So there I was, standing next to the man I had cooked on countless television programmes.

Italian chef Gennaro Contaldo was onboard Anthem of the Seas to open Jamie Oliver’s latest sea-based restaurant and my timing could not have been better. With barely a soul in sight, I grasped the opportunity to say hello.

‘Never meet your heroes,’ the saying goes, but this was definitely one case where that was not true. A mirror image from his television work, Gennaro was a true gentleman, and his trademark larger-than-life character was clear to see.

Gennaro Contaldo and David Fiske

Gennaro Contaldo and me

Six months prior, I stood on Quantum of the Seas in touching distance from Jamie Oliver, and gadget geek Jason Bradbury, from Channel 5’s The Gadget Show. Sadly, I couldn’t get close enough to shake hands and snap selfies, but that’s the world of celebrity spotting for you!

Some people choose to spot celebs at movie launches, but I like to find them on cruise ships!

Where to find celebrities onboard

Ever more celebrities are taking to the high seas, and cruise lines are as keen as mustard to sign up superstars to sail with them.

Celebrity chefs are a popular choice, with culinary demonstrations and even cookery lessons on the cards.

Famous television stars, novelists, gardeners, dancers, and musicians can also be found aboard selected sailings. Celebs usually take part in either a performance or a lecture. Often, they will also host an event, where you can learn insider secrets, ask questions, and perhaps take a selfie or two.


Take note from my experience above. Timing, crowds, and personalities will determine how close you can get to a celebrity. Some are more forthcoming than others, and some cruise lines are better than others at facilitating meet and greets in various forms.

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises’ Food Heroes ad can often be found onboard their ships.

TV celebrity chef James Martin, jolly wine guru Olly Smith, Michelin-starred chefs Atul Kochhar and Marco Pierre White, French master pâtissier Eric Lanlard, and cheese expert Charlie Turnbull make up the dream team.

On selected Food Heroes cruise holidays you can enjoy live cookery demonstrations, masterclasses, hosted dinners, book signings, Q&A sessions, and even hosted food or wine related shore excursions in certain ports of call.

You may need to pre-book some classes, some of which may incur an additional fee.

DateShipCelebrity Chef(s)Itinerary
26 March 2017BritanniaJames Martin7 night Spain and France ad
7 May 2017BritanniaEric Lanlard12 night Canary Islands, Portugal & Spain ad
28 May 2017BritanniaEric Lanlard7 night Spain, France and Guernsey ad
4 June 2017AzuraAtul Kochhar12 night Canary Islands, Portugal & Spain ad
10 July 2017VenturaOlly Smith13 night Canary Islands and Portugal ad
23 July 2017VenturaAtul Kochhar12 night Canary Islands, Portugal & Spain ad
4 August 2017VenturaMarco Pierre White7 night Spain, Portugal and Guernsey ad
4 September 2017BritanniaEric Lanlard
Olly Smith
12 night Spain and Canary Islands ad
16 September 2017BritanniaMarco Pierre White14 night Spain, France and Italy ad
17 September 2017VenturaMarco Pierre White12 night Canary Islands and Portugal ad
8 October 2017AzuraMarco Pierre White12 night Portugal and Spain ad
15 October 2017VenturaAtul Kochhar12 night Spain and Canary Islands ad

P&O Cruises doesn’t just stake a claim to fantastic foodie experiences. The cruise line also hosts a selection of Strictly Come Dancing themed sailings.

On each ‘Strictly’ cruise, you can enjoy stunning dance performances. There are also opportunities to meet the stars, learn some moves, ask questions, hear some gossip from behind the scenes, and the chance to see some amazing costumes from the show.

DateShip‘Strictly’ CelebritiesItinerary
2 April 2017AzuraGiovanni Pernice and Oti Mabuse
Kevin and Karen Clifton
Gorka Marquez
Craig Revel Horwood
14 night Spain, France and Italy ad
30 April 2017VenturaGiovanni Pernice and Joanne Clifton
Neil and Katya Jones
AJ Pritchard and Chloe Hewitt
Craig Revel Horwood
14 night Spain and Italy ad
4 June 2017BritanniaCraig Revel Horwood
Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec
Giovanni Pernice and Oti Mabuse
14 night Scandinavia and Russia ad
25 June 2017BritanniaJanette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec
Karen and Kevin Clifton
Natalie Lowe
Craig Revel Horwood
14 night Spain, France and Italy ad

Princess Cruises

New for 2017, Princess Cruises has put together a line-up of guest speakers as part of its Princess’ Encounters with Discovery speaker series. The speakers will appear on selected spring and summer itineraries from Southampton aboard Crown Princess between April and September.

Each speaker will host a 45-minute discussion as well as a meet and greet session complete with photographs and book signings. Some speakers will also become judges on ‘The Voice of the Ocean’, the ship-based singing competition for guests.

22 April 2017Katie Nicholl (Royal correspondent and commentator)
Harry Redknapp (former footballer and manager)
14 night Mediterranean Adventurer
6 May 2017Beverley Callard (Actress – Liz McDonald in Coronation Street)7 night Spain & France
13 May 2017Harry Redknapp (former footballer and manager)14 night Mediterranean Adventurer
27 May 2017Graham Gooch OBE (former England cricket captain)7 night Scandinavia
17 June 2017Peter Shilton OBE (former England goalkeeper, football manager)14 night Midnight Sun & Summer Solstice
1 July 2017John Virgo (former snooker player, snooker commentator)7 night Norwegian Fjords
8 July 2017Terry Butcher (former England captain and football manager)14 night Baltic Heritage
22 July 2017Paul Burrell RVM (butler to Diana, Princess of Wales)7 night Norwegian Fjords
29 July 2017Mike Gatting OBE (former England cricket captain)14 night Mediterranean Adventurer
12 August 2017Sherrie Hewson (actor, presenter, broadcaster, novelist)14 night North Cape & Norwegian Fjords
26 August 2017Edwina Currie (former MP, novelist, broadcaster)7 night Scandinavia

Saga Cruises

Over 50’s cruise specialist Saga often hosts celebrities on its sailings.

  • Radio and TV broadcaster ‘Diddy’ David Hamilton will sail on Saga Sapphire‘s 14-night Canaries to Casablanca cruise ad that sails from Southampton on 1 December 2016. David, who presented BBC Radio 2’s afternoon show in the 1970s, will host a presentation on the ‘History of Radio.’
  • Bake Off: Crème de la Crème winner Mark Tilling will sail on Saga Sapphire on a 14-night Spanish Adventure cruise ad, departing Southampton on 28 October 2017. Learn tricks of the trade as the Master Chocolatier hosts patisserie demonstrations, chocolate-themed workshops, and dinners.

Disclaimer: All the itineraries and appearances listed above are subject to change. Occasionally cruise lines have to change itineraries or celebs are unavoidably unavailable. Check with each cruise line above for the very latest details.

Would you book a cruise just to see a celebrity? Who would you most like to meet? Leave a comment below.


  1. I mr overton will be sailing on the brittania on the 22nd july could you tell me which celebrity cheif are on board

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