Al Fresco Dining in Cruise – in the freshest of air
On a cruise ship, the experience of dining al fresco is elevated to a new level, buoyed by the gentle rocking of the sea, the calming sounds of the open air, and the no-holds-barred wealth of quality cuisine. While some would be happy with a modest al fresco setting (such as a picnic in the park), the cruise industry is known for pushing the boundaries of guest experience – and with dining, this translates to a flashier setting, world-class menus, and top-quality ingredients. Check out some of the best al fresco dining venues in cruise below…
Virgin Voyages: The Dock, and The Sun Club Café
Part of the ‘casual Mediterranean’ venue The Dock House, The Dock is an outdoor mezze lounge located towards the rear of deck 7 of Scarlet Lady. Described as an ‘elegant cabana caught between the chill, seaside perfection of Ibiza and the rustic-chic resorts of Brazil’, The Dock provides a relaxed setting in which to indulge in Mediterranean cuisine. On the menu is fresh fish, home-made pita and dips, Mediterranean-inspired cocktails, and a specially curated rosé menu.
The Sun Club Café can be found up on deck 16, overlooking the ships pool area. A café by day and bar by night, the Sun Club also offers up Hawaiian Poke bowls, a recent staple of the millennial. Traditionally a diced raw fish appetizer, poke has become a fast-casual healthy option consisting of marinated tuna, chicken, salmon, or other meat/meat substitute served with rice and greens. The Sun Club Café offers ocean views paired with a simple white and red décor, and at night serves up frozen drinks and cocktails to pair with a pool party.
Norwegian Cruise Line, The Waterfront
The Waterfront, found on Norwegian Breakaway and Breakaway Plus-class ships, is a quarter-mile long ocean promenade lined with a range of open-air restaurants, bars, and lounges, designed to connect the passenger to the sea. Among other venues, The Waterfront features the Brazilian-style steakhouse Moderno Churrascuria, seafood bar Ocean Blue, or Dolce Gelato for gourmet sweet treats. The Waterfront is also home to six varied bars, including the Cellars Wine Bar, Sugarcane Mojito Bar, and Syd Norman’s Pour House.
Celebrity Cruises Lawn Club
Half an acre of real grass can be found on each of Celebrity’s Solstice-class ships, situated within the Lawn Club. The first and only cruise line to grow real grass at sea, Celebrity offers an authentic country club experience on the top deck of five of their ships: Solstice, Equinox, Eclipse, Silhouette, and Reflection. Celebrity say the Lawn Club is ‘the perfect place to grab an al fresco lunch, play outdoor games, catch a live jazz concert, or soak up the country club atmosphere’. In terms of dining, Silhouette and Reflection offer up the Lawn Club Grill, where cruisers have the chance to cook up cuts of meats and seafood themselves. Alternatively passengers can choose from classics such as lobster macaroni and cheese or tandoori chicken.
While on the subject of Celebrity Cruises it’s worth mentioning the Magic Carpet. Elevating al fresco dining to a new level, the cantilevered floating platform traverses the side of Celebrity Edge and Apex, providing unbeatable sea views while visiting different restaurants on each deck. The Magic Carpet visits Raw on 5 on deck 5, transforming it into an open-air casual seafood restaurant, serving Alaskan California Maki Roll, crispy crab cakes, and more; and Dinner on the Edge up on deck 16, a sky-high al fresco high-quality restaurant. Asides from elevating dining venues, the Magic Carpet also extends the main pool area on deck 14 and the Destination Gateway on deck 2.