This Is the Best Cruise for Food, As Voted on by Our Readers

Global Tastemakers is our first-ever reader’s choice awards, celebrating the best culinary destinations in the U.S. and abroad. F&W readers voted based on travel completed within the past three years, on categories including restaurants and bars, cities, hotels, airports, airlines, and cruises. Due to the limitations of pandemic travel, this year’s Global Tastemakers winners reflect a smaller portion of the globe. In many categories, we’re including an editor’s pick to shout out some more culinary destinations in places you can’t miss. See all the winners at

Plenty of questions come into play when you’re booking a cruise. Where do you want to go? What time of year is best? Is drifting down the Danube River your style, or would you rather roam the icy waters of Antarctica? Are you more comfortable on a large or small ship? But one thing that’s historically been an afterthought rather than a priority, however, is food.  

Chefs cooking on a Viking cruise ship
Thankfully, dining on the high seas has come a long way since the era of sad buffets, corny “formal night” suppers, and bland continental cuisine. To cater to the boom of people who travel with eating and drinking well in mind, cruise lines, at long last, have fittingly upped their culinary programming.

Get a Crash Course on Bordeaux's Wines Via This Viking River Cruise
Breakfast on a Viking cruise ship
While one strategy rolled out by many lines has been focusing on quantity with a dizzying variety of ho-hum options, that’s never been part of the plan for Viking Cruises, which our readers voted the overall best cruise for food in the world.

Because for the cruise line founded by Norwegian Torstein Hagen in 1997, culinary has always been backed by well-curated, enriching experiences on and off the ship. (Imagine pairing Portuguese ports with traditional cuisine at Graham’s 1890 Lodge, or the singular thrill of catching king crabs in Norway’s spectacular fjords.)

On top of that, Viking’s vessels sport a minimalist, pared-back design, so natural light bathes all the spaces, from the guest cabins to the restaurants, in a warm glow. What’s more, Viking prides itself in upfront, inclusive pricing. Your fare covers everything you look forward to while cruising, even excursions. You won’t find sneaky additional charges for basics like Wi-Fi and wine with meals. Another perk? Viking has three types of ships (river, ocean, and expedition) in its lineup, so you can gracefully traverse the world’s most desirable and delicious destinations.

The Best Things to Eat and Drink on Disney's First New Cruise Ship in a Decade
Whether you’re gliding down the Nile River or navigating the Arctic’s uncharted waters, below are some exceptional experiences you can savor aboard Viking’s river, ocean, and expedition cruises. 

Sushi on a Viking cruise ship
The Best of River Cruises
On Portugal’s River of Gold, visit Lisbon and other historic towns like Coimbra while cruising the Douro River Valley. Witness the time-honored tradition of baking bread in an oven fired by grapevines and wood during an excursion to the charming village of Favaios, or discover the fine art of blending port with an expert-led workshop. Dive even deeper into the country’s storied port tradition by booking Graham’s Port Dinner. The four-hour session at Graham’s 1890 Lodge commences with cellar tours and concludes with a traditional port-paired supper at the acclaimed Vinum Restaurant and Wine Bar.   

During Romantic Danube, soak in breathtaking scenery along the Danube, Europe’s second-longest river, with daily stops in Hungary and Austria. Indulge in the beloved annual Austrian tradition of Heurigen dinners, boisterous affairs celebrating the year’s new wine at an area tavern. Have a sweet tooth? Don’t miss the Gottweig Abbey With Apricot Dumpling Demonstration, where you’ll learn firsthand how Austrian apricot dumplings (Marillenknödel) are made in the Benedictine monastery’s kitchen. 

The Best of Ocean Cruises
With overnight stays in Stockholm, Oslo, and Bergen, Viking Homelands lets you savor the best of Scandinavian food and culture at a leisurely pace. Meet the Thrysøe Family grants you the rare opportunity to visit award-winning Guldbæk Vineyards, one of the world’s most northern vineyards, gain insight into Danish winemaking, and tour their charming home. But it doesn’t get any cozier than the Stavanger Home Visit. You’ll be welcomed into a resident’s home and learn about Norwegian traditions and everyday life over freshly-made waffles and coffee. Available on many ocean voyages, including this one, The Kitchen Table is one of Viking Cruise’s most sought-after gastronomic experiences. After shopping for market-fresh ingredients at your port with the ship’s executive chef and culinary team during the day, you’ll reconvene in the evening for an exclusive, specially-prepared dinner of local dishes. Multiple food tours are also available, like Oslo for Food Lovers by Foot — where you’ll wander Oslo’s buzzy Grünerløkka neighborhood and refuel with snacks along the way.

Explore one of the most stunning parts of the world aboard Into the Midnight Sun. During the summer in the Arctic Circle, the midnight sun doesn’t set — resulting in 24 continuous hours of golden skies. Immerse yourself in activities unique to the area, such as catching king crabs from a deep-sea raft in Sarnesfjorden’s pristine waters with King Crab Safari. Reserve Make Your Own Crai Gin to learn how to distill and bottle your own gin creation under the guidance of one of Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin’s master distillers. Or meet a farming family in Norway’s Northlands to discover their sustainable way of life, including how they make cheese and raise goats, during Aalan Farm.

Bakery display on a Viking cruise ship
The Best of Expedition Cruises
Launched early last year, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris are the latest additions to Viking's world-class fleet. Small but appointed with thoughtful elements like ample indoor and outdoor viewing areas, these expedition vessels can easily reach remote spots traditional cruise ships can't. But perhaps the most surprising elements of the pair are the diverse dining options belying their relatively small size. (Both accommodate just 378 guests.) 

With five enticing options, including 24-hour room service, your palate won't ever fatigue. Among the highlights are Manfredi’s, a posh Italian restaurant serving up bistecca alla Fiorentina, octopus carpaccio, and gnocchi alla romana, and Mamsen’s. Lovingly dedicated to "Mamsen" Ragnhild Hagen, the mother of Viking's founder, the cheerful cafe serves up casual Scandinavian-inspired fare (think waffles, split pea soup, and open-faced sandwiches).

Previous Post Next Post