Galley Superstars

Buzzy Burgers

Carnival cruisers find their bliss at Guy’s Burger Joint, a spirited roadside burger shack reimagined and brought to sea by Food Network personality Guy Fieri. Follow the poolside scent to score sizzling patties and golden hand-cut fries. Purists may prefer Plain Jane cheeseburgers; indulgers order the Pig Patty — a burger topped with a second “patty” of pure bacon — or the over-the-top Ringer, with Super Melty Cheese, Guy’s Bourbon and Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce, and crispy spicy onion ring (dubbed a “Rojo Ring” by the fun-forward chef).

Gallic Gastro

Revered worldwide by cooks both home and professional, legendary French chef Jacques Pépin reigns as Oceania Cruises’ Executive Culinary Director. He lends his distinctive culinary and artistic style to the line’s much-heralded Jacques restaurant. Modeled after a Parisian bistro, Jacques invokes warmth and intimacy, with heirloom antiques and gleaming wood. Dinner begins with an amuse-bouche, a Provençal tartlet. Note the exquisite modern French plates, like jumbo bay scallop and watercress carpaccio, with green apple tartare and caramelized hazelnut. Classic food devotees praise garlicky escargot, Gruyère-crusted onion soup, and an impeccable Dover sole. I’m all about rotisserie specials, like France’s Espelette pepper and cider-brined Ibérico pork with oven-roasted Red Delicious apple. The wine list sings with singular French bubbly and Grand Cru Bordeaux. Meet the charming chef when he hosts his annual cruise on Marina, sailing between Copenhagen and Stockholm, departing August 29, 2021.

Zen Den

Crystal Cruises led the celeb chef at-sea pack upon announcing Nobu Matsuhisa a culinary partner way back in 2003. The superstar — now renowned globally for his Nobu restaurants and boutique hotel empire — creates the unparalleled Japanese-Peruvian fusion fare and sushi for Umi Uma & Sushi Bar on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. (He’ll also spearhead a Crystal Endeavor eatery for its 2021 debut.) Sip sake and treasure cutting-edge plates like monkfish liver pâté. Kelp salad redolent of lemon and soy, and cold soba noodles refresh; stir-fried lobster with truffle-yuzu sauce shouts indulgence. Best of all, the world-famous miso black cod tastes just as luscious as it does in Nobu restaurants ashore.

For Windstar’s Cuadro 44, Anthony Sasso delves deep into coastal Spanish cooking, including Andalusia and Jerez, regions influenced by North African spices.

Mad About Saffron

This year, Anthony Sasso’s adventurous eatery Cuadro 44 is set to debut on Windstar Cruises’ Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride. Not yet a household name, Sasso might become one with such inventive Spanish cooking. One of the youngest chefs recognized by the Michelin Guide, he’s traveled throughout Iberia and worked in several Catalàn kitchens. For Cuadro 44, he delves deep into coastal Spanish cooking, including Andalusia and Jerez, regions influenced by North African spices.

So many Cuadro 44 dishes — most presented tapas-style — speak to sophisticated diners. In Sasso’s hands, paella is rolled into ball-shaped croquettes, topped with nori-panko crust, and accented by saffron sofrito (Spanish tomato sauce made with green peppers) and chorizo aioli. Applause to an exclusive wine list paying homage to regional Spanish bottles. 

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Janice Wald Henderson is a Los Angeles–based food and travel journalist who writes regularly for Brides magazine and online for Epicurious and Gourmet Live. She is also the culinary editor for CruiseMates, the author of two cookbooks, and has appeared in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Cooking Light, German Vogue, and both the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times syndicates.