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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Great eats at sea and in ports as cruise lines expand culinary options

   Out to Sea for March 28/15

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   Making mofongo in Puerto Rico, savouring sweet malasadas in Hawaii, clam bakes in Maine and tamales at the Hotel California in Mexico are among culinary experiences for cruisers.

   Cruise lines are embracing “immersive culinary experiences” on land and at sea to learn more about countries visited, their people and cuisine.
Cruisers prepare their meal of monfongo during a shore excursion in San Juan. (Barbara Fox photo)
   Along with specialty restaurants onboard, there are visiting culinary experts, themed regional meals and special dining opportunities including “chef’s tables.”
   Holland America Line next month will begin “Sip, Savor and Sail” itineraries in the Caribbean, Europe and Alaska while Princess Cruises is adding destination-based menus.
   Carnival Cruise Line is launching Carnival Journeys partnering with local restaurants and chefs.
   Norwegian Escape, to begin sailing in November from Miami, will have culinary experiences including a Supper Club, brew house and bake shop.

   Eating like a local
   Shore excursions are increasingly including opportunities to experience culinary cultures and traditions.
Chef Javier Cotto explains Puerto Rico cooking during an excursion in San Juan. (Jim Fox photo)

‘Top Chef at Sea’ heats up as Celebrity Cruises and Bravo Media extend partnership through 2016

Special November 2015 Caribbean sailing to feature six popular cheftestants
and new chef-hosted destination experiences

MIAMI, FL & NEW YORK CITY – March 26, 2015 – Celebrity Cruises and Bravo Media have extended the popular Top Chef at Sea” program through 2016, and will offer “Top Chef” fans and food lovers the opportunity to vacation with a new lineup of cheftestants on the exclusive “Top Chef Signature Sailing” in 2015.

Setting sail November 14 onboard Celebrity Reflection, the one-of-a-kind Eastern Caribbean cruise vacation will give guests an up-close-and-personal culinary experience with six former “Top Chef” competitors, including:
·        Nina Compton: Top Chef New Orleans runner-up
·        Tiffany Derry: Top Chef D.C. and Top Chef All-Stars contestant; Owner of TD Concepts, Inc.  
·        Ash Fulk: Top Chef Las Vegas contestant; Culinary Director at Hill Country Hospitality in NYC
·        Gregory Gourdet: Top Chef Boston runner-up; Executive Chef at Departure Restaurant + Lounge in Portland, Oregon
·        Doug Adams: Top Chef Boston finalist; Chef de Cuisine of Imperial and Portland Penny Diner
·        Chris Crary: Top Chef Texas contestant; Executive Chef of Hyde Sunset Kitchen + Cocktails in Los Angeles

Carnival Sunshine to operate "unique" schedule of two- to 10-day voyages from New York in 2016

Groundbreaking Fun Ship 2.0-Equipped Vessel Also to Offer Voyages from Norfolk, Charleston and Port Canaveral Next Summer and Fall

MIAMI (March 16, 2015) – Carnival Sunshine – the first ship to feature all of the line’s spectacular Fun Ship 2.0 dining, bar and entertainment innovations – will offer a unique schedule from New York in 2016 encompassing 20 voyages departing between June and October 2016.

This marks the first time that a Fun Ship 2.0-equipped ship will offer such a diverse itinerary schedule from the Big Apple with options ranging from value-packed two-day cruises to exciting 10-day Caribbean voyages. 

Carnival Sunshine will also offer a series of sailings from Charleston, S.C., and Norfolk, Va., in summer and fall 2016, providing exciting new cruise choices in these markets. Following these departures from New York, Charleston and Norfolk, Carnival Sunshine will return to its current homeport of Port Canaveral, Fla., to offer a schedule of five- to eight-day Caribbean voyages from the Space Coast beginning in November 2016.

Comedic magician Ben Seidman chosen Princess Cruises’ Entertainer of the Year

Crown Princess Guests Chose Favorite of Four Finalists

Comedic Magician Ben Seidman wins the award for Entertainer of the Year.

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (March 23, 2015) – Guests aboard Crown Princess have voted and selected Comedic Magician Ben Seidman as Princess Cruises Entertainer of the Year. Four finalists were selected from the hundreds of talented performers – comedians, magicians, vocalists, tribute bands and novelty performers – which elate guests on Princess’ stages each year. These top artists performed to enthusiastic audiences during the cruise who then cast their ballot to select the winner.
Wisconsin native and Los Angeles resident Seidman is the only person in history to be named the Resident Magician at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas and currently stars in Magic Outlaws on Travel Channel. His energetic and playful performances combine stand-up comedy and world-renowned sleight-of-hand.
Guests aboard the March 14 Crown Princess Mexico cruise enjoyed live performances from each finalist. The finalists were determined by the Princess Cruises entertainment department based on guest surveys and onboard audience response.

Cunard announces 2016-2017 Voyages program: Includes nine maiden calls and roundtrip New York and Mediterranean-focused voyages

On Sale 15 April 2015, with Pre-Registration Beginning 26 March 2015

Highlights include a new partnership with The New York Times,
additional Jazz at Sea Voyages with Blue Note Records

World Club members can book early starting at 5am PT on 14 April 2015
26 March 2015 – In 2016 the Cunard fleet will travel more than 205,000 nautical miles visiting incredible places across Europe and around the world. The famous ocean liners, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, will call at nearly 100 destinations in 34 countries, and embark on nine maiden calls between the three ships.

“Cunard’s 2016 voyage programme features new calls to some of the world’s most sought-after, breathtaking landscapes and culturally important sites, visits to iconic destinations and Cunard’s uniquely glamourous and sophisticated onboard experience,” said Richard Meadows, president, Cunard, North America.

“Each itinerary has been designed to offer plenty of time on board for passengers to relax and experience all the ships have to offer: from the grandeur of the Britannia restaurants and our storied Princess & Queens Grill accommodation, to elegant White Star Service, and compelling enrichment and entertainment programmes.”

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Special culinary experiences highlight Holland America Line’s ‘Sip, Savor and Sail’ cruises

Seattle, Wash., Mar. 10, 2015 — Guests looking for a more immersive culinary cruise experience can book one of Holland America Line’s “Sip, Savor and Sail” itineraries in the Caribbean, Europe and Alaska.

On these five special voyages, guests will be introduced to the finest local cuisine, beverages and specially developed shore excursions.

Guest chefs and local vintners, mixologists and brewmasters will share their expertise — and their creations — during classes, demonstrations and tastings in the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine, while specialized menu options will be featured in the dining room and alternative restaurants.

Exciting shore excursions with a special Sip, Savor and Sail focus will be available to complete the memorable experience.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Four wine experts chosen for Un-Cruise Adventures’ new Culinary & Wine Cruises on Columbia and Snake rivers

Nine wineries visited on weeklong small ship river cruise aboard S.S. Legacy
Seattle, WA, March 12, 2015— Pairing river cruising with a wine-rich region in the Pacific Northwest, Un-Cruise Adventures’ new Ameritage! Four Rivers of Wine and History itinerary quenches the thirst of travelers interested in learning more about wine while cruising along the Columbia and Snake Rivers. The line has chosen four wine experts to accompany travelers aboard the S.S. Legacy.  

The 88-guest S.S. Legacy, a replica coastal steamer reminiscent of the ships that once plied the rivers in the early 1900s, offers the new weeklong, wine-centric itinerary roundtrip Portland, OR.  A wine expert sails on board for the week to interact with guests and lead wine tastings along with food pairings. 

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings appoints Andy Stuart president and CEO for NCL

 (News Release)

MIAMI –Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: NCLH) announced that company veteran Andy Stuart has been named President and Chief Operating Officer of Norwegian Cruise Line,  after the resignation of Drew Madsen.

Stuart has been with Norwegian Cruise Line since 1988 and has held a number of leadership positions, most recently as Executive Vice President of Sales. 

“Given the recent restructuring of the role and job responsibilities, Drew has decided to step down. We thank him for his contributions and wish him well,” said Frank Del Rio, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “As we continue to build the newly merged organization, we are tapping into the tremendous company and industry knowledge that Andy has, along with the strong relationships he has built with our travel partners.”

Princess Cruises unveils industry-first partnership with Oscar-winning composer Stephen Schwartz

Four New Shows to Debut in Collaboration with Composer of Broadway-Hit Musicals
Wicked, Pippin and Godspell

Three-time Oscar winner and composer of “Wicked” Stephen Schwartz partners with Princess Cruises to oversee the creative development of four new musicals for the cruise line. The first show to debut aboard Princess Cruises, “Magic to Do,” will celebrate his lifelong fascination with magic and include a brand new song written exclusively for Princess Cruises. 

 SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (March 12, 2015)   Princess Cruises  today announced a first-of-its-kind cruise industry partnership with three-time Oscar winner and composer of Wicked, Pippin and Godspell Stephen Schwartz . The cruise line’s new relationship with such a major creative talent from Broadway and Hollywood includes a multi-year agreement to oversee the creative development of four new musicals to debut across the fleet over the next several years. 
During his 40-year career, Schwartz has won four Grammys, three Academy Awards for “Best Song” and “Best Score” for Pocahontas and “Best Song” for The Prince of Egypt and has been nominated for six Tony Awards. He is the only songwriter in Broadway history to ever have three shows run more than 1,900 performances.
His first musical for Princess Cruises will celebrate Schwartz’s lifelong fascination with magic. Called Magic to Do, the show will combine thrilling magic with some of Schwartz’s most famous songs and a brand new song written exclusively for Princess. The show will debut aboard Crown Princess in the fall.
  “Stephen is hands down one of the most talented and accomplished Broadway composers of all time and we couldn’t be more honored to partner with him to ideate and bring fresh talent together to create memorable entertainment experiences for our guests,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “Princess is known for introducing product innovations and we’re thrilled to embark on this extraordinary new live-show entertainment, unlike anything any cruise line has ever before offered.”  

Windstar Cruises appoints ‘Influential woman in travel’ as Godmother

Wendy Perrin Named Godmother of Windstar’s Star Breeze Yacht 

Miami, FL March 18, 2015 Windstar Cruises is pleased to announce the appointment of travel influencer Wendy Perrin as Godmother of the fleet’s newest yacht, the Star Breeze.

The company is adding two yachts to its fleet in May of 2015, including the 212-passenger Star Breeze and Star Legend.

The addition of these two ships make the company the market leader in small ship cruising with 300 or fewer passengers, with a total of 1,242 berths. Star Breeze will set sail from Nice to Rome, May 6-10, 2015, with stops in Monte Carlo, Portofino, and Portoferraio.

Cunard and the New York Times collaborate on enriching travel experiences

Cunard’s award-winning enrichment program to elevate offering
with New York Times expert speakers 

16 March 2015Cunard has come together with The New York Times to offer stimulating speakers as part of its long-running, award-winning Insights program. 

The exclusive offering will debut on Queen Mary 2 on 3 January 2016 and will be on tap during all East-bound Transatlantic Crossings in 2016.

To kick-off the series, the 3 January 2016 cruise dubbed “The New York Times Insights Cruise” will feature an impressive line-up of The New York Times’ experts including: former foreign correspondent and columnist Clyde Haberman; science writer John Schwartz; Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston; national security reporter Michael Schmidt; and Peter Lewis, former senior writer at The New York Times and Fortune Magazine.

From national security, climate change, and the space program, to economics, tax issues, sports, technology, journalism, laws of the ancient world and much more, intellectually curious passengers will enjoy unique access to a wealth of research and insights from some the world’s leading luminaries.