Naples, FL (PRWEB) March 10, 2014
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.
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."
To book a Cruising with the Chefs cruise, call 877-776-4300 or email Rodney(at)CruisingwiththeChefs(dot)com.
For more information, visit CruisingwiththeChefs.com.
More information about the ships and chefs
Paul Virant, August 5-15, 2014, Istanbul to Venice
“I’m thrilled to be working with Cruising with the Chefs on my first trip to Italy, and I’m especially excited to explore the urban cultures of Venice and the eclectic food scene in Istanbul. The experience for me and the Riviera’s guests will open my eyes to a whole new arena of food and cooking, so it will be great to come back home with a broader knowledge of flavors and techniques to use in my kitchen,” said Paul Virant.
Since opening his flagship restaurant Vie in Western Springs, Ill., in 2004, Chef Paul Virant has risen to nationwide acclaim for his contemporary Midwestern cuisine. His philosophy of local, seasonal eating stems from techniques he learned on his family’s farm in Missouri that continue to spark his creativity today. In addition to Michelin-starred Vie, he brings his culinary prowess to the city’s Lincoln Park neighborhood as partner and executive chef of Boka Restaurant Group’s Perennial Virant, which he opened in 2011, followed by the J. Parker, the rooftop lounge and bar, both located at Hotel Lincoln.
Virant’s accolades include: a just-announced nomination for James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Best Chef: Great Lakes; a 2013 finalist and a 2011 nominee for James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Great Lakes; 2007 Best New Chef by Food & Wine; 2007 Jean Banchet Award for Culinary Excellence as Top Celebrity Chef; and 2005 Best New Chef by Chicago magazine in 2005. He has also competed on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” Vie earned its Michelin star in 2011.
Brian and Shanna O’Hea, September 2-14, 2014, Amsterdam to Barcelona
"The cruise experience is a great way for us to connect with our guests while relaxing, seeing new places, and enjoying one of our favorite things - food," said Shanna O'Hea. "We can't wait to share this experience with people who are as excited as we are to be cooking and tasting our way from Amsterdam to Barcelona. It’s an incredible experience to be able to visit multiple parts of the world in total luxury, sample local cuisine, and introduce new cooking styles into our everyday lives."
Brian and Shanna Horner O’Hea are the chef-owners of The Kennebunk Inn and its restaurant, Academe Maine Brasserie and Tavern. They love to travel and have participated in culinary events around the world, including the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair, and the Kennebunkport Festival. They have been guest chefs on Holland America Cruise Line. The O’Heas run MaineLobsterPotPie.com, which ships fresh Maine seafood overnight across the United States. Their signature Lobster Pot Pie and Lobster White Truffle Pizza have been featured in Oprah Magazine, and on Food Network and the Travel Channel.
Christy Rost, October 2-12, 2014, Athens to Barcelona
PBS chef, author, and entertaining guru Christy Rost's expertise in cooking, decorating, and celebrating home and family is featured nationwide each year on PBS stations and Create TV in her one-hour Holiday production A Home for Christy Rost: Thanksgiving, which serves as an introduction to Christy’s forthcoming national television series, Celebrating Home with Christy Rost, which is currently in pre-production.
Chef Rost’s Mediterranean cruise aboard Oceania’s Riviera with Cruising with the Chefs allows her to share personal stories about her relationship with Julia Child. Guests who accompany Chef Rost on a shore excursion in Marseilles will have the opportunity to “retrace the steps of Julia Child” during a brief visit to the Vieux Port. Julia Child and her husband Paul lived in a small apartment overlooking this colorful harbor while she was writing portions of her first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
“I'm excited to partner with Oceania Cruises and Cruising With The Chefs for this one-of-a-kind, culinary cruise," said Rost. "I've cruised many times, but the Riviera's exquisite appointments, Oceania's emphasis on superb food and wine, and the sincere personal warmth of her staff, far surpasses my expectations. For one whose focus is on Celebrations, Oceania's Riviera offers an exceptional opportunity for me to celebrate with my guests while spoiling them at every turn.”
About Oceania's Marina and Riviera
Sister ships Marina and Riviera are among the most elegant and sophisticated ships to debut in the past 50 years. Designer touches range from the Lalique Grand Staircase to the Owner's Suites furnished in Ralph Lauren Home, showcasing the finest residential design and furnishings. Comfortably mid-size, Marina and Riviera retain the same warmth and charm of their acclaimed consorts Regatta, Insignia and Nautica. While the country club casual ambiance and level of personalized service remain the same, they offer even more choice and enticing new amenities. As the first ships designed for lovers of fine dining and travel experiences, Marina and Riviera offer guests multiple dining venues, of which six are open-seating gourmet restaurants with no surcharge. La Reserve by Wine Spectator offers enlightening wine and food pairings. The new Bon Appétit Culinary Center is the only hands-on cooking school at sea. Similarly, artists-in-residence teach fine arts in Artists Loft, a new enrichment center. Intimate lounges abound and accommodations in every category are exceptionally spacious with lavish bathrooms.