Holland America Line Announces 2019 Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruises

November 26, 2018.

World-renowned celebrity chefs, vintners and cocktail collaborator host select 2019 cruises

Following the success of the 2018 series, Holland America Line is announcing dates for the 2019 Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruises that showcase the talents of the members of its highly regarded Culinary Council, Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff and the line’s Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker partners. The Culinary Council comprises a collection of elite international celebrity chefs who bring global influence to every dining venue across Holland America Line’s fleet of premium ships.

The Culinary Council is led by Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, who is joined by international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner, Andy Matsuda, Ethan Stowell and Jacques Torres. James Suckling, world-renowned wine critic and Holland America Line’s wine curator, has created an extensive new wine list featured on all ships in the premium fleet. The cruise line also collaborates with Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff on its cocktail program and vintners from its home state of Washington, including Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, which helped develop the BLEND wine experience on board Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam.

During each Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruise, guests will have the opportunity to attend cooking, cocktail or wine demonstrations; get to know the experts at presentations; meet them at photo opportunities; and join an intimate, reservation-only dinner in the Pinnacle Grill.

Guests who wish to make reservations for the specialty dinner can contact Holland America Line’s Ship Services Department upon booking to secure their spot.

The 2019 schedule (and it’s a lengthy schedule) of Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruises:

Rudi Sodamin, Culinary Council Chairman
Sodamin was born in Austria and trained in France. The Master Chef recently released his latest culinary masterpiece, an art table book called “Food Faces” featuring more than 150 images of edible creations that display a whimsical spectrum of human emotion. His “Food Faces” have also been immortalized on Bernardaud porcelain and are on display in Rudi’s Sel de Mer, a sea brasserie available on all Holland America Line ships. Sodamin’s innovative approach has made him the most decorated chef on the world’s oceans.

  • Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, Feb. 17, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Veendam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, Nov. 13, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
David Burke
Burke is a restaurateur, cookbook author, inventor and consultant at ESquared Hospitality, which owns and operates the BLT restaurant brand. He has been featured on “Iron Chef America” and “Top Chef Masters.” He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has worked with legendary chefs in France and New York.
  • Rotterdam, 7-Day Western Caribbean, March 3, 2019, roundtrip Tampa, Florida
  • Veendam, 7-Day Canada & New England, Sept. 7, 2019, Boston, Massachusetts, to Montréal, Québec, Canada
Andy Matsuda
The Japanese-born Matsuda is at the forefront of sushi trends and techniques. At Matsuda’s Sushi Chef Institute in Los Angeles, California, he teaches aspiring chefs and professionals about sushi and Japanese cuisine.
  • Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, March 3, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
  • Eurodam, 7-Day Mexican Riviera, Oct. 19, 2019, roundtrip San Diego, California
Ethan Stowell
With an impressive roster of highly acclaimed restaurants, Stowell has helped to change the face of the Seattle food scene. He was named one of the Best New Chefs in America by FOOD & WINE magazine in 2008 and chosen as one of the Best New Chef All-Stars in 2013.
  • Eurodam, 7-Day Alaskan Explorer, May 11, 2019, roundtrip Seattle, Washington
  • Noordam, 7-Day Alaska Glacier Discovery, July 21, 2019, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to Seward, Alaska
Jacques Torres
A French-trained Master Chef and artisan chocolatier, Torres is a James Beard award winner. After rising to executive pastry chef at New York’s legendary Le Cirque, he opened a chocolate factory and stores throughout New York. Torres is co-hosting and co-host on the Netflix culinary show “Nailed It” with Nicole Byer.
  • Zaandam, 7-Day Canada & New England Discovery, June 1, 2019, Montréal to Boston
  • Veendam, 7-Day Canada & New England Discovery, Sept. 28, 2019, Montréal to Boston
Dale DeGroff
DeGroff received the James Beard Award for Wine & Spirits, was inducted into the prestigious James Beard Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America in 2015 and is author of “The Essential Cocktail” and “The Craft of the Cocktail.” He is a partner in the award-winning Beverage Alcohol Resource bar-training program and founding president of the Museum of the American Cocktail.
  • Zuiderdam, 11-Day Panama Canal Sunfarer, April 10, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
  • Westerdam, 7-Day Alaska Glacier Discovery, Aug. 4, 2019, Seward to Vancouver
Top Vintners Share Their Love of Wine
The spotlight is on wine — and its fascinating journey from vine to table — on selectNieuw Statendam and Koningsdam itineraries throughout 2019. On each of these special cruises, a different Chateau Ste. Michelle expert will join the onboard vinologist for several one-hour sessions each day at BLEND by Chateau Ste. Michelle. They’ll also be present for the ship’s special Cellar Master’s Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center, where the accent will be on perfect wine and food pairings. There is a modest fee for this dinner.

BLEND — the only purpose-built wine-blending venue at sea — has a tasting table that accommodates 10 guests who can create their own blend from a selection of five barrels of single-vineyard red wine. In addition to participating in the blending process, guests also will learn about wine from each wine expert. BLEND has a small fee.

Al Portney, Vice President, International Sales
Portney is a veteran of the wine industry with 43 years of experience. He became vice president, international sales, for Chateau Ste. Michelle in 2006 after running his own company. Portney travels more than 200 days a year assisting the many people representing the wines of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and their associated wineries.

  • Nieuw Statendam, 14-Day Azores & Normandy Expedition, April 21, 2019, Fort Lauderdale to Amsterdam, Netherlands
Cary Kloster, Vice President, Group Brand Director
Kloster joined Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in August of 2005 as Marketing Manager supporting Chateau Ste. Michelle and Domain Ste. Michelle brands. She has worked in roles touching all of the Washington brands, including Chateau Ste. Michelle, 14 Hands, Columbia Crest, Spring Valley Vineyard, Northstar and Col Solare.
  • Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Vikings Saga, Aug. 18, 2019, roundtrip Amsterdam
Paul Asikainen, National Wine Educator
As National Wine Educator for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Asikainen is responsible for a wide breadth of educational activities representing the entire portfolio of domestic and import wines. Asikainen is certified through the Court of Master Sommeliers and Society of Wine Educators.
  • Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Tropical Caribbean, Nov. 24, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
Tristan Butterfield, Winemaking
As an enologist, Butterfield describes his role as “caretaker” of the red wines at Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate Winery in Paterson, Washington. The winery houses over 85,000 oak barrels filled with wine from Washington state. He keeps track and monitors each lot of wine from harvest to bottle.
  • Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Tropical Caribbean, Dec. 15, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
Natalie Guillen, Marketing Manager
Guillen develops and supports the annual marketing plans and cross-functional project management for Chateau Ste. Michelle, Eroica and Anew brands. Guillen is a long-time wine enthusiast and loves experiencing new cultures, cuisine and people. Her favorite travel destinations are wineries and vineyards around the world.
  • Koningsdam, 10-Day Southern Caribbean, Feb. 3, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
Tracey Keller, Winemaking
President and winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle, Keller oversees the winery operations and collaborates with her winemaking team to develop blends and tastes for the acclaimed winery.
  • Koningsdam, 11-Day Ancient Empires, June 1, 2019, roundtrip Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Kara Koh, Winemaking
Koh is assistant winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle and has been with the winery for more than 20 years, working in most aspects of the business. Koh regularly shares her knowledge and experience at tastings and wine-pairing meals.
  • Koningsdam, 13-Day Mediterranean Legends, June 24, 2019, roundtrip Civitavecchia (Rome)
Brett Scallan, Senior Vice President, Marketing
Scallan joined Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in September 2000 as Director of Marketing for Columbia Crest Winery. Prior to his current role, he served as vice president of domestic brands and vice president group brand director, with responsibilities including innovation.
  • Koningsdam, 12-Day Mediterranean Legends, July 29, 2019, roundtrip Civitavecchia (Rome)
Thom Horsey, Wine Educator
As National Wine Educator for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Horsey is responsible for a variety of educational activities representing the entire portfolio of wines. Horsey is a 35-year veteran of the wine industry and has conducted more than 2,000 seminars on all aspects of wine.
  • Nieuw Statendam, 14-Day Premiere Voyage, Dec. 5, 2018, Transatlantic crossing from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, to Fort Lauderdale
Lacey Steffey, Winemaking
Steffey is the assistant traveling winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle and works with partner facilities in Washington to ensure quality with daily tastings and assesses grape maturity.
  • Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Vikings Sagas, May 5, 2019, roundtrip Amsterdam
Linda Chauncey, Director of Education
With more than 30 years’ experience in the wine and culinary industry, Chauncey oversees Chateau Ste. Michelle’s new Visitor Center and corporate education program, and creates a wide array of winetasting experiences for the more than 300,000 guests who visit the winery each year.
  • Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, Feb. 17, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale

 

Carnival Radiance To Offer Shaquille O’Neal’s ‘Big Chicken’ Restaurant

November 12, 2018.

Carnival Cruise Line announced today that the totally transformed Carnival Radiance will be the first cruise ship to feature “Big Chicken,” a seagoing version of a new restaurant created by the line’s Chief Fun Officer, NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal.

The menu will feature a variety of fried chicken sandwiches and fries, with flavors to match Shaq’s larger than life personality, all free of charge.  The new food venue will be located on Lido Deck aft.

O’Neal opened his first land-based Big Chicken restaurant in Las Vegas in late October.  The Big Chicken aboard Carnival Radiance will be among the many food, dining and entertainment innovations incorporated into the 102,000-ton ship following a $200 million refurbishment in Cadiz, Spain, in 2020.

Breakfast will be offered as well with choices such as chicken and egg biscuits and omelets.  Patrons will place their order at the counter and pick up their items right away.  And as previously mentioned, there is no extra charge.

Big Chicken is among the many new culinary and beverage offerings that will be available on Carnival Radiance when it debuts in 2020.  Other outlets include Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse developed by Food Network star and longtime partner Guy Fieri,  the  Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, the Cucina del Capitano Italian restaurant, and the RedFrog Pub.

A new WaterWorks aqua park featuring the new AquaTunnel slide as well as a SportSquare open-air recreation complex with a suspended ropes course will be added as well.   All of the ship’s staterooms will be renovated with a tropical color palette and new décor.

Itinerary and homeport details for Carnival Radiance will be announced shortly.

‘Fish & Ships’ Menu On Independence Of The Seas

May 14,2018.

The other day I posted an overview of the changes made to Royal Caribbean’s Independence Of The Seas.  One of the new things is the Fish & Ships food venue, located on the aft port side of the pool deck.  This replaces the original ‘Squeeze Juice Bar’ which is on all three of the Freedom-class ships but frankly has never been popular.  Squeeze suffered from a poor location, very few people ordering the fresh juice choices, so it wasn’t long before Squeeze became just another bar.  Sort of an auxiliary pool bar.

As with most new things added to older cruise ships, Fish & Ships food comes at a price.  And it seems Royal Caribbean is mighty proud of the menu.  Prices range from $10 for deep fried haddock and chips (french fries) to $3 for a Chip Butty, which is an English snack comprising white bread with butter and chips on it, often with another condiment such as ketchup or mayonnaise added. Of course, for no charge you could go into the Windjammer buffet and make your own from the fries, bread, and butter on the serving lines.

Here is the menu:

Carnival Revamps Specialty Dining & Breakfast Menus, Baked Alaska Returns

November 29, 2017.

As part of its ongoing effort to keep culinary offerings fresh and enticing for its guests, Carnival Cruise Line is revamping the menus for several of its specialty dining venues and reintroducing Baked Alaska across the fleet.

The menus for Carnival’s steakhouses, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurants, and delis, as well as main dining room breakfast offerings, have undergone a transformation with a variety of new items reflecting lighter ingredients, updated preparation techniques and exquisite presentation to keep pace with changing palates.

Baked Alaska – the classic dessert made of cake and ice cream topped with merengue – is also being reintroduced after several years with uniformed waiters performing the time-honored tradition of parading the tasty confection throughout the dining room prior to service.

The updated steakhouse menus, currently available on three ships, offer new appetizers such as Iced and Smoked Fresh Oysters with Apple Mignonette; Tuna Tartare with Yuzu Sphere and Avocado “Leche de Tiger”; Risotto with Crab, Mushroom and Brown Butter, and Heritage Berkshire Pork Belly with Apple Walnut Preserve.  These complement a selection of USDA prime steaks, including new items such as an A-5 Wagyu steak and lighter fare like Farmhouse Chicken with Roasted Honey Vinegar and Dover Sole Pan-Seared with Lemon Potato-Mousseline and Shallot Emulsion.  Four additional ships are expected to get the new menus by early next year.

The new menu for Cucina del Capitano reflects the diversity of Italy’s culinary regions, with dishes like Branzino Al Forno in Crosta Dorata with tomatoes, stewed chickpeas, salmoriglio and mushroom bark, along withRisotto Milanese with saffron and Parmesan cheese, Grande Braciola Di Maiale – a tomahawk pork chop with fennel pollen, shallots and crispy sage – and Costina Di Manzo Con Porcini with salsa verde and young tomato bruschetta.   House-made burrata – an Italian favorite made with mozzarella and cream and distinguished by its rich buttery flavor – has been added to menus as well, with classic Italian favorites like chicken Parmesan, meatballs and fried calamari also available.   The new Cucina del Capitano menus are currently on three ships – Carnival Magic, Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze – with Carnival Sunshine expected to updated next month.

New Breakfast Choices

Breakfast menus in the main dining rooms are just as varied with delicious options such as avocado toast; a Breakfast Bowl featuring kale, spinach, faro wheat berries, sesame seeds, feta cheese, raspberries and a sunny side up egg; and fresh-baked Broccoli and Cheddar Egg Frittata.  There’s also a Broken Egg Sandwich served panini-style with fried eggs, bacon, cheddar, greens and hash browns; and a “Breakfast Board” with a soft boiled egg, house-made yogurt, seasonal jam, baby lettuce salad, pastrami, and grilled sour dough bread.   For those on the go, a new “breakfast express” is available on port days featuring orange juice, eggs, hickory-smoked bacon or sausage and pastries, all “in and out” within 25 minutes.  An assortment of traditional breakfast favorites such as French toast, pancakes and cereals is also offered.   Thus far, 12 ships feature the popular new breakfast items with the balance of the fleet expected to receive the new menus by mid-2018.

Deli Reuben

The line’s delis have undergone a dramatic change, as well, with an updated design and host of new choices, including seven sandwiches such as meatball, buffalo chicken, and The Cubano with roasted pork, ham, pickles, mustard and Swiss cheese, along with Southwest chicken, falafel and turkey wraps.  Diners can enjoy a sweet finish to their meal with a Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie baked fresh every morning.   See the new deli menus here.

Deli BLT

Carnival is also re-branding its 24-hour pizzerias to “Pizzeria del Capitano” offering five kinds of hand-tossed, thin-crusted pies – from Margherita and pepperoni to artisan-style quattro formaggio, mushroom, and prosciutto.   The re-branded delis and pizzerias will be incorporated into additional vessels during scheduled dry docks.

With the popularity of Seafood Shack which debuted on Carnival Vista last year and offering lobster rolls, fried clams, chowder and other New England-inspired fare, the concept has been expanded to nine additional ships.

Princess Cruises Announces 3rd Annual Culinary Cruise Series

October 17, 2017.

Princess Cruises has officially announced its third annual Culinary Cruise Series, featuring famed Miami-based chefs Brad Kilgore and Scott Linquist.

Sailing on Regal Princess out of Fort Lauderdale from February 11 – 18, 2018 to the Western Caribbean, these two chefs will team up to offer guests a variety of curated culinary experiences and demonstrations for travelers looking for an exclusive foodie experience.

This seven-day, four-port Western Caribbean cruise will include a selection of daily activities and adventures for cruisers to participate in with the acclaimed chefs. Guests will be able to participate in chef-led cooking demonstrations, cookbook signings, Q+A sessions, experience special menus featured throughout the ship’s restaurant and bars, and learn valuable cuisine skills to bring home with them.

Guests will also be able to explore parts of the Caribbean and Mexico alongside these chefs as each lead a customized excursion. Noted for his Mexican cuisine, Chef Linquist will lead the Cozumel excursion in Mexico, while Chef Kilgore will lead the Jamaican excursion. Other port stops include Princess Cays Bahamas and Grand Cayman.

Named Food & Wine’s 2016 Best New Chef, Brad Kilgore launched onto Miami’s culinary scene in 2015 with the opening of Alter in Miami’s hottest new neighborhood – Wynwood. After winning countless awards with Alter including Restaurant of the Year by Eater, he set his sights on Downtown Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center and opened BRAVA by Brad Kilgore inside the famed cultural institution. Showing no signs of slowing down, Kilgore plans to debut two new restaurants in Miami in the next coming year. Bringing his progressive American cuisine to Regal Princess, Kilgore will showcase some of his favorites including Short Rib Wellington with Truffled Mushrooms and Free-Range Chicken, with Popcorn Hollandaise.

Joining Chef Brad Kilgore will be fellow Miami-based Chef Scott Linquist. Linquist, founder of the wildly successful Coyo Taco located in Miami’s buzzing Brickell Financial District, as well as famed Wynwood arts district, will bring his upscale Mexican flair to the seven-day excursion featuring some of his most unique taco creations such as Coyo’s charred octopus tacos with salsa veracruzana and pickled jalapeños. Chef Linquist plans to expand the success of Coyo Taco with new locations coming in Miami Beach, West Palm Beach and Panama.

Adding a touch of sweetness to this cruise will be one of Princess Cruises culinary partners, Norman Love, owner of Norman Love Confections, based in Fort Myers, FL. Trained in France, and named the Inaugural Inductee into the Chocolatier Hall of Fame by Dessert Professional Magazine, Love’s creations blend premium quality chocolate, unique flavors and artful designs that are perfect for chocolate lovers. Love will be leading several cooking demonstrations and curate chocolate tastings.

Carnival’s New Deli Menu

October 4, 2017.

Carnival is on a roll (pun intended) with new menus lately.  Yesterday John Heald announced new menus for the steakhouse and Cucina Del Capitano trattoria.  Today he featured the new menu for Carnival’s very popular deli sandwich venue on his Facebook page.

I love the deli on Carnival ships.  It’s often my lunch choice on embarkation day because new cruisers don’t know about it and they just see the main buffet and queue up there.  It’s also very good.  The new menu doesn’t have one of my favorites on it –  pastrami – but corned beef remains with the Reuben, and they will still make you a regular corned beef on rye.  Even if it’s not on the menu the deli staff has always made what you wanted as long as they have the ingredients in front of them.  I’ve often wondered why they didn’t have sandwich classics such as the BLT or a meatball sub.  I’m happy to report that both are now on the menu.

The new menu also adds potato salad and french fries.  One thing missing for years was a side item for the sandwiches so I’m glad to see these additions.

The new menu is currently on Carnival Vista, Carnival Breeze, Carnival Conquest and Carnival Glory with more ships coming soon.

 

Carnival Horizon’s Bonsai Teppanyaki Menu

August 31, 2017.

A few days ago I announced that the new Carnival Horizon will debut the first teppanyaki Japanese restaurant on a Carnival ship.  You can read that article here.

Today Carnival provided me with the menu for Bonsai Teppanyaki, and it looks great.  I’d have to go with a combination entree.

Bonsai Teppanyaki Dinner Menu

Carnival Horizon debuts in Europe next March and then moves to the United States in May 2018.

Carnival Horizon To Feature Teppanyaki Dining Venue

August 28, 2017.

Carnival Cruise Line will introduce its first-ever teppanyaki dining venue when the new 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon debuts in Europe in spring 2018.

If you’ve ever wondered about the meaning of Teppanyaki,  the name is derived from the combination of the words “teppan” or iron plate with “yaki” meaning grilled or pan-fried.

Located on Carnival Horizon’s Promenade Deck, Bonsai Teppanyaki will offer a wide-ranging menu with authentic delicacies from the Far East prepared by highly skilled chefs who will create tantalizing dishes on custom-built stations that form the center of the venue’s two eight-seat tables.   With only 16 seats available reservations will be highly recommended.  The restaurant will offer both a lunch and dinner service.

In keeping with Carnival’s atmosphere of spirited and participatory fun, dinner at Bonsai Teppanyaki will be a fun culinary experience with chefs engaging with diners and dazzling them with their amazing knife skills and other performance elements.

Each meal will begin with an appetizer sampler of five items such as Miso Soup, Pork Belly Yakitori with Sesame Asparagus Fries,  and Spicy Tuna on the Rocks with Onion Sesame Sauce and Den Miso.  Guests will then choose an entree with choices including Lobster Tail with Yuzu Cream and Citrus Kosho, Filet Mignon with Truffle Salt, Garlic Chips and Champagne Cognac Flambe, and Black Cod with Soy Reduction, plus other items.  For dessert a Chocolate Bento Box with Green Tea Ice Cream will be featured.

“Carnival is all about providing our guests with a wide array of choices and that, of course, includes a seemingly endless array of delicious culinary options,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president. “The new Bonsai Teppanyaki promises to be a wonderful addition to the Carnival Horizon, offering delectable cuisine from the Far East enhanced by show-stopping performances by our talented and engaging chefs,” she added.

More news on Carnival Horizon soon.