I know what you’re thinking, dinner on a cruise ship, how nice can it be?

Turns out, pretty darn nice.

Because this isn’t any old cruise ship – it’s an Oceania Cruises, a top-line cruise operator that goes above and beyond your standard cruise to deliver exceptional service, delicious food and off-the-beaten-track excursions.

I was lucky enough to experience one of Oceania Cruises in the Caribbean last year – and was delighted to find the quality of the food was far superior than any of cruises I’ve been on before. My personal favourite restaurant was Red Ginger, an Asian-inspired restaurant, one of the many speciality restaurants on-board.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Red Ginger: The Lowdown

What I loved about this restaurant, was that it was warm and inviting, posh-feeling without being stuffy or pretentious. The fun thing about a cruise is you get the opportunity to make it exactly what you want; some nights you might be in a fancy mood and put on a sparkly gown, other nights you want to keep it low-key and eat burgers by the pool. A cruise allows you to vacation exactly as you please, which is a big pull in my books. Red Ginger lies somewhere in between fancy and leisurely – there’s no dress-code here, but it still feels a bit special.

Red Ginger is an Asian-inspired restaurant, bringing favourite dishes from Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and China all under one roof (menu). As such, it’s more of a gastronomic journey across Asia and keeps things interesting as the menu is diverse and varied.

Red Ginger: The Vibe

The moment you step into Red Ginger, there’s a feel of refined elegance – the hotspot has a different feel to anywhere else on the cruise, probably because it’s the hardest-to-get reservation on the ship. The restaurant boasts a contemporary design, marked by sleek lines, black and red decor, modern Asian artwork and low-lighting that creates a tranquil setting. The night we visited it was mainly couples dining together; the food is designed to be sharable, making it a nice experience for a romantic dinner for two on the ship.

Red Ginger – Deck 10 Aft Portside
Sirena – Oceania Cruises

The food is really what you come here for. Signature dishes at Red Ginger showcase the culinary expertise of the chefs, offering a journey through the gastronomic landscapes of China, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, and more. Sushi and sashimi platters, exquisitely prepared stir-fries, and noodle or rice-based creations are among the highlights.

Red Ginger: The Food

To compliment the decor, Red Ginger’s chefs have created a menu of contemporary interpretations of Asian classics. To start with, the Tom Kha Gai soup with lemongrass, coconut milk and chicken is really delicious – nothing like a warming soup to get your tastebuds going.

The next must-try is the Spicy Duck & Watermelon Salad with cashews, mint, basil and sweet fish sauce. Duck and watermelon is an unusual pairing but this one works really well, with the fresh mint and basil really lightening things up. Other highlights from the appetizers are the Chicken Satay (can you ever go wrong with a chicken satay?) and the Crispy Ginger Calamari with garlic chips. The tuna tataki comes highly recommended by the wait list staff too.

For main courses, there’s a fairly extensive menu of fish, meat and vegetarian options, all taking inspiration from different parts of Asia. You won’t go wrong with any of them; the culinary team takes pride in sourcing fresh, high-quality ingredients to craft dishes that pay homage to various Asian traditions. I went for the Miso Glazed Seabass and it did not disappoint – the fish was light, flaky and flavoursome, perfect with a side of Jasmine rice and green asparagus. My husband enjoyed the Lobster Pad Thai (what’s better than regular Pad Thai? Add some lobster in) and we also shared the Thai Vegetable Curry with sweet potatoes, aubergine and fried tofu, which was light and fragrant.

Seared Salmon with Scallop Cevice

We finished with a Bounty Cake – a light, moist cake with coconut, chocolate chips and vanilla – a delicious combination of flavours. You can do no wrong with coconut and chocolate in my books.

All in all, we were really impressed with the quality of the food and couldn’t believe you could find such inventive, creative Asian food on a cruise ship.

Red Ginger: The Service

The staff at Red Ginger – and on the cruise generally – couldn’t be nicer. Service at Red Ginger is a highlight, with a staff that exemplifies Oceania Cruises’ commitment to providing exceptional service. The waitstaff is not only attentive but also well-versed in the menu and picking out their personal favourites. The staff at Red Ginger strive to create a memorable experience for every guest, contributing to Oceania’s reputation for outstanding service.

Red Ginger: Our Verdict

We loved our experience at Red Ginger. The restaurant stands as a testament to the cruise line’s dedication to really, really good food and all-round passenger satisfaction. The restaurant’s ambiance, culinary offerings, beverage selection, and impeccable service make it a very special dining experience. Whether you are a seasoned traveller or a first-time cruiser, I think you’ll love cruising with Oceania. For those seeking an exquisite blend of Asian flavours in an elegant setting, Red Ginger emerges as a shining star in the culinary constellation of Oceania Cruises.

We booked our Oceania cruise through Panache Cruises, a specialist in luxury cruises with operations in both the UK and the US. Find out more about them at https://www.panachecruises.com