5 Surprising Must-Order Dishes at Sea

by Sherri Eisenberg

5 Surprising Must-Order Dishes at Sea

by Sherri Eisenberg

If you’re a foodie and a cruiser, then you know some cruise lines have secret off-menu dishes, and some have don’t-miss signatures. You also aren’t fazed to find, for example, that Hurtigruten, which specializes in Baltic and fjord cruises, serves unbelievable salmon, and that veddy British Cunard Line has some of the best scones around. But what about those surprise hits, the ones you never really discover until you’ve spent some time at sea? Here are a few of our favorites.

5
Baby Vegetables in the Garden at Royal Caribbean's Wonderland / Royal Caribbean
Food Republic's Pastrami and Sauerkraut Dumplings
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1. Pastrami and Sauerkraut Dumplings

Ship: Norwegian Escape
Venue: Food Republic
Cost: $4 for the dish
These Reuben-inspired dumplings sound a bit out there, but the mix of salty cured pastrami and pickled cabbage works perfectly as a single bite of East meets West fusion. You can skip the black vinegar with these guys — they’re served with white cabbage soy and Thousand Island aioli. And another tip: This is the only place at sea we’ve seen Korean-style spicy chicken wings on the menu.

Ship: Norwegian Escape
Venue: Food Republic
Cost: $4 for the dish
These Reuben-inspired dumplings sound a bit out there, but the mix of salty cured pastrami and pickled cabbage works perfectly as a single bite of East meets West fusion. You can skip the black vinegar with these guys — they’re served with white cabbage soy and Thousand Island aioli. And another tip: This is the only place at sea we’ve seen Korean-style spicy chicken wings on the menu.

Crystal's Japanese Breakfast
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2. Japanese Breakfast

Ships: Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity
Venue: Main Dining Room
Cost: Complimentary
Crystal Cruises was once owned by a Japanese company, and this main dining room breakfast item — served wherever the ships are in the world, not just on Asia itineraries — reflects that heritage. The bento box-style spread includes a beautiful piece of fish, rice, miso soup, a hard-boiled egg, and pickled and fresh vegetables. It’s savory and a healthy start to a day that’s sure to involve indulgence. 

Ships: Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity
Venue: Main Dining Room
Cost: Complimentary
Crystal Cruises was once owned by a Japanese company, and this main dining room breakfast item — served wherever the ships are in the world, not just on Asia itineraries — reflects that heritage. The bento box-style spread includes a beautiful piece of fish, rice, miso soup, a hard-boiled egg, and pickled and fresh vegetables. It’s savory and a healthy start to a day that’s sure to involve indulgence. 

Baby Vegetables in the Garden at Wonderland
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3. Baby Vegetables in the Garden

Ships: Anthem of the Seas, Harmony of the Seasand Quantum of the Seas 
Venue: Wonderland
Cost: $45 per person for dinner
This molecular gastronomy restaurant is full of surprises, from the "liquid manzanilla olives" to the "vanishing noodles" that melt in your soup. But one of the most playful dishes on the menu is Baby Vegetables in the Garden, a plate of radishes and carrots that appear to grow out of a bed of rye bread “dirt.”

Ships: Anthem of the Seas, Harmony of the Seasand Quantum of the Seas 
Venue: Wonderland
Cost: $45 per person for dinner
This molecular gastronomy restaurant is full of surprises, from the "liquid manzanilla olives" to the "vanishing noodles" that melt in your soup. But one of the most playful dishes on the menu is Baby Vegetables in the Garden, a plate of radishes and carrots that appear to grow out of a bed of rye bread “dirt.”

Thomas Keller's Fried Chicken on Seabourn
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4. Fried Chicken

Ships:  All Seabourn ships
Venue: The Colonnade
Cost: Complimentary
You'd expect California-based celebrity chef Thomas Keller to get his steaks and sides just right at his homage to the classic American chophouse of the ‘60s and ‘70s, The Grill. But what you wouldn't expect is for his comfort food family-style dinners in the more casual Colonnade restaurant to steal the show. Our favorite option: the large format fried chicken feast. This rich and comforting dish is one of the chef’s signatures, and it has a grown-up elegance and a crunchy fried crust. It also comes with yummy sides, such as cheese grits and  biscuits served with house-made raspberry jam and creamy California goat cheese. 

Ships:  All Seabourn ships
Venue: The Colonnade
Cost: Complimentary
You'd expect California-based celebrity chef Thomas Keller to get his steaks and sides just right at his homage to the classic American chophouse of the ‘60s and ‘70s, The Grill. But what you wouldn't expect is for his comfort food family-style dinners in the more casual Colonnade restaurant to steal the show. Our favorite option: the large format fried chicken feast. This rich and comforting dish is one of the chef’s signatures, and it has a grown-up elegance and a crunchy fried crust. It also comes with yummy sides, such as cheese grits and  biscuits served with house-made raspberry jam and creamy California goat cheese. 

Chili Cheese Fries from Room Service on Viking
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5. Chili Cheese Fries

Ships: Viking Star and Viking Sea
Venue: Room Service Menu
Cost: Complimentary
You wouldn’t expect a European line to offer this kind of unpretentious, down-home American comfort food on its room service menu — much less nail it. But the plate comes piled high with fried, hearty meat chili, and melty cheddar cheese. It’s the perfect cure for jet lag.

Ships: Viking Star and Viking Sea
Venue: Room Service Menu
Cost: Complimentary
You wouldn’t expect a European line to offer this kind of unpretentious, down-home American comfort food on its room service menu — much less nail it. But the plate comes piled high with fried, hearty meat chili, and melty cheddar cheese. It’s the perfect cure for jet lag.

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