Consider yourself a foodie? Always in search of under the radar culinary destinations that defy stereotypes and exceed expectations? We have the perfect spot in mind! Alaska may not be the first place you think of when imagining an epicurean’s dream locale, but we can assure you that America’s largest state offers much more than breathtaking views and roaming wildlife.
Nowhere is the pioneer “make do” spirit more evident than in Alaska’s small towns, where the oh-so-Alaskan habit of repurposing vehicles and buildings has made its way into the food scene. In fact, some of the best food you’ll find in Alaska comes from restaurants that cook and/or serve out of repurposed buses, train cars, and in one case even a yacht.
There’s nothing broken about the “Train Wreck Complex” in Seward. Situated just off the harbor docks and a short stroll from the cruise ship terminal, this collection of retired railroad cars has been repurposed into a clever micro-hotel on one side and a restaurant — the Smoke Shack — on the other.
Known for its killer breakfasts, the Smoke Shack is “cozy” — there are only a few booths inside — and they don’t take reservations. So, if the train car is full and the often-rainy Seward weather isn’t cooperating for outdoor dining, you may have a long wait ahead. But the casual, creative fare and reasonable pricing are well worth it.
If you’re hungry for bountiful garlic fries, an old-fashioned milkshake and one of the best burgers in the state, look no further than the old red school bus parked on Van Buren Street in Seward.
That’s the kitchen for Red’s Burgers, a seasonal May-to-September restaurant that draws a steady stream of enthusiastic visitors (and rave reviews) from all around the world. You can take your food to go, eat outside and admire the mountain views, or you can stay and eat inside another remodeled bus with four-top tables. Heads up: Red’s only takes cash, but there’s an ATM on-site if you need it.
Red’s has some competition: The Burger Bus in Kenai, a mere hundred road miles away, draws its share of burger-related accolades, too. The Burger Bus is almost its own neighborhood, with a small shelter in front of the bus door and an outdoor dining area nearby. And while it may not look like much, locals and visitors alike rave about the great food and friendly service.
Of all the unlikely places where school buses turn up in Alaska, the tiny town of Hyder may be the most remote. Hyder’s year-round population is less than one hundred people, but summer tourists come in droves to watch black and grizzly bears at nearby Fish Creek — and to enjoy stellar fresh seafood from “The Bus.” There’s limited indoor seating nearby or, if the weather’s nice and there are no bears around, you can chow down at a few outdoor tables.
Seafood doesn’t get any fresher than what you’ll find in Alaska’s isolated seaside communities, and the seafood tacos don’t come any better than those you’ll be served at Baja Taco in Cordova. This unexpected little restaurant is yet another sterling example of turning a school bus into a kitchen, although its seating options — the shelter of an adjacent building or out on the deck — are nicer than most.
Buses aren’t the only stationary road vehicles Alaskans have turned into unconventional eateries. Payo’s Thai Kitchen in Talkeetna is based in an old camper trailer with an open-air dining shelter just outside, so you have a place to eat if it rains.
If your cruise ship, ferry or plane takes you to the island community of Kodiak, get ready for the most luxurious “vehicle restaurant” you’ll ever experience. Book far enough in advance, and the husband-and-wife team behind Galley Gourmet will take you out for a dinner cruise like no other. You’ll dine on just-harvested seafood and garden vegetables with Kodiak’s lush green shores and a medley of eagles, sea lions, seabirds and sometimes even whales as the backdrop to your meal.
Contrary to popular belief, Alaska offers an unexpected culinary experience that will surprise travelers’ taste buds and exceed their expectations. With more to the state than just smoked salmon and baked Alaska, we reached out to Entrée Destinations to find out all Alaska has to offer.
Q: Where do you think the food and culture capital of Alaska is, and why?
The food and culture capital of Alaska is where you’d least expect it, and it can be enjoyed many times over. Tucked within remote forests and along pristine waterways, Alaska’s wilderness lodges showcase authentic Alaskan culture and local cuisine.
As the descendants of Alaskan homesteaders with survival and resiliency in their blood, many of the lodge owners even grow and harvest their own produce onsite. Living off the land is an Alaskan way of life, and wilderness lodge owners are happy to share this culture with their guests. Lodge menus are entirely dependent on what grows best in the region and may include freshly caught halibut or crab, pine needle infused honey or homemade rhubarb pie.
Q: What are some trips or tours that are a must for visitors to Alaska?
Magic happens in Alaska’s faraway places. The backcountry is where true Alaska is found, away from the cruise ships and crowds but in the hard-to-reach pockets of the state only accessible by bush planes. There’s no better way to get to know Alaska than through the outdoors, and one of the best ways to do that is through aerial adventures.
Soar over jagged mountain peaks covered in snow and ice, spot a colony of walruses along a shoreline, or for the real adventure-seekers, dangle out the side of a plane and photograph oblivious wildlife on the ground below. Some of the best and most unique Alaskan lodges are only accessible by air, and even the journey getting there is spectacular.
Q: What’s your favorite cultural experience in the region?
Fishing! Fishing in Alaska is some of the best in the world. From deep sea fishing for Halibut just outside Homer to casting a line for salmon along the Kenai river, there are countless remote regions where your only competition are whales and bears. Truly an angler’s dream, all five species of salmon, as well as Halibut, cod and Rockfish call Alaskan saltwater home. Found in freshwater are Rainbow Trout, Steelhead, Arctic Char, Grayling and Northern Pike – just to name a few!
Another epic and unique cultural experience is Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Known as ‘The Last Great Race on Earth’ and extending over 1,049 miles, this race takes mushers and their team of dogs though some of the roughest and toughest country in North America. Watching the race is unforgettable, and even more unique is the chance to drive your very own team of sled dogs. Stay at a wilderness lodge near the route, and you’ll get a chance to experience the Iditarod Trail for yourself before heading into Anchorage to witness the race from its start line!
Q: What’s a unique food or culture experience most travelers miss out on in Alaska?
Truly tasting the flavors of Alaska. There’s more to the state than smoked salmon and baked Alaska. In Southeast Alaska, herring roe reigns supreme and can be found on the menus of innovative wilderness lodges, alongside locally harvested fiddlehead ferns or rockfish fritters.
We believe in creating a meaningful connection between our guests, the local people and the land, and one way we facilitate this is through tasting Alaska like the locals do. One of our preferred wilderness lodge partners offers a cooking school onsite, where guests cook under the guidance of an award-winning chef, learn about the local cuisine and discover innovative ways to incorporate locally grown ingredients into beautiful recipes.
Q: What food or culture options does Entrée Destinations offer that travelers can’t find anywhere else?
Entrée Destinations provides an insider’s glimpse into Alaska – the type of things that can’t be Googled or found on TripAdvisor. This may mean coming face-to-face with a village elder, strolling across the sand with bears just a few feet away, or tasting the best Alaska has to offer with exclusive cooking classes or dining experiences.
Everywhere an Entrée Destinations guest goes, they travel in style and authenticity – which can’t be replicated or found online. Through bespoke travel experiences, we connect our guests to the kind of Alaska they can only dream of – whether it’s traversing a glacier, mushing a team of sled dogs or tasting oysters shucked straight from the sea.
Want to learn more? Contact your travel agent today!
Alaska is famous for its wildlife, scenery and charming rural towns. But if you know where to look, the state is also full of under-the-radar cooking classes and culinary gems where you can recreate famous roadhouse pies, prepare fresh-from-the-ocean seafood, or even bake a loaf of ethically sourced bread.
If having a mother-daughter team of Le Cordon Bleu-trained chefs running the Tutka Bay Cooking School isn’t impressive enough, consider the setting: A dry-docked World War II-era troop ship located in an isolated cove, a half-hour boat ride away from the small town of Homer.
That troop ship, the Widgeon II, is your cooking school; and the dishes you’ll create are equally grounded in the chefs’ broad knowledge of world cuisine and the finest seasonal, local ingredients. And if you’re not quite ready to head back to civilization, the family’s remote Tutka Bay Wilderness Lodge is located just a short walk away.
Breathtaking views of 20,310’ Denali (formerly known as Mt. McKinley) and a healthy serving of quirky, small-town charm may be what initially draws visitors to the small community of Talkeetna, Alaska. But it’s the famous pies at the Talkeetna Roadhouse that will inspire you to pull up a chair and stay a while (or at least long enough for another serving).
If you’re already dreading the idea of being without those pies when you leave, there’s a solution. Book your visit to coincide with one of the roadhouse’s pie-making classes, and you’ll learn how to create the same delicious desserts at home. And if that’s not enough roadhouse goodness for you, sign up for mail delivery of their equally famous ginger-molasses cookies.
If your travels take you up the Inside Passage to Skagway, make sure you leave room (both in your itinerary and your stomach) to prepare your own organic four-course meal at Alaskan Garden Gourmet. Class is in session as soon as you harvest the ingredients from the garden, and you’ll create a fresh, Alaska-inspired specialty such as smoked salmon linguine pasta or halibut chowder. And when you leave, you’ll take the recipe along with you as well as a packet of seeds to grow your own ingredients.
The Fire Island Rustic Bakeshops in Anchorage may not have achieved worldwide renown (yet), but they’re beloved by locals for their range of tasty baked goods made from ethical, sustainable and often local ingredients. They also offer hands-on workshops for bread baking and other useful skills like smoking meats and making stocks and broth. You may not be an Alaskan homesteader, but the bakeshop’s classes are a fun way to connect with the locals and create your own edible souvenirs.
Juneau is a capital city like no other: You can only get there by plane or boat, and the main attractions include a massive glacier, the massive mountains looming over downtown, and opportunities to see humpback whales bubble net feeding en masse. But for the culinary-minded, you can also pay a visit to Chez Alaska and enjoy a delicious lunch of salmon and reindeer, Alaska-style. The meal is cooked in front of you (with one lucky guest playing assistant to the chef), so you can take plenty of notes to recreate the same flavors at home.
Okay, this slice of Alaska probably won’t make it all the way home with you. But if your flight happens to be routed through the small island community of Sitka, you can snag a slice of the best pie in Southeast Alaska without leaving the airport. You will have to leave the plane, though, and quickly duck into the Nugget Restaurant. Savvy travelers know they usually have enough time to grab a “to go” slice and head back through security. And some clever locals deliberately book themselves on the daily “milk run” flight which makes several stops in small communities, including Sitka, just so they can grab a slice of Nugget’s delicious pie.
Alaska is renowned for its concentration of beer microbreweries — and rightly so! But creative brewers and bottlers in Alaska are pulling together a lot more than “just” beer. From vodka to hard cider and locally brewed kombucha, here’s a look at the many ways you can drink your way through the country’s largest, wildest state.
If you’re a teetotaler or simply curious about the non-alcoholic side of things, try local kombucha on tap. This light, refreshing drink is made from a base of fermented black tea and lacks the stringy residue and strong vinegar flavor often found in store-bought bottles. Instead, kombucha on tap is slightly tart, a little fizzy and mildly sweet, flavored with fresh berries, fruit and herbs.
Local kombucha on draft can be found in dozens of restaurants and breweries throughout Southcentral Alaska. You can even stop in one of the local kombucha taprooms — 203 Kombucha in Palmer and Zip Kombucha in Anchorage — to sample their products and tote out your very own mini growler for the RV or hotel room.
There’s no arguing beer is king in Alaska. But two Southcentral Alaska cideries and tap rooms — Alaska Ciderworks in Talkeetna and Double Shovel Cider Company in Anchorage — are pressing hard to revive what was once the most popular drink in the nation.
Cider’s crisp, refreshing taste is a result of fermented fruit juice — particularly apples, which grow well in the region. And hey, if you’re traveling with celiac disease or food sensitivities, cider is brewed without malt. That makes it naturally gluten-free.
Ah, the finer stuff in life — or fine spirits, at least. The grains used to distill spirits like vodka, gin and whiskey grow well in Alaska. Pair that with our seemingly endless sources of fresh, clean water, then add in creative local ingredients like spruce tips and assorted herbs, and you have the perfect ingredients for farm-to-bottle production.
Some of Alaska’s smallest distilleries, like Port Chilkoot Distillery in Haines, have already made outsize waves by receiving national recognition. But you’ll find many distilleries dotted throughout Alaska in cities like Juneau, Skagway, Sterling, Fairbanks and of course Anchorage. And don’t miss the chance to tour the Arctic Harvest Distillery near the North Pole. Every step of the spirit-making process — from planting to harvesting, malting, fermenting and distilling — happens at the family-owned facility.
Alaska may be the land of the midnight sun, but its relatively cool climate still has local vintners scratching their heads on how to set up a thriving traditional vineyard. Regardless, fruit wines made of locally grown fruits and berries are booming here.
Alaska Berries in Soldotna grows their own fruit for true Alaska Grown “bush to bottle” fruit wines, plus jams and syrups you can take home as souvenirs. Meanwhile, you can find many more family-owned wineries, such as Bear Creek Winery, which buys local fruit by the pound to make its wines, scattered throughout the state.
Best described as “honey wine,” mead is made from fermented honey, water and yeast. The world’s oldest alcoholic beverage is also one of the rarest in Alaska. Meaderies have faded in and out over the years until just one dedicated meadery — the Alaska Meadery of Talkeetna — was left carrying the torch. But you’ll also find a couple wineries producing their own version of “honey wine, ” including the versatile Bear Creek Winery in Homer.
Tempting dishes from our featured destinations give you a taste of local culture. From succulent roasts to exotic spicy fare and some divine desserts, you’re sure to find plenty of delicious recipes to try at home.
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We look to create the indelible and unforgettable, to elevate the senses with the spectacular and dramatic, and to perfectly set the stage for celebration of the best things life has to offer, every day or once in a lifetime.
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Each month we’re showcasing our cruise partners to bring you the latest on the cruise line and their ships. With different cruising styles and a variety of ships to choose from, you’ll find these profiles helpful for selecting the cruise that’s right for you.
Celebrity Cruises exists because we believe in opening up the world. We know that travel makes us better—every one of us. We’re here to help vacationers understand the value of travel. Our cruises encourage people to sail beyond their own borders and expand their horizons. Our iconic "X" is the mark of modern luxury, the mark of contemporary spaces that are at once coolly sophisticated and warmly inviting. Where the culinary experience is influenced by global cuisines and designed by our Michelin-starred chef. Where our staff provides seamless and intuitive service that’s both personal and unobtrusive. Where everything is designed to provide unparalleled luxury cruise vacations for travelers of every age. Our fourteen award-winning ships offer unique experiences in more than 300 destinations on all seven continents.
We’re Celebrity Cruises, and the world is open.
A revolutionary new ship poised to shatter all expectations.
A ship designed to leave the future behind.
Celebrity's visionary design raises the bar on cruise vacations to even greater heights. Our team of world-class designers, that are new to the cruise ship design and chosen because we wanted to ensure every aspect of Edge would be a departure from traditional thinking about cruising. Our outstanding collection of designers includes the mastery of Kelly Hoppen, Tom Wright of WKK; and adding to the design team our newly appointed Design Ambassador, award-winning interior designer Nate Berkus.
One of the biggest influences on the design of Edge was our desire to make the destination experience even more immersive-starting right on-board. Celebrity Edge has a unique outward facing design that breaks from traditional ship design. On Celebrity Edge, you will feel more connected with the sea and the exciting places you'll visit in a variety of spaced ranging from our Edge Staterooms, featuring Infinite VerandasSM to our reimagined, terraced pool deck that offers even greater views of the destinations and every glorious shimmer of ocean in-between.
When it came to naming this visionary new vessel, we looked no further than the very thing that makes this ship so unique — the fact that during two years of exploration and excitement every single design element has been taken to the leading edge of possibility.
Brilliant innovations give you open air access to the sea, whenever you wish. The latest technology lets you precisely adjust nearly every comfort feature in your stateroom, suite or villa. Reimagined spaces feature larger living areas, bigger bathrooms, and a king-size bed in 99% of our rooms—an industry first for premium cruise lines—plus Celebrity’s eXhale™ bedding featuring the Cashmere Mattress.
With the widest range of staterooms in the Celebrity fleet, there’s a room on Celebrity Edge perfect for your vacation needs. From our new Single Staterooms—designed for modern travelers who love to explore the world on their own—to our perfectly indulgent Panoramic Ocean View Staterooms.
178 possible options of connecting staterooms make it easier than ever for families and friends to get together and get away in modern luxury. Combinations include two adjoining Edge Staterooms with Infinite VerandasSM connected to become one, and the Iconic Suite and the Royal Suite connected to create our largest unique combination that comfortably sleeps 10.
For our new Edge Class accommodations, famed interior designer Kelly Hoppen took the lead on design. Her vision evokes the intimacy of an inviting, indulgent urban apartment that opens to the most beautiful scenery on earth. With Kelly’s tremendous style, every stateroom on Celebrity Edge is a spacious work of art that you’ll be glad to call your home away from home.
World-class restaurants that open your world. We’ve designed Celebrity Edge to change the way you experience the world, and our culinary philosophy follows the same line of thinking. We’ve turned our focus to the destinations we visit, bringing the flavors of the world to you—right on board. 29 unique food and beverage experiences crafted by a Michelin-starred chef speak to all of your senses in distinctly different ways.
You won’t find another dining experience like this at sea – or on land for that matter. Discover each of our restaurant and bar venues in more detail below, and satisfy your appetite for adventure by booking an exceptional cruise onboard Celebrity Edge.
From morning until night, there are literally hundreds of activities to choose from. Boutique shopping, cooking, family activities, the latest in wireless and computer technology, and even a fine art photography studio to capture your portrait when you’re at the height of vacation happiness. You can go from wine tasting to a high-energy fitness class in the same day. And our ships, they’ll be surrounded with one of the world’s largest permanent collections of contemporary art, complete with an exciting art program where you can attend live art actions, educational seminars, and fantastic art exhibitions. The only question is, what are you in the mood for today?
We go all out to make your vacation a modern, upscale experience that will leave you completely restored and renewed.
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Our signature world-class accommodations, globally-influenced dining (where even the most finicky eater is sure to find new favorites), and friendly staff set the stage for everyone’s vacation.
And, we feature family-focused, spacious accommodations, including interlocking adjoining staterooms, Family Veranda staterooms, and suites—so there’s always room for the entire gang.
On a Celebrity vacation, you're not just sailing with our ships—you're sailing with our service. For 25 years that's been our calling card—the main reason why our guests cruise with us year after year. From your stateroom attendant to our attentive pool butlers, we're always there with a smile and a helping hand. Our Outstanding customer service and On Board Services are intuitive, so you can enjoy your vacation to its fullest.