On a bright Monday morning, I found myself port side at the DFDS Ferry Terminal in North Shields after being promised a day of culinary delight. Sounds good right? Not if you are as scared of boats as I am! Nevertheless, I was wearing my big girl pants and sucked it up, donned my hi vis and set foot aboard the King Seaways.
Running to a daily schedule from Newcastle to Amsterdam, the weekend cruises are infamous in the North East as we are proud to call the route our own. I had reservations before I went as I thought it would be all burgers, chips, lager and pre packed food for the drunken masses.
I was wrong. So very wrong.
On board the King Seaways there are 6 eateries (The Blue Riband a la Carte, Little Italy – an Italian, Explorer’s – a Steakhouse, 7 seas buffet / smorgasbord and the Lighthouse & Latitude cafés) as well as several bars, both indoor and outdoor, and a nightclub area.
Sat in the Blue Riband a la carte restaurant I was lucky to throw some questions with Brian Jacobsen the head chef on board. With 15 years of experience of cooking on the high seas on his CV, it was very interesting to hear the practicalities of cooking at sea (they have bars to stop the pans falling off the stove), his inspiration and the provenance of the meat served on board.
It was time to don our aprons and head in to the kitchen to prepare our own lunch. This was so much fun and I was very surprised at the vastness of the facilities. I had pictured a tiny galley kitchen but the work space was huge and rightly so because in high season it will be home to 20 staff including a dedicated butcher, baker and pastry chefs.
Divided up, we all got a task to complete ready for lunch service. A delicious taster menu had been curated for our visit and it really showcased the best of the food available.
I volunteered to make the home made bread, cutting it and wrangling it in to shapes fit for consumption! Mmm bread! It was delicious served warm with salted butter. My personal favourite of the dishes was a very close tie between the smoked prawns and aioli and the duck pancake. Both delicious with intense flavours.
Everything was delicious and the quality was extremely high. The cut of veal was spectacular and the prawns were large and juicy, reinforcing the high end feel of the food on offer. I had reservations about the quality of the 7 seas buffet which puts out up to 80 dishes at any one time but I cannot express how much attention to detail is put in to everything that passes under Chef Brian’s control. I found the pricing throughout the menu, in Euros, to be very reasonable.
After heading up to the bar for a cocktail making session on the 9th floor, I took myself and my non-alcoholic strawberry Daiquiri to look out of the windows. I had actually forgot that I was on a ginormous ferry but I was quickly reminded! Eep!
Full of incredible food and fruity drinks it was time to disembark the King Seaways and head back to dry land.
I was highly impressed with the service and facilities on board the ship and I have decided I am finally brave enough to book up a mini cruise for Paul and I after years of wimping out! Without shadow of a doubt, we will be booking up for the Blue Riband restaurant to sample yet more of Chef Brian’s wonderful creations.
I hope this has offered you an insight in to what is offered on board and the next time one of your friends book a sailing, you can tell them all about the delicious food they can start their holiday with!
Note – This article will also be published via Engage Magazine and photos that I own will be used by DFDS, University Newspaper and North East Family Fun. With permission.