Oceania Cruises, an upper-premium line designed for upmarket travelers, is planning to roll out new culinary programs next year, including special shore tours in Honduras, Cozumel and San Juan. The cruise line is noted for its culinary enrichment offerings; it was the first to offer a Culinary Center at sea, where guests receive hands-on instruction from a master chef at individual cooking stations.
The new programs, for the Caribbean season starting in December 2016 and developed by the line’s Director of Culinary Enrichment Chef Kathryn Kelly, will debut on its newest ship, the 1,250-guest Riviera. The ship will sail roundtrip from Miami, and a seven-day cruise has prices now starting at $1,799 per person, double.
New cooking classes will include:
* Cuban Family Table: Guests will explore Cuba via treasured family recipes that have been passed down over generations and learn the keys to creating pastries, stews and desserts. Completing the journey, guests will learn the secret to concocting the perfect mojito.
* Patio Pleasures: Guests will learn professional grilling techniques, how to use fruits and vegetables at the height of their freshness, giving them a new repertoire of summer favorites to showcase at their next barbeque.
* Wake up to Brunch: In this class, guests will master the techniques of egg cookery and prepare classic brunch dishes while learning entertaining tips to make hosting brunch at home a breeze.
Culinary Discovery Tours will provide guests opportunities to explore local food markets, restaurants, vineyards, farms and cooking schools with regional culinary experts. All tours are accompanied by the Culinary Center’s master chef instructor and begin with an orientation of the local culture and cuisine. Many conclude with a destination-inspired cooking class back onboard at the Culinary Center. The new excursions planned for the Caribbean season include:
Honduran Farm & Ocean-To-Table Experience: Guests will visit the Blue Harbor Tropical Arboretum and experience Roatan’s largest collection of tropical flowers and plants. Here guests will learn how pesticide-free, hydroponic farming assists with water conservation, sustainability and fresher, longer lasting produce in your kitchen. Following the arboretum, guests will take a boat to Big French Key Beach and La Palapa restaurant for an interactive cooking demonstration featuring pink shrimp harvested by the local fishermen. At the conclusion of the demonstration, guests will enjoy a lunch filled with local favorites such as rice and beans, cole slaw, fried yucca and cassava bread, as well as local pink shrimp prepared three different ways. After lunch, guests have time to relax on the beach, have a swim, or simply soak in the beauty of this tropical paradise.
Cozumel Market Tour & Mayan Cooking Class: After a short orientation at the Culinary Center, guests set off in small groups to explore an open-air, seasonal market filled with locally grown produce and spices, freshly caught fish and other ingredients used in traditional Yucatecan cuisine. Following the market, guests visit the Mayan Cacao Company to discover the importance of the cacao seed in ancient Mayan civilization and watch a demonstration of how chocolate is now made from the cacao plant. Back aboard the ship, guests delve into Yucatecan cuisine during a 90 minute cooking class, also sampling several authentic local dishes.
Gourmet San Juan: Market, Lunch, Coffee & Chocolate: Designed for the foodie who desires an immersion into Puerto Rican fare, this tour heads to Santurce, a district of the city noted for art, food and music. At Santaella Restaurant, one of Puerto Rico’s rising culinary stars Jose Santaella treats guests to a lunch of locally inspired dishes and desserts. Following lunch, guests visit La Placita Mercado Santurce, a marketplace filled with stands featuring fresh fruits and vegetables, local handicrafts and homemade botanicals. After strolling the market, guests will enjoy a chocolate demonstration and tasting at Casa Cortés, and cap the experience with a coffee brewing seminar and cup of gourmet mountain-grown coffee at Café Cuatro Sombras.