Travel is not only about going places, it is at least as much about tasting the local food that is offered there. It is a major ingredient to a quality experience and a to a unique and lasting memory. Cruise lines have been catering more and more to the needs of their sophisticated passengers over the last couple of years by introducing different speciality dining venues onboard their vessels, teaming up with celebrity star chefs or simply revolutionizing their menus in terms of freshness, uniqueness and local touches.
I love to eat when I travel! And it contributes so much to my travel experience when on the road, that if I didn´t work out as much as I do, I probably would have to add at least half of my girth to my present look. If that´s enough.
And food is always a major priority when deciding for a cruise. So when it comes to the bigger cruise lines, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America and Princess Cruises are always the first options to consider. Particularly Celebrity Cruises delivers a very high level of gastronomical experiences throughout their onboard offering. From the main dining room up to the buffet restaurant, the meals are so delicious that you don´t necesseraly have to visit one of the even better specialty dining spots on their ships. On other cruise lines, like Carnival for instance, the extra-charge restaurants are the only way to survive if you´re used to a certain standard.
Last year, I had the big privilege to enjoy for the very first time the luxury segment in cruising: A week aboard Silversea Cruises´ gorgeous Silver Spirit.
On this cruise, I literally got messed up in terms of gastronomical decadence. During these seven days, I was floating so highly on Cloud 9 that even Celebrity Cruises´ elaborate cuisine during Infinity´s december Panama Canal crossing had a hard time meeting my demands in terms of subtlety and exclusivity.
So even not being disappointed then, I did not have that foodie WOW-effect for quite some time. Until we spend seven days onboard Windstar Cruises 148 passengers motor ship yacht “Wind Star” just a week ago.
While the so highly proclaimed service promise “180 degrees from the ordinary” actually did not meet our high expectations fully, one thing did for sure: Wind Star´s highly likeable, pleasant and very talented Indian Chef Budhi and his galley team!
His modern, fresh and inspiring Mediterranean interpretations and international delicacies were absolutely stunning in preparation, taste and garnishing. The ingredients were always freshest (some seafood had been bought on local markets during daytime!) and dining became the utmost highlight of every single day, no matter wherever it was breakfast, lunch or dinner.
He managed to surprise with interesting combinations while at the same time raising the bar for well-known classics. He also succeeded to promote the local foods of his own cultural heritage, India, as well as those of other co-workers in combination with typical Mediterranean dishes without letting the menu loose exclusivity.
Yet his passion for cooking, for food and his aspire to deliver the best possible experience climaxed during Windstar´s most famous on-deck barbecue held in front of the gorgeous Greek island of Kalymnos.
I have put together a selection of photos taken during this seven-day “Journey of the Senses” and I get hungry only looking at them. There is not much need to add any more words from my side, so I will let the pics (and their subtitles) speak for themselves…
Enjoy! And don´t forget to work out later 🙂 Happy dreaming, folks!
“Candles” – Windstar´s Coastal Seafood and Chop House Grill
Just to give a quick insight into this highly romantic and recommendable dinner on deck date: Candles is a special event night with an own menu that requires reservation in advance, but that does not ask for any cover charges. It happens outdoor on the aftdeck and normally begins at 7 pm. The reservation is necessary as there is only a fixed number of tables available every night, so you might want to think about your preferred evening ahead of the cruise. We decided for the evening after departing Santorini. Since we left the Cycladic island already at 4 pm (due to the itinerary change after the Terror attacks in Istanbul) we thought it would be gorgeous to experience the sunset at sea while feasting on the mouth-watering made-to-order specialities. It was an awesome experience! Perfect!
Windstar´s BBQ – not to be missed
This event would have probably needed an own blog post itself, but I decided to let the pictures speak for themselves! It is an evening not to be missed and a pure caress for the eyes and the palate! Even though the Carnival Cruise Line style “party” afterwards with line dancing and really, really bad music ruined the barbecue´s foregoing extraordinary and exceptional atmosphere a bit, it is still a night to remember! But see for yourself.
Hungry now? Me too! This is probably the biggest advantage of small ship cruising. It is such a luxury to be able to enjoy the best possible quality in an intimate environment that these ships offer and to eye-witness and taste the passion that the onboard chefs and their team put into every single dish they create. It was simply magical and I will need to come back for more sometimes…
Happy inspiration, peeps! Prepare to be pampered.