Guest lecturers Eve Jones and her husband, hotelier Ronald F. Jones OBE (Order of the British Empire) have spent the past 16 years travelling the world as lecturers.
As a wine tutor and an award-winning writer specializing in hotels, restaurants and travel, she has written features for The Times, the New Orleans and Los Angeles Times, and served as the wine tutor at Marlborough College Summer School for ten years (where Kate Middleton and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie were pupils). Meanwhile, Ronald is one of Britain’s best-known hoteliers. He got his start in the hotel industry when World War 2 was in full swing, and secured a job as an accounts clerk at the then ultra-luxury Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool. He ascended through the ranks, citing stimulus rather than ambition as the “hunger,” so beginning a 55-year love affair with hotels.
Eve and Ronald’s backgrounds lend themselves well to joint ventures, and they’ve enjoyed working together so much that they have co-authored several books: Grand Hotelier:Inside the Best Hotels, Grand Hotelier: The World on a Plate, Gastromania! for lovers of food, wine – and trivia, and The Log of the Seafaring Bears for very young readers. With their fascinating backgrounds, the Joneses’ lecture topics range from royal banquets and jazz to wine and the rich social histories of the areas in which ship is traveling. Below, they share their travel secrets – how they enjoy their favorite destinations, their top picks for restaurants and more!
Destination Secrets of Hotel & Wine Connoisseurs
Cruising has enabled Eve and Ronald to experience a taste of life on every continent. The couple recommends the Norwegian Fjords for pristine beauty and St. Petersburg for its over-the-top architecture, and superb art, music and ballet scene. And after so many years of traveling where do they choose to visit again and again? Venice is one that tops the list.
“Gliding along the Grand Canal and sticky-beaking into the salons of the palazzi, strolling in St. Mark’s Square in the early morning…it’s a travel experience you never forget,” Eve said.
Sometimes they stay at the Cipriani in Venice, but Eve noted that renting an apartment can be even more enjoyable because of the way it connects you to local life. “Shopping for fresh food in the market, trips to the laundromat with the locals, fresh seafood in the local trattoria – our idea of heaven,” she said.
Eve recalled one year that they managed to stay in Venice for six weeks during the Christmas holiday season. “It was cold, crisp…the whole city perfectly gift-wrapped for Christmas and very few tourists. Bliss,” she said.
Eve and Ronald also appreciate the beauty of Sydney Harbour – and city’s fabulous food and wine, not to mention the affordable price of the opera tickets.
“It’s such a vibrant, laid-back city with a rich cultural life, filled with art galleries, museums, history, and above all, we’re able to go to the opera several times a week for the price of tickets for one performance at Covent Garden!” Eve remarked.
The World’s Most Memorable Restaurants
According to Eve and Ronald, dining at some of the most memorable restaurants sometimes doesn’t even involve a menu. Such is the case in Kusadasi, Turkey.
“There’s a little family restaurant on the quayside, a couple of tables practically on the water,” Eve recalled. “No menu, no choice – if you’re in the know. Just leave it to the owner and he’ll bring crisp salad, freshly baked bread, and then the morning’s catch, grilled with hot, crisp golden fries and bottle of chilled local white wine. Perfection.”
Meanwhile, their local London favorites include Brasserie Colbert in Sloane Square for breakfast, lunch at Pierre Koffmann at the Berkeley and dinner at Le Gavroche or Mosimann’s Club. In Scotland, the Joneses love Tom Kitchin’s, near where our ships dock in Leith.
“He’s a great chef, and the food is superb, all sourced within a few miles of Edinburgh,” Eve noted.
In their treasured Venice, Eve and Ronald never tire of lunch at Da Fiori.
“It’s unfussy, relaxed…the seafood so fresh it’s still wriggling, the spumante crisp and dry, completed by the theatre of Venice’s business movers and shakers who appreciate the importance of a darn good lunch,” Eve said. “And then we stop for Negronis later at Harry’s Bar, of course!”
The couple is also fond of simply asking local business people where they like to eat, especially in Asia and the Middle East. “We don’t ask for the smartest or most expensive, just a family restaurant or a spot for a working-week lunch or dinner,” Eve explained. “That’s where we go and we have seldom been let down.”
The onboard restaurants are also a part of what Eve and Ronald enjoy so much about Oceania Cruises.
“If Michelin stars were awarded to ships, Oceania Cruises surely deserves them,” Eve said. “To have the choice of six restaurants, each serving fabulous food.”
Eve and Ronald invite you to trade travel secrets and favorites this fall -- join them aboard Marina’s Vineyards & Vistas voyage, departing September 2, 2015!