As the weather heats up, we can’t help but crave one of our favorite cold, creamy, sweet treats: ice cream. When the hankering hits you on your next cruise, we suggest you walk right past that soft-serve machine and head to one of these venues instead — a variety of homemade flavors, a plethora of toppings, and even handmade cones could be awaiting your arrival:
1. Venchi Gelateria
MSC Divina, MSC Cruises
Swoon-worthy Italian chocolate company Venchi recently opened a gelato shop onboard MSC Divina right next to the main pool area on Deck 14. You’ll find classic and seasonal choices — all made with 100-percent natural ingredients — rotating in daily flavors, including coconut, stracciatella (similar to chocolate chip), lemon, and of course, an amazingly rich chocolate.
Cost: Starts at $2 for a cup and $4 for a cone.
Bonus: All of the gelato is made in an onboard kitchen specifically designed for Venchi, so staffers can create new flavors for passengers to try each day of their sailing.
2. Trident Ice Cream Bar and Scoops
Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, Crystal Cruises
Crystal’s two ships each have complimentary poolside ice cream shops: Crystal Symphony's Trident Ice Cream bar on Deck 11 and Crystal Serenity’s Scoops on Deck 12. You can get hand-dipped ice cream in a homemade waffle cone with toppings such as fresh berries and nuts, or build a sundae with fudge brownies or cookies. Don’t worry about not being able to find your favorite flavor — over the course of a single cruise, the shops will put out 30 different Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors (including Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey), plus low-carb ice cream options, 24 house-made ices and sherbets (including Bellini sherbet and grapefruit ice), along with 20 nonfat frozen yogurts.
Bonus: You can have house-made sorbet at every meal: Start with a post-lunch, poolside treat. Then, after dark, order from Prego’s dessert menu, which features house-made spumoni gelato, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate ice cream, as well as fresh sorbet in sophisticated flavors such as fig prosecco and Bellini.
3. Ben & Jerry’s
18 out of 21 ships, Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean was the first to bring Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlors to sea. The shops are found onboard 18 ships (all except Allure of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas, and Oasis of the Seas) and feature 16 Ben & Jerry’s flavors and low-fat frozen yogurts, such as Phish Food, Sweet Cream & Cookies, and Chocolate Fudge Brownie.
Cost: Scoops from one of America’s most popular brands will come at a price: from $2.50 for a small cup to $4 for a large cup, and an additional $1 for a waffle cone.
Bonus: Royal Caribbean even created themed cabins in Ben & Jerry’s honor for each Freedom-class ship. Because the view from these promenade cabins happens to be of the rear ends of Ben & Jerry’s mascot cows, guests staying here get tickets for free ice cream each day of their cruise. Now that’s dedication to ice cream!
Royal Princess and Regal Princess, Princess Cruises
Royal Princess and sister ship Regal Princess have the largest gelato menus at sea. Each selection is made onboard by a pastry chef. Each shop serves eight varieties — including butter pecan, dulce de leche, and Nutella — homemade waffle cones, five decadent sauces, and interesting toppings such as peanut butter, meringue, and marshmallow.
Cost: Any three scoops for $2.75 or one punch on your coffee card, which costs $30 and lets you mix and match 15 coffee and gelato servings during your sailing.
Bonus: Gelato serves more than its name implies: You can also get boozy sundaes with Frangelico or irish cream, as well as fruit-filled crepes.
5. Oceanview Café
All Ships, Celebrity Cruises
Perfect for when you need a break from the sun, homemade ice cream and sorbet is ready for the taking at the lido deck buffet. You can pile on the gummy bears, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and sprinkles, or opt for a healthy sugar-free or low-fat flavor. Stations are set up midday on each side of the ship, with flavors like rum raisin, pistachio, and traditional vanilla and chocolate.
Bonus: Downstairs, Café al Bacio & Gelateria — found on nine Celebrity ships — serves up a strange treat: spaghetti gelato ($6). It looks like a bowl of pasta, but instead of spaghetti, tomato sauce, and grated cheese, it features vanilla gelato, strawberry sauce, and white chocolate shavings — a clever way to skip dinner and go right to dessert.