About time!

Perri Ormont Blumberg
March 23, 2018
Roberto Machado Noa/Getty Images

A little over a year ago, I boarded the Carnival Vista in Miami for an action-packed cruise to Turks and Caicos and the Dominican Republic. There was the adrenaline-pumping SkyRide, a spa, and plenty of live entertainment. There was even a functioning brewery and IMAX theater on board.

And then, there was barbecue. Just because you're in the Caribbean doesn't mean your hankering for mac and cheese and collard greens dissipates — and boy does Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que deliver. Currently, Guy Fieri's popular barbecue outpost (you should have seen the lunch crowds) is available on four Carnival ships and debuting on the new Carnival Horizon next month.

As the scent of molasses baked beans swirling with potato salad and barbecue sauces wafted through the air, I began to wonder why more cruise lines don't bring BBQ out on the high seas. 

Well, 2018 is shaping up to be a very good year for Southerners to hit the briny ocean waters as more and more cruise companies jump on the trend. As Travel Weekly reports, following Carnival in 2016, Princess Cruises added barbecue to their culinary lineup in 2017, and Norwegian Cruise Line is launching barbecue eatery Q this summer aboard Norwegian Bliss. At this soon-to-open Texas smokehouse, "...guests will be able to tap their boots to the beat of live contemporary pop country music each night as they indulge in authentic Texas barbecue in a sleek urban setting," as a Norwegian press release reads.

WATCH: The South's 10 Best BBQ Joints

Logistically, getting tantalizing smoked barbecue cruise-ready isn't exactly a breeze. "We had to bring in officials from Lloyds Register [a ship design and safety consultancy] and do a lot of evaluation, a lot of study of the equipment and modifications to the equipment for fire safety," Greg Poplewko, Carnival's director of specialty dining, told Travel Weekly. Six months and a lot of work later, an Ole Hickory smoker from Cape Girardeau, Missouri was ready for open water. And our Southern bellies sure are ready to spoon up all that mac-and-cheese and scratch-made slaw.