August 28, 2014

CHEF KELLY ANNOUNCES NEW CARIBBEAN CULINARY DISCOVERY TOURS

At Oceania Cruises, we’re always seeking new opportunities for our guests to experience firsthand the culinary cultures of the marvelous destinations we visit, so I am thrilled to announce two new Culinary Discovery ToursTM that will debut on board Riviera during the upcoming Caribbean season.

St. LuciaSt. Lucia - Spices Cooking Studio

Accompanied by your Bon Appétit Culinary Center chef, you’ll begin your tour with a scenic drive along Rodney Bay to a magnificent private estate situated on the grounds of a former sugarcane plantation. You’ll explore the estate’s expansive herb garden and then head inside the home for some hands-on cooking instruction. Learn about the subtle flavors and historical influences of St. Lucian cuisine while preparing an authentic meal using fresh local ingredients. Savor your creations while dining alfresco and taking in the breathtaking views of the sea and surrounding landscapes. On the return drive to the pier, you’ll stop at the bustling open-air Castries Market, where farmers have sold locally grown fruits, vegetables and spices for nearly 100 years.

L1030781Antigua – Market Visit & Cooking Demo

In the center of downtown St. John’s, walk to the local market with your Bon Appétit Culinary Center chef, who will show you a wide variety of local fruits, such as breadfruit, mangoes, soursop, dasheen and possibly even the famous Antiguan black pineapple, known as the world’s sweetest. A short, but scenic, journey takes you to the Villas at Sunset Lane, a charming beachfront oasis owned by renowned Chef Jacquie, who will invite you into her kitchen to help prepare lunch. Chef Jacquie shops daily from local organic farmers and will share her secrets for shopping and eating seasonally. Following a hands-on cooking demonstration, enjoy a lunch of local favorites while taking in fabulous vistas of the lush gardens, private beach and sparkling bay.  

The following sailings offer your first opportunity to experience these new Culinary Discovery Tours. We hope you’ll join us!

December 23, 2014: Holidays in the Tropics, Miami to Miami (Riviera, 12 days)

January 24, 2015: Island Paradise, Miami to Miami (Riviera, 10 days)

February 23, 2015: Island Paradise, Miami to Miami (Riviera, 10 days)

 

August 26, 2014

DISCOVERING THE MIDNIGHT SUN IN NORWAY

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 A stunning view at 2 a.m. in Honningsvaag, Norway (Photo courtesy of Gair O’Neill)

On a recent voyage exploring the North Cape, Oceania Cruises Sr. Director Gair O’Neill experienced the fascinating phenomenon known as Midnight Sun in Honningsvaag, Norway’s northernmost city, a period of time during the summer when the sun never sets in locations north of the Arctic Circle. Below, Gair shares a few of his impressions on this unique destination and experience.

Talk about the land of the midnight sun--how about the land of the 2 a.m. sun?!  Sunset at 2 a.m., sunrise at 2 a.m. – the sun really just hung over the sea for a while and then started going back up again. 

Honningsvaag is buzzing with life in the summertime, and the people, the sights are all just so nice. We spent the day on a spectacular crab safari for Norwegian King crab (think Alaskan King crab on steroids – the biggest I have ever seen!). We went out and helped pull up the pots and to retrieve the crab, then they showed us how to cook them, clean them and then…well, they didn't have to show us how to eat them! And were they good! I’ve never eaten so much in my life.

Our next stop was an ice bar in town, built from blocks of ice harvested from the local lake during the winter months. They build chairs, tables, glasses – everything from the ice – and place reindeer skins on the chairs so you can comfortably sit down and relax inside.  There’s a local custom to take part in after you have a drink from an ice glass: after making your way outside, make a wish and throw the ice glass into the harbor where it melts.

Honningsvaag is not a big place, but that’s not what you visit for. It's the natural beauty of the surroundings and the people – that’s really what Norway is all about.  

Experience the unique culture of Honningsvaag and the unusual phenomenon of the Midnight Sun yourself aboard Nautica’s Great Northern Lights voyage, departing July 19, 2015. 

August 22, 2014

Q&A with Oceania Cruises’ Bridge Director Barbara Seagram

We recently had the chance to catch up with Barbara Seagram, one of Oceania Cruises’ much-loved Bridge Directors, and learn more about her and bridge aboard the ships.  An Oceania Cruises Bridge Director for the past six years, Barbara is an award-winning player and author of a number of celebrated bridge books, including the award-winning 25 Bridge Conventions You Should Know. She enjoys traveling the world and teaching bridge with her husband, Alex Kornel, appreciating the opportunity to spend time with people from so many diverse countries.

Below, Barbara shares some insight into the game, and what she loves most about bridge on Oceania Cruises.

How did you first get involved in bridge?

My first mother-in-law sent me for lessons in 1975 with my current husband, her son. He did not like the smoke – in those days – while I took to the game with a vengeance. I loved every minute of it. Eventually I re-married (a bridge player of course) and we live happily ever after!

What do you appreciate about bridge aboard Oceania?

I love the passengers that travel on Oceania Cruises. They are very down to earth, and they appreciate the bridge programs provided and soak up all of it – it’s really very popular. On two of our recent sailings, we had 130 intermediate students on every sea day (19 days in total) and 45-50 beginners as well, who attended early in the morning. In the afternoons, we had 30 tables each day playing bridge, duplicate and party bridge. Imagine: 15% of passengers on the ship were playing bridge! It’s wonderful.

Can you share a Barbara Seagram tip with us?

When you make a lead in bridge, you want to try to paint a picture of what else you hold in that suit. You have to give a message to your partner. If you have K642, you lead the 2. We call this leading the Bottom of Something, i.e. your partner now knows you have an honor card. If you have “nothing” cards, i.e., 952, you lead the 9. We call this leading Top of Nothing. To help you remember this important tip, think of that wonderful city in Massachusetts – BOSTON – and that is what it stands for: The Bottom of Something and the Top of Nothing. And that of course is how the city got its name!

What advice do you have for newcomers to bridge?

If you take French lessons and never use the language, you'll never learn to speak French. Playing makes it all sink in. Bridge is a game of mistakes and every time you make one, you remember not to make the same one next time. Bridge is like golf for the brain and it has been shown to stave off Alzheimer’s. It can be humbling, but it is exhilarating and so much fun. Play at least twice a week and your skills will improve rapidly. Oceania Cruises offers both beginner's bridge lessons as well as intermediate, always providing top-level bridge instructors and directors.

Barbara takes pleasure in being able to continually share her expertise and enthusiasm for the game, and invites you to get involved during one of our upcoming Bridge Sailings, featuring an American Contract Bridge League accredited master instructor.

 

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Barbara Seagram with her husband, Alex Kornel, also a bridge instructor

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 An afternoon of bridge aboard Marina during her Grand Voyage, Mythical Travels, from Lima to London

August 19, 2014

AROUND THE WORLD IN 12 FILMS

Film journeys and evocative movie settings have long fueled travelers’ imaginations, often sparking the start of the next great journey. Last time, we shared a selection of inspiring and transportive travel books in anticipation of our upcoming Around the World in 180 Days voyage this January. To continue fueling your travel dreams, here’s a set of films that take you around the world with classic adventures, enchanting storylines and stunning visual imagery.

GreatRace(2)The Great Race (1965): A time-honored slapstick comedythat pits a scheming melodramatic villain against a classic white-suited hero in a 22,000 mile auto race from New York to Paris.

Where you’ll go: New York, Alaska, throughout Asia, Paris

 Around the World in 80 Days (1956): In this Academy Award-winning adaptation of the classic novel, Phileas Fogg sets out to prove that circumnavigating the globe in a mind-boggling 80 days is actually possible.

Where you’ll go: Paris, Spain, Bombay, Calcutta, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, San Francisco

That Man From Rio (1964): A rapid-fire adventurewith never-ending twists and turns, this film follows a French soldier on temporary leave on a mad dash throughout Brazil in pursuit of his kidnapped girlfriend and lost treasure.

Where you’ll go: from Paris to Rio de Janeiro, and deep into the Amazon

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013): A fascinating chronicle of Nelson Mandela’s life, beginning in the rural village of his childhood, tracing his steps through to his 27-year imprisonment and eventual presidency.

Where you’ll go: throughout South Africa, including Robben Island

Crouching Tiger Hidden DragonCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000): A n internationally-acclaimed martial arts film that unfolds amidst the breathtaking backdrop of China during the 19th century as two great female warriors pursue a legendary stolen sword and struggle with societal obligations.

 Where you’ll go: throughout China including Hongcunzhen, Chengde Summer Palace in Hebei province, the Gobi Desert, Anhui Bamboo Forest in Mukeng and Cangyan Mountain

Jiro-dreams-of-sushi-movie-2012Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011): This American documentary, featuring the 85-year-old sushi master, Jiro Ono, invites you into his unassuming yet world-renowned sushi bar, Sukiyabashi Jiro, offering an engaging meditation on his life’s work and sushi culture in Japan.

Where you’ll go: Tokyo

 Australia (2008): A romantic period drama, this epic features an aristocratic Englishwoman who inherits an Australian ranch and reluctantly partners with a local to drive cattle across hundreds of miles of the outback during the brink of World War II.

Where you’ll go: Sydney, Darwin, Kununurra, Bowen

Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003): Transportive on multiple levels, these epic fantasy adventure films extensively capture the dramatic beauty of New Zealand as they follow Hobbit Frodo Baggins on his quest to destroy the One Ring.

Where you’ll go: Middle Earth, a.k.a. Matamata, Waikato; Wellington; Takaka Hill, Nelson; Mount Sunday, Canterbury; Milford Sound, Fjordland National Park

South Pacific (1958): Based on Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific, this Oscar-winning musical features a budding romance between a young American nurse and secretive French planter on a South Pacific island during World War II. 

Where you’ll go: islands in the South Pacific

Endless SummerEndless Summer (1966): Sparked by the concept of following summer around the world, this classic surf adventure follows two young California surfers in search of the perfect wave, exploring undiscovered surf locales throughout the globe.

Where you’ll go: coasts around the world including in Hawaii, Africa, Australia and Tahiti

What films have sparked your travels? Share them with us!

August 15, 2014

TOP 2014-2015 AMERICAS PORTS & ITINERARIES

Have you ever dreamt of tracing the age-old routes of the world’s greatest explorers? Or do you revel in discovering tucked-away gems still below the radar? Our Americas voyages offer you the chance to embrace the essence of discovery and the diversity of these incredible regions, sailing throughout Alaska, Canada & New England, the Caribbean & Panama Canal and South America. Below is just a sampling of new ports featured on these voyages, as well as a few of our hand-crafted itineraries sailing in these regions

 
Trois-rivieres-quebecTrois-Rivières, Quebec:
the second oldest city in Quebec, situated on the river along Rue des Ursulines, features historic architecture and vibrant cafes and French bistros along the lively Boulevard des Forges. The Musée Québécois de Culture Populaire offers a unique glimpse into the cultural life of the Québécois. Explore Trois-Rivières on Insignia’s Crowning Journey voyage.

 

 

Jamestown, Saint Helena: tucked away deep in the South Atlantic Ocean, this island became an important stopover during the Age of Discovery in the 16th century. One of the most isolated islands in the world, a visit to Diana’s Peak National Park provides a rare glimpse into its unique biodiversity–it’s home to a number of flora and fauna species found exclusively on the island. Explore Jamestown on Marina’s Southern Seas voyage.


Pointe-a-pitre-guadeloupePointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe:
sometimes referred to as “Butterfly Island” because of its shape, this beautiful island offers spectacular waterfalls in the jungles of Basse-Terre, scenic hikes to the top of La Grande Soufrière volcano and memorable kayaking among its protected mangroves. Explore Pointe-à-Pitre on Riviera’s Sunny Getaways voyage.

 

Trujillo, Honduras: nestled on an expansive curving bay with lushly forested mountains rising in the backdrop, this colonial outpost makes for a diverse tropical paradise. Explore the Santa Barbara Fort and Town Square for a taste of culture and history, or go on an off-road rainforest adventure or horseback riding in Campo del Mar Nature Park. Explore Trujillo on Riviera’s Colorful Caribbean voyage.


Saint-pierre-miguelonSaint-Pierre, Saint-Pierre & Miquelon: 
just off the coast of Newfoundland, these charming islands offer a little bit of France in the New World, with a mild climate, picturesque scenery, patisseries and numerous museums, such as L’Arche museum, which provides a portal into the islands’ unique history. Explore Saint-Pierre on Marina’s River Routes & Channel Crossings voyage.

 

 

Featured Americas Itineraries

Our 2014-2015 Americas brochure, hitting mailboxes August 18, features these destinations and voyages, plus an exciting range of cruises that sail throughout Alaska, Canada & New England, the Caribbean & Panama Canal and South America. For more information on the 2014-2015 Americas voyages, visit OceaniaCruises.com or call 855-OCEANIA (855-623-2642). We look forward to welcoming you aboard one of these unforgettable voyages!