Five incredible culinary adventures by cruise

From the heady flavours of the Caribbean to fresh seafood in coastal Norway, we round up the most appetising cruises on the market.

Sailing the Peruvian rainforest with the Aria Amazon.

Photograph by Aria Amazon
By Helen Warwick
Published 26 Jan 2023, 08:00 GMT

1. Cloudberries and king crab: Havila Voyages

This journey forges the classic route from Norway’s chocolate-box city of Bergen over the flinty waters all the way to Kirkenes, skirting past the weathered fingers of its fjords and in the shadow of mountains. Elemental drama is high with potential aurora sightings, sledding through crystalline forests and a night in the Snowhotel. The daily changing menus have been curated with a regional theme, gathering fillets of cod from the clean waters of the Norwegian Sea, golden cloudberries grown in the high north, and sweet and juicy king crab. Acclaimed Norwegian chef Gunnar Hvarnes has been instrumental in designing dishes and sourcing local produce for Havila Voyages — he even helped Norway win gold in the Bocuse d’Or Europe in 2020. 

Don't miss: Fenalår (dried and salted lamb leg), cured deer and smoked salmon — dishes prepared using traditional preservation methods.
How to do it: Best Served Scandinavia offers a night at the Thon Hotel Orion in Bergen (B&B basis), a six-night Havila Voyages cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes and a stay at the Snowhotel from £2,005 per person.

2. Rum and seafood: Silversea

Silversea has lifted the culinary bar thanks to its fresh and innovative concept — Sea And Land Taste (S.A.L.T) 
— on board its Silver Moon and Silver Dawn ships, plucking the very best cuisine from the destinations it sails through. During this Caribbean journey from Bridgetown in Barbados all the way to Fort Lauderdale via the verdant pitons of St Lucia, virgin beaches of Bequia, steamy rainforests of Guadeloupe and hidden coves of St Thomas, you’ll head to markets fragrant with nutmeg and cinnamon and be treated to cooking demos from local chefs. Expect plenty of just-caught seafood, rum-spiked cake, deep, rich chocolate and goat curries swimming in firecracking spices. 

Don't miss: A piña colada in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the birthplace of this classic cocktail. 
How to do it: Silversea offers the 10-day Bridgetown to Fort Lauderdale cruise from £5,100 per person including flights.

Piña colada is a cocktail of white rum, pineapple juice and coconut cream originally from Puerto ...

Piña colada is a cocktail of white rum, pineapple juice and coconut cream originally from Puerto Rico, one of the destinations on the Silversea itinerary.

Photograph by Alamy

Scallops and plantain: Rainforest Cruises

Thanks to a collective of ambitious chefs taking the essence of incredible native ingredients, Peruvian gastronomy has sure made a mark on the world stage. And it’s this dedication to local ingredients that comes into focus during this cruise, with cooking directed by chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino of Lima’s acclaimed restaurants Malabar and Amaz. Combining Peru’s original and regional flavours with the traditions of Amazonian cooking and sustainable produce, his dishes refuel hungry guests on the Aria Amazon who spend their days gazing over the river for pink dolphins, kayaking down glassy waterways, visiting local markets and fishing for piranhas.

Don’t miss: Schiaffino’s exceptionally executed dishes include scallops with wild almonds and umari fruit, plantain and yucca gnocchi, and hearts of palm souffle.
How to do it: Rainforest Cruises offers itineraries from $3,615 (£3,210) per person.

 A dish aboard the Aria Amazon; sailing the Peruvian rainforest with the Aria Amazon.

 A dish aboard the Aria Amazon; sailing the Peruvian rainforest with the Aria Amazon.

Photograph by Aria Amazon

Wine and pastries: Emerald Cruises

Meandering from the Romanian capital of Bucharest all the way to Budapest, this nine-day journey ticks off five countries — Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary — as it pootles down the Danube. On the way, you’ll stop by the vineyards of Vidin that stretch towards the bank of the river for a taste of the region’s acclaimed wine, and, later, there’s the option of learning the art of Bulgarian pastry-making. On board, the kitchen team has forged close relationships with local suppliers they’ll pass on route, giving you an authentic taste of dishes along the Danube.

Don’t miss: In the Croatian town of Osijek, guests can sit with a local family for a classic homespun meal. 
How to do it: Emerald Cruises offers the nine-day Enchantment of Eastern Europe from £3,990 per couple 
for a 23 April 2023 departure. 

Champagne and macaroons: Uniworld

Flowing from the Pyrenees, the Garonne traverses through the Bordeaux region, where this all-frills cruise idles. In among cycling through Bordeaux’s streets, wallowing in the ship’s infinity pool, and exploring the gothic Cathédrale Saint-André, guests are dropped at Saint-Émilion, where they can pick up chewy, almondy macaroons and wine made from the vines striping the region. There’s more wine tasting in the cellars of the Grand Cru estate and over in Cadillac, where a local producer of the region’s famed Sauternes dessert wine will guide you through a sip or three. All this, plus views of the pretty Gironde and Dordogne, rummaging through farmer’s markets, nightcaps of Champagne and onboard menus offering the region’s best food and wine.

Don’t miss: A wine-pairing lunch at Château de Cazeneuve.
How to do it: Uniworld River Cruises offers an eight-day trip from £2,245 per person with flights.

Published in the Cruise 2023 guide, distributed with the Jan/Feb 2023 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Follow us on social media  

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram 


Explore Nat Geo

  • Animals
  • Environment
  • History & Culture
  • Science
  • Travel
  • Photography
  • Space
  • Adventure
  • Video

About us


  • Magazines
  • Disney+

Follow us

Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society. Copyright © 2015-2023 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved