Our OLife Newsletter is specially created several times a year for all of our Oceania Club members and features exclusive news and updates, in-depth destination spotlights, chef-curated recipes and more. Now available online, our fall OLife Newsletter features a deeper look at our exciting Re-Inspiration as well as a spotlight on our unique country-intensive voyages, a new signature voyage with Sara Moulton, a mouthwatering recipe for our asparagus and black truffle risotto and much more. Get inspired and start reading below.
Benvenuti a Firenze! One of the most beautiful and historical cities in the world, Florence offers hundreds of things to do. You can tour the Uffizi Gallery or Galleria dell’Accademia, walk to the top of the Florence Cathedral’s Duomo, or shop until you drop at the Gucci Garden. But even for those that have been there time and time again, Florence is filled with alluring ways to spend your day. Here are 3 off-the-beaten-path things to do in the beautiful City of Lilies.
Museo di Palazzo Vecchio
Piazza della Signoria
There are beautiful views of Florence in many locations – from the top of the Duomo to Piazzale Michelangelo. But a great place to experience Florentine art while enjoying the view of the city is the Museo di Palazzo Vecchio. This breathtaking museum was originally built for the city’s governing body. It houses Renaissance artwork by artists including Michelangelo and Donatello because it was lived in by part of the Medici family during the 1500s. After experiencing the art of the Renaissance, make sure pay the extra 10 euro to climb the 416 steps to the top of the tower. This view may very well be the most breathtaking view of Florence.
Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio
Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti
Decidedly less for tourists and more for locals, this smaller food market offers a intimate taste of Florentine life as you mix with locals picking up produce and fresh pasta. Filled with stalls both indoors and outdoors selling everything from cheeses, bread and honey to soaps and household goods, it’s a colorful alternative to the larger and more popular San Lorenzo markets. De Rocco, the trattoria inside, makes a great spot for an inexpensive lunch.
I Tarocchi Ristorante Pizzeria
This modest restaurant is home to some of Florence’s most delicious food. Open from noon to 3 p.m. for lunch and 7 p.m. to midnight for dinner, I Tarocchi serves authentic Italian food. On a typical day in this local favorite, you may be the only tourist in the restaurant. Make sure to try the fagottini di pere alla crema, a tortellini-like pasta dish stuffed with pear. This sweet and buttery dish is the perfect meal after a long day in the city. Other classics include the warm and delicious calzones and pizzas.
Have a favorite Florence spot? Share it below or on Facebook!
By Executive Chef & Director of Culinary Enrichment Kathryn Kelly
These fresh spring rolls are perfect for the last hot days of summer. Similar to rolling sushi, the assembly of these rolls is fun and easy. You need slightly damp hands to keep the rice paper from sticking to your fingers. I’ve put my own twist on the Vietnamese banh trang rolls we serve at Red Ginger, and you can easily experiment with different ingredients and create your own version at home.
MIANG DIPPING SAUCE
1 cup palm sugar
½ cup water
1 Thai chili
¼ cup coconut flakes, toasted
¼ cup crushed macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons ginger juice
Segments of 4 pomelos
¼ cup coconut flakes, toasted
¼ cup salted dry-roasted peanuts, finely crushed
2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
8 Thai basil leaves, chiffonade
8 mint leaves, chiffonade
8 rice paper rounds
8 butter lettuce leaves
8 chive stems
MAKE THE SAUCE
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, water and chili and warm, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Let cool and divide among 4 small bowls.
PREPARE THE ROLLS
In a medium bowl, combine the pomelo segments, coconut, peanuts, shallot, basil and mint. Soak a rice
paper in lukewarm water until soft and then lay out on a damp kitchen towel. Top with a lettuce leaf and one-eighth of the pomelo mixture. Roll up the rice paper like a burrito or gather up the edges to form a pouch. Tie with a chive stem. Repeat to make 8 rolls and serve with the dipping sauce.
“The most unforgettable travel moments unfold when you feel completely immersed in another world and can embrace the true spirit of a place.” That’s how Vice President of Destination Services Christine Manjencic sums up what creates a meaningful travel experience. With that as the guiding inspiration,
our expert team of destination specialists curates imaginative destination experiences in more than 450 awe-inspiring ports around the globe, inviting you to experience the unique essence of each as you sail the world.
It Takes a Village
Planning and organizing a unique collection of shore excursions for each port is no simple feat. The process begins by forging relationships with local tour experts and develops from there, often with imaginations inspiring new tours. Manjencic explained that it’s truly a team effort, and that our shoreside office pays particular attention to our Destination Services staff on the ships. The best insight always comes from those who intimately know the place.
“We encourage the shipboard staff to explore new possibilities and give us their recommendations,”
Manjencic said. “They are traveling the world and spending time with our guests – they see first-hand what is desired, how we can raise the bar, what we can do even better.”
Beyond our knowledgeable Destination Services Managers on board and local top-rated tour guides
in every port, our in-house team has in-depth travel and destination experience that they call on to
design new tours.
“I worked on ships for 18 years before joining the shoreside Destination Services team – my experiences from all of those years in different ports are really useful when organizing unique, insider-style tours for our guests,” Manjencic explained. “The saying it takes a village is so perfect for what we do – from start to finish the number of people involved in organizing and executing each shore excursion usually winds up being dozens.”
A Tour for Every Traveler
Whether you love active adventures that keep you moving as you explore a new destination or delight in experiencing a new culture through its local cuisine and culinary traditions, we have the perfect excursion for you.
“With excursions focusing on cultural exchanges, history, adventure, cuisine, natural wonders and so much more, there really are options tailored to every kind of traveler,” Manjencic said.
Having a fleet of smaller boutique hotel-style ships also means you have access to destinations that are more remote and out of reach for larger cruise lines. Enjoy the best of both worlds with explorations
that include both corners of the world less touched by tourism and iconic attractions. The best part? All of the logistical and operational details are taken care of for you no matter what you choose. Once
you’ve booked your shore excursions, you can enjoy each destination from the moment you arrive until you sail away, without worrying about whether you will make it back to the ship in time or how you
will get from one area to another.
What are you waiting for? To start choosing shore excursions that suit your travel style, visit My Account on OceaniaCruises.com or explore the options before you book.
What better corner of the world to slow down and re-discover your inner peace than India, the birthplace of yoga and ancient Ayurvedic practices? With a rich tradition in healing, wellness and spirituality, it’s one of the most sought-after locales for wellness retreats. From guided meditation to Ayurvedic consultations, these unique shore excursions invite you to delve into India’s centuries-old relationship with wellness as you explore the best of each destination.
- Harbor Cruise & Ayurveda Experience | Cochin, India
Combine Cochin sightseeing with a traditional Indian wellness experience at an Ayurveda center. Begin by enjoying sweeping views of cosmopolitan Cochin during a picturesque cruise around the city’s harbor after which you’ll visit an Ayurveda center for an insightful consultation with a traditional Ayurveda doctor. Ayurveda, a holistic healing practice, was developed in India more than 3,000 years ago and promotes good health by keeping the mind, body and spirit in balance. At the center, also enjoy a wonderfully rejuvenating massage with natural herbal oils. Later, explore some of the top landmarks around Fort Cochin, such as the unusual Chinese fishing nets, the 16th-century Mattancherry Palace and more.
- ” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Art of Living & Goan Heritage | Goa, India
Practice an ancient form of effortless meditation at the Art of Living, an institute dedicated to creating a stress-free and violence-free society to attain world peace. Learn more about deep-breathing techniques and mantras from your meditation expert, and tap into the reservoirs of peace, joy and creativity within. Following the meditation session, visit the nearby Goa Chitra Ethnographic Museum for a fascinating look at ancient Goan culture and lifestyle.
- Meditate While Cruising | Goa India
For the ultimate in relaxation, a guided meditation is united with a serene cruise down one of Goa’s many beautiful rivers. As you sail along the naturally beautiful shoreline in a unique houseboat, a yoga guru will guide you through a series of meditative postures. Using controlled breathing techniques, experience a revitalization of your body, a calming of your mind and an increase in positive energy. To enhance the experience even further, you’ll enjoy a healthy lunch before returning to the pier.
- Yagna Encounter & Mumbai’s Ancient Temple Complex | Mumbai, India
Enjoy the fascinating and unique experience of joining several spiritual Hindu ceremonies in sacred locations across Mumbai. Begin at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, a spiritual oasis set upon four sprawling acres, where you’ll join a Hindu “Aarti” prayer ritual and morning chant. Also visit the famed Banganga, an ancient sacred water tank filled with waters believed to have healing powers – and is among the holiest sites in Mumbai. Here you’ll watch priests perform a special rite called Yagna. The experience is crowned with a visit to the Lalbah spice market, which brims with aromatic, colorful spices.
Join us in India this winter or spring for rejuvenating wellness experiences and unforgettable cultural immersions.