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ilikeanswers

Which cruise lines are best for local cuisine?

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I have no preference for mainstream or not. I just want to know what all the options are.

Edited by ilikeanswers

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Very few - if any - of the larger ocean going lines are able to use local ingredients.  The ships are just too large and the supply chains too unsure.  You might be able to find a smaller line like Paul Gaugin who are able to source local ingredients.  But even then I suspect it would be minimal.

 

Otherwise you will find river cruises generally have local ingredients and will at least nod in the direction of local cuisine.  I've done Viking through Europe several times - I wouldn't call the cuisine local as such, but it was not entirely international.  And Hebridean Princess have a stunning reputation food wise.

 

Alternatively some lines do local food experience type tours - I know Celebrity does.  So you can go and do a local food tour even if you do have to get back to American / international food.

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19 hours ago, GastroGnome said:

Very few - if any - of the larger ocean going lines are able to use local ingredients.  The ships are just too large and the supply chains too unsure.  You might be able to find a smaller line like Paul Gaugin who are able to source local ingredients.  But even then I suspect it would be minimal.

 

Otherwise you will find river cruises generally have local ingredients and will at least nod in the direction of local cuisine.  I've done Viking through Europe several times - I wouldn't call the cuisine local as such, but it was not entirely international.  And Hebridean Princess have a stunning reputation food wise.

 

Alternatively some lines do local food experience type tours - I know Celebrity does.  So you can go and do a local food tour even if you do have to get back to American / international food.

 

I guess I never expected them to use local ingredients but I thought more cruises would make dishes associated with the regions they were travelling around. I was reading the thread about Indian curries served on cruises and I was thinking well for a Caribbean cruise a lot of the local food uses the same spices as Indian so if they have the ingredients it shouldn't be so hard to whip up a Caribbean dish🤔.

 

It is interesting there are no foodie cruises. I would have thought there would be a market for that.

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Too subjective I suspect.  One person's idea of a well prepared meal does not match another's.  Once you have an international clientele you also have an international range of views about how something should be prepared.  Your closest chance will be river cruising.  I've only ever done that in Europe but there is usually a locally inspired dish on the menus.

 

If you want an ocean going ship Celebrity have a partnership with a couple of chefs and do chef's tour excursions on suitable itineraries.  I've never done one - I am (to me) far too much a foodie to want a sterilized version or the opportunity to make my own cheese.  I head for local markets, eat at street food stalls etc.  But everyone approaches life - and food - in different ways.  It might suit you.  If you post on the Celebrity Forum someone will be able to give an opinion.  I also wonder about the very small very exclusive lines - you could look at their fora and see if anyone has posted menus.

 

The Indian food on the buffet in most cruise lines is very good - but that tends to reflect the ethnicity of the brigade rather than the itinerary of the ship!

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Thanks for the insights, looks like what I was looking for probably doesn't really exist. My first cruise was pretty good at providing a taste of local food (and not a sterilized version either) so I was hoping there were other lines that did something similar.

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Everyone wants local cuisine on a cruise.

Very few get it.

The US Public Health Service (USPH) claims jurisdiction over just about every cruise ship in the world.

They do not approve of protein items purchased locally.

Many North American passengers have a variety of food allergies / phobias / problems.

Local spices, sauces, condiments are rarely labeled in English - if at all - and pose a health threat to all those who have food issues.

In many countries, authentic local food is not very appealing to North Americans. They prefer the "Americanized" version.

 

On every ship I have managed over the past 38 years, everyone wanted local food  - until they tasted it onboard. The common complaints were: 1) It tasted better on shore; 2) It was far better at the restaurant in our home town in Florida / North Carolina / Montana.

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On 9/16/2019 at 5:24 AM, ilikeanswers said:

Thanks for the insights, looks like what I was looking for probably doesn't really exist. My first cruise was pretty good at providing a taste of local food (and not a sterilized version either) so I was hoping there were other lines that did something similar.

 

Carnival offers a "Port of Call" menu most evenings that highlights a drink, appetizer, and entree from a region.  Most of these though I think are somewhat "sterilized" versions to use your phrase.

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Most cruise lines stock the larder prior to sailing anywhere, so little, if any is "local".    Some of the very luxury lines may source ingredients in ports, but that's not common.

If you're looking for local meals, you may want to plan meals ashore in your desired ports.

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2 hours ago, cb at sea said:

Most cruise lines stock the larder prior to sailing anywhere, so little, if any is "local".    Some of the very luxury lines may source ingredients in ports, but that's not common.

If you're looking for local meals, you may want to plan meals ashore in your desired ports.

 

Just to be clear I was really asking if there were cruise lines that served local dishes. I understand that it is logistically difficult to source local ingredients but for most dishes the ingredients can be found anywhere, like my Caribbean example things like chilli, rice, chickpeas, cumin, chicken they are ingredients easily sourced in America. I'm ok with ingredients not being locally sourced my question was more to enquire if there were any cruise lines that maybe themed their food to the regions they travel in and perhaps showcased local recipes.

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In addition to the "Port of Call" menu on Carnival, you can also sometimes get roasted pigeon peas with seasoning or dried plantain chips in the Red Frog Pub as complimentary pub snacks.  I'm not sure about pigeon peas being local (they were tasty though 🙂 ) but plantains are definitely a staple in some Caribbean/Atlantic Island cultures.

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I would love to find a cruise line that did this as well. I think the excuses of not being able to buy the local produce and other passengers might not like it to be silly. First of all, like the previous poster stated, these items can be purchased in the US or Europe (as well as other areas) without issue- the cruise line knows which ports they will hit ahead of time so would have a menu planned ahead. Second, nobody is suggesting that all the dishes be in the local ethnic style, but a couple of dishes per night in the main dining areas would be nice. It seems to me when they do actually try to make ethnic food that it  is sterilized to the point that it no longer tastes right and that is why people don't like it, and if in general some people don't like ethnic food then they can order the regular dishes on the menu. It is nice that Carnival seems to have some local dishes, however now that my child is grown I will not go back to a Carnival cruise. 

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We are planning a Southern Caribbean cruise next year on Viking Ocean.  They have some traditional Nordic dishes in addition to "American" fare.  They also list an option where you can go shopping at local markets with a chef and prepare the food onboard (combination excursion and specialty dining experience).  

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I just discovered this board!  Why not go ashore and have local food for lunch?  That's what we'll be doing.

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8 hours ago, clo said:

I just discovered this board!  Why not go ashore and have local food for lunch?  That's what we'll be doing.

 

It is a little sad that is that is the only option if you want to cruise and enjoy local cuisines. I was asking the question in the hope there was a cruise line where you could have the option to eat local food for other meals like breakfast and dinner. I did assume that it was probably unlikely but I thought I would put the question out there in case there was something I had not heard about. 

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10 hours ago, ilikeanswers said:

 

It is a little sad that is that is the only option if you want to cruise and enjoy local cuisines. I was asking the question in the hope there was a cruise line where you could have the option to eat local food for other meals like breakfast and dinner. I did assume that it was probably unlikely but I thought I would put the question out there in case there was something I had not heard about. 

From what I see/read here and elsewhere I find the general population is almost completely unadventuresome about food.  We live in Reno now where the food is improving constantly these days.  We no longer EVER have to eat at chain restaurants but their parking lots are packed.  I think cruise lines don't do it because it wouldn't be popular.  IMneverHO.

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On 10/29/2019 at 3:08 AM, clo said:

From what I see/read here and elsewhere I find the general population is almost completely unadventuresome about food. 

 

You're right it is probably all about the customer base. I noticed there was a lot of food focused land tours so I was thinking maybe something similar might exist in cruises but I have noticed most cruisers like a taste of home and it wouldn't do cruise lines any favours if they didn't satisfy their customers😉.

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