As any passenger knows, food is a central part of the experience of a cruise, and P&O have clearly recognised that by signing up three Michelin-starred chefs to oversee restaurants on board their ships.
Spiky-haired superstar Gary Rhodes has restaurants on Arcadia and Oriana; Hell’s Kitchen hero Marco Pierre White has his White Room on the Ventura, and his dishes are on the menu in Oceana’s Café Jardin and Aurora’s Café Bordeaux.
Next year, curry king Atul Kochhar will unveil the Sindhu restaurant, offering modern Indian cuisine with a British twist, celebrating Britain’s love of food from the sub-continent, and P&O Cruises long-standing affiliation with India.
The chefs’ involvement does not stop at devising the menus. Next three all three will be joining a selection of cruises to take part in cooking demonstrations, Q & A sessions in the theatre, and book-signings, as well as spending time in the galley and mixing with passengers at their tables.
Marco proved a huge hit on a Caribbean cruise last November, when I saw the theatre fill up for his session with cruise director Leon de St Croix, and an unusual bingo session in The Exchange, with the chef fulfilling a lifetime’s ambition by calling the numbers.
Gary Rhodes’ cruises:
- Arcadia: 15-night cruise to Norwegian fjords departing June 19 2010.
- Arcadia: 13-night Mediterranean cruise departing November 2 2010.
- Oriana: 12-night cruise to the Baltic departing July 11 2010.
- Oriana: 7-night cruise to Iberia departing August 27 2010.
Marco Pierre White’s cruises:
- Aurora: 12-night cruise to the Canary Islands departing April 19 2010.
- Oceana: 14-night Mediterranean cruise departing May 15 2010.
- Ventura: 7-night Iberia cruise departing June 5 2010.
- Ventura: 14-night Mediterranean cruise departing July 3 2010.
- Oceana: 14-night Mediterranean cruise departing October 2 2010.
- Ventura: 14-night Caribbean cruise departing October 22 2010.
Atul Kochhar’s cruises:
- Azura: 16-night Mediterranean cruise departing April 12 2010.
- Azura: 16-night Eastern Mediterranean cruise departing July 23 2010.
- Azura: 12-night Canary Islands cruise departing August 8 2010.
- Azura 7-night Iberia cruise departing September 21 2010.
- Azura: 15-fly night Caribbean cruise departing February 4 2011.
Wine lovers should look out for other Azura cruises when TV’s Olly Smith will be on board to host a series of tastings.