Raffaele 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Tim 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
Fook 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
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:
(My favorite restaurant in town! / Great local choices / street food in style)
160 Pasteur Street
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.