Foodies Ashore

A Windstar Cruises chef guides guests through a local market and discusses regional cuisine.Agents know “the destination” rules when their clients decide to book a cruise. But what if your clients are culinary fans? What savory experiences will they find ashore? Here’s a sampling.

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Shopping with the Chef: Foodies love fresh seafood just off the boat, and veggies harvested the same day from a local farm. Many small-ship lines offer “Shopping with the Chef” programs in local markets for guests. Typically, they last an hour, are complimentary and require advance sign-up. Here are a few.

In Kotor, Montenegro, a Windstar Cruises chef will guide guests through a local market and talk about culinary specialties and regional cooking techniques. On a Seabourn Cruise Line “Shopping with the Chef” outing, the chef might pick out fresh branzini or Mediterranean sea bass, while guests enjoy wine and cheese samples from local vendors. Guests head back onboard to enjoy a meal prepared with the market items.  


A Windstar Cruises chef guides guests through a local market and discusses regional cuisine.


Culinary Shore Excursions: Cruise lines also offer more robust shore excursions with a culinary flair. Silversea Cruises offers a Moroccan cooking class on an Agadir port call at $199 per person, and an Akaroa Cooking School class in New Zealand at $299 per person.

Foodies might book special “Culinary Discovery Tours” on Oceania Cruises’ Marina and Riviera. During an Amalfi, Italy, port call by Riviera on April 21, 2014, the “Ravello Lunch and Amalfi Chocolate Demo” includes a Ravello tour, Italian lunch, free time in Amalfi, a hand-crafted chocolates demonstration, tasting at a family-owned pasticceria and a glass of limoncello. Cost is $385 per person, but much less with the line’s “Collection” package options.

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Costa Cruises offers cooking class excursions in Indonesia and Thailand. In Barcelona, Spain, its “Premium Gourmet Experience” includes sightseeing on a motorcoach equipped with iPads plus a gourmet dining experience by Chef Carles Gaig, winner of a Michelin star. Cost is approximately $215.  

If clients desire to cook Mexican, but haven’t a clue how, Royal Caribbean International’s “Mexican Cuisine Workshop” in Cozumel is $84 per person; it includes expert instruction by a chef and an equipped work station for hands-on learning. Across the globe, Royal Caribbean will take seafood buffs to the Barilla Bay Oyster Farm, Hobart, Tasmania, for succulent oysters, wine tasting and a tour; cost is $89.

During a Crystal Cruises’ port call in Casablanca, Morocco, guests might prepare traditional lamb with plums and honey while sipping orange juice in orange flower water; excursion cost is $160 per person. In Valencia, Spain, Windstar’s guests might book “Splendors of Southern Spain-The Origins of Paella” for a market visit, paella lesson and tastings at $199 per person.

Regent Seven Seas’ typically offers a “Taste of Goa” tour that explores India’s regional culinary wonders and Goa’s blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures. The day-long tour (at no extra charge to guests) includes city sightseeing, a spice farm visit, tea sampling and a traditional Goanese lunch. 

Hosted Events Ashore: Upscale lines may also offer special hosted events ashore that have a culinary element. Azamara Club Cruises’ “AzAmazing Evenings” are private, exclusive regional events ashore that give guests a taste of local culture, arts, music and regional cuisine/drinks.

And for beach lovers, SeaDream Yacht Club’s complimentary “Signature Champagne & Caviar Splash” awaits on Caribbean, Costa Rican and Asian voyages. Guests sip champagne, wade into the surf to sample premium caviar from a linen-clad surfboard and enjoy a beach barbecue.