Why Specialty Dining is An Exceptional Value

Why Specialty Dining is An Exceptional Value

From gourmet Dive-In burgers and made-to-order New York Pizza to extensive options in the Dining Room and Lido Market, Holland America Line has long been recognized for its amazingly delicious cuisine that’s included in your cruise fare. But what also makes a Holland America Line cruise even more exceptional is the wide range of specialty dining experiences that are perfect for a date night, special occasion or an exotic gastronomic escapade. While specialty dining comes with a nominal charge, it’s definitely an exceptional value. Here’s why:

The Charge is Less Than A Land-Based Equivalent

As mentioned, the specialty dining venues include a nominal charge, but that charge isn’t near what you’d pay in a land-based venue serving the same caliber cuisine. Most of the restaurants — including Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto — are a flat fee, while others like Rudi’s Sel de Mer are a la carte. The selection of upscale dishes in every venue elevates the experience, and it makes it easier to indulge in something you might not try at home. Not to mention, many of our Culinary Council members have their own land-based restaurants in New York, Washington D.C., Seattle and Holland that would be more expensive. Reservations at their shoreside restaurants also might be hard to come by, but not on a Holland America Line cruise. Feel their influences and try their dishes in Tamarind, Rudi’s Sel de Mer and Pinnacle Grill (as well as our other venues).

Take a Culinary Tour Around the World
Travel is all about having new experiences, and food is key when learning about new cultures. One of the benefits of cruising, especially with Holland America Line, is that you can try exotic dishes without leaving the ship. While our main dining room serves dishes from around the world on the menu, our specialty restaurant focus on one region and take it up a notch. If you’re interested in experimenting with Southeast Asian, Japanese or Chinese cuisine, make dinner reservations at Tamarind. The menu features exotic fare such as wok-seared lobster or barramundi (Asian sea bass) in banana leaf. Make sure to try our specialty sushi created in collaboration with Culinary Council Member and Master Sushi Chef Andy Matsuda.

Andy Matsuda's Tempura Lobster Roll with lobster tail, unagi sauce, avocado and asparagus

Chef Matsuda’s Tempura Lobster Roll with lobster tail, unagi sauce, avocado and asparagus is amazing!

Another Culinary Council collaboration is Rudi’s Sel de Mer. Named for our Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, this intimate brasserie features classic French dishes re-imagined with a contemporary flair. The divine menu selections include whole Dover sole meunière with shaved pink Himalayan sea salt, fruits de mer and salt-crust baked branzino, as well as favorites such as steak frites and coq au vin.

If family-style small plates are what you enjoy, Canaletto is perfect for both a group meal or an intimate dinner for two. Available fleetwide, this restaurant is inspired by the family-focused cuisine of Italy, and you’ll get to enjoy classics like braised chicken cacciatore al forno, branzino ai ferri or garlic shrimp ravioli. Buon appetito!

Dine family-style at Canaletto.

Dine family-style at Canaletto.

Celebrate Milestones or Make it a Date Night
Along with getting a taste of exotic cultures, often times travel is centered around special celebrations. Whether it be a honeymoon, graduation or birthday, important milestones are often recognized with a special meal. On a Holland America Line cruise, a lunch or dinner at our fleetwide Pinnacle Grill is the perfect location to celebrate love and milestones.

Surf and Turf at the Pinnacle Grill.

Surf and Turf at the Pinnacle Grill.

The menu focuses on Pacific Northwest specialties using premium ingredients such as wild-caught king salmon from Alaska and sustainably raised Double R Ranch beef from Washington State. At Pinnacle Grill, you’ll also have a chance to experience the signature recipes of Culinary Council Member Chef David Burke, a leading pioneer of contemporary American cuisine. Don’t forget to perfectly pair your meal with a wine from the Pacific Northwest and other celebrated vineyards from around the world. A meal is truly an event at Pinnacle Grill.

Have a Casual Foodie Frenzy


Enjoy a wide range of tasty American favorites while on Koningsdam at the Culinary Arts Center.

If you prefer to dine in a more casual setting, Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center on Koningsdam is the perfect place. Foodies rejoice as you relax with a glass of wine, craft beer or refreshing cocktail, all while enjoying a wide range of tasty American favorites with a twist — from classic pub fare such as harissa Parmesan fries and glazed chicken wings to hearty entrées like seafood paella and our daily steak special. Catch up on the day’s highlights or watch sports on one of two screens. It’s all about unwinding with great friends, great food and great drinks.

Treat Yourself!

Don’t forget to save some space for dessert! Our alternative dining options don’t stop at lunch or dinner. If you’re on Koningsdam or the soon-to-sail Nieuw Statendam, head to “G” Gelato where you can indulge your sweet tooth with a classic European gelato, made fresh onboard each day. Choose from among 12 delightful flavors, two of which are rotated daily. This tasty treat is also served in a variety of ways, including gelato popsicles and composed shots with layers of caramel, nuts and gelato.

Is it a special occasion or do you just want to expand your palette? Whatever the reason, make a reservation at one our alternative dining options during your next Holland America Line cruise!


Join the Discussion


  1. Lorene August 22, 2018 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    I really love the tamarind and the new menu in the culinary arts centre. I like the pop up Sel De Mer but the Sel De Mer on the koningsdam leaves a lot to be desired for the price.

  2. Joseph Hobson February 5, 2022 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    How is dining in “The Dining Room” different than the evening dining in the past? Also, is the dining room of old still available without the dining package without additional fees?

Leave A Comment

Related Articles