From coconut scallops in the Caribbean and Spanish tapas in the Mediterranean to chicken mole in Mexico, guests sailing aboard Holland America Line’s premium cruise ships in 2008 will savor new menus reflecting their ship’s current itinerary. Master Chef Rudi Sodamin has incorporated flavors, techniques and recipes from around the world on new menus fleetwide.

Menus are changing to reflect the ship’s sailing itinerary, and local foods are brought on board to better reflect the regional cuisine. The new Mexico and Caribbean menus are the first to debut and are available now on ships sailing those itineraries.

“Part of the fun of travel is experiencing new cultures,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales, and guest programs. “By incorporating regional dishes, Chef Rudi has brought the excitement of visiting new destinations to the dining room.”

Fresh fish will be brought on board in the Caribbean and Mexico along with local produce such as chayote, bread fruit, guava and fresh Mexican chiles.

Island spices, local fish and produce, and Sodamin’s knowledge of local specialties spice up the menu.  On the Mexico itinerary, a guest might dine on Chicken mole, a Mexican regional specialty.  In the Caribbean, the recipe changes to Caribbean jerk-style chicken.

Other sample dishes include: chili-rubbed tuna brochette, chilled West Indian lassi soup, mahi mahi with roasted corn salsa and plantains, Mexican tortilla soup with mushrooms, and guava stuffed chicken.

In an effort to enhance the fine dining experience on board, Sodamin will continue to introduce new menus as the ships change sailing destinations.  He’s developing new menus for Northern and Southern Europe, as well as other destinations.  On European itineraries, guests can enjoy prosciutto and coppa from Italy, Spanish tapas, Mediterranean olive oils and produce, artisanal cheeses and Norwegian salmon.  Alaskan sailings will continue to feature wild Alaskan seafood.

Dinner menus in the main dining room have been redesigned with a fresh, modern look. A list of starters includes appetizers, soups and salads.  Next is an entrée section, followed by Chef Rudi Sodamin’s recommendations for the day.  A selection of entrées available daily includes favorites such as Caesar salad and New York strip steak.  Wine and champagne recommendations appear at the bottom of the menu.

Guests on board may choose to dine in a variety of venues, from a quick bite poolside to a formal five-course affair. Every ship features an elegant main dining room; sophisticated Pinnacle Grill where guests can sample Sterling Silver beef and fresh seafood; the casual indoor-outdoor Lido Restaurant, and the Terrace Grill on deck for lunchtime fare.