Tasty Culinary Cruises: What’s the Latest for Foodies?

What's new for tasty culinary cruises? Paul Gauguin has guest culinary expert sailing this year, along with regular shipboard chefs, shown above. Photo by Paul Gauguin Cruises.

For foodies, there’s much new in the way of tasty culinary cruises. The Meandering Traveler has gathered savory culinary news tidbits for 2024. So, come along and get hungry just thinking about the delicious tastes!

(Photo above shows chefs serving up savory cuisine aboard the Paul Gauguin. Photo by Paul Gauguin Cruises.)

1. Tasty Culinary Cruises: Explora Journeys and Chef Le Tohic

Explora Journeys, the new luxury lifestyle ocean brand, has a new gastronomic partnership with Chef Claude Le Tohic. He’s famed as the chef-partner at O’ by Claude Le Tohic in San Francisco. It serves fine, modern French cuisine.

Previously, he served as a chef at the three-Michelin-starred Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV. But the chef’s culinary journey actually began in northern France. There, he honed his skills at such notable restaurants as Jamin, Chef Robuchon’s first three-Michelin-star restaurant in Paris.

What’s special about the new partnership for luxury ocean cruisers? To date, Chef Le Tohic is the third chef tapped to provide a curated tasting menu for the Explora Journeys’ Anthology culinary experience.

Curated Tasting Menu in Anthology

Guests can experience his tasting menu on Explora I’s voyages between March 2024 and June 2024. During that time, the ship will sail voyages along North American and Central American coastlines before heading to the Mediterranean.

Along the way, if dining in Anthology, guests might savor “Cannelloni of Scallop” with black truffles, Parmesan foam and pastoral salad, or the chef’s signature A5 Japanese Wagyu vegetables bouquet with black garlic condiment.

If you're seeking tasty culinary cruises, it's good to know that famed Chef Claude Le Tohic, at left, has created a new curated tasting menu for Explora I's Anthology. Photo by Explora Journeys.
(Chef Claude Le Tohic (left) has curated a new tasting menu for Explora I’s Anthology experience. Photo by Explora Journeys.)

Yes, a Fee, but a One-of-a-Kind Experience

Combining culinary discovery and enrichment, Anthology isn’t just specialty dining. It’s a seven-course, culinary and fine-wine-pairing experience. Thus, it’s not part of Explora Journeys’ otherwise inclusive culinary offering (covering 10 different dining options within the cruise fare).

Instead, the experience fee is $210 per person for the gourmet tasting menu, plus $82 per person for the fine wine pairings. Nonalcoholic options are also available.

Reservations are a must! But foodies can certainly look forward to an elevated, unique culinary experience — one that blends innovative culinary methods with time-honored recipes.

Curious? Well, here’s a bit more about the tasting menu developed by Chef Le Tohic and Explora Journeys’ Chef Franck Garanger.

  • Beetroot and Buckwheat Canelé – red cabbage gazpacho, charcoal-roasted beet marmalade, fresh herbs.
  • Caviar Composition – hamachi tartare, radish, aigrelette sauce, Maine lobster, sweet and sour turnip.
  • Cannelloni of Scallop – extravagance of black truffles, Parmesan foam, pastoral salad.
  • Barbecued Langoustine – braised fennel, sea urchin rouille, lemongrass broth.
  • Roasted Black Cod – five spices, spinach and verjus sauce, makrut lime emulsion.

Then guests also select one of these three main course choices.

  • Farm-raised Chicken Breast – duck foie gras, morels, Swiss chard and natural jus.
  • A5 Japanese Wagyu – vegetables bouquet, black garlic condiment.
  • Vegetables Bouquet au Jus – mushroom ravioli, butternut, black garlic vegetable extraction.

Plus, the tasting menu continues…

  • Citrus – silky lemon cream, grapefruit compote, mandarin sorbet.
  • Selection of Mignardises and Mini Desserts.


For more about Explora Journeys, visit this website page. To consider a voyage this spring that includes the opportunity for this culinary experience, talk with your personal travel planner today. Or, use the agency contact information at the end of this blog for assistance.

2. Crystal’s New Beefbar Partnership

Today, Crystal announced a new partnership with world-renowned restaurant, Beefbar. The luxury cruise line will be the first cruise line to offer the Beefbar concept at sea when it debuts this summer.

Created in Monte Carlo, Monaco, Beefbar is the brainchild of visionary restaurateur Riccardo Giraudi. Today, Beefbar offers more than 20 locations around the world in such cities as Mykonos, Greece; Paris, France; Milan, Italy; Gustavia, St. Barthelemy; Hong Kong, China; and others.

Debuting this spring in the U.S., it will open its first location in New York City. Known for its exquisite selection of prime cuts and innovative culinary creations, Beefbar is expected to complement Crystal’s dedication to dining excellence.

The revitalized Crystal Serenity just set sail this week in the Mediterranean. Photo by Crystal.
(The revitalized Crystal Serenity, now owned by A&K Group, will soon have a new Beefbar location on board. Photo by Crystal.)

“We’re thrilled to embark on this culinary journey with Beefbar,” says Cristina Levis, CEO of A&K Travel Group, “As the first cruise line to offer Beefbar exclusively, we are bringing an extraordinary dining experience to our guests, aligning our brands with a shared commitment to excellence.”

She added that “Riccardo is a visionary and a friend. It is with this vision and values that Crystal is dedicated to once again elevating the standards of culinary excellence.”

Crystal’s guests can anticipate a Beefbar menu during both lunch and dinner service. Beyond beef, guests will also discover vegetarian and vegan options as well as specialty cocktails.

Good to know? Signature dishes of the ship’s onboard Tastes will continue to be served at Beefbar too. Crystal says more details about the Beefbar menu will be announced soon.

For information on Crystal, visit this website page.  Also, be sure to check out Pavlus Travel’s resources at the end of this story.

3. Tasty Culinary Cruises: Atlas’ Epicurean Expeditions

Small-ship, oceangoing Atlas Ocean Voyages has rolled out a notable lineup of chefs and culinary experts. They’ll both sail and host culinary or wine programming during Atlas’ 2024 “Epicurean Expeditions” in the Mediterranean.

Fewer than 200 guests sail aboard all Atlas ships. So, it’s an intimate ambience. On an “Epicurean Expedition,” guests also are deeply immersed in the sailing region’s culture, cuisine, and wines. On board and ashore, chefs and sommeliers will host culinary demonstrations or wine tastings.

Accompanied by local guides, guests will also explore fresh farmers’ markets ashore and sample regional cuisine.

Atlas Ocean Voyages will soon launch World Traveller, a sister to World Navigator shown above. Photo by Susan J. Young.
(World Navigator is among the Atlas Ocean Voyages’ ships operating “Epicurean Experiences” in the Mediterranean. Photo by Susan J. Young.)

While aboard their ship, Atlas guests also will experience the Josper Grill Dining Experience at 7Aft Grill and the Yachtsman Cookoff challenge. On select expeditions, a “Tastes and Traditions Expert” will share additional insights about the region’s culinary heritage.

New Culinary Experts Aboard 

Chef Philip “Ippy” Aiona will sail on World Traveller’s May 27, 2024 (Nice, France, to Venice, Italy), and June 5, 2024 (Venice to Athens, Greece), voyages. Chef Aiona hails from “The Big Island” of Hawaii. His fusion cuisine is deeply rooted in his heritage — both Italian American and native Hawaiian.

Also new to Atlas, Julieta Davey, an expert chocolate crafter known as Mama Cacao, will sail on four “Epicurean Expeditions.” They include World Navigator‘s April 28, 2024 cruise, World Traveller‘s May 13, 2024. voyage, and World Voyager‘s October 2 and October 12, 2024, cruises.

Returning Experts for Tasty Culinary Cruises

Back again for eight 2024 Atlas Ocean Voyages sailings is Mara Papatheodorou, a “master foodie.” She’ll sail on these 2024 World Traveller voyages: May 27, June 5, June 14, June 24, July 1, July 24, September 16, and September 23.

Canadian celebrity chef Massimo Capra will serve up tastes of authentic Italian cuisine during World Navigator’s May 7, 2024, voyage and World Traveller‘s September 1, and September 9, 2024, cruises.

Here’s more detail from Atlas Ocean Voyages about these “Epicurean Expeditions” guest chefs or vintners. Under the subhead of Gastronomic Guests, just click for more detail and then you can pull up the chefs’ bios.

As for cruise fares, they vary, depending on the voyage and accommodations selected. So, consult with a personal travel planner.  For example, pricing for the Papatheodorou-hosted voyage from Rome, Italy, to Athens, Greece on July 24, 2024, starts at $4,399 per person, double occupancy. That includes a promotion in place at press time.

4. Tasty Culinary Cruises: Ahoy Tahiti!

Paul Gauguin Cruises will welcome two renowned food and wine experts — Chef Tom Wong, a Hawaiian cuisine expert, and Certified Sommelier Charlie Plummer –for a 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus voyage, departing December 11, 2024.

Sailing on the 330-passenger Paul Gauguin, they’ll work alongside the ship’s team to offer tasting and culinary demonstrations, mixology workshops, wine seminars and more. This “Food and Wine Culinary Cruise” will also feature signature dishes and cocktails.

Best of all, there’s no added charge for guests. “Beyond its legendary lagoons, Tahiti is paradise for foodies and The Gauguin’s culinary mission is to serve the freshest, most authentic cuisine in the islands,” says Paul Ellis, the ship’s executive chef.

Paul Gauguin Cruises sails to exotic South Pacific isles and has just unveiled its 2025 itineraries. Photo by Paul Gauguin Cruises.
(Paul Gauguin Cruises will welcome Chef Tom Wong and Charlie Plummer, a certified sommelier, as guest culinary/wine experts during one French Polynesia cruise. Photo by Paul Gauguin Cruises.)

Tasty Culinary Cruises: Food & Wine Experts

Chef Wong, known for his Hawaiian cuisine expertise, has been profiled on the Discovery Channel’s “Great Chefs of Hawaii.” He’s also appeared on the Food Network’s “Cooking Across America,” CNN’s “On the Menu,” Weekend TODAY and more. He’s currently a professor at the Culinary Arts Institute of America.

With a warm and inviting demeanor, Plummer, a certified sommelier (Court of Master Sommeliers) and a certified specialist of wine (Society of Wine Educators), brings a wealth of knowledge to every interaction. He makes conversations about wine and cocktails both educational and enjoyable.

A Culinary Extravaganza Afloat

Sailing the South Pacific’s isles for more than 25 years, Paul Gauguin’s culinary experience includes everything from freshly picked fruits for guests to “fruits de mer” such as mahi mahi, moon fish, prawns and yellow fin tuna.

On board, guests will also taste and savor French-inspired delicacies including foie gras terrine, duck a l’orange, and Tahitian vanilla crème brulee. Three unique dining venues – plus 24-hour room service — await guests.

The 10-night “Society Islands & Tuamotusitinerary operates roundtrip from Papeete, Tahiti. Ports of call will include Huahine and Bora Bora, Society Islands; Rangiroa and Fakarava, Tuamotus; as well as Taha’a (the private islet, Motu Mahana) and Moorea (overnight), Society Islands.

All-inclusive fares for Paul Gauguin Cruises’ December 11, 2024, culinary-focused voyage start at $5,500 per person, double occupancy. For more information about Paul Gauguin Cruises, visit the line’s website.

Parting Thoughts

Much more is new on the culinary front too. For example, The Meandering Traveler previously covered Seabourn’s addition of a new Solis specialty dining venue. That’s already occurred on one ship with more to come by late spring.

Morimoto By Sea, Holland America Line’s newest specialty restaurant, has officially opened its doors aboard Nieuw Amsterdam. That eatery is the first stand-alone restaurant at sea by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.

Just recently too, Windstar Cruises’ Star Breeze replaced Wind Spirit year-round in Tahiti. For culinary buffs, one specialty dining experience on Star Breeze is Cuadro 44, a Spanish style, “small plates” restaurant by Chef Anthony Sasso, a celebrated guest chef at the James Beard House.

For questions about these and many other culinary-themed options, contact a professional travel advisor. Ask about any unadvertised specials, promotions or agency perks for consumers. Then after booking, you can relax and savor the anticipation of savory “bon appetit” moments on your upcoming ocean cruise.

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