Award-winning river cruise line AmaWaterways has introduced an enhanced range of shore excursions, Limited Edition Tours, aimed at guests who are already familiar with the ports visited and are looking for a different angle or a deeper immersion in local culture.
Examples of the new tours include a visit to a traditional Viennese coffee house to try the traditional range of coffees and a slice of Sachertorte, followed by a cellar tour to sample Austrian sparkling wine. In Portugal, from Oporto, travel to a farm that manufactures cork products to learn about the local cork industry and visit the family’s private museum. Meanwhile, in Bratislava, enjoy a tasting of Slovak specialities, including sheep’s cheese soup and stuffed potato ravioli.
This October gastronomes and wine enthusiasts can delve into Europe’s rich wine heritage with renowned expert, Oz Clarke. Oz will lead a host of wine travel experiences, taking in renowned vineyards throughout France, Spain and Portugal during the spectacular annual grape harvest and provide guests the opportunity to enjoy gastronomic experiences and improve their knowledge of wine through masterclasses.
The 12-night immersive holiday – designed to impress the palates of food and wine fans with some expert advice on hand – will allow guests to take advantage of the first-class restaurants and wine programmes onboard the recently refurbished Celebrity Cruises’ ship Celebrity Infinity whilst travelling between Europe’s top wine producing regions.
For more information and to book the European Immersive Wine Cruise and the packages visit www.celebritycruises.co.uk/wine Tel: 0844 493 6022
A short video presented by celebrity chef and Master Pâtissier, Eric Lanlard, has been produced highlighting his unique signature afternoon tea with brand new sweet and savoury creations, which he designed for a dedicated food and wine themed cruise.
Normally associated with his luxury afternoon tea in his Cake Boy London cafe and five star hotels, this is the first time Lanlard has created an afternoon tea for a cruise ship.
The video begins with Lanlard talking through his bespoke afternoon tea, which brings a contemporary and interactive twist to the traditional British institution. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_yZ8UX6EGE
Lanlard will be appearing as a special guest on the next food and wine themed cruise later this year; a 28-night Caribbean no-fly cruise on Adonia (D318), departing 22 November 2013. Visit www.pocruises.com
Silversea, renowned for its ultra-luxurious ships and exotic destinations, has announced an Italian “Gourmet Cruise” programme. Voyage 5333 departs Venice on 24 October 2013 for a nine-day sailing to Rome showcasing a collection of Italian offerings including world renowned Italian experts and courses revealing the secrets of Italian cuisine.
Whilst onboard Silver Spirit, Emanuele Scarello will prepare a two course gala dinner and lead two cookery courses. Emanuele is a double Michelin star chef. He is part of both the "Jeunes Restaurateurs d'Europe" association, and of “Le Soste”, the prestigious association which unites Italy’s best chefs.
Also included on the cruise L’Università del Caffè will offer coffee courses and samplings. Guests will acquire a certain degree of experience that is necessary to become a real coffee connoisseur; Grappa Nonino will reveal the secrets of the Art of Handmade distillation and the correct manner in which to appreciate the Nonino Monovitigno® Grappa; and Carlo Dall'Ava will lead a guided tour to the “prosciutto learning center DOK”, and along with his staff, will explain the correct complements necessary to fully emphasise the taste of Italian prosciutto
The voyage calls at Koper, Split, Dubrovnik, Valletta, Messina, Sorrento and Civitavecchia (Rome). www.silversea.com
Diageo Global Travel and Middle East, Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line have partnered to transform the cruise line cocktail experience for passengers via an on-board cocktail training programme, as part of one the of world's most prestigious mixology competitions - DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS.
Over 400 cruise line bartenders in exotic global locations will be trained by experts in the most progressive cocktail trends and pitted against each other in a series of hotly-contested heats. A cruise line finalist will then go forward to take part in the DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year final, competing alongside bar tenders from the four corners of the globe.
Tall ship sailing specialist Star Clippers has introduced a series of food-themed cruises for summer 2013, featuring some of Europe's top celebrity chefs and sommeliers.
Complimentary cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and lectures will take place on selected sailings between May and October, teaching guests new skills, from cooking with chocolate to preparing the perfect smorgasbord. Each theme will reflect the region in which the ship is sailing. Demonstrations take place either in the restaurants or on the teak decks of all three ships, the 227-passenger flagship Royal Clipper and the 170-passenger sister ships, Star Clipper and Star Flyer. www.starclippers.co.uk Tel: 0845 200 6145.
Jason Atherton, the award-winning Michelin star chef who owns restaurants in London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai, is to cook for guests on Silversea cruise ship Silver Shadow later this year.
Jason will cook a unique four-course meal for guests on-board Silver Shadow voyage 3334, leaving Hong Kong for Singapore, on 25 November.
In addition to cooking on-board, Jason will be a guest speaker during the voyage and host a group of guests on a unique tour to one of the fresh food markets in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, one of the ports of call. The nine-day cruise docks in Singapore on 4 December, after visiting Chan May, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. www.silversea.com
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines - Braemar offers a spring cruise to Iberia, of 14 nights, departing from Dover on 8 April 2013. This 'Spain & Her Islands' (M1308) cruise calls first into Lisbon, before moving on to a selection of Spanish ports including Malaga, Cartagena, Palma - Mallorca, Barcelona, Gibraltar, and La Coruna before returning to Dover.
This cruise has the additional attraction of a special-interest theme, through Fred. Olsen's award-winning on-board enrichment programme Vistas. Appropriately, the theme is 'Spanish – Language of Food & Romance' hosted by Colin Harkness, an International wine judge, writer, broadcaster and TV presenter, who has over 20 years' experience in the wine trade. He now lives in Spain and has become an authority on Spanish wine and cuisine.
Prices start from £799 per person, based on two adults sharing an inside, twin cabin. There is no extra charge for taking part in Vistas talks and lectures (there may be a small charge for wines used in tastings). www.fredolsencruises.com Tel: Reservations 0800 0355 150
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines welcomes back wine expert Jilly Goolden on a Braemar 'Wine Regions of Bordeaux and Rioja' cruise in 2013, featuring a 'Wine' theme as part of its award-winning Vistas on-board enrichment programme. The 10-night cruise, M1325, departs from Dover on 4 October 2013, and visits Nantes (France), La Pallice (for tours to La Rochelle, France), Bordeaux (France), Getxo (for tours to Bilboa, Spain), Aviles (Spain) and La Coruna (Spain), before returning to Dover.
At Nantes instance passengers can take a guided tour of the city which also includes a drive to Chateau du Chasseloir via Nantes Muscadet vineyards. Since 1953, the Chereau Carre family has produced one of the best Muscadet wines in the whole area. During the visit, there will be the opportunity to observe the techniques of wine making at the vineyards. The Muscadet is the only Breton wine, which in 1936 was granted the AOC, certified place of origin. There will also be time for a special tasting of the famous white wine that seafood lovers appreciate so much. Visits to Bordeaux vineyards can also be made.
Fred. Olsen was crowned 'Best for Learning', for the second year running, at the 2012 'Cruise International Awards', in recognition of its popular Vistas on-board enrichment programme. Fred. Olsen also won the 'Best Affordable Cruise Line' accolade, and was runner-up in the 'Best Shore Excursion' and 'Best Cruise Line' categories, having been voted 'Cruise Line of the Year' in the inaugural 'Cruise International Awards' in 2011. Visit www.fredolsencruises.com or call 01473 742424.
Saga Cruises has continued its philosophy of supporting producers of British food by signing a contract with award-winning Yorkshire ice cream producer Yorvale to create all-British ice cream exclusively for its new ship, Saga Sapphire. Visit www.sagacruises.co.uk or call 0800 300 500
Oceania Cruises is expanding its Culinary Discovery Tours to the South Pacific on the award-winning mid-sized luxury cruise ship Marina. Culinary Discovery Tours provide guests with the opportunity to explore local food markets, vineyards and farms in small groups, side-by-side with an expert chef from the ship's Bon Appétit Culinary Center. Participants then join the chef in the fully equipped cookery school for a hands-on cooking lesson of the regional cuisine. The Bon Appétit Culinary Center on Riviera and Marina features 24 fully equipped workstations. Induction cook tops and convection ovens afford participants the opportunity to gain a hands-on cooking experience. Classes cater to all levels of aptitude, from beginner to master-chef level. Visit www.oceaniacruises.com or call 0845 505 1920.
P&O Cruises is working with celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, TV wine expert Olly Smith, Michelin starred chef Atul Kochhar and master pâtissier and 'Cake Boy' legend, Eric Lanlard to offer their expertise on two new food and wine themed cruises. Together they will provide an array of on-board demonstrations, private master classes, hosted dinners, wine tasting and pairings, book signings and Q&A sessions in the theatre. They will also host a range of shore excursions to vineyards, breweries, distilleries, restaurants and markets.
Cruise options include: A 14-night Western Mediterranean cruise with Atul Kochhar, Olly Smith and Eric Lanlard on Azura (A310N) departing 27 April 2013, from £1,109 per person. Departing from and returning to Southampton ports of call are Corunna, Gibraltar, Ajaccio, Rome, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Valencia. And a 28-night Caribbean cruise with Marco Pierre White and Eric Lanlard on Adonia (D318) departing 22 November 2013, from £2,439 per person. Departing from and returning to Southampton ports of call are Madeira, Barbados, St Lucia, St Kitts, St Barts, Virgin Gorda, St Maarten, Antigua and Ponta Delgada. Call P&O Cruises on 0843 373 0111 or visit www.pocruises.co.uk
Concerts at Sea and Imagine Cruising has limited availability on board the de-luxe six-star Seabourn Legend for its premiere event, a seven-night all-inclusive Mediterranean cruise in May 2013 featuring Russell Watson, the world-renowned and acclaimed tenor. Russell Watson will perform on several occasions during the cruise and host a Gala Dinner on 7 May as the ship sails from Barcelona to Valencia.
Dining options include the finery of The Restaurant; small-plate informality in Restaurant 2; al fresco, in The Veranda Café; or the privacy of in-suite or on-veranda service. Complimentary fine wines are served with lunch and dinner. www.concertsatsea.co.uk
Afloat in France operates five luxury péniche-hotels on the French waterways. The Grand Cru Cruise departs 14 July 2013. Throughout this special wine week, guests will taste 33 Grand Crus of Burgundy and along the way meet winemakers and also have exclusive access to private family run vineyards. Back on board the Amaryllys, apart from the cuisine created to complement the various wines, guests can enjoy the heated swimming pool - one of only two barges to have this luxury on the French canals. The week costs from £6,600 per person on an all-inclusive basis, including transfers from Paris. www.orient-express.com
AmaWaterways are offering 'Culinary delights -sights and bites' themed river cruises, incorporating cooking classes, food themed walking tours and food and wine tastings on a choice of European river cruise itineraries. The culinary experiences include visiting markets, cooking schools and distilleries, specialty food shops, chocolatiers and charcuteries to appreciate local produce and prepare regional specialties such as the Bulgarian dish 'banista' and smoked salmon rolled with 'cervelle de canuts'. www.amawaterways.co.uk
Leading cruise operator Silversea has announced a line-up of celebrated chefs and food writers that will host seven upcoming Culinary Arts voyages. The voyages will showcase the skills of culinary experts and award-winning chefs of top dining establishments from around the world who will share some of the world's finest gastronomic traditions, including internationally acclaimed chefs of Relais & Châteaux. Throughout these special sailings, the featured guest chef and Silversea's executive chef will be on hand to share their culinary expertise and answer any questions. Celebrity chefs will also display their exceptional talents during cooking demonstrations where guests can taste and learn first-hand.
The voyages will also feature escorted provisioning trips to international markets, food and wine pairings, creative regional dishes, and a five-course grand gourmet dinner.
A special Culinary Arts voyage titled "The Flavours of Europe," will offer an array of culinary demonstrations and activities both on board and ashore. The voyage will be hosted by Chef Rudi Scholdis, Silversea's Culinary Director; Chef David Bilsland, Culinary Trainer for the "Relais & Châteaux L'Ecole des Chefs" cooking school aboard Silversea; and Conrad Combrink, Silversea's Director of Expeditions.
Guests will have the opportunity to visit a farm near Bordeaux dedicated to the cultivation of heirloom fruits and vegetables; learn how to prepare Basque pintxos (bite-sized delicacies); partake in a gastronomic celebration at Château Kirwan in the Bordeaux countryside; experience an authentic afternoon tea at a manor house in Guernsey; and join Silversea's culinary team for a provisioning excursion to a seafood market in Santander, Spain.
"The Flavours of Europe" will take place aboard Silver Explorer's Expedition Voyage 7309. Sailing from Lisbon to Portsmouth from 29 April to 13,May 2013. Fares start from £4,399. www.silversea.com