Updated June 29, 2018
Attention all cruise ship recipe-seekers! We know that traveling and eating go hand in hand. Onboard today's cruise ships, there are buffets, coffee shops, traditional dining rooms and upscale restaurants offering gut-busting -- and, yes, even health-conscious -- choices. But you don't have to give up the good eats when you go home.
We asked our members which cruise dishes were their favorites and convinced a few cruise lines to share the secret ingredients with us. Below, you'll find recipes for entrees and desserts, as well as starters, sides and drinks, so you can re-create a cruise ship meal in your own kitchen. Dig in!
- Carnival's Warm Chocolate Melting Cake
- Norwegian's Macadamia Nut Hummus With Roasted Pineapple Relish
- Carnival's Pea Stew
- Crystal's Smoked Salmon Quesadillas With Mexican Guacamole and Jicama-Grapefruit Salsa
- The Tides' Steamed Bajan Flying Fish Seasoned and Braised in a Rich Tomato Creole Sauce
- Celebrity Xpedition's Blue-Footed Booby Cocktail
- Norwegian's Ice Chilled Banana Soup with Yogurt and Mango
- Norwegian's Sinful Chocolate Obsession
- Holland America's Bread and Butter Pudding with Vanilla Sauce
- Windstar's Strawberry Short Cake
Carnival's Warm Chocolate Melting Cake
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate
- 1 1/2 sticks butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 ea. eggs
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
This recipe yields four servings.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together.
- In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and sugar; whisk for a few minutes, then add the flour.
- Add the egg mixture to the melted chocolate and mix.
- Pour the mix into greased individual serving dishes. Bake in the oven between 375 and 400 Fahrenheit for 14 minutes.
- Enjoy warm with ice cream.
Holland America's Bread and Butter Pudding With Vanilla Sauce
For the pudding:
- 1 quart milk
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 3 egg yolks, beaten
- 6 oz sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 lbs day-old bread
- 3 oz butter, melted
- 4 oz raisins
For the sauce:
- 1 pint milk
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean
- 8 oz sugar
- 9 oz egg yolks
If you don't have custard cups, serve it family style in a large casserole dish. This recipe yields 15 servings of bread pudding and three pints of sauce. To make a rum sauce, add 1/4 cup of rum per every pint of vanilla sauce.
- To make the custard, combine milk, eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla; mix well.
- To prepare the bread, cut in cubes, drizzle with butter and toast in the oven.
- Combine custard, bread and raisins; fill buttered custard cups.
- Bake in a water bath in a 325-degree oven for 45 minutes or until custard is set.
- To make the sauce, heat milk, heavy cream, vanilla bean (cut in half lengthwise) and half of the sugar until it boils. Remove the vanilla.
- Combine egg yolks and the rest of the sugar, then temper with part of the boiling milk while stirring constantly.
- Pour tempered mixture into the remaining milk and return to the heat.
- Stirring constantly, cook to 180 degrees. Remove immediately from stove and strain into a bowl.
- Cool using an ice bath -- simply place the bowl in a larger bowl filled with icy water, being careful not to let the sauce get wet.
Norwegian's Macadamia Nut Hummus With Roasted Pineapple Relish
For the hummus:
- 2 1/2 cups chickpeas
- 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
- 4 tsp cumin
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 6 tsp tahini
- 8 tbsp olive oil
For the relish:
- 1 lb pineapple, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 10 oz olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup parsley, chopped
- 4 oz onion, finely diced
- 4 oz green bell pepper, finely diced
- 4 oz red bell pepper, finely diced
- 2 oz cucumber, finely diced
- 1 tbsp chili, finely diced
- 4 oz lime juice
- Place all hummus ingredients in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste; season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Prepare relish: Pour 4 ounces of the olive oil, garlic and 1/2 cup of the parsley onto pineapple cubes. Mix and spread evenly onto baking trays.
- Roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool, reserving juices.
- Mix remaining 6 ounces of olive oil, 1/2 cup of parsley and all other ingredients in large bowl. Add chilled pineapple and juice; season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve pineapple relish and macadamia nut hummus, with toasted pita triangles, crudite or Terra Chips.
Carnival's Pea Stew
- 1 lb frozen green peas
- 6 oz heavy cream
- 3 cups half and half
- 1.5 oz parmesan cheese
- 1.5 oz Swiss cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Sautee chopped onions and garlic in oil or butter.
- Add cream and half and half.
- Reduce to 1/4; add green peas, parmesan cheese and Swiss cheese.
- Continue cooking until mixture thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Crystal's Smoked Salmon Quesadillas With Mexican Guacamole and Jicama-Grapefruit Salsa
For the quesadillas:
- 8 10-inch flour tortillas
- 8 oz smoked salmon
- 1 cup cream cheese, whipped
- 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 2 tbsp chives, finely sliced
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 cups mesclun lettuce
- 2 tbs sour cream
For the salsa:
- 2 ruby red grapefruit segments (reserve juice)
- 1 medium root jicama, peeled and diced (or substitute water chestnuts, radish or a crisp white turnip)
- 1 tbs Dijon mustard
- 3 tbs lime juice
- 1 small red onion, minced
- 1 Serrano chile, minced
- 2 tbs fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 2 tbs fresh mint, finely sliced
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 pinch cumin, ground
- Make the salsa first; combine all ingredients, including grapefruit juice.
- Let sit for at least 20 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- To prepare the quesadillas, spread one tortilla with cream cheese; sprinkle with chives and add a layer of smoked salmon.
- Add shredded Monterey Jack and season with some cracked pepper. Top off with second tortilla round.
- Repeat three more times to create four quesadillas.
- Heat a nonstick skillet, large enough to fit a quesadilla, and lightly grease with some olive oil.
- Place tortilla in pan, and fry slowly until cheese is melted and tortilla is crisp and lightly golden.
- Repeat for remaining quesadillas.
- Serve quesadillas with salsa and guacamole on the side.
The Tides' Steamed Bajan Flying Fish Seasoned and Braised in a Rich Tomato Creole Sauce
- 12 flying fish (or any meaty white fish, such as cod)
- 4 cups tomato sauce
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup water
- 1 large lime
- 2 tbsp chopped seasoning
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 tbsp butter
"Chopped seasoning" in its fresh form is generally a trinity of onion, bell pepper and celery. A dried version might also include carrots, parsley and garlic. Another good substitute is Barbados' famous Bajan seasoning -- a somewhat wet rub of garlic, thyme, onion, marjoram and pepper -- or green seasoning.
- Marinate fish in lime and salt for five minutes.
- Rinse off fish and season with chopped seasoning.
- Sautee the vegetables in a saucepan with butter for five minutes on a medium heat.
- Add remaining ingredients; add salt to taste and simmer for six minutes.
- Add fish and cook for three minutes or until cooked.
- Serve with rice and peas. Serves 6.
Celebrity Xpedition's Blue-Footed Booby Cocktail
- 2 oz Cana Manabita, Cachaca or a good-quality rum
- 4 oz pineapple juice
- 0.5 oz Blue Curacao
- 1 oz cream
- Combine all ingredients in a blender.
- Pour into a cuvee glass, a wide-bowled white wine glass or Champagne flute.
- For a variation on the theme, try the Red-Footed Booby, made with 2 ounces Finlandia vodka, 1/4 ounce Cointreau and 2 ounces pineapple juice. (Shake over ice and serve in a martini glass.)
Norwegian's Ice-Chilled Banana Soup with Yogurt and Mango
- 1/4 cup ripe bananas
- 1 3/4 cup banana ice cream
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk
- 1 3/4 tbsp honey
- 1 1/2 cups yogurt
- 1/3 cup fresh diced mango
- Blend the ripe bananas in buttermilk and honey.
- Add the ice cream and yogurt and blend smooth.
- Add more honey for taste if needed.
- Ladle into soup cups and top with diced mango; serve immediately.
Norwegian's Sinful Chocolate Obsession
For the cakes:
- 2 lbs semisweet chocolate
- 4 1/2 oz butter
- 12 egg yolks
- 4 oz sugar, separated
- 4 egg whites
- 1 tbsp rum
- 8 oz heavy cream
- 2 oz almonds, toasted
- 2 oz pistachios, chopped
For the ganache:
- 2 lbs dark chocolate couvertures (or best-quality dark chocolate), finely chopped
- 32 fl oz heavy cream
- Melt chocolate and butter together.
- Whip yolks and 2 oz sugar together. Combine into chocolate butter mix.
- Whip whites together with 2 oz sugar and rum to volume. Combine into chocolate butter yolk mix.
- Whip the heavy cream and fold into mixture; fold in nuts.
- Pipe or spoon into individual cake dishes or ramekins, and top with a cardboard disk to act as base once flipped out. Freeze. (This recipe makes enough batter for 10 individual cakes.)
- Make ganache: Bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate; allow one minute before stirring to blend. Strain and cool.
- Remove cakes from ramekins and plate with desired garnishes; Norwegian's chefs use raspberry sauce, vanilla sauce, mint sprigs, whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Top cake with ganache.
Windstar's Strawberry Short Cake
For the cake:
- 10 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 cups flour
- Splash vanilla extract
For the filling:
- 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream (or 3 cups of whipped cream)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 6 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
- Fresh whipped cream dresses up this dessert and is simple to make; 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream will yield 3 cups of whipped cream.
Windstar's recipe calls for making individual cakes. If you don't have a cookie cutter or cake ring, try cutting the sponge into squares of equal size, and construct the cake(s) freehand.
- Mix eggs with sugar and whip until creamy; add flour and vanilla extract. Spread out onto lightly greased or parchment lined sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- If you're making your own whipped cream, whip cream with a hand mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. (For the best results, be sure everything is cold, including your bowl and beaters -- we stick ours in the freezer five minutes beforehand.)
- Cut cooled sponge cake into thin rounds using a 3-inch round cookie cutter or cake ring. Place layer of sponge cake in cake ring, and top with whipped cream and sliced strawberries. Add a second layer of sponge cake topped with whipped cream and sliced strawberries, followed by a final layer of sponge cake. Remove cake ring.
- Continue making individual cakes with remaining cake layers.
- Decorate cakes with remaining whipped cream. Garnish with fresh strawberries and powdered sugar.