Foodies who are also cruise enthusiasts can now choose travel experiences tailored to their twin passions.
From August through October 2014, the new Cruising with the Chefs, founded by Lisa and Rodney George of St. Louis, Mo. and Naples, Fla., offers three culinary cruises with celebrity guest chefs exclusively aboard Oceania’s Marina and Riviera ships. The cruises showcase the ships’ Bon Appétit Culinary Centers, the only hands-on culinary centers at sea.
Each 2014 cruise is “a cruise within a cruise, with rock-star chefs,” according to Cruising with the Chefs’ Rodney George. The 2014 chefs are:
- Paul Virant, chef-owner of Michelin-starred Vie in Western Springs, Ill., cruising from Istanbul to Venice, August 5-15;
- Brian and Shanna O’Hea, chef-owners of The Kennebunk Inn and its restaurant, Academe Maine Brasserie and Tavern, cruising from Amsterdam to Barcelona, September 2-14; and Christy Rost, a PBS chef, author, and entertaining guru, cruising from Athens to Barcelona, October 2-12.
Itinerary highlights include cooking classes with the guest chef and chef-led shore excursions with special entree to local markets and restaurants. At featured ports-of-call, each chef will integrate local, fresh ingredients and indigenous culinary traditions in their classes and hosted meals. Personal time with the chefs at welcome and farewell receptions, as well as wine tastings, are other amenities of each Cruising with the Chefs experience.
Founders Rodney and Lisa George, passionate cruisers and foodies, personally host guests and work with guest chefs on designing itineraries adapted to each chef’s philosophy and style of cuisine.
Guests choose basic pricing based on cabin categories offered by Oceania, and from a range of a la carte culinary experiences offered by Cruising with the Chefs.
Paul Virant’s and Christy Rost’s cruises are both aboard Oceania’s Riviera, and range from $4,299 to $6,699 per guest for the Paul Virant cruise, and from $3,799 to $6,099 for the Christy Rost cruise. Pricing for the Shanna and Brian O’Hea cruise aboard Oceania’s Marina ranges from $5,499 to $6,899. Prices are per person.
The cost includes free round trip air transportation from 26 major North American gateways; private sail-away reception hosted by the guest chef; farewell cocktail party, and fine dining in four specialty restaurants.
Most sailings also include pre-paid gratuities, gourmet culinary program created by renowned master chef Jacques Pepin, port-intensive itineraries with overnight visits and extended port stays, Canyon Ranch Spa Club, staff-to-guest ration of 1 to 1.5, and 24-hour butler service in penthouse suites and above.
Optional culinary experiences include small group classes with guest chefs in the ships’ Bon Appétit Culinary Centers ($69-$79 per person); off-the-ship visits to local markets; packages of shore excursions at 25-40% off standard prices; wine tastings ($25-$50 per person); seven-course dinner in the 24-seat La Reserve restaurant, prepared by Oceania’s executive chef with wine pairings by Wine Spectator ($95 to $165); and travel protection group insurance.
“Cruising foodies seek enlightenment beyond a library or lecture,” said Cruising with the Chefs’ Rodney George. “Our cruises offer once-in-a-lifetime journeys with acclaimed, well-known chefs aboard Oceania’s Marina and Riviera, among the most elegant and sophisticated ships at sea.”