Big Fish: Norwegian Taps Celebrity Chef to Oversee Seafood Venues on New Cruise Ship

June 28, 2012

(7:13 p.m. EDT) -- With a nod to two recent cruise trends -- celebrity chefs and seafood -- Norwegian Cruise Line has tapped Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian to oversee three fish-focused restaurants on Norwegian Breakaway. (The restaurant concepts were previously announced at Cruise Shipping Miami in March.) The chef will also lead cooking demos and small-group workshops and be available for meet-and-greets on select sailings.

The three venues will be located adjacent to one another, with a different surcharge for each venue (actual price TBD). Options include:

Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian will be the most upscale of the three, described as a "luxury seafood dining experience," and will focus on presentation in the indoor dining room.

The Raw Bar, immediately adjacent to Ocean Blue, will feature crustaceans paired with wines by the glass.

Ocean Blue on the Waterfront will be a casual venue with alfresco dining.

Norwegian has not yet determined whether cooking classes will carry a fee; more details will be determined closer to launch, a Norwegian spokeswoman tells us.

Zakarian's resume is impressive and varied. He has opened many restaurants, including The Lambs Club and The National in New York City and The Water Club at Borgata in Atlantic City. He's previously worked at Le Cirque and the 21 Club and he can be seen on many Food Network television shows, including "The Next Iron Chef, Super Chefs"(spoiler alert -- he was the winner of Season 4), "Chopped" (he's a recurring judge) and "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." Zakarian will oversee not only the restaurant menus, but the design and ambience of the spaces, as well.

Food Network stars are all the rage with cruise lines these day. Carnival recently tapped Food Network star Guy Fieri to launch a burger joint on its new and refurbished ships. Oceania -- whose longtime celebrity chef is Jacques Pepin -- invited Cat Cora to be the godmother of its newest ship, Riviera. Fish restaurants are also gaining in popularity: Royal Caribbean introduced a Seafood Shack casual eatery on Oasis of the Seas, and Carnival's most recent debut, Carnival Breeze, launched with a standalone sushi venue. Norwegian, however, is the first to introduce an upscale restaurant entirely devoted to fish.

The 144,017-ton, 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway will launch in April 2013 as the first of Norwegian's two "Project Breakaway" cruise ships. It's currently under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany. Breakaway will homeport year-round in New York, sailing to Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Southern Caribbean.

--by Erica Silverstein, Features Editor

--Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line