Celebrity Chefs Bring Their Cuisine to Cruise Ships

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With seafaring foodies seeking more gastronomic sophistication than the humdrum buffets of yore, cruise lines have increasingly turned to a winning recipe for palate-pleasing success: The celebrity chef-helmed restaurant. In a culinary cruise trend that shows no sign of losing steam, smart cruise lines are vying to outfit their ships with the biggest and best names on the culinary scene, plucking top chefs out from behind popular TV cooking shows, best-selling cookbooks and hot-reservation eateries back on land. All that and a poolside cocktail, too? Here's where to sign up.

Thomas Keller on Seabourn Cruise Line

Lauded American chef-restaurateur Thomas Keller -- behind Michelin-starred eateries The French Laundry and Per Se -- partnered up with luxe line Seabourn in 2015. Crafting sophisticated French-American dishes that appear on menus spanning multiple Seabourn dining venues, Keller also runs a signature American Chophouse restaurant, The Grill by Thomas Keller -- styled by interior designer Adam D. Tihany -- on three of the line's four ships. At The Grill, expect steakhouse favorites like Lobster Thermidor, paired with a wine list personally curated by Chef Keller.

Jacques Pépin on Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises claims "the finest cuisine at sea," a title that's tough to contest, given the upscale line's partnership with chef Jacques Pépin (cookbook author, TV personality, and one-time personal chef to French president Charles de Gaulle), who's served as Oceania's executive culinary director since the company's inception.

His culinary creations enliven the main dining room menus across the line's six-ship fleet, but on the Sirena, guests can also sample Jacques Bistro, which transforms the main dining venue into a French-styled lunchtime eatery, featuring Pépin's family recipes.

Riviera and Marina, meanwhile, tout a dedicated namesake Parisian bistro-inspired restaurant, Jacques, boasting standout entrées like crispy duck à l'orange and bouillabaisse. Bonus: the French chef personally hosts a culinary-themed European voyage once a year.

Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa on Crystal Cruises

Japanese celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa has, for more than a decade now, made a culinary home-at-sea aboard the two plush ocean-going vessels of Crystal Cruises. Innovative Japanese creations, oozing Peruvian and European fusion flavors, are executed by Nobu-trained chefs aboard the fleet's specialty restaurants Silk Road and The Sushi Bar (being rebranded as Umi Uma over the next year). Sushi and sashimi plates are featured alongside signature dishes like grilled Wagyu rib-eye with wasabi pepper sauce and miso-glazed black cod.

Jamie Oliver on Royal Caribbean International

Star British chef Jamie Oliver turns out homemade, seasonally driven Italian comfort fare on the 2014-debuted maritime outpost of his popular land-based chain Jamie's Italian. Available on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas ships, guests can dig in on antipasti plates spilling over with charcuterie and cheese, house-made risottos and pasta (like prawn linguini), and mouthwatering entrées like Oliver's signature porchetta.

Guy Fieri on Carnival Cruise Line

Few have mastered the beloved bun-and-patty combo like Food Network celeb Guy Fieri, whose Guy's Burger Joint has expanded to 14 Carnival ships since 2011. Order up hand-cut fries and hamburgers blanketed in flavorful toppings (like chipotle mayonnaise or garlic aioli) at the casual, roadside burger shack-styled poolside venue. Last year, Fieri also debuted the open-air Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse aboard the Carnival Magic and Carnival Vista, serving up dry-rubbed, wood-smoked BBQ favorites liked pulled pork butt and smoked Andouille sausage.

Jose Garces on Norwegian Cruise Line

Iron Chef Jose Garces unveiled two Latin-inspired specialty dining venues aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Escape in 2015. Try Pincho Tapas Bar, a casual, lively venue for traditional Spanish tapas (like imported Spanish ham or calamari), or Bayamo, a stylish pan-Latin seafood eatery (try black cod with a squid ink glaze), featuring alfresco dining, too.

Curtis Stone on Princess Cruises

Australian celeb chef Curtis Stone helms his 2015-debuted SHARE eatery aboard three Princess Cruises ships (Ruby Princess, Emerald Princess, and Sun Princess). Conceived around communal dining tables and family-style dishes, SHARE guests tuck into a six-course fine-dining feast, floating from pass-the-plate appetizers, salads, and handmade pasta, onto main courses from both sea (try butter-poached lobster) and land (like twice-cooked duck leg), before honing in on dessert. On Princess ships that don't feature SHARE, cruisers can also sample Chef Stone-designed dishes daily in the main dining room.

Roy Yamaguchi on MSC Cruises

Lauded Japanese-American chef-restaurateur Roy Yamaguchi will launch his specialty pan-Asian eatery, Asian Market Kitchen, aboard as new MSC Seaside when it debuts this December. The venue is slated to feature a sushi, sashimi, and raw bar, as well as teppanyaki grills on which chefs cook guests' meals right in front of them. In addition to menu design, the hands-on Chef Yamaguchi will select wines for pairings, China for presentation and music for ambiance.

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