Best Of: Onboard Cooking Classes for Foodies
Sampling specialty restaurants and splurging on a night at the chef's table are, for foodies, key elements of a cruise experience. For some, the dining experience is not enough — learning how to prepare Cajun-style shrimp or molten chocolate cake from your favorite line makes all the difference when searching for a cruise.
Fortunately, several cruise lines, from mainstream to luxury, answer the call of the ‘home chef de cuisine’ with cooking classes at sea. These offerings have been so wildly successful for the cruise lines that brands and famed chefs have partnered with them to become part of the programming.
Ready to sharpen your knives and cooking skills at sea? Here's our rundown on our top picks for the best onboard cooking classes offered by different cruise lines.
Oceania Cruises’ Oceania Culinary Center
Oceania Cruises offers one of the finest passenger culinary learning programs on Riviera and Marina. Both ships are home to ‘The Oceania Culinary Center,’ a state-of-the-art kitchen teaching facility complete with individual cooking workstations. Master chefs from around the world lead classes to teach passengers how to create a variety of gourmet meals. Sample programs at the Culinary Center include farm to table cooking inspired by the British Isles, wine lectures, and lessons on how to prepare dishes from Red Ginger, the line’s Asian bistro.
‘Chop Till You Drop’ Classes from Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean offers ‘Chop Till You Drop’ cooking classes as a part of its regular ship activities. In these sessions, passengers learn tips and preparation techniques from Royal’s chefs to make their own gourmet appetizers, main dishes, and desserts.
Beverage and Culinary Program from Celebrity Cruises
Wine and cocktail enthusiasts will be amazed by Celebrity Cruises’ Beverage and Culinary Program. Passengers can participate in activity options like food and wine pairing seminars and mixology 101 lessons, or sample craft martini flights. Several liquor brands including Macallan, Jack Daniel’s, and Novo Fogo Cachaça have partnered with the line for cocktail classes on how to make drinks like the Caipirinha.
Holland America Line’s ‘Port to Table’ & America’s Test Kitchen
Each Holland America voyage invites a guest chef on board to guide passengers through a full experience of the culinary traditions of destinations being visited. The line has incorporated a full cooking experience into their ship activities, including wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, and curated fine dining events.
Holland America partnered with popular tv cooking program America’s Test Kitchen for live onboard cooking shows. All Holland America Line ships (except Maasdam) feature a replica of the tv show’s set. Here chefs present 45-minute cooking shows of America’s Test Kitchen recipes that include tacos, takeout dinners, sweet treats, dinner classics for two, and Mediterranean-inspired meals.
Viking Ocean Cruises’ ‘The Kitchen Table’
Viking Ocean Cruises offers an onboard cooking school program called ‘The Kitchen Table.’ On at-sea days, passengers can learn to cook dishes native to an upcoming destination. On port days, Viking offers excursions for passengers to pick ingredients at a local market, then use them to prepare an elegant three-course meal back on the ship.
Disney Cruise Line’s - Be Our Chef Cooking Classes at Palo
Passengers on Disney Cruise Line are invited into the kitchen of Palo on Disney Fantasy to learn how to create Northern Italian cuisine. In these classes, Palo chefs teach the recipes for Margherita Pizza, Butternut Agnolotti Ravioli, and Limoncello Tart — the restaurant’s signature dessert. Note, this experience is for adults 18+ and is held on port days.
The Culinary Arts Kitchen on Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Explorer
Regent’s Seven Seas Explorer offers cooking classes in a dedicated facility with 18 culinary workstations that include top-of-the-line induction cooktops and stainless steel sinks. Participants at all levels of experience can receive hands-on training in classes covering topics like Patagonian cuisine, French cooking techniques, or the recipes of traditional dishes from Finland, Iceland, and Norway.
Carnival Kitchen from Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival offers guided cooking classes for passengers of all ages. These small group sessions were first introduced on the Carnival Panorama and offer hands-on cooking instruction from actual Carnival chefs. A sample of class programming at Carnival Kitchen includes BBQ cooking, sushi rolling, cupcake making, and a lesson on Thai cuisine.
MSC’s ‘MasterChef at Sea’
During an MSC sailing, guests can take on the challenge of becoming the Champion of ‘MasterChef at Sea’. In this onboard live event, guests (and wannabe chefs) compete in a cooking challenge in front of an audience and a panel of MSC judges. Dishes are evaluated based on presentation, appearance, taste, and recipe originality.
Join the discussion
Have you taken an onboard cooking class?