0 comments on “Oceania Cruises Team Trivia
 

Oceania Cruises Team Trivia
 

Inside Team Trivia

Around 4:30 in the afternoon aboard our ships, there’s a good chance you’ll find an animated gathering of guests in the Lounge or in Martinis racking their brains for answers to questions like, “Excluding Antarctica, which continent has the shortest shoreline?” Trivia is one of the most popular activities on board and a great way to meet fellow travelers too.

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How Does It Work?
Team Trivia is hosted in the afternoons and Brainteasers Trivia hosted in the evenings. Teams are usually formed during the first afternoon session, but guests join on a daily basis. Each team is made up of at least 2 players and no more than 8 players. Trivia afternoons and evenings are spirited events, and teams usually come up with humorous team names such as Ship for Brains, Tequila Mockingbird and Trivia Newton John.

How Are Trivia Questions Created?
Cruise Directors come up with questions in a variety of ways such as the internet, trivia books and questions from the board game Trivial Pursuit. In fact, a principal writer for the early editions of Trivial Pursuit, Mitch Symons, has contributed a number of questions over the years and has also served as a guest lecturer on board. As a trivia guru, Symons says truly great trivia questions are unambiguous, and have only one answer.

When offering advice for teams who want to win, Symons says discussion is important but only to a point, “Ultimately you’re dealing with FACTS. People aren’t entitled to have opinions about facts!” Perhaps the cut and dry nature of trivia is one of the reasons it’s so popular on board. That, and Big O Points.

Big O Points
Big O Points are doled out at the close of each quiz. Each player on the winning team receives 3 Big O Points, each player on the second-place team receives 2 Big O Points, and each player on the third place team receives one Big O Point.

And what happens during a tie? The host breaks any ties for first place by asking a few bonus questions. Big O Points are redeemed near the end of the voyage for Oceania Cruises logo prizes, such as hats, visors, throw blankets and t-shirts.

Give up on the continent with the longest shoreline? It’s Africa, because it doesn’t have all the inlets that other continents do. Next time you’re on board, join us for some friendly competition at trivia!

0 comments on “3 Hidden Mediterranean Jewels
 

3 Hidden Mediterranean Jewels
 

While the museums of Florence, the ancient ruins of Rome, the Ramblas in Barcelona and so many other top attractions in these countries are worth visiting multiple times, culture-rich Italy and Spain are both overflowing with plenty of other authentic must-visits for those who have traveled extensively. Here are several stunning off-the-beaten-path picks for those seasoned travelers looking for that exhilarating feeling of discovering a hidden gem for the very first time.

Orvieto-ItalyOrvieto, Italy: Medieval Gem
Available from Rome
Experience Italy as it’s rarely experienced with a trip to this fortified medieval town perched atop a hillside in Umbria with vineyards, olive groves and Cypress trees blanketing the valleys below. Once a citadel of the Etruscans, Orvieto remains a medieval treasure – there has barely been any new construction since the 14th century. The Duomo di Orvieto, adorned with a dazzling mosaic façade visible from miles all around, is arguably one of the most gorgeous in Italy. This mesmerizing Gothic cathedral dates to 1290, took 30 years to plan and three centuries to complete. A visit to Orvieto isn’t complete without sampling some traditional Umbrian fare such as umbrichelli pasta and perhaps a glass of chilled Orvieto Classico, a well-rounded straw-colored DOC white wine.

Expert Tip:
This is a town of artisans and long-held craft traditions, so you’ll have plenty of mementos to choose from amidst your sightseeing. Handmade ceramics and terracotta ware are two top picks and for the quintessential Orvietano souvenir, head to the woodworking shop of Bottega Michelangeli.

Urbino-Italy.jpg


Urbino, Italy: Renaissance Riches

Available from Umbria (Ancona)
A surprisingly remote cultural epicenter set atop the rolling hills of Le Marche, Urbino is considered one of the most important towns of culture, art and historical legacy in Italy – in fact, the entire town was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1998. During the 15th century, Urbino attracted some of the most preeminent scholars and artists of the Renaissance, and was the hometown of artist Raphael and architect Donato Bramante. It now represents a peak of Renaissance splendor through its remarkably preserved art and architecture. Step back in time with a visit to the princely Palazzo Ducale, a sprawling palace that now houses the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, one of the most important collections of Renaissance paintings in the world.

Expert Tip:
After touring Palazzo Ducale, head to Antica Osteria da la Stella, a family-run restaurant just steps away from the former home of Raphael that serves traditional cuisine inspired by the local culinary traditions of the Le Marche and Romagna regions.

Ronda-Spain

Ronda, Spain: Whitewashed Wonder
Available from Málaga
Set above the deep Tajo Gorge carved out by Río Guadalevín, this mountaintop village couldn’t be located in a more dramatic location. The gorge divides the picturesque whitewashed town into La Ciudad, the old Moorish, aristocratic quarter with narrow lanes; and El Mercadillo, the “newer” park-filled area built after the 1485 Christian Reconquest. The three bridges connecting Ronda offer exhilarating vistas and the local history is just as thrilling – the town and surrounding mountains were once bandit hideouts, which you can learn about in the local Museo del Bandolero. More than 200 years old, Ronda’s Plaza de Toros is one of Spain’s oldest bullrings and a visit here is the perfect way to learn about this tradition.

Expert Tip:
Before heading back to Málaga, pop into Entre Vinos on Calle Pozo for tapas and a glass of Andalusian wine. This locals’ spot is known for its extensive local wine list and both traditional and inventive tapas.

Wanderlust sparked? Find your perfect Italy or Spain cruise now

 

0 comments on “Paradise Found: The Allure of the South Pacific
 

Paradise Found: The Allure of the South Pacific
 

When you sail to far reaches of the shimmering South Pacific aboard our ships, you leave the routines of everyday life behind for adventures that elevate your travels to a whole new level. Dreamy atolls, blue lagoons, remote villages and virgin rainforests only begin to scratch the surface of the gems in the South Pacific.

Experience the paradise of the region firsthand 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. On the list of seasoned travelers everywhere, our explorations of the South Pacific reveal paradise landscapes, ancestral traditions and unique insight into the local life. Here’s a brief look at what you’ll find in a few of our top South Pacific destinations.

QUEEN OF THE PACIFIC
Papeete (Tahiti), French Polynesia
Known as one of the most romantic islands in the world, Tahiti invites you to fall in love with island time as the tropical breeze over the sea carries the scent of fragrant hibiscus flowers. In the heart of the South Pacific, admire the surrounding lagoon and mountain peaks during a catamaran cruise, or take a stroll through the waterfront Jardins de Paofai. At Venus Point, walk the exact location where Captain James Cook once recorded the passage of Venus to calculate the distance between the sun and Earth. During a off-road journey, explore an uncommon side of Tahiti deep in Papenoo Valley, which brims with waterfalls and verdant flora. Crown your experience by heading to the beach for the sunset.

OCEANIA PARADISE
Suva, Fiji
Set on a hilly peninsula at the southeastern end of Viti Levu, Suva is the thriving multicultural and cosmopolitan capital of Fiji. Here you can enjoy everything from boutique shops and upscale restaurants to island adventures and cultural explorations. Spend the afternoon at an aromatic spice farm and gardens full of medicinal plants and then learn the secrets of native Fijian cooking. Take a longboat cruise along the Navua River, admiring mountain ranges and the surrounding tropical rainforest replete with exotic birds, dramatic gorges and cascading waterfalls. Meanwhile the Arts Village of Fiji offers an immersion into the evolution of the island’s fascinating ethnic history and art, including a performance by Fijian firewalkers.


THE MAGICAL ISLAND
Moorea, French Polynesia
Moorea is home to the often-overlooked bright blue lagoon and volcanically formed island that inspired the mythical Bali Hai from James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific. Take in splendid views during a hike along the Sister Island’s three coconut trails or swim with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in a natural lagoon. Perhaps take a dip in the clear lagoon of Moorea with beautiful views of the island’s sharp mountain peaks, lush valleys and picturesque coastal shoreline. Then relax on a paradise beach and enjoy the warm tropical waters of French Polynesia.

Wanderlust sparked? Explore our top South Pacific voyages now.

0 comments on “Sweet Potato Bolo Bread with Madeira Butter
 

Sweet Potato Bolo Bread with Madeira Butter
 

By Executive Chef & Director of Culinary Enrichment Kathryn Kelly

When I first had bolo in Madeira in the 1980s, I fell in love with the smoky flavors from the wood-fired ovens in which this bread is traditionally baked. I’ve modified the recipe here so you can make this delicious bread at home – the perfect warming autumn treat. If you have an open grill available, feel free to cook the bread over an open flame.

Makes 4

Ingredients

Bolo Bread
¾ to 1 cup water, at 110˚F/43˚C
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 teaspoons sugar
1 sweet potato, roasted tender and peeled
3¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Olive oil, for grilling

Madeira Butter
¼ cup Madeira wine
2 heads garlic, roasted and peeled
½ cup butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons minced pecans
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
1 tablespoon orange zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the bread dough
In a small bowl, whisk ¼ cup of the warm water, the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar until the yeast dissolves. Let rest 10 minutes.

In a food processor, pulse the sweet potato with the remaining 3 teaspoons of sugar, the flour and salt. With the processor running, add the yeast mixture and ½ cup more warm water. Mix until the dough forms a ball, adding more warm water if needed. Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl, turning to completely coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1½ hours.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead until smooth and pliable. Divide the dough evenly into 4 balls. Flatten the balls into 5- to 6-inch rounds, cover with a dry kitchen towel and let rest for 45 minutes.

Make the Madeira butter
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer the wine until it reduces to 1 tablespoon, about 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, mash the roasted garlic into a paste. Stir in the butter, pecans, shallot, orange zest and reduced wine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grill the bolo bread
Heat an outdoor grill or indoor cast iron grill to high. Brush one side of each dough round with olive oil and grill, oiled side down, until charred and golden brown. Press lightly with a spatula to keep the bread from puffing and ensure it caramelizes. Brush the top sides of the dough with olive oil and flip, grilling until golden brown. Serve with Madeira butter.

 

Here are a few voyages visiting the Madeira region: 

Splendid Journey | Miami to Barcelona 14 days aboard Riviera departing April 2, 2019

Artists & Aristocrats | Rome to Barcelona Town 7 days aboard Sirena departing October 30, 2019

Atlantic Soiree | Barcelona to Miami 15 days aboard Sirena departing November 6, 2019

0 comments on “How To Eat Your Way Through the South Pacific
 

How To Eat Your Way Through the South Pacific
 

French Polynesia serves up a bevy of mouthwatering specialties, exotic dishes and delicious delicacies – and one of the best ways to delve into the local island culture is through food. Whether you’re exploring Bora Bora and Moorea or Nuku Hiva and Tahiti, the flavors of these islands are meant to be savored. Here’s our guide on what not to miss when it comes to trying local foods and South Pacific culinary experiences.


Try the region’s many iterations of
poisson cru: French Polynesia’s version of ceviche, this dish features local raw fish marinated in coconut milk and lime juice, often with vegetables. You’ll have plenty of chances to try it on a variety of excursions, such as motu picnics, and you’ll see it on local menus everywhere.


Visit a vanilla plantation:
You can do this when you visit Raiatea since more than 70% of the vanilla grown in French Polynesia is from the nearby island of Taha’a. Here you’ll learn about the intricate hand pollination process and have a chance to see fragrant vanilla pods curing in the sun. You’ll soon understand why Tahitian vanilla is so precious – It takes nearly two years for a vanilla vine to grow and produce flowers, which then produce a sole vanilla pod. You’ll have a whole new appreciation for the vanilla sauce that’s drizzled over your mahi mahi or po’e.

Be adventurous when it comes to seafood: On islands like Nuku Hiva, you’ll have the chance to taste mama, raw clam-like mollusks usually prepared in coconut and lime juice; toetoe river crabs and other seafood you might not normally. In Tahiti, you’ll see exotic lagoon and deep-sea fish such as sea urchin, parrotfish and barracuda on menus.

Have lunch at Bloody Mary’s in Bora Bora: a bit of an institution in Bora Bora, the thatched-roof restaurant has served everyone from Jimmy Buffet and Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones to Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. With your feet resting on the sand floors, try their mahi mahi burger and a mai tai – it’s an experience to remember.

Don’t pass on the breadfruit: Called uru in Tahitian, this strangely versatile starch will appear on the table prepared in more ways than you keep track of and is quintessentially French Polynesian. Fried, mashed, boiled, roasted, broiled…you’ll likely come across them all. A staple form on Nuku Hiva involves roasting it over hot coals and then mashing it with coconut milk to create a dish called kaka.

Stroll the daily market in Utoroa, Raiatea: Avocado, coconut, bananas, passion fruit overflow from the stalls. Pause to sample fresh rambutans, pomelos and pineapple. Venture upstairs too if you have time – you’ll find more stalls filled with jewelry, pareos, fragrant bottles of coconut oil, vanilla sugar and the like.

Inspired to sail away to the dreamy South Pacific? Have a look at these top voyages.