No matter whether you’re into cruises or not, if you’re a fan of Top Chef you have to admit that taking a Celebrity Cruise to Bermuda with a few “cheftestants” as a part of their Top Chef at Sea program is pretty darn cool. We had the opportunity to ride along on the cruise that sailed from New York to Bermuda, and got to hang out with the three guests of honor, Spike Mendelsohn, Angelo Sosa, and Ash Fulk, as well as attend their demos, cooking classes, and Quickfire challenges. Being able to not only hang out with the chefs but also experience all of the dining options on board the Celebrity Summit convinced us that if you love food, Celebrity should be your top pick.
Top Chef events were incorporated into each day’s schedule, and ranged from free “Quickfire”-style challenges and cooking demos in the main theater to à la carte cooking classes in the galley and special group meals. While we made sure to attend as many demos and classes as possible, we also had the opportunity to check out some additional onboard experiences, like restaurants Qsine (where the dishes are super-whimsical and the menus are iPads), Blu (the “spa cuisine” restaurant only open to AquaClass passengers), and the Normandie (a fine-dining restaurant with wood paneling, artwork, and other features reclaimed from the old luxury liner The Normandie), as well as a private galley tour.
Hosting Top Chef-themed cruises is just one way that Celebrity gears its cruises toward food-lovers. If you love food, here are some reasons why Celebrity Cruises just might be the best option for you.
They Focus on the Food
Whereas most other cruise lines will hype up, say, on-board pools or athletic opportunities, Celebrity has made a concerted effort to really elevate what we think of when we think of cruise ship dining, with a wide selection of dining options, experimental dining at Qsine, and several nods to the golden age of cruise ship dining. But that doesn't mean they slack off in other departments; their spas are top-notch.
Qsine is More Fun Than You’d Imagine
iPads instead of menus might not sound too exciting unto itself, but in reality the meal was one of the most exciting culinary experiences we had in a long time. The wait staff kept us in stitches, and the dishes, which span the entire globe and are meant for sharing (think sushi lollipops, lobster and escargot fritters, baby back spring rolls, and a Middle Eastern platter), are whimsically plated, incredibly creative, and a whole lot of fun. Make sure to book your table four days prior to your sailing.
They Offer Specialty Dining Packages and Beverage Packages
If you want to check out some of the restaurants, consider a Specialty Dining Package, which will allow you to experience several of the ship’s restaurants with great savings at pre-cruise prices. Whereas most cruise lines only include food packages, Celebrity offers packages for everything from wines by the bottle and top-shelf spirits to a stateroom bar setup and wine seminars.
They Channel the Golden Age of Luxury Liners, Literally
Fine-dining restaurants on board some of their ships evoke the golden age of sea travel in more ways than one. à la carte or prix-fixe menus are presented in a white-tablecloth setting in gorgeous dining rooms, and here’s the kicker: wall paneling and ornamentation are taken from some of the most legendary ocean liners. The walls of the Normandie Restaurant aboard the Summit are taken from the 1935 SS Normandie, paneling in the Millennium’s Olympic Restaurant was taken from Titanic sister ship the Olympic, glass panels from the SS United States ornament a dining room onboard the Infinity, and aboard the Constellation the Ocean Liners Restaurant evokes the luxury dining rooms of a bygone era.
Top Chef Events are Still Going Strong
Even if you weren’t able to participate in a Top Chef at Sea cruise, Quickfire Challenges and Top Chef-themed menu nights will be available on ships departing until June 2015.
For more information, call 800-437-3111 or visit celebritycruises.com.