Best cruise ship for foodies? Our readers say Viking Sea!

Carnival Vista, Royal Princess, Viking Star and Viking Sky in top five

Gone are the days when fixed seating meals in a single dining room are your only option aboard cruise ships. Modern cruisers enjoy their choice of several restaurants–over two dozen aboard some of the bigger megaships, cooking classes, creative menus and dishes created by some of the world's top chefs.

Viking Sea (Viking Ocean Cruises)
All meals are free of charge aboard Viking Sea, even at specialty restaurants. The star of the ship, Manfredi's, serves a menu of hearty Italian fare in a homey setting. The Chef's Table is themed to a different region of the world each night, while The World Cafe serves global specialties buffet-style. For an extra cost, guests can sign up for The Kitchen Table, part restaurant and part shore excursion into a local market to pick out ingredients for dinner. Photo courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises
Carnival Vista (Carnival Cruise Line)
Aboard Carnival Vista, the cruise line's newest vessel, guests can savor the ocean's bounty at Seafood Shack, sip sake at Bonsai Sushi or tour Asia's culinary landscape at JiJi Asian Kitchen. Vista also has two celebrity chef Guy Fieri eateries on board, Guy's Burger Joint and Pig & Anchor Smokehouse. Photo courtesy of Kim / Flickr
Royal Princess (Princess Cruises)
Passengers aboard Royal Princess can opt for traditional set-time dining in the Traditional Dining Room, or go with more flexibility at one of the ship's numerous restaurants through the Anytime Dining option. The ship's three specialty restaurants, Sabatini's, Crown Grill and Crab Shack, serve Italian, steaks and fresh succulent seafood respectively, while casual eateries include Horizon Court top deck buffet, Chocolate Journies, Alfredo's Pizzeria and Vines wine, sushi and tapas bar.   Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises
Viking Star (Viking Ocean Cruises)
Cruisers aboard Viking Star have plenty of options come meal time, including the spacious main dining venue, The Restaurant. Manfredi's (Italian), The Chef's Table (global), The World Cafe (buffet), Mamsen's (Norwegian deli) and Wintergarden (afternoon tea) provide variety. The Kitchen Table takes passengers on an excursion into a local market at port before returning to the ship for a multi-course feast. Photo courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises
Viking Sky (Viking Ocean Cruises)
Viking Sky continues the tradition of culinary excellence that the Viking name has become known for, with seven unique restaurants to choose from (six included in the cruise fare). Passengers can choose to eat at one of two specialty restaurants, Manfredi's or The Chef's Table, at least once on each sailing. Photo courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises
Star Pride (Windstar Cruises)
Sailing aboard the Star Pride feels like vacationing aboard your own private yacht, and that feeling extends to the table as well. Guests can dine at any venue, any time (including 24-hour room service), and the chefs try to source as many local ingredients as possible while in port. Photo courtesy of Windstar Cruises
Seabourn Encore (Seabourn Cruise Line)
The culinary program aboard Seabourn Encore focuses on quality ingredients infused with regional flavors. Seabourn was one of the first cruise lines to introduce open-seating dining in the ship's main venue, The Restaurant. Guests can also choose between iconic American chophouse favorites at The Grill by Thomas Keller, fresh seafood at Sushi, a casual breakfast and lunch buffet at The Colonnade or casual poolside dining at The Patio. Photo courtesy of Seabourn Cruise Line
Crystal Serenity (Crystal Cruises)
Passengers aboard Crystal Cruises' fleet have the option of the usual late or early seating for dinner, or Perfect Dining Choice, where guests choose when and with whom to eat. Nobu-trained chefs prepare Japanese cuisine at Silk Road and The Sushi Bar, while the Vintage Room hosts a variety of wine-themed dinners. Unique to Crystal Serenity is Tastes, a globally inspired restaurant serving Late-Risers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises
Marina (Oceania Cruises)
The only trouble foodies face aboard Marina (Oceania Cruises) is the problem of deciding what to eat. Culinary highlights include Parisian bistro classics at Jacques and contemporary Asian fusion at Red Ginger. La Reserve by Wine Spectator takes wine tastings, seminars and pairing dinners to sea. Photo courtesy of Oceania Cruises
Crystal Symphony (Crystal Cruises)
Crystal Cruises pioneered the cruise/celebrity chef partnership trend with specialty restaurants like Prego and Silk Road and the Sushi Bar (by chefs Piero Selvaggio and Nobu Matsuhisa respectively) on the Crystal Symphony. Afternoon tea is a meal all its own on Symphony, with three different themed tea services. Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises

The top 10 winners in the category Best Cruise Ship for Dining are as follows:

  1. Viking Sea
  2. Carnival Vista
  3. Royal Princess
  4. Viking Star
  5. Viking Sky
  6. Star Pride
  7. Seabourn Encore
  8. Crystal Serenity
  9. Marina
  10. Crystal Symphony

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Don and Heidi Bucolo (, Anita Dunham-Potter (, Danielle Fear (Cruise Miss), Carrie Finley Bajak (, Linda Garrison (TripSavvy), Sherry Laskin Kennedy (, Jason Leppert (Popular Cruising), Chris Owen (, Doug Parker (, Aaron Saunders (From the Deck Chair) and Ming Tappin (Your Cruise Coach Consulting) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of the cruise industry.

Congratulations to all these wining cruise companies!