Culinary cruising at its best

Guests aboard Silversea Cruises Culinary Arts voyages enjoy gastronomic dinners, cooking...

Guests aboard Silversea Cruises Culinary Arts voyages enjoy gastronomic dinners, cooking demonstrations and other food-reated activities. PHOTO COURTESY SILVERSEA CRUISES

ROBIN ROBINSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:53 PM ET

Cuisine is an important part of cruising, and no one knows that better than the ultra-luxury line Silversea Cruises, which has award-winning and celebrity chefs on board for its Culinary Arts voyages.

The unique culinary-theme cruises showcase the skills of chefs from the world's top restaurants and hotels. The guest chefs lead cooking demonstrations, escort provisioning trips to international markets (when the itinerary permits), and are available during the sailing to answer questions. Food and wine pairings, regional dishes and grand gourmet dinners are also planned.

During the "Flavors of Europe" -- Silver Explorer, April 29-May 13 from Lisbon to Portsmouth -- guests will visit a Bordeaux farm dedicated to heirloom produce and enjoy a gastronomic meal at Chateau Kirwan; learn to prepare Basque pintxos in Spain; have afternoon tea at a manor house in Guernsey; and join Silversea's culinary team on an excursion to a seafood market in Santander, Spain.

The voyage will be hosted by Chef Rudi Scholdis, Silversea's culinary director, and Chef David Bilsland, culinary trainer for Silversea's onboard Relais & Chateaux cooking school.

Other Culinary Arts voyages:

-- Aaron Patterson: A top chef who won his first Michelin star at age 23, Patterson is the head chef at Hambleton Hall, a Relais & Chateaux member hotel in Rutland, England. Known for his sumptuous modern British cuisine, he will host the cooking program on Silver Shadow's Singapore-to-Hong Kong voyage, Feb. 25-March 6.

-- Shane Delia: A celebrity chef from Melbourne, Australia, whose restaurants include the much-awarded Maha Bar & Grill and recently launched St. Katherine's. He will be highlighting cuisine with an Asian twist for guests on Silver Shadow's Hong Kong to Tokyo sailing, April 22-May 6.

For details, contact 1-877-215-9986 or silversea.com.

Cruising your way

When Princess Cruises' new Royal Princess debuts in June, young cruisers and adults will find more features geared to their needs.

Expanded kids clubs and dedicated outdoor areas aboard the 3,600-passenger ship have been allocated for young guests. On board fun includes:

Princess Pelicans (ages 3-7): Activities like movie nights, pyjama and ice-cream parties, mini air hockey, arts and crafts, Kid's Fun Fair and the Jr. Chef@Sea program, and a new outdoor playground outfitted with toys, games and tricycles.

Shockwaves (ages 8-12): Shockwaves kids will have their own outdoor area with loungers and games, while a new indoor lounge will feature a giant TV, a DJ Booth, game stations, air hocky, skeeball, and activities led by counsellors. Pizza and ice-cream parties and kids-only dinners are also planned.

Remix (ages 13-17): Remix will feature a DJ booth with cutting-edge tracks, where teens can create their own playlist, kick back or dance to the latest club mix. A new indoor lounge will have video games, foosball and skeeball, while the new outdoor lounge will have club lighting, a wading pool and parties under the stars. Activities such as sports competitions, late-night films, hip hop classes, "mocktail" parties, formal dinners and video game tournaments are also planned.

While the kids are hanging out in their special places, grownups can get away from it all in The Sanctuary or the adults-only Retreat pool. Popular on other Princess ships, these top-deck havens have been expanded on Royal Princess and will have private cabanas for the first time.

Space in The Sanctuary -- where there are plush loungers, circular daybeds, quiet music and a Serenity Steward to provide drinks and snacks -- is $15 for a half- day/$25 for a full day, per person. Sanctuary cabanas -- equipped with TVs, cushy sofas, luxe robes, healthy snacks and mini-bars -- start at $80 for a half day. The spacious Lotus Spa cabanas at the front of the ship will offer ocean views and a private area for couples massage and other spa treatments. Guests who want to relax poolside, can book a Retreat cabana from $50 for a half day. And guests too relaxed to leave their cabanas can order a picnic basket packed with artisan nibbles and wine from $40.

Royal Princess will debut in European waters this summer, followed by Eastern Caribbean cruises in the fall. See princess.com/royalprincess.


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