Where do you go for mouthwatering, juicy steak on a cruise? You can try your luck in the main dining room -- or you can head to an onboard steakhouse, which offers higher quality food and a more intimate dining experience. Found on a number of cruise ships, these specialty restaurants -- which may bear a fee -- range from traditional steakhouses to vibrant churrascarias. If you're willing to splurge, expect to spend between $20 and $50.
Steakhouses at sea serve up more than slabs of beef. Menus typically serve up all kinds of protein -- you'll find chicken, veal, lamb and an array of seafood -- with hearty sides and a few specialty dishes such as dry-aged beef and lobster, some for an upcharge. Venues will happily accommodate vegetarians as well. The restaurants do book up fast, so we recommend making reservations before your cruise, if possible.
If you're a meat lover, then prepare to salivate over our five favorite cruise ship steakhouses.
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1. Celebrity's Tuscan Grille
Ships: Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Constellation and Celebrity Equinox
Why We Love It: Tuscan Grille is not your average steakhouse. The venue is rustic yet contemporary with Art Nouveau touches, and the menu is a mix of innovative steakhouse staples and traditional Italian. We love that you can start off with antipasto or freshly sliced prosciutto and then choose between entrees like blackened Angus rib eye in Cajun-spiced butter, seafood risotto or wild mushroom ravioli. For dessert, indulge in chocolate fondue paired with limoncello. The surcharge is $45 per person.
On Celebrity Edge, you can savor Tuscan Grille-inspired dishes at the Tuscan Restaurant, one of the ship's main dining venues, free of charge. The ship does not have its own Tuscan Grille; instead, it features the Fine Cut Steakhouse, which bears a $55 cover charge.
2. Regent Seven Seas' Prime 7
2. Regent Seven Seas' Prime 7
Why We Love It: From leather wingback chairs and an earthy color scheme to its steak and seafood menu, Prime 7 epitomizes a classic steakhouse. Some of our favorite dishes include a 32-ounce porterhouse carved tableside and the surf and turf -- all made with USDA-approved beef that has been dry-aged at least 28 days. The best part: it's included in your cruise fare.
3. Holland America's Pinnacle Grill
Why We Love It: Inspired by the Pacific Northwest, Pinnacle Grill offers a traditional steakhouse menu with regional ingredients, sustainable Double R Ranch Northwest beef and fresh seafood. On each ship, the restaurant's decor is a bit different, with unique touches such as decorative chairs and artsy light fixtures. As if it couldn't get any better, once per cruise (or once per week on longer sailings) the Pinnacle Grill also transforms into "An Evening at Le Cirque." The themed dinner features dishes and wine selections from Sirio Maccioni's famous New York restaurant of the same name. Dinner at Pinnacle Grill is $29, while Le Cirque costs $49.
4. Royal Caribbean's Chops Grille
Why We Love It: Royal Caribbean's traditional steakhouse makes for the perfect date night. Dim lighting, dark earthy colors and sheer curtains set the mood, while a $39 surcharge includes shareable "all you can eat" appetizers such as Caesar salad, shrimp cocktail and pan-roasted scallops -- and one steak, poultry or seafood entree. For roughly $20 more, you can upgrade your order to dry-aged steak or Maine lobster. Gluten-free, lactose-free and vegetarian options can be made available upon request.
5. Carnival's Fahrenheit 555
Ships: Carnival Horizon, Carnival Vista, Carnival Panorama, Carnival Breeze, Carnival Magic and Carnival Sunshine
Why We Love It: Yes, steaks are the star at Fahrenheit 555 (found on any of Carnival's newer ships), but the appetizer and dessert menus demonstrate marvelous creativity, as well. The menu offers some adventures in dining, with items like a smoke and ice fresh oyster, brought tableside under a smoky cloche, and bone marrow and hand-cut beef tartare, which gives an unusual twist to a steakhouse standard. Likewise, delight in "Art at the Table" for dessert, a group dish prepared tableside that's as beautiful as it is tasty. The steaks are great, too, served to your taste with your choice of salts and sauces. At $35 for adults (and $10 for kids), it's one of the best steakhouse values at sea.