Where do you go for mouthwatering, juicy steak on a cruise? You can try your luck in the main dining room, or you can head to an onboard steakhouse, which offers higher quality food and a more intimate dining experience. Found on a number of cruise ships, these specialty restaurants, many of which carry a fee, range from traditional steakhouses to vibrant churrascarias. If you're willing to splurge, expect to spend anywhere from about $20 to more than $50 (without drinks or other add-ons).
Steakhouses at sea serve up more than slabs of beef. Menus typically offer all kinds of protein -- you'll find chicken, veal, lamb and an array of seafood -- with hearty sides and a few speciality dishes such as dry-aged beef and lobster, some for an upcharge. Venues will happily accommodate vegetarians, as well. The restaurants do book up fast, so we recommend making reservations before your cruise, if possible.
If you're a meat-lover, prepare to salivate over our six favourite cruise ship steakhouses.
1. Celebrity's Tuscan Grille
Ships: Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Constellation and Celebrity Equinox
Why We Love It: Tuscan Grille is not your average steakhouse. The venue is rustic yet contemporary with Art Nouveau touches, and the menu is a mix of innovative steakhouse staples and traditional Italian. We love that you can start off with antipasto or freshly sliced prosciutto and then choose between entrees like blackened Angus rib-eye in Cajun-spiced butter, seafood risotto or wild mushroom ravioli. For dessert, indulge in chocolate fondue paired with limoncello. The surcharge is $45 per person or $10 per child.
On Celebrity Edge, you can savour Tuscan Grille-inspired dishes at the Tuscan Restaurant, one of the ship's main dining venues, free of charge. The ship does not have its own Tuscan Grille; instead, it features the Fine Cut Steakhouse, which bears a $55 cover charge per person.
2. Regent Seven Seas' Prime 7
Why We Love It: From leather wingback chairs and an earthy colour scheme to its steak and seafood menu, Prime 7 epitomizes a classic steakhouse. Some of our favourite dishes include a 32-ounce porterhouse (carved tableside) and the surf and turf, both made with USDA-approved beef that has been dry-aged at least 28 days. The best part: It's included in your cruise fare.
3. Holland America Line's Pinnacle Grill
Why We Love It: Inspired by the Pacific Northwest, Pinnacle Grill offers a traditional steakhouse menu with regional ingredients, sustainable Double R Ranch Northwest beef and fresh seafood. On each ship, the restaurant's decor is a bit different, with unique touches like decorative chairs and artsy light fixtures. Dinner at Pinnacle Grill is $35 per person, but some menu items, such as the dry-aged Delmonico and President's cut, come with an additional surcharge.
4. Princess' Crown Grill
Ships: Caribbean Princess, Crown Princess, Emerald Princess, Golden Princess, Grand Princess, Regal Princess, Royal Princess, Ruby Princess, Majestic Princess, Star Princess
Why We Love It: Crown Grill, Princess Cruises' classic steakhouse, offers a selection of delectable steak and seafood, accompanied by some of the best sauces and seasonings we've tasted at sea. Round it out with mouthwatering appetisers and desserts, and it's a great alternative to the main dining room. The dark wood decor adds a sophisticated air, and the theatre-style kitchen allows you to watch from your table as your meal is prepared. The cover charge is $29 per person or $14.50 for children ages 3 to 12 (no charge for children 2 and younger).
5. MSC Cruises' Butcher's Cut
Ships: MSC Meraviglia, MSC Bellissima, MSC Seaside, MSC Seaview
Why We Love It: MSC Cruises' first steakhouse was introduced on Meraviglia in 2017, and has appeared on every new build since, it's been such a hit. On the Meraviglia class ships it's in a square space on the second level of the Galleria; on Seaside class ships its at the top of the ship in a cluster of other speciality restaurants, but the decor is the same in both: a glass-enclosed wall of wine, black leather chairs and ersatz vintage black and white photos of boxing tournaments and the like. The meat is displayed behind glass beside the open grill, and the waiters bring it over on a board to run through the different cuts. Expect the classic cuts: filet mignon, NY Strip, T-Bone, as well as a few surprises such as the Dry-Aged Tomahawk, which weighs in at a whopping 38 oz (or one kilo!), and an American Bison steak. There is also rack of lamb, a selection of fish and corn-fed chicken, and you can also add lobster tail to your steak (for an upcharge). The cover charge is 39 euros per person for the Dining Experience, or a la carte.
6. Cunard's Steakhouse at the Verandah
Why We Love It: Replacing former French restaurant The Verandah, Steakhouse at the Verandah is an English nod to the American obsession with steak. Rolled out fleetwide in early 2019, its menu features everything from burgers and salads to lobster cocktail and cuts of beef that include dry-aged Scotch grass-fed Black Angus and Australian grass-fed wagyu and seafood add-ons. Sweet, buttery pull-apart bread is brought to every table, and it's delicious; desserts are phenomenal, too. The most fun part is that passengers can choose from a selection of knives in various materials and shapes to fit their hands.
The steakhouse is open for both lunch ($25 per person) and dinner ($39 per person) with no children's pricing.