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Credit: Oceania Cruises

How to eat healthily on a cruise - duck and watermelon salad recipe

Author: Vicky Mayer

Published on:

Oceania Cruises will soon be welcoming a sensational new ship – and her guests can look forward to a fresh take on healthy haute cuisine.

Oceania Cruises ships treat you to some of the finest cuisine at sea from the moment you step onboard. From tasty breakfasts through to mouth-watering lunches and decadent dinners, every meal has been carefully developed and tested by the line’s leading chefs.

The result is five-star food you’ll love, thoughtfully inspired by the incredible places you’ll be visiting.

But Oceania Cruises is not a line to rest on its laurels. Set to launch in early 2023, its upcoming 1,200-guest Vista will offer no fewer than 12 culinary venues, including four new eateries serving modern, innovative dishes.

Open for lunch and dinner, new restaurant Ember will focus on great American cuisine, with hearty dishes including braised short ribs on polenta, crab cakes with spicy aioli and a Cobb salad with smoked chicken.

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Equally exciting is the debut of Aquamar Kitchen, a health-focused venue open daily for breakfast and lunch. Here you can start your day with a fresh cold-pressed juice or superfood smoothie, before tucking into a bowl of homemade granola, tasty avocado toast, organic power bowls or a breakfast wrap.

The lunch menu is equally nutritious, with dozens of tempting dishes including slow-roasted organic salmon with quinoa tabouleh and lemon tahini, yellowfin tacos with white cabbage slaw. And who could resist a crunchy chicken sandwich on a freshly baked wholegrain bun?

- READ MORE: How to enjoy Oceania Cruises’ award-winning food -

One of Oceania Cruises’ best-loved speciality dining spaces, Red Ginger, will also feature on Vista. With its harmonious and tranquil interior, this restaurant serves contemporary interpretations of Asian classics.

Signature dishes include a salad of spicy roast duck and watermelon with cashews; Malaysian beef penang with coconut rice and paratha roti; and Thai vegetable curry with sweet potatoes, aubergine, mushrooms and basil in green curry sauce.

Vista: Aquamar Kitchen is a health-focused venue open daily for breakfast and lunch. Credit: Oceania Cruises

Check out the recipe below to create the mouth-watering watermelon and duck salad yourself.

Whether you’re looking for a healthy meal or a luxurious treat, you’ll find culinary excellence in every restaurant, café and kitchen onboard Vista.

Bernard Carter, Oceania’s European MD, says: "We are so excited for Vista to join our fleet, and we have planned a fantastic inaugural season with 18 voyages spanning more than 24 countries across four continents.

- READ MORE: Oceania's Bernard Carter shares Vista's food secrets -

"Highlights include the Spanish, French, and Italian Rivieras, the Greek islands, the Holy Land, the Canaries, the wine country of Spain, Portugal, and France, the British Isles, colonial America and the Panama Canal.

"And with overnight stays in Lisbon, Venice, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Bordeaux, Montreal, and New York City, plus a host of off-the-beaten-path treasures to explore, Vista offers the ultimate way to see the world, while enjoying the most incredible onboard food."

Vista: New restaurant Ember will focus on great American cuisine. Credit: Oceania Crusies

Duck and watermelon salad recipe

Serves six

This is a real crowd-pleaser at Red Ginger aboard Marina and Riviera – a fresh and savoury salad with the crisp texture and sweetness of the watermelon perfectly balancing the richness of the duck.


Sweet fish sauce

  • 170g palm sugar, coarsely chopped
  • 60ml water
  • ½ large shallot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bulb portion only, coarsely chopped
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf
  • 1cm piece galangal, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 to 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 to 2 tbsp tamarind concentrate

- READ MORE: Experience an elevated dining experience with Oceania -

Duck and watermelon salad

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 70g raw cashew nuts
  • Salt
  • 6 confit duck legs
  • 2 to 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 900g seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 12g Thai basil or sweet basil leaves
  • 12g mint leaves
  • 12g coriander leaves
  • 50g thinly sliced shallot
The duck and watermelon salad recipe is a real crowd-pleaser. Credit: Oceania Crusies


For the sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the palm sugar and water. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is melted – about 5 min.
  2. Remove from the heat. Stir in the shallot, lemongrass, lime leaf and galangal, and set aside to infuse for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight.
  3. Strain the liquid into a small bowl, discarding the solids. Add 1 tablespoon each of the fish sauce and tamarind, mixing well. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional fish sauce and tamarind if needed.

- READ MORE: Cruise dining, food & drink guide -

For the salad

  1. In a large, deep saucepan, pour vegetable oil to a depth of 10cm and heat to 162C using a deep-frying thermometer.
  2. Add the cashews and fry until crisp, about 1 min. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to kitchen paper on a plate. Sprinkle with salt while hot.
  3. Increase the temperature of the oil to 176C. Add 2 duck legs and fry, turning until brown and crisp all round, about 4 to 5 min. Using tongs, transfer to kitchen paper on a plate. Repeat with the remaining duck legs in two batches.
  4. When the duck legs are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin, cut it into strips and set aside. Bone the legs and shred the meat into a bowl. Season to taste with the hoisin sauce.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the watermelon, basil, mint, and coriander. Add the duck meat, skin, cashews, and shallot. Toss with enough of the sweet fish sauce to coat lightly (you may not need all of the sauce).
  6. Divide the salad among individual serving plates or martini glasses.
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