Cruise Line Thanksgiving Recipes You Can Make at Home

Celebrate Thanksgiving Day with some of your favorite dishes at sea!

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In normal years, cruise lines would be preparing for a Thanksgiving Day on board full of fantastic cuisine and festive cheer! From the first appetizer to the last bite of pie, cruise lines go all-out for Thanksgiving dinner so we’ve compiled a few of the best Thanksgiving recipes served by cruise lines so readers can make them at home!

We’ve laid out a full meal of delicious soups, sides, main dishes and desserts all found on board cruise ships for your table this Thanksgiving. Let us know which recipe you’re most excited to make in the comments below!

Norwegian Cruise Line Pretzel Rolls

Finding delicious, fresh baked bread on board a cruise ship isn’t hard. One of the most popular items to come from Norwegian Cruise Line’s bakeries is their famous pretzel rolls. But be careful, they’re easy to fill up on and we’ve got a lot of dishes left to try!

Norwegian Pretzel Rolls

Norwegian Cruise Line Pretzel Rolls


  • 2 teaspoons active, dry yeast
  • ¾ cup lukewarm water
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 2 liters water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons baking soda


In a large bowl, combine the yeast, water, milk and canola oil. Fold in about 3 cups of all-purpose flour and the teaspoon of salt. Mix well and add another cup of flour until a firm dough is formed.  Turn out onto a floured countertop and knead by hand. Continue kneading until all of the flour is incorporated (about 8 minutes), adding extra flour if the dough is too sticky.   When the dough is smooth and elastic, cover with a towel and let rest for one hour. Cut the dough into 10 pieces and form each into a ball. Cover the rolls and let the rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and bring the boiling solution to a rolling boil. Boil about three of the pretzel rolls in the solution at a time, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Reduce heat and simmer for one minute per side. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place the rolls on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the top of each moist roll immediately with sea salt or Kosher salt and cut an “X” onto the top of each roll with a sharp knife.  Place in the oven and bake until golden brown (about 20 minutes).

Viking Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Nothing beats a hot soup on a cold November day. Viking’s Roasted Pumpkin Soup is a delightful mix of sweet and savory and makes an excellent starter course to a Thanksgiving meal! 

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup


  • 1 4-lb baby sugar pumpkin, halved and seeded
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon, finely diced
  • 2 med shallots, finely diced
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1½ tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Croutons and crumbled bacon for garnish


Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Rub pumpkin halves with oil; season generously with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet cut side up and roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Remove from oven; let cool, then scoop out flesh; set aside. Cook bacon in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium, stirring frequently until crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon to a paper towel–lined plate; set aside. Add shallots to remaining fat in pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add sherry; simmer until reduced by half, 2-3 minutes. Add broth, water, thyme and pumpkin, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil over high; reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool slightly. Purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth; pour into a clean saucepan, stir in cream, season with salt and pepper and heat gently until hot throughout. Garnish with bacon and croutons just before serving.

Holland America Line Beecher’s Mac + Cheese

A staple side dish on Thanksgiving dinner tables all across the South, a good mac and cheese dish is sure to delight your guests this holiday season. This recipe from Holland America uses ingredients from Beecher’s Cheese, a shop in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market and their specialty cheeses. For those outside of Seattle, try adding unique cheeses like Smoked Gouda, Brie or Gruyère. There’s no limit to how many you can mix in!


Photo: Beecher’s Mac + Cheese


  • 6 ounces penne pasta
  • 8 ounces Flagship cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces Just Jack cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • Garlic powder


 Preheat oven to 350˚F. Cook penne 2 minutes less than package directions. Rinse in cold water and set aside. Melt butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Continue whisking and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk while whisking. Cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add 1-3/4 cups Flagship cheese, 1/4 cup Just Jack cheese, salt, 1/4 tsp chili powder, and garlic powder. Stir until cheese is melted and all ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes. Combine pasta and sauce in a large bowl and mix carefully. Scrape into an 8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and chili powder. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Let Mac & Cheese sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Oceania Cruises’ Tuscan-Style Turkey Porchetta

Thanksgiving may be an American holiday, but porchetta is a uniquely Italian dish that needs to be on your plate this holiday season. This version from Oceania Cruises and Executive Chef Kathryn Kelly is inspired by the flavors of Tuscany and looks as good as it tastes!


Photo: Oceania Cruises


  • ½ cup grated celeriac
  • ½ cup grated parsnip
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries, softened in hot water
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon truffle oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless turkey breasts
  • 8 slices prosciutto
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 sage leaves

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix celeriac, parsnip, walnuts, cranberries, finely chopped sage, rosemary, garlic and truffle oil In a medium bowl. Place each turkey breast, one at a time, in a large zip-lock bag and gently pound to a thickness of ½ inch.

On a work surface lined with parchment paper, lay out the prosciutto in 4 stacks of 2 pieces each. Place a turkey breast on top of each prosciutto stack, making sure the ends of the breasts are within the ends of the prosciutto. Place one-fourth of the stuffing on each breast. Roll the turkey and prosciutto tightly around the stuffing. Place the rolled turkey, seam side down, in a baking pan. Bake until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 162°F. In a small sauté pan over medium heat, add the sage to melted butter and infuse the butter for about 5 minutes. Remove the sage and reserve for garnish. To serve, drizzle with sage butter and garnish with sage leaves. 

Roasted Butternut Squash & Turkey Tacos

When you think of tacos, turkey usually isn’t involved. However, Carnival Cruise Line has a Thanksgiving-style take on the taco that is a must-try this Thanksgiving. The sweet butternut squash and maple syrup pairs wonderfully with the saltiness of the turkey and the smoothness of the goat cheese!


Photo: Carnival Cruise Line


  • 1 butternut squash 
  • ¼ cup good olive oil
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lb boneless turkey breast or cooked leftover turkey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 8 six inch corn tortillas
  • 3 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled
  • 3 tbsp dried cranberries, chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Peel, seed and cube the squash. Place squash cubes on a baking tray and add maple syrup, cinnamon and sea salt/pepper then drizzle with olive oil. Toss the mixture well until all the pieces are well-coated in oil and seasoning. Bake the mixture for 30 minutes on the middle rack, turning pieces with tongs one time during cooking. Meanwhile, heat oil & garlic over medium high heat for 30 seconds. Add the turkey pieces. Season & cook for about 8 minutes, until it is browned, cooked through and the juices run clear. Place tortillas on a serving tray. Add turkey and butternut squash to each. Top with goat cheese, cranberries and chopped parsley. 

Viking Cruises Apple Cranberry Tart

Desserts on board a Viking Cruise are worth the price of admission. This French-inspired apple cranberry tart uses the flavors and colors of Fall for a classic Thanksgiving dessert. Don’t forget to top it with the oat crumble and shaved almonds for added texture and flavor!


Photo: Viking Cruises


  • 7 oz almond paste
  • 9-inch pie pan lined with pie dough
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 5 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place almond paste between two sheets of waxed paper and roll out to an 8-inch circle. Transfer to pie pan, pressing gently with fingers to cover bottom of pie dough. Place cranberries, apples, sugar and ½ tsp of cinnamon in a bowl, tossing gently to combine. Arrange over pie dough. Place remaining cinnamon, oats, flour and brown sugar in a small bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and blend into oat mixture until crumbs form. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over top of fruit. Bake 50-60 minutes, sprinkling with sliced almonds 45 minutes into baking cycle. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Carnival Santa’s Helper Cocktail

This last recipe can be enjoyed before, during or after Thanksgiving dinner, it all depends on you! Santa’s Helper calls for cherry vodka, pomegranate liqueur and cranberry juice for a drink that looks as festive as it tastes! 

Carnival Cruise Line

Photo: Carnival Cruise Line


  • 2 oz. Grey Goose Cherry Noir
  • ¾ oz pomegranate liquor
  • 1¼ oz cranberry juice
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • a few ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and garnish with a candy cane!


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