Just because you're not cruising doesn't mean you can't dream about the delicious dishes you've tasted on past cruises. The following are memorable onboard meals that Cruise Critic editors wish we could be eating right now, complete with a gorgeous sea view.
Put this on the list of gourmet meals that we love at sea, but could never re-create at home. For one, we don't know where we'd buy these little babies, and it would take an in-depth YouTube tutorial to get them cleaned. And two, we know that we could never have enough butter, garlic and parsley on hand to get the seasonings just right. Don't forget the toasted bread. Yum.
Warm Chocolate Melting Cake
Made famous by Carnival, the recipe for the popular warm chocolate melting cake has been publicized -- Cruise Critic has a video tutorial and we've even sat in on an onboard cooking class to make it. But still; it's much more satisfying to have someone else do the work and deliver it to our table, instead of making it at home. Plus, we like the portion control you get when you just order one (rather than having a whole bunch of batter lying around).
Other desserts that we crave include the chocolate-chili ice cream on SeaDream, the expansive cheese trolley from Oceania Cruises and gelato on Celebrity; check out our other favorite desserts at sea if your sweet tooth needs to be virtually satisfied.
Almost all luxury cruise lines have brunch where you can indulge in bottomless bubbly. But the one we're dreaming about is on Regent Seven Seas. Endless rows of freshly made sushi, Alaskan king crab, lobster shrimp, smoked salmon and caviar blinis make it a glorious gourmet pig-out that we could never re-create at home. And how do they get the bloody mary so perfectly spiced?
Another delectable spread that we're dreaming about: lush onboard afternoon teas. We're a fan of them all, from Princess Cruises and Holland America to Oceania and Viking. But if we have to pick one place we'd like to be right now, it's in the Queen's Room on Cunard's Queen Mary 2, feeling extra British with our sammies and scones as the orchestra plays. Extra clotted cream, please.
So many burgers, so little time onboard to eat them -- and the ones we're getting from fast food drive-thrus just aren't the same. Cruise Critic has a whole list of favorites, but some that need to be called out are the classic burgers with Donkey sauce from Guy's Burgers on Carnival; the Pancho Villa from Viking Ocean's Pool Grill with arugula, blue cheese, guacamole and spicy mayo; the turkey burger at the Mast Grill on Celebrity (feels indulgent, even if it's healthier) and the Thomas Keller-invented Napa burger on Seabourn.
Now we have to admit, we can grill a nice steak at home. But it's hard to reconstruct the clubby atmosphere that you'd find at some of the best steakhouses at sea. Think the Polo Grill on Oceania,the Pinnacle Grill on Holland America, or one of Cruise Critic's other favorite steakhouses. Specific steaks that our staffers crave include the New York strip -- medium rare with fries and a side of seared broccoli, please -- from the Butcher's Cut on MSC Cruises' Meraviglia Class and the bistecca Fiorentina from Manfredi's on Viking Ocean ships.
Yes, we're eating pizza at home, both frozen and delivery. It's another one that just isn't the same. Whether you're grabbing a slice poolside on Carnival, in the atrium on Royal Caribbean or sitting down to a leisurely gourmet individual pie at Alfredo's on Princess or Silversea's Spaccanapoli, there's something in the salt air that makes the experience more satisfying at sea. (Tempt yourself with more of our favorite pizzas at sea.)
Fresh Rolls and Bread
Sticking with the carbs for a minute, let's talk about bread onboard -- and how much we miss the sheer luxury of choice. A few that come to mind: dinner rolls with lots of seeds on Royal Caribbean; the hearty brown bread from an AmaWaterways Danube River cruise; the freshly baked bread served every morning on a small UnCruise Adventures expedition ship; the addictive breadsticks on Seabourn and all the delectable French butter we consumed on Ponant. Mmmm.
Finally, there's just something that we can never re-create at home and it's probably what we miss most -- those sea views and eating outside with the breeze in our hair. Whether it's breakfast on our balcony, a lunch (poolside or on a Viking Longship's Aquavit Terrace) or a romantic dinner -- Candles Grill on Windstar or Topside Restaurant on SeaDream comes to mind -- it's the call of the ocean that we long to hear again (including these top five alfresco venues at sea). And someone else cooking and cleaning up for us again. Pretty please.