If you are a foodie or just love to eat, Holland America Line has a culinary cruise for you. A celebrity chef from the line’s Culinary Council will share their expertise in a variety of events during each cruise in its new culinary cruise series.
“Holland America Line’s culinary program is guided by some of the world’s foremost talents, and no other cruise line has this level of experience from such a team of experts,” said Michael Stendebach, the cruise line’s vice president of food, beverage, and guest services, in a statement. “It’s not every day you learn a recipe directly from the famous chef who created it and hear their secrets to success in the kitchen. We have been eager to re-engage our talented Culinary Council chefs to come back on board and offer guests this exclusive level of access.”
Each culinary cruise will include a cooking demonstration led by a celebrity chef and open to all guests. The chef will demonstrate techniques and recipes unique to their areas of expertise. Guests will receive recipes to take home with them. The cruise signature dishes curated by the chef will be noted on restaurant menus. The highlight of the cruise will be an intimate reservation-only dinner at a premium restaurant led by the Culinary Council chef. These special dinners are available for guests to pre-book for their respective cruises. Prices vary based on the chef and menu, ranging between $54-$89 plus service charges.
Note: The Alaska Cruise I took on the Holland America Westerdam was a hosted press trip.
Zaandam, 9-Day Atlantic Coast, October 1–10, 2022
The Zaandam 9-day Atlantic Coast cruise from October 1–10, 2022 will take guests from Montreal, Quebec, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Featured chef Jacques Torres is a French-trained master chef and artisan chocolatier. Expect to learn how to work with chocolate. Torres guides the chocolate desserts on board and the Chocolate Surprise Dessert Parade. He served as an executive pastry chef at New York City’s famed Le Cirque. He is a James Beard Award winner and opened a chocolate factory and stores in New York. You can also enjoy seeing him as a head judge on the Netflix culinary show, Nailed It with Nicole Byer.
Koningsdam, 7-Day Mexican Riviera, November 2019, 2022
Guests aboard the Koningsdam, 7-day Mexican Riviera, November 12–19, 2022 roundtrip from San Diego, California will delight with Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, Holland America Line’s Culinary Council chairman. He oversees all aspects of shipboard dining. Newer ships have Rudi’s Sel de Mer, his namesake French seafood brasserie. On other ships without the restaurant, there is a Rudi’s night in the Pinnacle Grill. His latest work is an art table book, Food Faces, which features more than 150 images of edible creations.
Nieuw Amsterdam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, December 4–11, 2022
The Nieuw Amsterdam, 7-day Eastern Caribbean, December 4–11, 2022 is roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. Chef David Burke has been featured on Iron Chef America and Top Chef Masters. Burke enhanced the Pinnacle Grill’s (a premium restaurant on the line’s ships) menu with contemporary flavors and signature recipes. Burke’s #FeedTheHeroes program cooked and delivered 100,000 meals to frontline workers and charities during the pandemic. He recently opened five new restaurants, including Orchard Park by David Burke.
Nieuw Statendam, 10-Day Southern Caribbean Seafarer, December 17–27, 2022
Over the holidays, the Nieuw Statendam, 10-day Southern Caribbean Seafarer, December 17-27, 2022 will host Chef Andy Matsuda. He was born in Japan and is a master of sushi. He leads the sushi options at Tamarind, Nami Sushi, and the Lido Market. He teaches aspiring chefs and other professionals about sushi and Japanese cuisine at Matsuda’s Sushi Chef Institute in Los Angeles, California. He is a leader in sushi techniques and trends.
The Holland America Line’s Port To Table Program
If you want to enjoy culinary experiences but the culinary cruises don’t work out for your time frame, check out the Port to Table program. Activities vary by ship and itinerary. You can experience local flavors during a food and wine tasting and learn things such as what wine pairs with what fruit. Attend a cooking demonstration and leave with a recipe you can try at home. There are also dining experiences such as a lavish feast featuring the cuisine of Western Australia.
On my recent cruise to Alaska, the Westerdam offered a seafood boil served in individual pots with a variety of fresh Alaska seafood. It was such a fun event. The servers dressed up in Alaska lumberjack attire and presented each covered pot with a flourish. The tops were whisked off in unison with steam wafting into the air. We just happened to see it on a sign with other dining information. While on the ship, read your daily activity sheet and other information left in your cabin so you don’t miss out on anything.
Each cruise itinerary features regional recipes created by the Culinary Council on all menus. Port to Table menu items for Mexico include crackling pork ceviche, shrimp aguachile, camaron (shrimp) quesadillas, Mexican adobo style lamb shank, catfish escabeche, birria lamb, blackened tuna Oaxaca style, and much more. Port to Table menu items for Australia and South Pacific include spiced pork belly with pineapple salsa; braised lamb shoulder gremolata, pan-fried Murray cod with couscous, Australian flathead with panko parmesan crust, lamb shank, tuna nikkei, salmon corn chowder, etc. So many tasty options. I think food and drink are such a great way to experience the culture of a country.
Culinary experiences are not limited to the ship. There are a variety of shore excursions that offer culinary experiences. Guest chefs lead tours exploring the local cuisines while sharing their experiences. There are culinary excursions in partnership with Food & Wine Magazine, such as “A Taste of Peruvian Cuisine” or “Barbados Bites and Rum.” Try a Victoria Culinary Walk or the Alaska Cooking School at Tutka Bay.
All events are complimentary, excluding the specialty dinner aboard the culinary cruise. Each chef will be aboard their designated culinary cruises for four to ten days. For more information about Holland America Line, consult a travel advisor or visit their website.