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These are our favorite specialty restaurants on cruise ships and cruise lines.

A growing trend in shipboard dining is the emergence of sophisticated specialty restaurants (increasingly with menus designed by famous name chefs) that require reservations and frequently charge a fee. You’ll often find some of the best food on a ship in one of these restaurants, but on most mainstream and premium ships you’ll pay between $25 to $100 per person extra to dine in one.

There’s no doubt that specialty restaurants offer a refined dining option that cannot be duplicated in a big ship’s main restaurants, which must feed hundreds of passengers in a very short window. Food in specialty restaurants is generally cooked to order, as in an upscale restaurant on land, and is just as good as in any special-occasion spot you may frequent at home.

Some of these restaurants may be fancy alternatives, offering rarefied cuisine with foie gras, caviar, lobster, and prime aged beef. Or the concept may be more casual with a menu of popular Italian or Asian specialties.

Cunard Line

  • Sails To Caribbean, Europe

Why It’s Wonderful

Aboard Queen Mary 2, cuisine in this restaurant, named for the award-winning chef and restaurateur, is as otherworldly as the exotic Moroccan surroundings in which it is served.

Crystal Cruises

  • Sails To Caribbean, Europe

Why It’s Wonderful

Silk Road receives consistently rave reviews for the beautifully prepared dishes, including ultrafresh sushi. Presentation is as beautiful as the food.

Celebrity Cruises

  • Sails To Caribbean, Europe

Why It’s Wonderful

Celebrity's newest ships house six specialty restaurants and cafés, including the interactive Lawn Club Grill where you can prepare your own pizza or grilled steak under the chef's watchful eye.