastes. Prelog said, “You want to taste where you are in the globe.”
By providing unique dining or food-centric experiences, cruise lines may set themselves apart from other cruise lines. “Cruisers are foodies!” says Scott Lara of TheCruiseGenius.com. Many cruisers are fed up with the same old buffet and main dining room fare! These additional locations are just what regular cruisers are looking for.”
It’s too early to tell whether other cruise lines will follow suit and offer really unique dining experiences that aren’t your typical cruise ship dining experience. For the time being, though, the future of cruise dining seems to be quite bright.
With the growing prevalence of cruise vacations, it’s no surprise that people are looking for new ways to enjoy the experience. One new trend is the “experiential dining” that some cruise lines have implemented. In experiential dining, you attend a themed dining experience instead of just eating in the main dining room. In “The Lost Chef”, you eat in a “home” environment in a roving kitchen with a host, or a chef on a stage. Other dining experiences such as “The Dining. Read more about multi experiential dining and let us know what you think.
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