Holiday Foodsteps: Crusing Through

They say that when you go on a cruise, you get fed all day, everyday and they weren't kidding. It starts early with breakfast - brought to your cabin, served at a restaurant, self-served at the buffet line or if you're feeling particularly hungry, all of the above.

Lunch often means food that reflects cuisine from the nearest docking country or if at sea, some rather quirky themes.

Oktoberfest in January.

Ah, but it's dinnertime that really lets you indulge - 7 course meals at one of the ships fine dining restaurants for 11 nights, definitely something that's hard to beat.

We walk into the restaurant on our very first night and get shown to our table, a lovely booth in a rather private corner. With a huge smile, our head waiter, Jose, welcomes us and places a large menu in front of each of us - we are bewildered at the thought of 7 courses and think that there must be something about that menu that we have failed to fully understand.

Two nights in and we finally accept the concept of it all (yes, you can actually have every single course of the menu) and a comfortable routine begins - the friendly conversation with the waiters, the anticipation of the night's choices and dipping delicious bits of bread in a balsamic vinegar-olive oil concoction while waiting for appetisers to be served.

Clockwise from top left: tuna carpaccio; shrimp salad; prosciutto with melon pearls; moorhen on a puff pastry wafer

Clockwise from top left: a savoury flan; gratinated escargot bourguignon; gratinated shrimp and scallops; crispy swordfish

If we've had a full day out and are in need of some serious refueling or if there's simply something that looks too interesting to pass up, the appetisers would be followed by soup and pasta to share.

Clam linguini; tomato-based tortellini

It's all about pacing yourself because ultimately, you wouldn't want to spoil your appetite before your main course arrives.

Clockwise from top left: scorpion fish with creamy lettuce; fish topped with fried fennel, roasted whole seabream, steak

Duck a l'orange; roast pheasant

One of the mains that really stood out for me, roast lamb shank - flavourful, meltingly tender and deliciously comforting.

When I think about dinnertime on the ship, my memories of well-cooked dishes and beautiful presentation are peppered with little moments like dancing around the restaurant with our head waiter and cheering on the waiters as they bust a groove to "Volare" in between courses - dinner was not just about about food, it was a complete experience.

The customary cheese course before we went on to our favourite part of the meal - dessert.

With a desserts that would tickle anyones fancy available each evening, this is when the tough choices have to be made.

Clockwise from top left: rum baba, millefuille with mascarpone cream; strawberry mouse cake; frangipani flan with pistachio sauce

Italian cream cake to put everyone in the celebratory mood.

Lemon delice - perhaps my favourite dessert of all. On our very last night on the ship, I decided to leave the dessert-picking to Jose who very cleverly chose this delightful pairing of shortcrust pastry and that refreshingly tart lemon cream.

You know you're spoilt when you expect a round of ice cream after dessert. What started out as a lovely surprise at the end of one meal quickly became part of the routine and oh, how we looked forward to our ice cream! Creamy, smooth and with delicious flavours, this was the life.

It's a great way to travel - knowing that after a day out, you'd come back to some familiarity, great service and of course, good food. Now that's what I call a holiday.

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