The two chefs in charge of food operations for Savannah Riverboat Cruises come from very different backgrounds.
Chef Jamie Carver has been in Savannah for 22 years and takes great pride in his Southern heritage. Chef Jay Cirincione hails from New York, spent many years traveling, and settled in Savannah five years ago. But they are united in their fascination with Southern food. “It doesn’t get a lot of notice outside of the South,” says Cirincione. “But the flavors are this whole other dynamic.” Carver nods. “Traditional Southern cooking is slipping away, so I’m always looking for new ways to work the fundamentals into what we’re doing.”
And what are they doing, exactly?
“Oh, we’re bringing it all to the table,” says Carver. “Shrimp and grits, mac and cheese, collard greens, fried okra.” Cirincione pipes up. “Formal prime rib, which we cook in ovens from original Mississippi riverboats.” And, adds Carver, “We’ve got the best fried chicken in town.” Cirincione agrees. “Travelers come down here looking for fried chicken that’ll blow their minds, and it does!”
Carver and Cirincione aren’t just serving up the classics, though. Real hospitality means feeding everyone, from vegetarian to gluten-free and everything in between. “This is an international town,” says Carver. “You never know what someone is going to want!”
Savannah Riverboat Cruises definitely offers something for everyone.
They do sunset, moonlight and sightseeing cruises, brunch and dinner cruises, even a Monday night Gospel Cruise! “That one’s my favorite,” says Carver. “These folks come from different churches around Savannah, and they’ve been singing together for 20 years.” But these big, beautiful boats don’t just host sightseers; they also hold weddings, corporate events, family reunions and more, with custom experiences and menus based on clients’ needs.
No matter the occasion, it’s Cirincione and Carver running the meals for three tours a day, seven days a week.
Still, they find joy in being on the river. For Cirincione, “it’s the skies above the city at sunset. And on New Year’s and the 4th of July, we’ve got front row seats to the best show in town.” The old buildings and people watching are what Carver enjoys the most. “Visitors get their cocktails and come down to look at the boat. There’s always a crowd to see us off, waving as we push off just one hundred feet from where Oglethorpe landed in the 1730s.”
From the gigantic tanker ships gliding by just 20 feet away to the aquatic wildlife to the city’s oldest stories, the river reveals a side of Savannah you won’t find anywhere else. Don’t miss it!
Article by Dani Ray
SAVANNAH RIVERBOAT CRUISES
9 E. River Street