Cruises are famous for round-the-clock feasting. But often there is only just time to grab a croissant from the breakfast buffet before heading ashore on an excursion. So when the pace changes on days at sea, there is nothing to beat the ultimate treat of a lie-in followed by brunch.
Here’s my pick of scrumptious brunch dishes and cruises to enjoy them on.
Head to Razzle Dazzle restaurant on board Virgin’s Valiant Lady specialising in plant-based dishes, where breakfast segues into lunch, making it the perfect spot for long brunches plus a bottomless cocktail option.
Razzle Dazzle restaurant on board Virgin’s Valiant Lady, above, specialises in plant-based dishes, including coconut milk fairy toast
Morning stars: Pictured are some of the dishes in the Razzle Dazzle restaurant, the ‘perfect spot for long brunches’
Get ahead on your five- a-day with Avo Toast, a colourful composition of avocado, gochujang pickled cucumber, watermelon radishes, finger lime and toasted seeds. Or indulge your sweet tooth with Coconut Milk Fairy Toast, thickly sprinkled with hundreds and thousands. Shrinking violets beware – when the resident drag queen hosts brunch, you could become part of the entertainment.
Book it: The Irresistible Med, a seven-night round trip aboard new, adults-only Valiant Lady departs from Barcelona on June 12, with cruise-only fares from £898pp (virginvoyages.com).
A melt-in-the-mouth croissant stuffed with smoked salmon alongside a cappuccino in the Arts Cafe on Silversea’s Silver Moon, tucked away at the back of Deck 8, makes a gentle start to the day.
Curl up on a sofa and pore over a glossy art or design book from the shelves which line the wood-panelled walls, or gaze at the waves through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
And why not linger over another cappuccino along with a mandarin panna cotta mousse? The coffee in the Arts Cafe is the best to be found on this ultra-luxury small ship – as the Italian officers popping in can testify.
The coffee in the Arts Cafe on Silversea’s Silver Moon, above, is the best to be found on this ultra-luxury small ship according to the Italian officers
Book it: An 11-night all-inclusive Caribbean round trip aboard Silver Moon, sailing from Barbados on November 13, costs from £5,100pp. This includes shore excursions, flights and home-to-airport chauffeur service (silversea.com).
Sweet peppers stuffed with crab and caviar and oysters in their shells are just two of the sensational seafood specials spreading out around intricately carved ice sculptures during the magnificent brunches held in the opulent Compass Rose restaurants only on Sundays aboard RSS Explorer and Splendor.
Or you can raid the sushi bar, try the hundreds of varieties of tempting canapes, devour hand-carved Iberico ham, elaborate omelettes, French toast and exotic fruits – all superb with an expertly poured bellini or mimosa.
Magnificent: Sunday brunches are held in the opulent Compass Rose restaurants aboard RSS Explorer (pictured) and RSS Splendor
The Compass Rose feasts on the Explorer and Splendor include seafood specials spread out around intricately carved ice sculptures and a chocolate profiterole tower. Pictured is Explorer’s magnificent atrium
But pace yourselves during this unmissable feast to save room for the chocolate profiterole tower and the chocolate fountain.
Book it: A ten-night Ti Amo Italia all-inclusive cruise aboard Seven Seas Splendor sails from Rome to Barcelona on November 9. The cost, from £6,469pp, covers flights and unlimited shore excursions. Sunday brunch takes place while sailing the Tyrrhenian Sea, en route to Tuscany (rssc.com).
River cruises can have lazy starts to the day, too, as your boat heads to its next mooring place.
Feel the warm and comforting hygge in Mamsen’s, the quiet eating place tucked into the Explorers’ Lounge on every one of the Viking fleet. Pictured is the Viking Star cruise ship
Mamsen’s speciality waffles are served with jam, berries and brunost – Norway’s signature brown cheese which tastes of caramel (pictured)
And aboard swish new SS Sao Gabriel, sailing on the River Douro in northern Portugal, the cure for one too many tawny ports the night before is the chef’s own take on ovos rotos. A recipe of eggs and potatoes, borrowed from Spain, tosses in French fries, asparagus and mushrooms with eggs.
If you need a hair of the dog, choose a cold, crisp glass of the region’s Terras de Alleu white wine.
A short menu is served from 10am to 5pm in the Heritage Bistro at the front of the ship, which offers 270-degree views of the gorgeous scenery scrolling by.
Book it: One-week, all-inclusive River Douro cruises aboard SS Sao Gabriel sail from April to November, departing from Porto, with fares starting at £3,599pp including flights (uniworld.com).
Feel the warm and comforting hygge in Mamsen’s, the quiet eating place tucked into the Explorers’ Lounge on every one of the Viking fleet. There are seven identical ocean ships plus new Viking Octantis, making a total of eight with Mamsen’s aboard.
Darlingly heart-shaped, crisp and light Norwegian waffles with hints of cardamom and vanilla are made to order any time and served with jam, berries and brunost – Norway’s signature brown cheese which tastes of caramel.
From 11.30am, it is time to tuck into Smorbrod – traditional open-faced sandwiches. Choose from Atlantic pink shrimps on white bread, gravlax on dark rye, and roast beef on light rye.
Book it: A Viking Homelands cruise aboard Viking Star sails for 14 nights from Stockholm to Bergen on June 14. The cost, from £5,990pp, includes flights and excursions (viking.com).