Luxury Hotels

A memorable galley brunch on a luxury cruise ship

Welcome to the galley

Luxury hotels know there is invariably competition from outside restaurants when those paying for beds choose to dine. The exceptions, of course, are such destinations as Singita safari lodges, where there is nowhere else to go, and all-inclusives, which can these days be luxury. The gal thinks of North Island, in the Seychelles, Anantara Golden Triangle in Thailand, and Nihi Sumba, Indonesia. Cruise lines also have captive audiences, but they have the marketing challenge that reputation of food makes a considerable difference when deciding which line, and which ship, to choose.

Desserts galore

I honestly adore the food on Seven Seas Navigator, and part of the joy is the sheer enthusiasm of the Executive Chef, Ronald Marczak, one of the most ebullient Italian expats you could hope to meet. As he says again and again he really wants all those in his kitchen, and all those he is cooking for, to be happy. One day was a galley lunch, always a treat as it is the one opportunity to walk through the kitchens, including the washing-up area. But this was the most elegant galley lunch I remember. Usually at-sea visit-galley affairs are far too crammed, with passengers scrunched together into a narrow U-shaped kitchen area.

Michael Coghlan, left, and Ronald Marczak

Here, however, it was a red-carpet elongated L-shaped circuit, in past dishwashing units, with salads on the right. Turn right past cold cuts to breads, come back on the outside of the L past lots of hot dishes, including the bratwurst and spätzle that European cooks always enjoy producing at galley-brunch time (they can show off their national dishes). Back in the main Compass Rose restaurant, desserts were set out, with a chocolate fountain and a man making crèpes, filled with chocolate, fudge or, as the ship’s General Manager, Michael Coghlan, chose, simple lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon.

Crèpes to order

I really think the servers enjoy special events, probably more so in the cruise industry than luxury hotels (who wants to work the New Year’s Eve shift in a Manhattan hotel when they would rather be out with pals?). Here, on board Seven Seas Navigator, when some crew members are onboard for seven months, day in and day out, anything that relieves routine is relished, particularly when such leaders as the General Manager and the Executive Chef are spurring young servers on.