MSC Cruises introduces flexible main dining, more specialty choices and packages

One of the celebrity chef collaborations is with Roy Yamaguchi, who's designing every aspect of MSC Seaside's Asian Market Kitchen One of the celebrity chef collaborations is with Roy Yamaguchi, who's designing every aspect of MSC Seaside's Asian Market Kitchen

Starting with the new MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside, MSC Cruises is introducing more flexible dining with new packages, more specialty restaurants and greater celebrity chef collaborations.

The new Flexi Dining allows passengers to pre-select a time for their evening meal, with the ability to change the time whenever they like during their cruise.

The Classic Dining experience will still be available, with a choice of two seatings each evening and the same table and waiter.

In addition MSC Yacht Club offers free-time dining in the MSC Yacht Club restaurant, with the option of reserving a table in advance.

Casual dining venues are available for all passengers 20 hours a day. The MSC Cruises buffet has been further enhanced with a range of international dishes. MSC Seaside, in particular, will feature two casual dining venues, one dedicated to families by providing family-friendly options and child-friendly seating.

When it comes to specialty dining, MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside will offer restaurants with open kitchens, and select venues on the two ships will feature a chef’s table gastronomic experience.

Following the success of its Kaito Sushi Bar, MSC Cruises will introduce a new Kaito Teppanyaki restaurant on MSC Meraviglia. Here, diners sit at cooking stations to see chefs prepare their dishes with flair on an open grill.

Another new concept is an authentic American steak house, the Butcher’s Cut, where diners make their selection from glass-fronted meat aging refrigerators then watch it being prepared in an open kitchen. The wine list features a New World selection, and cocktails are inspired by American tradition. Craft beers also will be served.

A highlight of MSC Seaside will be the Asian Market Kitchen by Roy Yamaguchi. The three distinct restaurants created by the innovative Japanese-American chef will consist of an à la carte restaurant serving gourmet Asian creations in a stylish venue with incredible sea views, a Sushi Bar and Teppanyaki Grill.

MSC Seaside will also have signature seafood restaurant Ocean Cay, serving American-style fish dishes with a Mediterranean twist. A simple menu with signature dishes includes locally sourced stone crabs, a delicacy in the homeport of Miami, fresh sea bass flown in from the Mediterranean and homemade spaghetti alle vongole (with clams).

MSC Cruises' collaboration with chef Yamaguchi on MSC Seaside extends beyond creating the menus. He's involved in conceptualizing and designing every element of his pan-Asian restaurant, from creating the recipes and menus to selecting the china, music, wine pairings and even the paper stock for the menus.

A long-standing partnership with two-star Michelin chef Carlo Cracco will now encompass the development of signature dishes for the main restaurant menus on MSC Meraviglia as well as for the Christmas and New Year menus.

Plus, a partnership with award-winning French chocolatier and pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury for MSC Meraviglia's Jean-Philippe Chocolat & Café will feature an open chocolate atelier while Jean-Philippe Crêpes & Gelato will be located on the ship’s Mediterranean-style promenade.

Chef collaborations extend beyond the new ships as part of MSC Cruises’ focus on international fine dining. For example, a collaboration with Jereme Leung, known for his contemporary interpretation of Chinese cuisine, is realized in menus styled for Chinese passengers on MSC Lirica.

Available for booking pre-cruise on MSC Meraviglia is a Dinner & Show package featuring an exclusive table d’hôte menu followed by a Cirque du Soleil at Sea performance in the purpose-built Carousel Lounge.

A dining package is available for MSC Meraviglia's Eataly Chef’s Table, too, including a dedicated chef and sommelier for the night and seven gourmet dishes paired with seven wines.

For those who want to explore each of the specialty restaurants, a package can be booked in advance of sailing that provides a discount from the on-board prices.

Posted 22 March 2017

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review