by Fran Golden
Kristen Boatright | Ernesto Burger at Ruby Princess’s Salty Dog Pub
Cruise lines used to be way behind on food trends — serving lobster thermidor and beef Wellington long after they were fashionable. But today, knowing that their passengers include some serious food enthusiasts, the lines are trying harder to stay current, and it’s a refreshing change. Here are seven trends you can sample on a ship.
Carnival Cruise Line | Guy’s Pig & Anchor on Carnival Cruise Line
It’s no surprise that it’s not easy to find barbecue on a cruise ship — after all, no open flames afre allowed on ships. But Carnival has had some success with its Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ on Carnival Breeze, which serves backyard-style Italian sausages, chicken, and pulled pork sandwiches. (The new Carnival Vista will get its own outpost, too.)
Celebrity chefs are also getting into the game: Food Network star Guy Fieri recently debuted the complimentary Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que on Carnival Magic, which sails from Tampa and features smoked pork butt, beef, sausages, and chicken. And Thomas Keller of New York City’s Per Se has introduced family-style BBQ ribs to the menus of Seabourn‘s luxury ships.
iStock / nito100 | Cronut
This treat — the marriage of a donut and a croissant — took NYC by storm and continues to be one of the most immitated breakfast pastries on land. Princess Cruises debuted them at sea, calling them simply “croissant donuts” and making them in a square shape rather than their original round. The deep-fried treats, which have a hole in the middle, are then covered with cinnamon sugar; order them at breakfast in the International Café in the piazza atrium on Royal Princess and Regal Princess.
Carnival Cruise Line | Treats from the Shake Spot on Carnival Sunshine
3. Spiked Milkshakes/Floats
Boozy milkshakes topped with whipped cream and candy or sweet sauces have taken New York City by storm this year. Fans of these rich treats should visit the Shake Spot on Carnival Sunshine and the new Carnival Vista for creamy concoctions such as a rum-laced chocolate shake made with Cruzan vanilla rum, chocolate syrup, and chocolate ice cream ($7.75) and a tasty dark and stormy float ($7.75).
NCL | Truffle Fries at Cagney’s on Norwegian Pearl
4. Truffle Fries
Sure, these may be well over the hump in urban areas, but they’re still hot in other parts of the country, Hit popular steakhouse Cagney’s on Norwegian Cruise Line ($30 cover charge) or Holland America Line‘s Pinnacle Grill ($29 cover charge) and you’ll find house versions of this treat. At Cagney’s they’re made with white truffle oil and Parmesan; at Pinnacle the shoestring fries come with truffle aioli.
Princess Cruises | Salty Dog Gatropub’s Ernesto Burger
5. Umami-flavored Burgers
Burgers packed with additional savory flavors, which complement the meat and also add a palate punch, continue to wow across the country. At the Salty Dog Gastropub in the Wheelhouse Bar of Crown Princess, Emerald Princess, and Ruby Princess you can order a burger created by award-winning chef Ernesto Uchimura originally of Umami Burger in Los Angeles. Ingredients in The Ernesto ($19) include a ribeye and short rib patty topped with grilled pork belly, Gruyère cheese, beer-battered jalapeño, caramelized kimchi, charred onion aioli, and smoked salt and pepper; the Salty Dog serves this behemoth on a brioche bun with your choice of truffle Parmesan fries or sweet potato fries.
Disney | Disney Dream’s Senses Juice Bar
Cruising may have a long tradition of celebrating indulgent foods, but the new onboard trend is juice bars. On Disney Cruise Line‘s Disney Dream, the Senses Juice Bar blends fruit and vegetable drinks such as the Beginning ($4.95), which combines spinach, carrots, avocado, ginger, basil, and Manuka honey. MSC Cruises‘ Divina features a health-focused juice and tea bar in its Asian-inspired Aurea Spa. On luxury line SeaDream Yacht Club, which offers an optional raw food menu, you can try the detoxifying Blood Apple Blaster (apple, ginger, red beets, lime juice, and agave). After a few days of multi-course dinners, one of these juices may just feel like the perfect lunch.
Lon Binder | Kale Caesar Salad
Kale continues to be all the rage in many places, and it’s on cruise ships now too. The new American Table dining room menus on Carnival Cruise Line offers a kale Caesar salad every night. You’ll also find a kale Caesar salad on Holland America Line ships including the new Koningsdam, where we even spotted raw kale as a breakfast buffet option.