MSC Precioza at Sea Trials

MSC Precioza at Sea Trials (Courtesy MSC Cruises)

MSC Cruises, the only privately owned Italian cruise line, has announced a new partnership with Eataly, the rapidly growing Turin-based food emporium and restaurateur, to launch the first two Eataly restaurants at sea.

When the line's newest ship, MSC Preziosa (sister ship to the Fantasia-class luxury ships MSC Divina, MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia) is christened in Genoa in March, the two specialty restaurants will become magnets for foodies. One of the major proponents of the "slow food" philosophy, Eataly is known for sourcing and producing high-quality Italian foods and wines that are sustainable, traceable and affordable.

The 80-seat Eataly Restaurant will mirror its namesakes' origins, offering an informal venue to eat, buy and learn about the Italian food products in a minimalist but stylish space. Like other Eataly outposts, the walls will be decorated with neatly arranged shelves of products, from olive oils to dried pasta. Open for lunch and dinner, the menu will include pastas, vegetables, seafood, meat, cold cuts and cheese.

The fixed-price menu of the more intimate 24-seat Ristorante Italia (open only evenings) will be created by Eataly chefs, showcasing the best ingredients from small, local producers as well as a variety of paired wines.

Eataly currently has marketplaces in eight cities in Italy (with three more slated to open this spring), four in Japan and one in New York, which opened in 2010 with a great deal of buzz. A second U.S. store is scheduled to open in Chicago in autumn. The partnership is a perfect fit for MSC, whose history, culture and style are decidedly Italian, down to the Venchi chocolates left on your pillow at turndown.

"As a Mediterranean company, the addition of Eataly reflects our true roots and our ongoing emphasis on providing guests with quality dishes and dining options," said Richard Sasso, CEO and president of MSC Cruises USA. "Not only will our guests experience more variety and innovation on MSC, they will experience the Mediterranean flair ... so special to our brand."