November 24, 2015

An Oceania Cruises Recipe: Classic Pumpkin Pie

Even though the celebrated turkey takes center stage at many Thanksgiving tables, delicious desserts are never far behind. Our Culinary Director, Franck Garanger, shares Oceania Cruises’ recipe for a holiday classic: traditional pumpkin pie.



Pumpkin-pie13 ounces short pastry dough (unsweetened)

13 ounces pumpkin pie filling 

½ cup brown sugar, dark

1½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger 

½ tsp salt

½ tsp heavy cream

½ cup whole milk (long life)

10 fresh whole eggs


½ cup heavy cream (well-chilled)

3 tsp sugar icing (confectioner's)

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp candied ginger (chopped)

2 tsp candied ginger (for garnish)


Roll out ¾ of the dough ⅛-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Fit it into one 10-inch (6-cup capacity) pie plate and trim the edge, leaving a ½-inch overhang.

Fold the overhang under the dough flush with the edge of the pie plate and with a sharp knife make ½-inch-long cuts – one-inch intervals all the way around the edge of the shell. Turn every other section of the dough in towards the center of the shell to form a decorative edge and chill the shell for 30 minutes.

Roll out the remaining dough, ⅛-inch thick, on the lightly floured surface and with a 3-inch leaf-shaped cutter, cut out 3 leaves.

Transfer the pastry leaves to a baking sheet. Score them lightly with the back of a knife to form veins, and chill them for 15 minutes, or until they are firm. Brush the leaves lightly with some of the egg wash and bake them in the middle of a preheated 375° F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are golden. Transfer the leaves to a rack and let them cool completely.

In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin filling, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, heavy cream, milk and eggs until the filling is smooth. Then pour the filling into the shells.

Brush the edge of the shell lightly with some of the remaining egg wash, if desired, and bake the pie in the middle of a preheated 375° F oven for 1 hour, or until the filling is set but the center still shakes slightly.

Beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks begin to form. Add the sugar and the ground ginger and beat the mixture until it holds stiff peaks.

Fold in the candied ginger and serve with the pie. Finish with some candied ginger on top as garnish.

Happy Thanksgiving to friends and family celebrating in the U.S. 

November 20, 2015

At Artist Loft: Creative Explorations with Dorothy Simpson Krause

DorothySimpsonKrauseArtist-in-Residence Dorothy Simpson Krause is a painter, collage artist and printmaker who incorporates digital mixed media into her art. Her work is exhibited regularly in galleries and is in the collections of more than two dozen museums. Dot is a Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts College of Art where she taught for 35 years, and has also been an Artist-in-Residence at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, as well as at many other celebrated institutions. She is the author of Book + Art: Handcrafting Artists’ Books, and co-author of Digital Art Studio: Techniques for Combining Inkjet Printing with Traditional Art Materials. Below, Dot shares a glimpse of what her Artist Loft workshops are all about.

From those with art training to those who profess not to be able to draw a straight line with a ruler – all are welcome in my series of stand-alone workshops, which are designed to suit a wide range of abilities. Together we create original works of art related to the voyage, and each class has a different focus, medium or concept.

On a recent segment of Insignia’s Around the World in 180 Days voyage, we had 19 classes! On each of the eight days at sea, I hosted a workshop in the morning and afternoon.

In the first class, guests working in pairs made a blind contour drawing of their partner then exchanged drawings to complete their "self-portraits." This one looks remarkably like Dennis Julin.

In another class, Wendy King made several booklet/ journals to house the ephemera she collected during the cruise and to give as gifts.


Using photographs as reference, lavender fields vanished into the distance as Noreen Cutts used perspective to give her oil pastel depth in “As Far As The Eye Can See.”


Playing the Surrealist game of "Exquisite Corpse," in which you begin your drawing, cover your work and pass it on, each group of three drew fantastic "Creatures of the Deep." Trish Boyle began this lovely creature and completed it with subtle watercolor.

Near the end of the voyage, in a collage class called “Putting It All Together,” Joanne Moloney captured the spirit of Oceania Cruises. The final afternoon on board, we held an exhibit of the work produced and Joanne’s section was a great representation.

CreaturesOfTheDeep PuttingItAllTogether

Each workshop at Artist Loft gives you an opportunity to produce meaningful work related to your adventures onboard and ashore. As Artist-in-Residence, it has been a rewarding experience to support their creative explorations and I look forward to meeting many more you very soon!


Visit Dot at Artist Loft during these voyages aboard Marina in 2016:

Tasman Treasures | February 23, 2016 | Sydney to Auckland

South Pacific Splendors | March 9, 2016 | Auckland to Papeete

Essence of the Atlantic | May 14, 2016 | New York to Lisbon

Coastal Charms | June 7, 2016 | Lisbon to London

November 17, 2015

Gerry Fox’s Top Bridge Tips

Gerry-foxGerry Fox, the coordinator of bridge activities for Oceania Cruises, is a bridge expert and has taught the game full-time for more than 40 years. He is an ACBL Diamond Life Master and the author of several books on the subject. Below, Gerry shares his expert insight on the game.


  1. Majors are more important than minors. This is absolutely true in selecting a final contract; that is, during the captaincy phase of the auction. But, it is patently false when describing what your hand looks like. During description, all four suits are equal.
  2. When answering 1C, it is better to skip over the diamonds to bid a major suit first. Not only does this violate descriptive integrity, it prevents the opener from drawing proper inferences. It is a short-cut to majors with no concern for showing the correct hand pattern. Moreover, it creates rebid problems for the opener that are easily avoided by bidding one-over-one. For example, suppose you hold  xx  KQJx  xx  AQxxx; if you open 1C, consider the situation when your partner responds either 1D, when it’s so easy to rebid 1H, or alternatively 1S, when it is hard to bid the hearts, since 2H would promise extra strength.
  3. The 1C opener might have only a 3-card suit. True enough, but only in about 35% of all cases; 65% of time, the opener will hold four or more club cards. Why assume the worst, when the normal is more likely?
  4. Game-room-1If you have to open a 3-card minor, choose the better one. Unfortunately, this creates as many problems for the diamond suit as now exist for the clubs. Most experts today agree that the only time to open a 3-card diamond suit is with two 4-card majors and just two clubs. This occurs on fewer than 4% of all diamond openers.
  5. If you respond in a minor, you might “lose” a major-suit fit. This is just nonsense. We have so many conventional bids and balancing bids to cover these situations that you lose the suit only when the hand truly belongs to the opponents.

Stay tuned for more bridge tips on our blog and join Oceania Cruises on a bridge cruise in 2016!

November 13, 2015

Exotic Asia: The Story Behind Incense

Exotic, sacred and laden with symbolic significance, incense seems to billow everywhere when traveling in Asia, whether it’s the streets of Bangkok and Mumbai or the temples of Rangoon, Kyoto and Java.

       Incense1    Incense2

Burning incense has ancient roots in Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto and Taoism and has long been used in rituals across Asia. Rows of incense coils often hang from the ceiling in temples throughout China such as at the Man Mo Temple in Hong Kong, while it’s commonly placed in censers near the entrance of temples in Japan, like at Tokyo’s renowned Sensoji Temple. Though many types of incense and ways of using it have evolved over time, its powerful symbolism and significance have endured.

Incense3Typically composed of aromatic elements from herbs, flowers and other natural sources, the burning of incense is thought to not only symbolize the shedding of negative qualities to reveal the purity within, but the aroma itself is believed to purify the atmosphere and inspire the development of a pure mind. In Hinduism, the smoke that rises from the incense represents the clouded consciousness, thus the dissipation evokes the spiritual cleansing of the mind.

Devotion & Spiritual Offering
In Buddhism, burning incense is considered a sacred 
offering and a way to honor Buddha. The act creates positive energy and a serene environment ideal for devotion, while also serving as a reminder that true virtue spreads in all directions. In Taoism and Hinduism, the rising smoke is thought to represent prayers rising up to the gods.

Many types of incense such as sandalwood and frankincense give off scents that are soothing and create calming environments. Those practicing meditation often find it encourages a serene state of mind – one thought to be spiritually healing. Incense burning is also believed to help reduce stress and tension.

Experience the mystique and ancient traditions of Asia on an unforgettable voyage in 2016.  

November 11, 2015

Voyages of a Lifetime

Discover the world’s most fascinating ports of call and savor relaxing days at sea as you traverse oceans and continents. Explore the untamed African wilderness as well as the astonishing modern marvels of Asia, the Great Barrier Reef and tropical rainforests of Australia aboard these extraordinary voyages of a lifetime.


Atlantic Ocean Exploration

On this magnificent 26-day adventure from Bridgetown to Cape Town aboard Insignia, travel between two continents and visit unique and charming destinations often  2overlooked on more accelerated voyages. Discover an intriguing past in the former penal colony of Devil’s Island, French Guiana, while the bustling streets of Cape Town in the shadow of Table Mountain are decidedly modern.

Old World Odyssey

Explore the rich past of the Orient and beyond on this unforgettable five-week voyage from Hong Kong to Istanbul aboard Nautica. Experience traditional life in Saigon, interacting with farmers in their lush rice fields and fishermen casting their nets. Delight in high tea at the Raffles Singapore, one of the world’s most famous hotels, with spectacular surroundings and gracious hospitality that has attracted the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Rudyard Kipling. Discover the ancient temples of Burma and India before continuing across the Arabian Sea to more Old World treasures.

Far East Traveler

Sailing to the Far East and beyond aboard Insignia, enjoy more than a month exploring majestic ports on the vast Pacific Ocean from Shanghai to Sydney. With an overnight stay in Tianjin, tour the city’s impressive museums and travel to Beijing to visit the Forbidden City. Navigate  3the wildlife-rich, mangrove-lined waterways outside Muara to enjoy tea in the unique Water Village, a community built on stilts. Ascend to the summit of Mount Rokko via funicular for stunning views of Kyoto, Osaka Bay and the distant Awaji Island.

Spiritual Retreats

Let the spirit of discovery be your guide through an array of Asian destinations that will reset your inner balance as you sail from Bali to Singapore aboard Insignia. Contemplate the majesty of Bangkok’s Golden Buddha, which weighs an incredible five tons and dates back seven centuries. Dine on authentic Indonesian fare in a glorious 17th century Balinese temple. Learn about the history of Vietnamese Zen Buddhism at a monastery high atop Yen Tu Mountain outside Hanoi, and visit the oldest pagoda in Saigon, a haven of tranquility where Taoism and Confucianism merge with Buddhism.

With Oceania Cruises, embark on a true voyage of a lifetime and explore the world in the way you’ve always dreamed.