Regent Seven Seas Serves Up the Best Epicurean Experience at Sea

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The exterior of the Regent Seven Seas Splendor cruise ship.
As many as 746 guests can enjoy the high standards of this spectacular cruise ship.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Forget the fact that Regent Seven Seas already offers a true all-inclusive experience with alcohol, specialty coffee drinks, unlimited excursions, and specialty restaurants included in the price. One of the biggest reasons Regent’s new Explorer-class ships stand out from the crowd is because they offer some of the best epicurean experiences you’ll find at sea—or even on land.

Helmed by Executive Chef Kathryn Kelly, the growing gourmand-focused programing aboard Regent’s newest ships—Seven Seas Explorer, Seven Seas Splendor, and (the soon-to-debut) Seven Seas Grandeur—takes the cake when it comes to exploring the sweet spot where culture, cuisine, and curiosity meet.

If you’re like me, you know that experiencing a destination through the local food and drink is one of the best ways to get to know a place, its people, and the culture. Food is a universal language, and I find no coincidence in the fact that many avid travelers are also avid eaters. Whether it was your first time tasting an unfamiliar ingredient, finding your new favorite dish from a street food vendor, or indulging in a Michelin-starred meal, you’ll likely find food at the center of your most memorable travel memories.

This understanding—plus professional training from the Culinary Institute of America and a love for using food as a vessel for travel—is what Chef Kelly brings to the table. Regent’s willingness to invest in a culinary program that creates immersive, hands-on spaces for culinary learning both on and off their ships has taken cruise ship foodie experiences to a new level.

Are these experiences outside of the all-inclusive fare offered on Regent? Yes. Are they absolutely worth every penny? You bet.

Executive Chef Kathryn Kelly with two Regent Seven Seas guests.
Executive Chef Kathryn Kelly leads onboard cooking classes that will give guests the gift of a cultural learning experience.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises

First thing’s first: the onboard cooking classes offer a real opportunity to add new kitchen skills, standout recipes, and knowledge to your at-home kitchen repertoire. Chef Kelly’s passion for travel, food, and lifelong learning are evident in the more than 50 classes she’s curated as part of Regent’s Culinary Arts Kitchen. Taught by a team of Regent chefs, these classes are designed to give you more than just a few new recipes to take home. Expect to leave with new skills and new insight on the history of the dishes you cook up in class and the countries they’re from.

Whereas almost all cooking classes at-sea only dip their toes into a culinary topic or create one or two dishes, Regent’s Culinary Arts Kitchen classes dive in head-first. On my Seven Seas Splendor sailing, a class called New World Mediterranean looked at how Mediterranean cuisine changed during the 15th, 16th, and 17th century exploration of the Americas.

The class celebrated now-staple Mediterranean dishes influenced by the new ingredients and spices brought over and traded from the New World, gave a new appreciation of salt, and beefed-up basic skills like roasting garlic and clarifying butter. The menu went far beyond expectations, utilizing the full two hours to whip up multiple dishes, sides, and condiments that included smoky gazpacho, a tomato galette, white bean hummus, chocolate lava cakes, aioli, and pecan and cashew labneh (to name a few).

Trust me, you’ll never settle for a boring “making sushi” demo class again.

A plate of tuna and sashimi from the Pacific Rim restaurant on the Regent Splendor cruise ship.
Guests can learn to make various dishes in the cooking class, but also enjoy delicious meals at restaurants like Pacific Rim.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Not to spoil the surprise, but the Culinary Arts Kitchen is one of the most impressive spaces on the Explorer-class ships. At first, this can also make it one of the most intimidating—it is 100 percent professional grade (but, luckily, you don’t have to be). Three curved rows of white quartzite countertops feature 18 individual prep stations sporting stainless steel sinks and double glass cooktops. The whole setup looks like something you’d expect to find inside a top culinary school, not on a cruise ship.

A back wall of floor-to-ceiling windows flood the classroom with natural light (and superb views), but, when you’re here, it’s all eyes up front. This kitchen is designed to wow, but more importantly to teach, and thanks to the smartly stacked positioning of student cooking stations and two large TV screens displaying live camera POVs of the instructor’s demo table, there’s not a bad seat in the house. Regardless of what class you book, having the opportunity to cook in a professional kitchen like this—without having to put in the blood, sweat, and tears of going through actual culinary school—is a treat in-and-of-itself and likely to be a highlight of your trip.

Another standout culinary offering is Regent’s Gourmet Explorer Tours, which get you off the ship and into port on chef-led shore excursions that focus on pairing land-based ingredient sourcing experiences with hands-on cooking classes back on the ship. It’s one thing to read about or listen to someone relay food history, but nothing quite hits the same as witnessing culinary practices in action, at the source.

A couple shops for fruit in a market.
Guests can take excursions into the destinations to learn about the ingredients for the meals they make.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises

During my voyage on Splendor (Heritage of the Maya), guests had the opportunity to join Chef Kelly on a trip to a local spice farm in Belize, a country known for its spice exports. Kelly paired an incredibly fragrant ride through spice fields full of cardamom, clove, cinnamon, and other spices with information on how these spices are utilized in traditional Belizean dishes. Back onboard at the Culinary Arts Kitchen, Chef Kelly gave tips on how to cook with some of the fresh spices harvested at the farm and walked the group through preparation of several dishes featuring the different spices, including DIY spiced cashew milk, prawn biryani, white peppercorn crepes, cardamom-cinnamon ice cream, and Indian garam masala.

Regent’s Gourmet Explorer Tours and the Culinary Arts Kitchen classes have been so popular that the line is creating a host of new culinary programming to keep the party going. First up is the addition of Epicurean Spotlight Voyages on Seven Seas Mariner, Explorer, Splendor, Voyager, and Grandeur, where guests will have access to special excursions, talks, and onboard experiences centered around a specific culinary theme and featuring special guests. 

The first of 11 Epicurean Spotlight Voyages kicks off in June 2023 on Seven Seas Explorer and takes a deep look into indigenous cuisine and unique ingredients found in Alaska.

Currently, Regent’s Gourmet Explorer Tours are available on Seven Seas Splendor, Seven Seas Explorer, Seven Seas Mariner, and Seven Seas Grandeur, while the Culinary Arts Kitchen is only available on Explorer-class ships.

The post Regent Seven Seas Serves Up the Best Epicurean Experience at Sea appeared first on Islands.


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