0 comments on “Fabled Scandinavia”

Fabled Scandinavia

Scandinavia, that place of fabled tales where thick rolling green forests meet smart chic cities, is a vast celebration of Nordic culture, cutting-edge design, dramatic fjords and woodland wonders. It’s a place where sunlight becomes perpetual every summer, seasons are proper, and the air is fresh and pure – and yes, a little bit magical. It’s no wonder that famed fairy-tale author Hans Christian Andersen was born in these enchanting northern lands, rich in manor houses, romantic castles and storybook lanes.

The Scandinavian Trio

Where exactly is Scandinavia? It’s a historical and geographical region centered on the Scandinavian Peninsula that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. It’s long drawn travelers for its quaint cottage and café culture, Viking history, medieval fortresses and brilliant natural beauty – where else can you spot a roadside reindeer herd?

Danish Denizens of Design

Charmingly canal-lined, Copenhagen is so much more than Tivoli Gardens, pedestrian-friendly Strøget and the Little Mermaid statue. It’s full of both palaces and castles as well as Michelin-starred restaurants and avant-garde architecture and design. Much further north, Skagen will beguile you with its radiant light and windswept dunes – the perfect place to explore artists’ homes and connect with that quintessentially Danish sense of cozy contentment.

Suave Swedish Style

Stockholm is known for its inviting patchwork of island districts stitched together by bridges and ferries, and is home to some of the most compelling museums and art collections, not to mention fabulous, inventive cuisine.  On a smaller scale, Gothenburg is an undeniably welcoming center of creative industry, especially music and fashion. Meanwhile, UNESCO-protected Visby makes for a fascinating step back in time with its medieval churches and narrowing winding lanes.

shutterstock_1104329399

Norway’s Natural Drama

Overlooking a fjord and ringed by forests, lakes, hills and parks, Oslo will not only astound you with its natural surroundings during woodland walks and sailing adventures, but it will also delight you with its rich seafaring history and eye-catching architecture city-side. Further north on the western side of Norway, the dramatic UNESCO World Heritage site of Geirangerfjord steals the limelight with spectacular views and has been called “the most beautiful fjord in the world.”

Of course, the possibilities in this part of the world extend far beyond Scandinavia. Our voyages to Nordic and Baltic countries, the British Isles and many other Northern European destinations offer a tantalizing blend of culture, innovative cuisine, rich history and fascinating nature.

0 comments on “Majestic Corners of the World”

Majestic Corners of the World

FROM IDYLLIC ISLANDS TO ENTHRALLING ADVENTURES IN LANDS DOWN UNDER

In one of the most majestic corners of the world, some of the greatest marvels on earth await you. Dreamy atolls and blue lagoons, the world’s largest coral reef, the dramatic Milford Sound and the otherworldly Waitomo Glowworm Caves just begin to scratch the surface of the gems in this diverse region. On the list of seasoned travelers everywhere, explorations of the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand reveal paradise landscapes, UNESCO World Heritage sites, ancestral traditions and unique insight into the local life.

 

Aussie Allure & Kiwi Charm

shutterstock_603422741Unique cities Down Under possess a laid-back, multi-cultural spirit all their own. World-class museums, renowned wineries and an uncommon cosmopolitan verve make explorations of Australia and New Zealand unforgettable. And that’s without even mentioning the abundant natural splendor overflowing from these rugged and sprawling countries – both home to friendly residents that are some of the world’s greatest outdoor lovers. Follow the trail of early Australian explorers into the bush of the Blue Mountains, go birding along the Tasman Sea while in Auckland or enjoy a farmer’s market-style picnic in one of the many green spaces to soak up the easygoing vibe. You’ll quickly discover why so many say Down Under really is the ultimate escape.

 

Sun-Drenched South Pacific

medwt33079

When you sail the distant lands of the shimmering Pacific aboard our ships, you leave the routines of everyday life behind for authentic cultural experiences and adventures that elevate your travels to a whole new level. Experience the serenity of islands throughout the South Pacific and enjoy up-close encounters with Polynesian culture and cuisine. Revel in having Tahiti’s soaring volcanic cliffs, the sapphire seas of Moorea and the pearlescent sands of Fiji’s flawless beaches in your backyard. Uncover the lasting legacies of author Herman Melville and painter Paul Gauguin, who were so inspired by the stunning South Pacific islands. Travel further back in time at an ancient temple on Tahiti for a glimpse of sacred Polynesian traditions. With hundreds of diverse islands and atolls scattered across this legendary sea, your journey is limited only by your imagination.

Whether you spend blissful days among the gorgeous waters of French Polynesia or you immerse yourself in stunning New Zealand landscapes and Australian icons, voyages in this region are certain to inspire you to return again and again. The featured destinations are only a taste of all that awaits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0 comments on “Meet Raffaele Cinque, General Manager”

Meet Raffaele Cinque, General Manager

GM Raffaele Cinque.picRaffaele Cinque, General Manager
I come from Positano in the beautiful Amalfi coast of Italy.  More than 30 years ago, while I was working in St. Barts in the French West Indies as Executive Concierge in one of the best hotels on the Island, I started noticing the cruise ships that were coming into St. Barts.  Right then and there I knew that this is what I wanted to do in my life.

Onboard the Oceania ships I realized that I had found a home, a family and the life I always wanted.  I have made good friends for life that I can depend on.  I get to work with the best crew at sea.

During my time off, I spend quality time with my son Gianvito who is now 15 years old.  We travel together once a year in different places that I get to visit also onboard our ships.  I want my son to experience first-hand the beauty and diversity of our world.

What is your favorite port: It is difficult to choose my favorite port, the world is beautiful. If I need to choose one, it would be in Asia; Shanghai, Hong Kong and HCMC Saigon

Shanghai.  I feel it is the New York of Asia, a bustling, vibrant city full of energy with a skyline that comes out of a futuristic movie.  I like the food and the diversity of the city.

What to do in Shanghai
shutterstock_199457384
Yuyuan Gardens 

Sculpted by a rich Ming Dynasty family between 1559 and 1577, the Yuyuan Gardens are an oasis of tranquility – unless you go on weekends when they’re likely to be mobbed. Scattered among the weeping willows, cherry trees and towering redwoods lie pools teaming with carp, expertly manicured lawns, voluptuous blooms and shady pavilions.

The Bund
It goes without saying that a nighttime stroll along The Bund, with the illuminated Pudong skyline as its backdrop, is a must while in Shanghai. From sundown to around 9:30pm, when the famous Oriental Pearl Tower switches off its lights, it can get a little busy, but there are plenty of bars to seek respite in along the way.

French Kiss
Shanghai’s former French Concession, operating with impunity from Chinese laws between 1849 and 1943, is one of the most attractive parts of the modern-day city. With its wide tree-lined streets, much of its original European architecture and some fantastic international restaurants and boutique shops, it’s an agreeable place to while away your time and your spending money.

My Favorite Restaurants
Lost Heaven is a Shanghai expat and visitor favorite, serving up scrumptious “Yunnan folk cuisine” via recipes from minority tribes living in the southwestern Chinese province. The interior of the restaurant – with its smorgasbord of photographs, art, crafts and writings – is a real selling point, as is the open-air rooftop bar when the weather permits. Try the Burmese-style Shrimp Salad and the Ancient Trail Crispy Chicken.
http://lostheaven.com.cn/

shutterstock_129592637
Dreamy Dumplings

Although Shanghai is now dripping in five-star international eateries, the small-scale local restaurants still hold their own. Shanghai’s most iconic food stuff is the addictive soup dumplings known as Xiao Long Bao. These little parcels of comfort can be found in hole-in-the-wall restaurants all over the city, but you can’t go wrong at the longstanding Jia Jia Tang Bao in People’s Square. Jia Jia Tang, 90 Huanghe Rd, Huangpu District.

Hong Kong
It’s been said that life in Hong Kong transcends cultural and culinary borders and once you experience the thrilling, dynamic lifestyle you’ll probably agree. Spend an evening sampling the foodie delights of Temple Street Night Market, climb Victoria Peak, place your bet at Happy Valley Race Course, or simply enjoy one of the world’s most stunning skylines as you stroll Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade. Hong Kong’s hip bars and restaurants are cutting edge, the shopping is legendary, and the museums will carry you to another time and place.

HONG KONG: DIM SUM CAPITAL
Eating dim sum is one of the most authentic ways to experience Hong Kong and its rich culinary culture. Here are some of the best places in the city to enjoy it.

Mott 32
The word on Mott 32 is that it’s the best modern dim sum joint in town. It has consistently been voted one of Hong Kong’s top restaurants since it opened in 2014. The speakeasy-style underground Art Deco space is a real treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds. The stunning design provides the perfect backdrop for exquisite dishes like barbeque Iberico pork with yellow mountain honey and Shanghainese soup dumplings of Kurobuta pork, crab and caviar.

Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Rd, Central, Hong Kong
mott32.com 

Capture3
Yan Toh Heen

This elegant two-Michelin-starred restaurant enjoys an unbeatable location overlooking Victoria Harbor. And while the view is outstanding, the food is even better. Kick things off with the trio of superior dumplings: steamed scallop with black truffles and vegetables, steamed lobster and bird’s nest with gold leaf and steamed king crab leg dumpling, before moving on to delicacies like the delightful steamed grouper, prawn and scallop dumpling.

InterContinental Hotel Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
hongkong-ic.intercontinental.com

T´ang Court
As one of only three Cantonese restaurants in the world to have been awarded the Michelin Guide’s coveted three-star status, T’ang Court is the jewel in the crown of Hong Kong’s stylish Langham Hotel. And like all good Cantonese restaurants, it serves its own, exclusive brand of dim sum. Don’t miss the pan-fried rice flour rolls with spicy sauce  or the baked pastries filled with whole abalone and fish maw.

Langham Hotel, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
langhamhotels.com

dim sumTim Ho Wan
This hole-in-the-wall joint in Hong Kong’s working-class Mong Kok neighborhood defied the odds to become “the world’s cheapest Michelin-star restaurant,” and is now one of the city’s must-visit spots. The world-famous, mouthwatering barbeque pork buns are best described as life-changing, while other favorites include the steamed pork and shrimp dumpling and the beef balls with bean curd.

G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
timhowan.com

shutterstock_149193416Fook Lam Moon
Nowhere does authentic Cantonese dim sum better than Fook Lam Moon, and with its flawlessly executed dishes and outstanding service, it’s easy to see why it is consistently listed as one Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. The barbeque char siu pork is the best we’ve ever tasted, while the steamed rice rolls with shrimp paste and bean curd are to die for.
Newman House, 35-45 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
fooklammoon-grp.com

shutterstock_569235004
HCMC Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam is perhaps a little chaotic, but also fantastic.
Visit the Ben Thanh market (Chợ, Lê Lợi, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh), where you can buy everything between heaven and earth. Sit in an outdoor restaurant and eat whole grilled fish. The Hotel des Arts Saigon has a magical rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the whole city. They have cool music, drinks or iced coffee, which they are particularly good at. If you are in Vietnam, you should definitely drop in.

Cocktail with a view  – Hotel des Arts Saigon
76-78 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, Bến Nghé, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh 70000, Vietnam

My recommendations for HCMC Saigon are:
Ngon Restaurant
(My favorite restaurant in town! / Great local choices / street food in style)
160 Pasteur Street
ASHIMA
mushroom restaurant, 35 A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Phuong Da kao, Ho chi Minh city.

What advice would you have for our crew?
I would tell them that respecting each other, having the right attitude, and starting each day with a smile are important tools for growth.  In the hospitality industry, a smile and a positive attitude go a long way!

What is it that you enjoy most about your job?
What I enjoy most is interacting with our guests.  I meet lovely people from all around the world and it feels great delivering the Oceania Your World Service to create loyal guests.  I like to go around the ship and every time our guests are raving about our crew and our product, it gives me a sense of pride and is very rewarding.  I feel successful when our crew are happy and this is something you can feel onboard.  I have an open door policy with our crewmembers and enjoy organizing crew activities.  “Happy crew, happy guest” is my motto.

0 comments on “At the Table With Jacques Pépin”

At the Table With Jacques Pépin

Our Executive Culinary Director dishes on his French favorites, family culinary traditions, Julia Child & more.

jacques-pepin

You recognize the classically trained French chef’s jovial face and charming accent from his beloved PBS cooking series, perhaps you’ve picked up his kitchen wisdom from numerous cookbooks, and you may have even sailed with him aboard one of our ships. A legendary master chef and our Executive Culinary Director, Jacques Pépin celebrated his 82nd birthday this year and continues to share his endless fount of culinary knowledge. We sat down with Jacques recently to find out his favorite French city for epicurean adventures, his take on Jacques Bistro and much more.

 

What is your favorite French city to visit, purely for food and wine?
It’s difficult to decide, but if I had to pick one, I would pick Saint-Malo. It is in Brittany and is an extraordinary, historic walled city to tour. The big varied seafood plates you can enjoy right on the water are hard to beat – it’s simply beautiful.

shutterstock_772561408.jpg

How does the emphasis on culinary technique in the U.S. differ from that in France?
To start with, it used to be in France that you would spend 3 to 5 years as an apprentice without being paid, so you had a great deal of time to repeat and repeat and repeat so that you refined the techniques. In the U.S., there are so many other types of cuisine from around the world that are based on other techniques, so it’s a different world than it would be if training in France. Still in France, however, whenever I went somewhere to get a job, people would ask me or anyone, perhaps, to make an omelet. That was a guideline to finding out if you knew your technique.

EP-308299996

You had a close relationship with Julia Child – tell us something many may not know about her.

I met Julia in 1960, so I knew her for a half a century. Certainly many do not know that when we did our show together, we actually had no recipe. Usually, when you are doing a cooking show you have a recipe you will follow, but we would not and this made the cameraman kind of crazy. It took two years to put on the air because they had to edit it and craft the show around what we did afterward. Maybe that’s why the show looked very natural, it was truly improvised. We had a really good time.

 

Tell us about a family culinary tradition that is special to you.

We keep books filled with illustrated menus of big family dinners and special occasions. We have done it for over 50 years now. I have 12 large books of menus, a testimonial to our life in the last half-century. I can look in those books and see what Claudine had when she was four – she’s almost 50 now. It’s a great tradition to have because it creates a keepsake that keeps growing and evolving. We just added another last week.

How would you describe the concept behind The Bistro at the Grand Dining Room and the cuisine served there?
Like a bistro in France, it is defined by being unpretentious, a neighborhood type of restaurant where people know one another. It is usually small, kind of casual, serving old classic dishes, like a cassoulet, earthy and closer to home-style cooking than to haute cuisine.

What’s your favorite dish from Jacques Bistro? One of the classic bistro dishes, like escargots à la Bourguignonne (snails with Burgundy garlic butter) and a salade Niçoise.

What French dish can you not live without?
A good onion soup gratinée, my favorite!

0 comments on “Food of the Gods: Divine Greek Ingredients”

Food of the Gods: Divine Greek Ingredients

By Restaurant Manager Georgios Korakianitis

With influences from Turkey to Italy, Greece has a vast and unique culinary landscape that has captivated a global audience.

shutterstock_498586249

In Greece, bread, olives, and olive oil are the pillars of the Greek table wherever you travel, from an upscale restaurant in Athens to a farmhouse on Crete. You’ll have a hard time finding a family gathered around a table without this trio, not to mention a fresh bottle of wine.

shutterstock_453639187.jpgWhat many travelers do not realize is that Greek cuisine not only features many typical Middle Eastern foods, but is also strongly influenced by Rome, tracing back to when the Romans conquered Greece in the 2nd century. So you’ll see plenty of pasta and sauces alongside yogurt, rice and rich sweets made from nuts, honey and sesame seeds. Arab influences have also left their mark on the southern region of Greece, which means you’ll see spices such as cumin, cinnamon, allspice and cloves in the dishes. Greek coffee, of course, traces its roots to Turkey, while potatoes and tomatoes were brought from the New World after European explorers landed in the Americas. In Greece using local ingredients isn’t a trend, it’s simply how we cook – we use what is in season and what is available in our region.

Every Greek meal is fresh and inviting, but it also takes you on a journey through Greece’s history and thousands of years of growing, cooking and eating. As you will discover once you sit down to eat in Greece, no meal is ever “just a meal” – our celebration of life and dining is one in the same. So I invite you to discover more about just a few of the many Greek ingredients featured on board that capture the essence of our joyful and timeless cuisine.

shutterstock_508432381

Feta Cheese
The national cheese of Greece, feta can only be produced in Greece – and only in specific regions such as the Peloponnese, Lesvos and mainland Greece – due to its Protected Designation of Origin. By law, feta is produced from either 100% sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk. It’s the crowning centerpiece on any Greek salad and is a key ingredient in traditional dishes such as spanakopita, feta saganaki – a delicious filo-wrapped feta drenched in honey and coated in sesame.

shutterstock_309018044Kalamata Olives
This king of Greek table olives is favored around the world. The almond-shaped, deep purple olive is noted for its rich tangy flavor that is often smoky or has hints of wine. Kalamata olives are typically left on the tree to mature a bit longer and are only harvested once their color begins to turn dark. They are usually stored in olive oil or vinegar, and are typical in Greek salads and make a great tapenade.


shutterstock_204841687

Caper Leaves
Very difficult to find outside of Greece, caper leaves are typically pickled or boiled and then preserved in jars with brine, similar to caper berries. In fact, when our ships leave Greece, we purchase enough caper leaves to last until the ship is planning to return. Our chefs like to use them in fish dishes and salads such as the heirloom tomato salad.


shutterstock_651493825Capers
A bold and briny ingredient, capers are picked, cured and sorted according to size. Harvesting capers is an arduous process since they can only be picked by hand every spring. They are ideal for garnishing and add a punch of flavor to sauces, salads, pasta dishes, fish and lamb. We use them most often on board in with our featured Greek fish at the Chef’s Greek Market Dinner, as well as in a variety of pasta dishes and salads.

 

shutterstock_1233761701

Filo Dough
Filo dough is an unleavened tissue-thin dough that is stretched or rolled so thin you can see through it. This type of dough is very versatile since it can be layered, filled, folded, rolled and even turned into cups, flowers or spirals. On board, we use filo in various Greek recipes such as baklava and spanakopita, as well as dishes such as strudel, pastilla and tartlets. Filo-based pastries are made by layering many sheets of filo brushed with olive oil or butter, filling it and then baking.

Recommended Greek Beverage

Assyrtikoshutterstock_388347013
Santorini, Greece
Cellar Master’s Notes:
A dry white wine, Assyrtiko is unique to the Mediterranean in that it achieves ripeness while maintaining high acidity. The wine is light in color with greenish tints. On the palate a fresh fruitiness is apparent with the development of a pleasant acidity and minerality, the latter derived from the unique character of the geology. Best served chilled, between 46° to 50°F.

Pairing Suggestions: Fish, seafood, a range of salads and traditional Mediterranean vegetarian casseroles.

shutterstock_1060539551

Metaxa 5 Stars
Cellar Master’s Notes:
Metaxa is a Greek brandy which is sweetened, usually darkened with caramel. It was created in 1888 by Spyros. Due to his amber color and quality, Metaxa is named “the smoothest amber spirit under the sun”. There are notes of bitter orange, rose, apricot and violet on the nose. The palate is balanced with notes of peach, raisin and light oak.

Pairing Suggestions: Chocolate, coffee desserts, fruit cake or a mild double cream cheese.


shutterstock_240440188Ouzo by Metaxa
Cellar Master’s Notes:
This ouzo is distilled in small, traditional copper stills according to a time-honored recipe from Asia Minor. Served with water or ice, the crystal clear liquid turns milky white, a magic transformation that is typical for this aperitif. Enjoy it straight up as an aperitif with ice and water or on the rocks. Spices such as star anise and mastic are combined in a unique mix which gives Ouzo by Metaxa its distinctive, rich aroma and a taste that is full and balanced.

Pairing Suggestions: In Greece, ouzo is typically accompanied by meze dishes, so try it with grilled squid, Kalamata olives or feta cheese and grilled bread.

Bon Appétit!