Cruise Specialty Restaurants Worth the Splurge

Qsine

Dining aboard a cruise ship doesn’t have to be confined to the buffet and main dining rooms. With specialty restaurants on nearly every ship, you can enjoy the gourmet foods of both original restaurants and extensions of already popular brands. Most of these specialty dining venues are not included and will require extra payment, but they are most definitely worth it. For unique, delicious feasts that will surely satisfy, you won’t want to pass up these restaurants at sea.

150 Central Perk

Found on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas & Oasis of the Seas

James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz brings his culinary masterwork aboard the world’s two largest cruise ships for an exceptional experience at 150 Central Park. You’ll want to book early for this restaurant set within the ships’ interior courtyard/park area that features a seasonal menu of local ingredients as a five- or six- course tasting menu, which you can also pair with a wine tasting. ($40 per person)

Crown Grill

Found on Princess Cruises’ entire fleet

Crown Grill is the perfect upscale steakhouse and an experience meat-lovers should not miss. With dry-aged cuts including New York strip, filet mignon, and porterhouse, with classic sides like garlic-and-herb fries and sautéed wild mushrooms, this hearty, culinary experience won’t leave you hungry. (Complimentary for suite guests, $25 per person for others)

Pinnacle Grill

Found on Holland America Line’s entire fleet

This classic steakhouse with a white-jacketed staff is an intimate and elegant venue that will take you away from the hustle and bustle you often find in cruise ship dining. Décor varies by ship, but you’ll still find the connecting details like Riedel stemware and Bulgaria china on every ship that makes this four-course meal special. ($25 per person)

Le Cirque

Found on Holland America Line’s entire fleet

As a staple in New York City since 1974, Le Cirque brings its signature ambiance to the seas. It’s contemporary French cuisine can be found throughout the entire fleet, where whimsical flourishes and playful china make dining at Le Cirque quite the experience. the rotating menu includes lamb and seared sea bass, as well as their signature dishes like Lobster Salad Le Cirque and their famous Crème Brûlée Le Cirque. ($49 per person)

Qsine

Found on Celebrity Cruises’ Millennium, Infinity, Summit, Eclipse, Silhouette & Reflection

Qsine was designed to engage all the senses. As soon as you place your order on the iPad Menu, you’ll be treated to an interactive dining experience. The “culinary tour guides” will take you along your culinary journey and will advise on the “plate pleasures” and portions. This tapas restaurant brings whimsy, surprise, and pleasure to the plate. The menu is fun and eclectic; the crunch in your sushi isn’t tempura, it’s Doritos, and you’ll enjoy the DIY aspect of mashing your own guacamole and decorating your own cupcake. ($40 per person for unlimited tapas)

Jaimie’s Italian

Found on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas & Anthem of the Seas

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver takes to the seas onboard Royal Caribbean’s newest shops, the Quantum of the Seas and the Anthem of the Seas. As an addition to his already popular chain around the world, Jaimie’s Italian offers fresh Italian food in a bright and playful setting. With daily-made pasta like truffle tagliatelle and baked lasagna, as well as Italian seasoned chicken wings, Jaimie’s brings the classics you love with you on your cruise. ($30 per person)

Aqualina

Found on Azamara Club Cruises’ Quest & Journey

As one of the ships’ two specialty restaurants, Aqualina does not disappoint. This three-course meal at Aqualina is inspired by Italian cuisine and offers all the favorites, including chef-crafted pasta of the day, lobster ravioli, and a venetian seafood platter. The low-key experience and attentive service is just what you would expect from Azamara’s ships and smaller cruises. (Complimentary for suite guests, $25 per person for others.)

Bayamo by Jose Garces

Found on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Escape

Along with Norwegian Cruise Line’s highly anticipated new ship, the Norwegian Escape, comes Iron Chef Jose Garces’ Bayamo. With this new adventurous cruise getaway comes adventurous dining, and Bayamo will not disappoint. These Latin dishes with a Cuban influence that include fresh fish and vegetarian dishes, like black cod with squid-ink glaze and roasted eggplant with a saffron emulsion. The restaurant extends out onto a waterfront deck that will take this dining experience to another level. (à la carte menu pricing)

Todd English Restaurant

Cunard Line’s Queen Mary II

Onboard the luxury liner Queen Mary II, this cozy restaurant with tables for two is perfect for a romantic night. Todd English Restaurant brings the signature mix of Italian and Mediterranean flavors to the high seas with a three-course meal that includes dishes like crispy duck with a ginger sesame glaze, rack of lamb, and seared jumbo sea scallops. ($25 per person)

Le Champagne

Found on Silversea’s Spirit, Cloud, Wind, Shadow & Whisper

When you’re onboard a smaller cruise ship, especially a luxury ship where the rates are all inclusive, a specialty restaurant that costs extra should make you take note. With extremely limited seating, you’ll want to make reservations to the only Relais & Chateaux restaurant at sea as soon as you book your trip. The menu changes based on ports of call, so you’ll be sure to experience the local, seasonal cuisine of your destinations, making your trip just that much more special. ($40 per person)

Silk Road and the Sushi Bar

Crystal Cruises’ Symphony and Serenity

The world-renowned master chef known as Nobu, brings his blended menu of Japanese, Peruvian, and European dishes to Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa personally trained all the cheats onboard, and it shows. Popular dishes include his lobster with truffle-yuzu sauce and the Nobu Box, a sampler of his famous beef, cod, and rock shrimp dishes. And for lover of sushi and sashimi, the sushi bar can’t be missed. (The first reservation is complimentary and can be booked pre-cruise, additional reservations are $30 per person, based on availability and must be made onboard)

Remy

Disney Cruise Lines’ Dream and Fantasy

Despite its namesake after the popular movie Ratatouille, you won’t find any lovable, furry chef’s here. Remy was created by Arnaud Lallement, the French chef best known for his restaurant l’Assiette Champenoise in northern France. This adults-only restaurant takes its food very seriously, with favorites like scallops and kobe-style beef, along with — of course — a very savory ratatouille. ($85 per person)

Murano

Celebrity Cruises’ Eclipse, Solstice, Silhouette, Equinox & Reflection

Murano brings sophistication and fun to the table. Order one of the two favorites — Lobster Murano or the chateaubriand — and you’ll be trusted to a table side presentation on flame trolleys that showcase the fast and fiery preparation of you meal. You can also choose to go with their unique Five Senses Menu, a six-course meal that plays to all five of your senses through color, texture, and most importantly, exquisite flavors. ($50 per person, $89 for the Five Senses Menu)

Moderno Churrascaria

Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Epic, Dawn, Jade, Sun, Gem, Jewel, Star, Pearl, Breakaway, Getaway & Pride of America

This dimly-lit Brazilian steakhouse is a carnivore’s dream. Flip your marker to green/go and waiters will swoop in with skewers of meat. This popular steakhouse can be found on several of Norwegian’s ships, but you’ll soon be able to dine at Moderno fleetwide. ($20 all-you-can-eat)