10 Great Food Tours in Top Cruise Ports

by Gayle Keck

10 Great Food Tours in Top Cruise Ports

by Gayle Keck

With these food-centric walking tours, you get to sample a variety of tastes — with a little history and sightseeing on the side. If you decide to skip your ship's shore excursions, you can book these tours to experience everything from tapas at the places locals swear by in Barcelona, diving deep into the Rome neighborhood most loved by foodies, or going on an epic tour of Singapore that includes everything from street snacks to chili crab. And since many of these tours are in major embarkation and debarkation cities, you can also get expert recommendations from your guides if you are extending your stay. Check out our picks for 10 great food tours to take in port.

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Tapas in Barcelona / iStock / Oliver Huitson
Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere
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1. Eating Italy’s Trastevere Tour

Port: Rome

The Trastevere neighborhood is foodie heaven, and this tour takes you to tastings at small family businesses, including a pastry shop, a cheesemonger for local pecorino Romano, a porchetta (roast pork) shop, a traditional street-food purveyor, a cookie bakery, gelato vendor, and more. You also get pasta tastings and dessert at two restaurants. If you are staying in Rome, guides provide great advice on Rome dining and sights.

The Dish: Offered three times a day Monday through Saturday; $94 per person including four-hour guided walking tour with 10 tastings; eatingitalyfoodtours.com

Port: Rome

The Trastevere neighborhood is foodie heaven, and this tour takes you to tastings at small family businesses, including a pastry shop, a cheesemonger for local pecorino Romano, a porchetta (roast pork) shop, a traditional street-food purveyor, a cookie bakery, gelato vendor, and more. You also get pasta tastings and dessert at two restaurants. If you are staying in Rome, guides provide great advice on Rome dining and sights.

The Dish: Offered three times a day Monday through Saturday; $94 per person including four-hour guided walking tour with 10 tastings; eatingitalyfoodtours.com

Bar Central in Barcelona's La Boqueria
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2. Food Lover’s Tapas Lover Tour

Port: Barcelona

This tour takes you to three non-touristy tapas spots, each with a different take on this Spanish tradition. While destinations vary, expect traditional tapas, seafood tapas, and creative gourmet tapas that will have you reaching for your camera. In all, you sample 18 or so delicious dishes, generously accompanied with Spanish wine or vermouth.

The Dish: Offered daily starting at 7:30 pm; $105 per person for four-hour tour that includes two food stops plus dinner; foodlovertour.com

Port: Barcelona

This tour takes you to three non-touristy tapas spots, each with a different take on this Spanish tradition. While destinations vary, expect traditional tapas, seafood tapas, and creative gourmet tapas that will have you reaching for your camera. In all, you sample 18 or so delicious dishes, generously accompanied with Spanish wine or vermouth.

The Dish: Offered daily starting at 7:30 pm; $105 per person for four-hour tour that includes two food stops plus dinner; foodlovertour.com

Pastel de nata tarts
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3. Eat Drink Walk’s Tapas Downtown Tour

Port: Lisbon

Portugal has its own little dishes, called petiscos. On this tour, run by a local cookbook author, tastings might include a suckling pork sandwich, traditional cod croquettes, local ham and cheeses, gourmet tinned fish (a Portuguese specialty), and hearty caldo verde, the national soup. You can sip ginginha sour-cherry liqueur, port, and local wines, too. Polish it off with a famous pastel de nata custard tart and espresso.

The Dish: Offered Tuesday through Saturday starting at 11:45 am; $78 per person including three- to four-hour guided walking tour with tapas and drinks; eatdrinkwalk.pt

Port: Lisbon

Portugal has its own little dishes, called petiscos. On this tour, run by a local cookbook author, tastings might include a suckling pork sandwich, traditional cod croquettes, local ham and cheeses, gourmet tinned fish (a Portuguese specialty), and hearty caldo verde, the national soup. You can sip ginginha sour-cherry liqueur, port, and local wines, too. Polish it off with a famous pastel de nata custard tart and espresso.

The Dish: Offered Tuesday through Saturday starting at 11:45 am; $78 per person including three- to four-hour guided walking tour with tapas and drinks; eatdrinkwalk.pt

Edinburgh's Grassmarket
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4. Eat Walk Edinburgh’s Old and New Town Tour

Port: Edinburgh

You get a real taste for the city’s history on this tour, which weaves in architecture as well as plenty of eats. Stops include a variety of cuisines, but you do get to try haggis and scotch at a private whisky club. There’s also an artisanal spirits shop, cheese, charcuterie, and dessert among the many offerings. Discuss your interests ahead of time, and the tour can be customized.

The Dish: Offered Monday to Saturday starting at 1 pm and Monday to Thursday starting at 5 pm; $86 per person including three-hour guided walking tour with food and alcohol tastings at five venues; eatwalkedinburgh.co.uk

Port: Edinburgh

You get a real taste for the city’s history on this tour, which weaves in architecture as well as plenty of eats. Stops include a variety of cuisines, but you do get to try haggis and scotch at a private whisky club. There’s also an artisanal spirits shop, cheese, charcuterie, and dessert among the many offerings. Discuss your interests ahead of time, and the tour can be customized.

The Dish: Offered Monday to Saturday starting at 1 pm and Monday to Thursday starting at 5 pm; $86 per person including three-hour guided walking tour with food and alcohol tastings at five venues; eatwalkedinburgh.co.uk

Ceviche
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5. Miami Culinary Tour’s South Beach Food Tour

Port: Miami

This tour takes you from mom-and-pop stops to trendy spots, with tastes of empanadas, ceviche, and Cuban ropa vieja. These are followed by sweet treats like churros oozing with dulce de leche. You see and learn about South Beach’s amazing Art Deco architecture, too, as well as history and local gossip.

The Dish: Offered daily at noon and 5 pm; $59 per person including two-and-a-half-hour guided walking tour with five food stops; miamiculinarytours.com

Port: Miami

This tour takes you from mom-and-pop stops to trendy spots, with tastes of empanadas, ceviche, and Cuban ropa vieja. These are followed by sweet treats like churros oozing with dulce de leche. You see and learn about South Beach’s amazing Art Deco architecture, too, as well as history and local gossip.

The Dish: Offered daily at noon and 5 pm; $59 per person including two-and-a-half-hour guided walking tour with five food stops; miamiculinarytours.com

Beignets at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans
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6. Dr. Gumbo Tours’ Food History Tour

Port: New Orleans

From holes-in-the-wall to the Big Easy’s most stylish restaurant dynasties, this tour runs the gamut, with fascinating history linked to every bite. Try muffuletta sandwiches, pralines, brisket, gourmet beignets, po'boy sandwiches, a hot sauce sampling, and, of course, gumbo. In most cases, you can sit down at the air-conditioned stops, which makes a big difference in NOLA’s heat. 

The Dish: Offered daily (except Tuesday and Thursday) starting at 1 pm; $55 per person for a three-hour guided walking tour with seven food stops; doctorgumbo.com

Port: New Orleans

From holes-in-the-wall to the Big Easy’s most stylish restaurant dynasties, this tour runs the gamut, with fascinating history linked to every bite. Try muffuletta sandwiches, pralines, brisket, gourmet beignets, po'boy sandwiches, a hot sauce sampling, and, of course, gumbo. In most cases, you can sit down at the air-conditioned stops, which makes a big difference in NOLA’s heat. 

The Dish: Offered daily (except Tuesday and Thursday) starting at 1 pm; $55 per person for a three-hour guided walking tour with seven food stops; doctorgumbo.com

Tacos from Tacolicious in San Francisco's Mission district
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7. Edible Excursions’ Mission 18th Street Tour

Port: San Francisco

There are plenty of tours to choose from in this food-obsessed city, but if you want to immerse yourself in the hottest restaurant neighborhood, opt for this one. You skip the line at a foodie-favorite scoop shop, sample gourmet pizza, down trendy tacos, swoon over pastries worthy of a jewelry shop, and more. There’s also a side trip down a mural-covered alley and lots of insider information about the local food scene. 

The Dish: Offered Thursdays starting at 6 pm; $99 per person for a two-and-a-half-hour walking tour including stops at popular restaurants like Bi-Rite Creamery, Tacolicious, and Mission Community Market; edibleexcursions.net

Port: San Francisco

There are plenty of tours to choose from in this food-obsessed city, but if you want to immerse yourself in the hottest restaurant neighborhood, opt for this one. You skip the line at a foodie-favorite scoop shop, sample gourmet pizza, down trendy tacos, swoon over pastries worthy of a jewelry shop, and more. There’s also a side trip down a mural-covered alley and lots of insider information about the local food scene. 

The Dish: Offered Thursdays starting at 6 pm; $99 per person for a two-and-a-half-hour walking tour including stops at popular restaurants like Bi-Rite Creamery, Tacolicious, and Mission Community Market; edibleexcursions.net

Granville Island Market
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8. Vancouver Foodie Tours’ Granville Island Market Tour

Port: Vancouver

Taste your way through one of the world’s great food markets, sampling baked goods, artisan cheese, cured meats, locally roasted coffee, and cloud-like designer donuts fresh out of the fryer — as well as Canadian classics, including maple syrup products and “salmon candy.” You also get to chat with many of the artisan producers who make this market special.

The Dish: Offered daily in the summer and from Thursday through Sunday from September 19 through May 20; $52 per person from Monday to Thursday and $56 per person from Friday to Sunday including two-hour walking tour and all food and drink tastings; foodietours.ca

Port: Vancouver

Taste your way through one of the world’s great food markets, sampling baked goods, artisan cheese, cured meats, locally roasted coffee, and cloud-like designer donuts fresh out of the fryer — as well as Canadian classics, including maple syrup products and “salmon candy.” You also get to chat with many of the artisan producers who make this market special.

The Dish: Offered daily in the summer and from Thursday through Sunday from September 19 through May 20; $52 per person from Monday to Thursday and $56 per person from Friday to Sunday including two-hour walking tour and all food and drink tastings; foodietours.ca

Food stalls in a Bangkok market
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9. Bangkok Food Tours’ Historic Bangrak Tour

Port: Bangkok, Thailand

This tour focuses on the many cultures that come together in Bangkok through tasting Chinese-style barbecue, pork buns, and custard buns; curry at a Muslim restaurant; and ferrying across the Chao Phraya River for Thai classics green papaya salad and fried catfish at a little joint. There’s also green curry with roti and coconut ice cream for dessert.

The Dish: Offered Monday through Saturday starting at 9:35 am; $32 per person for the three-and-a-half hour walking tour with five stops and 12 food and drink tastings; bangkokfoodtours.com

Port: Bangkok, Thailand

This tour focuses on the many cultures that come together in Bangkok through tasting Chinese-style barbecue, pork buns, and custard buns; curry at a Muslim restaurant; and ferrying across the Chao Phraya River for Thai classics green papaya salad and fried catfish at a little joint. There’s also green curry with roti and coconut ice cream for dessert.

The Dish: Offered Monday through Saturday starting at 9:35 am; $32 per person for the three-and-a-half hour walking tour with five stops and 12 food and drink tastings; bangkokfoodtours.com

Singaporean chili crab
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10. Betel Box Tours’ Joo Chiat/Katong Food Walk

Port: Singapore

Get ready to try about 30 different items at this extravaganza of food and local culture. From exotic fruits to street snacks to pastries, you taste the city’s ethnic favorites on a stroll through this non-touristy neighborhood. The tour winds up in a restaurant, where the table is loaded with dishes the guide collected from other restaurants along the way, including local must-try, chili crab. You also get a fascinating insider’s perspective on Singapore society.

The Dish: Offered Thursdays starting at 6:30 pm; $58 per person for a six-hour tour including 30 food samples (beverages excluded); betelboxtours.com

Port: Singapore

Get ready to try about 30 different items at this extravaganza of food and local culture. From exotic fruits to street snacks to pastries, you taste the city’s ethnic favorites on a stroll through this non-touristy neighborhood. The tour winds up in a restaurant, where the table is loaded with dishes the guide collected from other restaurants along the way, including local must-try, chili crab. You also get a fascinating insider’s perspective on Singapore society.

The Dish: Offered Thursdays starting at 6:30 pm; $58 per person for a six-hour tour including 30 food samples (beverages excluded); betelboxtours.com

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