The 8 best cruise ship steakhouses and steak-serving restaurants – The Points Guy

There are all sorts of eateries on cruise ships these days — from elegant French restaurants to casual Italian trattorias and sushi bars. But perhaps none are as popular — or as commonplace — as cruise ship steakhouses.

If a cruise line has room for just a single restaurant on a vessel in addition to a main dining room and a casual buffet eatery, it’s likely to make it a steakhouse. By our count, there are more than 100 of them on major cruise ships catering to North Americans.

Cruise giant Carnival alone has 24 steakhouses on its 26 ships.

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In many cases, the steakhouses are as elaborate and elegant as any you’ll find on land, with lovely, marbled, mouthwatering cuts of USDA Prime beef that has been dry-aged for weeks.

In addition to all the classic meat cuts, from New York strip to porterhouse, the onboard restaurants will also serve up classic steakhouse seafood selections such as Dover sole and lobster. You can expect all the classic sides, too, from sauteed spinach to potatoes every which way.

Here’s our list of the best cruise ship steakhouses afloat, plus what a meal in one of the onboard restaurants is likely to cost you.

How much do cruise ship steakhouses cost?

On many ships, the steakhouse is the date-night restaurant — the place you go for a special night after sending the little ones to the children’s program.

In many cases, onboard steakhouses come with an extra cost, generally a flat fee ranging from around $39 to $55 per person, not including drinks and gratuities. Given that meals in the main restaurants on ships are included in the price of a cruise, this can seem steep to a cruiser. But compared to the typical steakhouse on land, it’s a bargain.

Related: How to book a cruise with points and miles

A Delmonico steak at the Pinnacle Grill on a Holland America ship. HOLLAND AMERICA

Even with the cost of a bottle of wine added in, it’s possible for a couple to have a full steakhouse dinner — appetizers, mains, sides and dessert — at some cruise ship steakhouses for not much more than $120 before gratuities.

On some ships, there’s no cost at all to dine in the steakhouse. Many higher-end lines, such as Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, include the cost of dining in steakhouses and all or most other eateries in their fares.

Related: Cruise ship restaurant nirvana: The 10 best meals you can have at sea

The best cruise ship steakhouses

Below are our picks for the best steakhouses at sea. Some of them, as you’ll see, are on the finest luxury ships; others are on the most mass-market of vessels. Some of them come with an extra charge, while others are included in the fare. What they all have in common is that they offer a wonderful array of classic steakhouse dishes.

Prime 7

Where you’ll find it: All Regent Seven Seas Cruises ships

The Prime 7 steakhouse on Seven Seas Explorer. REGENT SEVEN SEAS CRUISES

Regent operates some of the world’s most luxurious ships, so it comes as no surprise that it offers some of the most elegant and upscale steakhouses at sea. On all six Regent vessels, the line’s Prime 7 venues have a contemporary flair with burnished woods and rich earth-tone fabrics, as well as supple leather wing-back chairs.

Related: Peek inside Regent’s new Seven Seas Grandeur

As for the cuisine, it’s everything you would expect from a high-end steakhouse, with a choice of New York strip, porterhouse, filet mignon and other beef cuts that are all USDA Prime and dry-aged at least 28 days. Non-beef menu items include Alaskan king crab legs and Dover sole. Starters include jumbo lump crabcakes, classic steak tartare and clam chowder.

Cost: There’s no extra charge to dine at Prime 7, but reservations are required.

Tuscan Grille

Where you’ll find it: All Solstice Class and Millennium Class vessels

The Tuscan Grille on Celebrity Constellation. CELEBRITY CRUISES

Billed as an “Italian steakhouse,” Tuscan Grille is a steakhouse with a distinctly Italian twist. In addition to classic steakhouse fare, such as New York strip and filet mignon, it serves up a wide range of Italian pasta dishes (with handmade pasta) and other Italian-style cuisine. Fish dishes, for instance, include swordfish acqua pazza Castelvetrano, which is made with olives, fennel, celery and leeks. There’s also a tuna romanesco with kalamata olives, capers and tomato.

A typical starter at Tuscan Grille is an antipasti board for the table featuring artisanal salami and cheeses, and the wine menu is full of regional Italian offerings. The decor is rustic elegance with a contemporary, minimalist edge.

Some of the newest Celebrity Cruises ships in the line’s new Edge Class series of vessels have a separate steak eatery called Fine Cut Steakhouse.

Cost: $55 per person for dinner ($50 if purchased in advance of sailing); $30 per person for lunch

Related: The ultimate guide to Celebrity Cruises ships and itineraries

Polo Grill

Where you’ll find it: All Oceania Cruises ships except Sirena

The steakhouses on Oceania Cruises have a classic steakhouse vibe. OCEANIA CRUISES

If it’s a classic steakhouse you want, Oceania Cruises is your line. The Polo Grill restaurants on Oceania ships are the embodiment of the classic steakhouses of old with decor that features crisp white linen tablecloths, dark wood furnishings and supple, high-back, burgundy leather chairs — and a menu to match.

The items on the menu include all the classic beef cuts, from a 32-ounce porterhouse to a 10-ounce New York strip (all USDA Prime and dry-aged for 28 days). Seafood choices include such steakhouse classics as grilled swordfish and whole Maine lobster (steamed with drawn butter or au gratin), and there’s a classic Caesar salad to boot (prepared tableside, of course).

For those looking for the ultimate in steakhouse privacy, note that the Polo Grill on the line’s newest ship, Vista, has a private eight-room dining room — a first for the line.

Cost: There’s no extra charge to dine at Polo Grill, but reservations are recommended.

Related: A beginners guide to cruise line loyalty programs

Fahrenheit 555 (and other Carnival steakhouses)

Where you’ll find it: All Carnival Cruise Line ships except Carnival Elation and Carnival Paradise

A server presents entree options at the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse on Carnival Breeze. ANDY NEWMAN/CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE

One of the great paradoxes of the cruise world is that one of the lowest-cost operators — Carnival Cruise Line — has some of the best steakhouses at sea. At a fixed price of $49 per person, the steakhouses on Carnival ships (which often go by the name Fahrenheit 555, as well as other names) are also a relative bargain compared to similar steakhouses on land.

Found on all but a handful of Carnival ships, the steakhouses serve all the dishes you would expect from a classic steakhouse, from a 14-ounce New York strip to a 9-ounce filet mignon (both USDA Prime, aged 28 days). Other entree choices include an appropriately marbled hunk of Australian wagyu beef, grilled lamb chops and Dover sole. Starters include heritage Berkshire pork belly, bone marrow, hand-cut beef tartare and — of course — jumbo shrimp cocktail.

Carnival has a long tradition of offering high-end steakhouses on its ships. The line began rolling out steakhouses in 2001 with the debut of its Spirit Class ships (where, in one of the great quirks of cruise ship design, the steakhouses are located in red domes that form the forward portions of the ships’ funnels). There now are steakhouses on all but two of Carnival’s 26 vessels, with varying names and decor.

Cost: $49 per person (children ages 11 and under can order from a kids menu for a flat fee of $13)

Related: 43 Carnival Cruise Line tips, tricks and hacks to enhance your vacation at sea

The Steakhouse at The Verandah

Where you’ll find it: Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria

The Steakhouse at The Verandah restaurant on Queen Mary 2. CUNARD

While all steakhouses offer some mouthwatering options, the quality and selection found in The Steakhouse at The Verandah are simply superb. Expect sirloin cuts of wagyu beef, Alaskan king crab and sides that are so delicious it’s difficult to choose just a couple.

Elevating the experience are extra touches that make all the difference. They include a waiter-presented showcase of each of the meats on offer, a selection of specialty steak knives with varying shapes and handles designed to cater to different hand sizes and an expert presentation of all dishes, especially dessert.

Cost: $45 per person for dinner, plus upcharges for certain items, such as a $30 supplement for an 8-ounce portion of Earl Stonham wagyu sirloin and a $20 supplement for a seafood platter for two; $25 per person for lunch

Related: I avoid most cruise ship steakhouses, but this one is exceptional

The Grill

Where you’ll find it: All Silversea Cruises ships

The Grill is an outdoor eatery that offers meats and fish that passengers cook at their table on hot lava rocks. SILVERSEA CRUISES

The Grill on Silversea Cruises ships isn’t a steakhouse, per se, but it offers up grilled meats to rival many of the steakhouses at sea — and with an unusual twist. It’s a restaurant where passengers cook their own meats and fish at their tables atop hot lava stones. And by hot, we mean hot. The volcanic rock used for cooking is heated to 400 degrees Celsius — about 752 degrees Fahrenheit.

Offered in an outdoor setting, The Grill is only open for lava rock cooking during the evenings. During the day, the venue serves rotisserie and gourmet salads in addition to offering a variety of sandwiches and burgers.

Cost: There’s no extra charge to dine at The Grill, but reservations are recommended.

Crown Grill

Where you’ll find it: Sun Princess, Discovery Princess, Enchanted Princess, Majestic Princess, Sky Princess, Regal Princess, Royal Princess, Caribbean Princess, Crown Princess, Grand Princess, Ruby Princess and Emerald Princess

The Crown Grill steakhouse on Majestic Princess. PRINCESS CRUISES

The “Love Boat” line’s steakhouses are known for their theater-style kitchens, which let you keep an eye on the chef cooking your New York strip. They’re also known for a wide menu.

Among the beef cuts available are New York strip, Kansas City strip, rib-eye, filet mignon and porterhouse. Plus, there’s a surf-and-turf option that combines a filet mignon and lobster tail. Seafood choices include Chilean sea bass and brioche-breaded king prawns (that’s one dish) and a mussel and smoked sausage pot.

Decor-wise, the Crown Grill venues on Princess Cruises ships have a classic steakhouse look.

Note that the Crown Grill on one Princess ship, Regal Princess, features Goodstock by Nolan Ryan Angus beef, a premium Black Angus beef graded at the top end of USDA Choice that comes from the ranching company started by legendary Hall of Fame pitcher-turned-rancher Nolan Ryan.

Cost: $39 per person

Related: The ultimate guide to Princess Cruises ships and itineraries

Pinnacle Grill

Where you’ll find it: All Holland America ships

The Pinnacle Grill on Holland America ships is a Pacific Northwest-inspired steakhouse. HOLLAND AMERICA

Holland America‘s Pinnacle Grill is a steakhouse with a refined menu featuring a selection of premium USDA Prime steaks. In addition to classic steakhouse dishes — from filet mignon to ribeye — the specialty restaurant serves an innovative selection of fresh fish (wild-caught king salmon from Alaska and Alaskan halibut, among the choices) as well as pork, chicken and lamb recipes, along with vegetarian options. Guests may also choose to share a special 36-ounce bone-in ribeye for two at a supplemental charge.

The wine list showcases boutique selections from the Pacific Northwest, plus signature selections from global wineries that pair with the entrees.

Of note, the menu includes specialties designed by celebrity chef David Burke, a member of Holland America’s Culinary Council. Among them are beef tenderloin with lobster dumplings and clothesline candied bacon. Jacques Torres, another Culinary Council chef, designed his namesake chocolate souffle for the dessert menu.

Cost: $46 per person for dinner; $19 per person for lunch (meals are half price for kids 12 and younger or free when they order from the kids menu)

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