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What to expect on your Cunard cruise

6th October 2015

Updated January 2018

A cruise with Cunard can be an absolutely magnificent affair. With impeccable White Star service, and some of the best luxury ocean cruising at sea, you are guaranteed to savour every moment spent on your Cunard cruise. If you’re considering a Cunard cruise for the first time, of course you're likely to have all kinds of questions about what to expect. To give you a little guidance, we've put together this short guide with more information about just what a Cunard Cruise is like. If there's anything we haven't covered, be sure to ask our sales team any other questions you have before booking your cruise.

 

Embarkation 

You can expect friendly smiles and warm greetings from all staff when you first arrive onboard. This short video reveals just what’s in store from the start:

 

 

It’s also worth noting that there is no limit when it comes to how much luggage you can bring with you, however all suitcases must be under 23kg due to health and safety reasons. In keeping with Cunard’s steadfast attention to luxury holidays, the cruise line offers guests a fabulous white-star service; luggage collection and delivery pre and post cruise. Simply speak to a sales agent to arrange this, to alleviate any stress at the start and end of your cruise.

 

Staterooms and Suites 

 

Cunard offer a wealth of accommodation choices. For those looking for an especially luxurious cruise, there are the Princess and Queens Grill Suites, which boast exclusive facilities such as restaurants and lounges. Otherwise, there is a great variety of staterooms, suiting all guests from single travellers, to families.

 

 

 

Accessibility and Family Cruising 

 

In order to enable their extra special cruising opportunities to be enjoyed by everyone, Cunard have ensured that there is ample space and accessible facilities for all guests. There are wide corridors and spacious staterooms designed for wheelchair and mobility scooter users, and a fantastic array of child-friendly features.

 

 

 

Onboard restaurants offer kids menus, and there is even a designated ‘Children’s Tea’ in The Lido restaurant which gives the perfect opportunity for little ones to make new friends. There are also age-appropriate Kids Clubs onboard Cunard ships, and a night nursery, where babies from 6 to 23 month can sleep between 6-11pm, giving parents a well-earned break.

 

Wining and Dining 

 

Cunard boast some terrific dining choices onboard all of their ships, including some exclusive restaurants for those staying in Princess and Queens Grills suites. Dine in the main restaurant – where you can opt for traditional dining times, or ‘freedom dining’ if preferred. The buffet restaurant offers a wide range of cuisine options as well as tea, coffee, and juices during the day. Speciality restaurants inlcude The Verandah, for an extra special dining experience, The Golden Lion for a homely pub-style ambiance, and Lotus, Coriander, La Piazza, and Smokehouse for global cuisine.

When cruising with Cunard, guests are not only in for a treat where dining is concerned. There are also some beautiful and comfortable lounges where you can enjoy your favourite tipple.

 

 

 

Other Useful Information

 

 

  • Staying in touch with loved ones back home is easy to do on a Cunard cruise. You’ll find internet stations either in The Library or ConneXions centres onboard, or you can access the ship's Wi-Fi by purchasing an internet package. Simply speak to your sales agent at the time of booking, or to a crew member once you're onboard.
  • Cunard have introduced a cash-free environment on their ships, for the convenience of all onboard. At the start of your cruise you’ll be given a cruise card to use for spending (you’ll be asked to leave a credit/debit card or cash deposit when retrieving it). All pricing onboard is in US dollars, and you’ll need to settle up your bill before disembarking – either using a card or cash. It’s also possible to buy local currency on the ship.
  • In order to help maintain the traditional cruising style that Cunard are renowned for, guests will be invited to adhere to specific dress codes. During the day attire should be casual – including shorts and smart jeans – and the evenings can be either formal or informal. This useful video will give you more information about what you’ll be expected to wear and when.

 

 

 

Browse and book a Cunard transatlantic cruise from our newest offers or plan ahead with Cunard 2019 sailings.


Top 10 Specialty Restaurants At Sea

8th May 2014

Updated February 2018

 

Food glorious food, there is no getting away from it on a cruise.

While of course cruising is not simply about tthe food, it's no secret that it does play a significant part. Some of the most exquisite dishes are found at sea, and several of the most famous Michelin chefs now call the sea their home.

Although the main dining room is still a key feature on many ships, it is the rise in specialty restaurants that attract us to open our intrigued taste buds that crave new flavours. Showcasing the best in the cuisine of Italy, Brazil, Asia, and France to name a few, a cruise will take you on a culinary journey like never before.

With specialty restaurants requiring an extra cover charge and most needing a reservation, they change the dynamic of cruise ship dining dramatically. Whether you simply want to dine somewhere different every night, or want to visit an exclusive restaurant for a special occasion, its hard to escape from these award-winning restaurants that tempt you with their mouth-watering menus, intimate settings, and excellent value for money.

Read on to discover our top 10 speciality restaurants at sea.

 

Giovanni’s Table – Royal Caribbean

With Italian food being among the most popular regional cuisines across the world, most cruise lines include an Italian Bistro among their dining options. However, from the al fresco style setting to the family style dining, Giovanni’s Table wins our vote. Featured on many Royal Caribbean ships, its enticing menu is only a teaser of how the food actually tastes.

With its apparent Mediterranean influence, Giovanni’s Table flaunts a true Italian atmosphere and intense aroma that one would expect from a restaurant in the heart of Venice.

Starters are brought out family style, enabling you to share everything on the menu if you wish. As expected there is lots of pasta, although it is more than just 'pasta'. From authentic sauces, fresh seasonings, and unique cheeses, these starters only leave you more intrigued for the main courses.

Enjoy fresh prosciutto ham that has been cut with a traditional meat slicer, world-class steaks, and the freshest local fish. These are just some of the delectable dishes you can expect to indulge on.

Available on: Independence of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas

Atmosphere: Authentic

Our favourite dish: Gnocchi 

 

 

The Gala Menu – P&O Cruises

The 'Godfather of modern cooking,' Marco Pierre White was eager to get his culinary wonders to the high seas, and was delighted when P&O Cruises gave him the opportunity to do just this. Owner of three Michelin stars, Marco showcases his talents through The Gala Menu, which is on offer on P&O Cruises' black tie nights.

One of the most desired menus at sea, The Gala Menu is available to all guests on P&O's special occasion, formal evenings. It comprises a beautiful, five course meal, boasting some of Marco's favourite and most exquisite dishes. The superb food combined with faultless service will make for a wonderful, unforgettable evening. 

Available on all ships, guests can expect such dishes as Peruvian ceviche, traditional Beef Wellington, and Hampshire trout, and for dessert, why not indulge in chocolate mousse cake, or Champagne sorbet? Created with the best and freshest local ingredients, even the most experienced of taste buds will be blown away here.

Available on: All P&O Ships

Atmosphere: Classic

Our favourite dish: Goat's cheese souffle

 

 

Qsine – Celebrity Cruises

Where to start with this restaurant? Like nothing else you'll ever experience on land let alone at sea, this unique dining journey starts from the moment you order your meal on an iPad. There can be no preconceptions about Qsine as it is a restaurant of the unexpected.

After you have used the interactive iPads to design your meal, sit back and wait to be tantalised by unexpected twists on familiar favourites. From the revolutionary sushi lollipops, popcorn fish and chips, and lobster escargot, it has an off-beat edge to give you an experience that you can only find on a Celebrity Cruise.

Qsine’s décor is fairly simple and boasts a more casual feel. Decked out in orange and yellows, its bright design portrays a happy atmosphere and great for a fun meal time with friends and family.

Available on: Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Summit

Atmosphere: Casual and fun

Our favourite dish: Sushi lollipops (of course!)

 

 

Kai Sushi – Princess Cruises

Every city, shopping mall, and airport has the latest take on an Asian sushi restaurant, and it didn’t take long for cruise lines to jump on the bandwagon either. However, Kai Sushi onboard Princess Cruises stood out for us.

From the moment you step inside, you are transported to an Asian paradise. With deep brown décor combined with bamboo accessories, its large open cooking area showcases highly regarded chefs preparing authentic sushi creations and traditional Japanese seafood dishes.

Those who do not have a love for sushi can opt for lobster, octopus, and other seafood dishes which are equally delicious.

Available on: Diamond Princess, Sun Princess

Atmosphere: Majestic

Our favourite dish: Kaisen udon - a mixture of lobster, jumbo shrimp, scallops, snapper, calamari, and noodles in a rich broth

 

 

Moderno Churrascaria – Norwegian Cruise Line

When Norwegian Cruise Line introduced Moderno Churrascaria on Norwegian Epic, the positive reviews flew in and everyone was talking about it. Debuting a new dining experience to the cruise industry, this Brazilian Steakhouse was the first dining concept of its kind at sea.

Although the decor is not the most stand-out design, the food more than makes up for it. The extensive salad bar invites you to delve into its freshly prepared selection including tuna, fresh beans, European cured meats, and Artisan cheeses. However, be careful as this is a meal in itself - and you will certainly not want to fill yourself up before the main course.

Calling all carnivores! Be prepared to feast on the largest selection of meats you have ever seen in one restaurant at the same time. From a range of different beef, chicken, pork, sausage, chorizo, and lamb, it's a pure haven for meat-eating foodies.

With all of this delicious meat being sliced before your very eyes, it's a wonder they even thought about dessert, but if you do have room, you are in for a brilliant surprise. The signature dessert of crispy fried Portuguese sweet bread puffs with caramel and vanilla, is the icing on the cake for your Moderno Churrascaria experience.

Available on: Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Star, Norwegian Sun, Pride of America

Atmosphere: Lively

Our favourite dish: Spanish chorizo with red wine and parmesan cheese

 

 

Remy – Disney Cruise Line

Remy is way up there on our list of favourite restaurants, and not only at sea. This intimate adult-only eatery is an enchanted retreat that serves the finest French cuisine. Remy manages to transport you to an authentic roof-top restaurant in the centre of Paris.

Soft lighting, gold décor, and timeless art work compliment the immaculately dressed tables. Like the rest of the ship, Disney have sprinkled their magic on this restaurant to ensure everyone has a five-star dining experience.

The French-inspired menu was created by Chef Arnaud Lallement who has worked at numerous Michelin star restaurants, and Chef Scott Hunnell from the award-winning Victoria & Albert’s at Walt Disney World Resort.

A complimentary chilled champagne cocktail is prepared at your table before you place your orders from the enticing menu. Some of the tasty dishes you can expect to choose from include Halibut, King Salmon, Kobe Beef, and Niman Ranch Lamb.

Available on: Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy

Atmosphere: Luxurious

Our favourite dish: Duck pomegranate with pistachios and hearts of palm

 

 

150 Central Park – Royal Caribbean

One for those who like the finer things in life, 150 Central Park is the premium specialty restaurant onboard Oasis and Allure of the Seas. Created by award-winning Chef Michael Schwartz, he brings his distinct flavours alive in this intimate and charming restaurant.

Located in the centre of the onboard Central Park, its boutique style exterior is set deep within the lush greenery. Once the door has been opened by one of the immaculately dressed hosts, you are guided to a table that looks like it has been prepared for the Queen. The grand domed chairs are an excellent touch.

Featuring two rotating multi-course menus per cruise, each set course is accompanied with the perfect wine to enhance each dish into an explosion of deliciousness. Although each of the courses are fairly small, do not let this deceive, as every course compliments the others, ensuring you are more than satisfied by the end.

A signature Cucumber Martini (only available here) at the beginning is then followed by a selection of breads. The waiter will then explain the salts that are available to have with your bread, a really interesting concept. From here expect to experience a world-class cheese trolley, a 0.65kg dry-aged rib eye steak, and the iconic 150 Central Park Candy Bar.

Available on: Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas

Atmosphere: Upscale

Our favourite dish: Pumpkin bread gnocchi

 

 

Sindhu– P&O Cruises

The restaurant of flavours, Sindhu was created by Michelin star chef Atul Kochhar who has brought his much-loved Indian style to the cruise world. Showcasing his modern Indian cuisine with a British twist, Sindhu sets all the senses alive and gives you the ultimate dining experience.

Kochhar has explored flavours from across the Far East and infuses them in all of the dishes available at East. There are two inspiring menus available onboard that offer his most exotic dishes.

The interior design boasts deep red and gold décor that illuminates a charming atmosphere throughout. It is not only the food that allows you to have a special evening here, but the atmosphere and regular presence of chefs make it a memorable dining experience.

With an extensive menu, it is hard to choose, but rest assured that whatever choice you make you will not be disappointed. From spiced meats, fish dishes, and an array of vegetarian options, it is Indian cuisine as you’ve never seen it.

Available on: Ventura, Arcadia, Aurora, Azura, Britannia, Oriana

Atmosphere: Oriental

Our favourite dish: Lagusta Xec Xec (Goan style lobster in coconut sauce)

 

 

Tuscan Grille – Celebrity Cruises

A steak house with an Italian bistro is a couple rarely seen together at sea, until the launch of Tuscan Grille. Celebrity Cruises wanted a restaurant that was elegant yet edgy to showcase an array of distinct dishes.

Tuscan Grille has an exciting character that creates an infectious sense of smiles and enjoyment within every visitor. With its casual style, it allows guests to enjoy elegant food in a more contemporary setting.

It's bright lighted entrance entices you to go further as you walk through a small tunnel-like walk way before leading to the bright, open restaurant that boasts floor to ceiling windows overlooking the ocean.

Steak is the highlight at Tuscan Grille. Celebrity’s corn-fed USDA dry-aged steaks are bursting with juicy flavour and incredible tenderness. Or, for those who don't enjoy steak, opt for the salmon or seabass which are sent to your table sizzling from the grill. A range of salads and pasta dishes are also popular choices.

Available on: Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Summit

Atmosphere: Modern

Our favourite dish: Shortrib Pappardelle Ragu - braised shortrib with fresh herbs, tomato, mushroom, and truffle

 

 

Crown Grill – Princess Cruises

Everyone loves a steakhouse, so what sets one above the other? For us, Crown Grill is the ultimate in cruise line steakhouses.

Voted 'Best Cruise Ship Steakhouse' by USA Today, it’s no surprise why. With deep brown décor, grand dining tables, and a menu to die for, no other steakhouse will compare. Crown Grill is a large sized restaurant and can accommodate a fair amount of guests - which is great as it appears to be one of the most popular restaurants onboard, with a number of guests going back a second or even third time.

A stand-out feature is the open theatre-style kitchen that displays the chefs cooking up their surprises. The large fire oven oozes tantalising aromas that leave you eager for the waiters to present you with your chosen dishes.

The chefs prepare custom-made dishes including steamed lobster, prime steaks and the classic filet mignon. Other dishes featured on this extensive menu include a white wine muscle pot, Chilean sea bass, and grilled tiger prawns.

Available on: Crown Princess, Emerald Princess, Ruby Princess

Atmosphere: Rustic 

Our favourite dish: The 4oz Maine lobster tails, and for dessert definitely the Molten Dutch Chocolate Fudge Obsession!

 

 

Are you a self-proclaimed foodie? Why not book onto a Food Heroes cruise, or check out these top Cruises for Foodies.

 

Related pages:

Dining options onboard P&O Cruises

Dining options onboard Royal Caribbean


Cruising with a food allergy or special diet

13th March 2014

Updated October 2017

Going on a cruise can be daunting for someone with a food allergy or special diet, so to try to put minds at ease, we have looked into how the most popular cruise lines cater for these guests. 

 

Cruising with a food allergy

 

P&O Cruises

Before you cruise – P&O Cruises require you to notify them of your food allergy. You will need to contact your agent and inform them of your specific dietary requirements, so they can forward this information on to the ship.

Onboard – There will be a note about your food allergy in your booking, and the chef will be notified of this before you arrive. However, during your first meal onboard, it is advisable to inform your Head Waiter or the Maitre’d of your specific restrictions.

 

Royal Caribbean

Before you cruise – You will need to call your agent before your cruise so they can update your personal information. Alternatively, you can send an email to specialservices.uk@rccl.com with your name, booking number, ship name, and sail date along with your specific dietary requirements. If you require lactose-free/soy milk, ensure you let your agent know prior to sailing. Royal Caribbean request that you advise them of your special dietary requests at least 45 days prior to sailings in the US, 90 days in Europe, and 100 days for Asian/Australian itineraries. 

Onboard – Royal Caribbean can cater for many food allergies, Gluten-free, kosher, low-fat, and low-sodium diets. Vegetarian meals are available in the main dining room as well as the other speciality restaurants, and guests do not need to request these meals. The friendly dining staff and chefs will always be on hand and doing their best to cater for your needs.

 

Royal Caribbean cruising with a special diet

 

Celebrity Cruises

Before you cruise – Celebrity Cruises ask that you make them aware of any food allergies before your cruise. You will need to email special_needs@celebrity.com or call your agent in advance. 

Onboard – Celebrity Cruises can cater for several special diets including Kosher, gluten free, and low calorie. Celebrity Cruises will automatically send a report to the ship of any special dietary requests prior to sailing date, however it is still advisable to remind your Head Waiter during your first meal. 

Carnival Cruise Line

Before you cruise – Special dietary requests are handled onboard, so there is no need to inform them or your agent in advance.

Onboard – During your first meal in the main Dining Room make your allergies known to your Head Waiter. Special diets can be accommodated in the main dining room only.

 

Cunard Cruise Line

Before you cruise – Cunard require you to inform your agent of any special dietary requirements during the booking process.

Onboard – You will need to inform the staff at the Purser’s desk as soon as you board, as well as reminding your server during meal times.

 

Cunard Cruise Line special diet

 

Princess Cruises

Before your cruise – Princess require you to inform them of your food allergies no later than 35 days prior to departure, and for some destinations no later than 65 days prior to departure. This can be done in writing using the line’s Cruise Personaliser online.

Onboard – Confirm your request with the Maitre’d during your first night onboard.

 

Food is a significant part of cruising, and some of the most exquisite menus can be found at sea. It should be reassuring then, to see that this delicious food can still be enjoyed by those who may not feel they can.

After looking into all these cruise lines, it is clear to see that dining staff and chefs onboard cruise ships cater exceptionally well for all special dining requests. They do not let certain dietary requirements take anything away from their iconic culinary delights.

Our advice to anyone worried about going on a cruise because of their diet, would be to not let your allergy or needs put you off. You can rest assured that you will be able to take great pleasure in dining, just like all other guests. During your cruise you will be able to experience dishes and treats like nothing else you have ever tasted.


By Sally Grimes 


Simone's Guide To Ventura's Dining - Part 2

27th September 2010

Read part 1 of this blog.

The Speciality Dining Options

During my cruise as well as dining the main dining room, I sampled the superb specialty restaurants onboard. 

 

There are a choice of three specialty restaurants and of course I sampled all of them during my stay (purely to investigate what was on offer you understand!).

The White Room (cover charge of £20-£25)

This is the restaurant of Marco Pierre White, and it occupies a stunning location on top of the ship with the option to dine al fresco in fine weather. There are two rotating menus - each equally delicious.

It's a three course menu with a Bellini and amuse bouche thrown in as well as coffee & chocolates and the food is simply divine. The food is simple which emphasises the high quality ingredients and is beautifully presented. This is Michelin star quality at a bargain price.

Starters include: enormous grilled king prawns with herb garlic butter and béarnaise sauce, escalope of foie gras & fried egg on toasted brioche and gnocchi with porcini & artichoke. Flavours are delicate and fresh - in fact my mouth is watering as I write!

Main courses include Marco's signature Spaghetti of Lobster Americano - half the lobster in the spaghetti tomato sauce and the other alongside the pasta, grilled medallions of beef fillet with snails in garlic butter, rack of lamb and supreme of halibut with citrus fruits, olive oil, coriander and baby fennel.

Deserts always include a cheeseboard of British & Italian cheeses with home made biscuits, and Marco's signature tiramisu, which is as light as a feather as well as such delights as Hot raspberry soufflé & mascarpone crème brulee!

East (cover charge of £15-£20)

This Asian fusion restaurant wasn't very busy - which was a real shame as the service was superb and the food was delightful. The restaurant is located on the promenade deck and has a tranquil, soothing atmosphere. Again, the menu changes midweek, so you can enjoy a different menu on your second visit.

Starters include: the lightest tempura vegetables with Asian salad and dipping sauce - beautifully presented, as well as quite a few favourites such as chicken satay (my favourite), won tons, Thai fish cakes & Asian broths.

For main course, you can opt for a mixed tandoori platter or one of the delicious fusion dishes. I opted for the spicy Szechuan Beef Fillet medallions, with a peppercorn crust, served with taro and spinach - it was so tasty and delicious. My boyfriend adored the grilled sea bass and scallops marinated in coconut milk and served with Thai asparagus and clam risotto - light, fresh & delicious. Deserts were superb too.

Ramblas (cover charge £5 or tapas from £2.50)

Ramblas is a large Spanish themed bar, which is an oasis in the ship with no entertainment, just gentle music. No need to book, just turn up any time from 2pm onwards and either opt for three lots of tapas for £2.50 - or a bargain three course Spanish meal for £5 - the most popular choice was a tapas to start, paella for main and then a traditional Spanish desert. This bar also had a delicious choice of Spanish wines and also you could get a delicious coffee for around £1.20!

There you go - that's about all there is on the food on Ventura - great choice, great value and extremely tasty food but with light and healthy options and plenty of vegetarian choices- now i'm heading off for something to eat. All that writing has made me hungry again!


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