8 Foodie Cruises to Crave

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By: Ilona Kauremszky, Ships Ahoy

If you can’t seem to stop craving local delicacies during your travels, consider taking a foodie cruise which is hotter now more than ever.

Major cruise companies are stepping up to the plate with unique pairings on the culinary scene. While most major cruise lines offer culinary-themed voyages hosted by celebrity guest chefs, there are other foodie cruises that are big with on-board cooking classes or offer special menu items to yes, even taking guests on incredible market tours .

Here are 8 Foodie Cruises on the Menu:

1. Oceania Cruises

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This upper premium cruise line, says The Cruise Guru (http://thelasvegas.guru/the-cruise-guru/) takes their unofficial ‘foodie cruise line’ moniker so seriously, they even own a Maine lobster farm to supply their vessels. “Outstanding gourmet cuisine is in fact Oceania Cruises’ raison d’etre during every voyage,” says travel journalist David Yeskel. Watch for the annual foodie cruise with Master Chef Jacques Pepin and explore Oceania’s Culinary Center revered as the first hands-on state-of-the-art cooking school at sea led by a master chef.

2. Windstar Cruises

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This small ship cruise line is the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation and has really rich culinary-themed cruises. Included in each James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection sailing: hosted dinners with a top chef, cooking demonstrations, chef market tours, fine wines, spirits and beer tastings.

3. Uniworld

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Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s Connoisseur Collection is perfect for foodies and oenophiles sharing the best of cuisine that France has to offer on specific departures. The Connoisseur Collection sailings take guests on exclusive excursions to famous restaurants, vineyards, orchards, truffle farms and other wine and culinary hot spots.

4. SeaDream Yacht Club

Revered for its cuisine, the luxury boutique line which won “Best Dining” in the luxury category at this year’s Cruise Critic UK Editors’ Picks Awards has ample culinary-rich reasons to book a cruise.

5. Tauck River Cruise

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This boutique river cruise line has a triple threat culinary themed cruise for gourmet lovers. A unique 10-day itinerary, “Savoring France: Paris, Lyon and Provence,” guests start in Paris for this epicurean feast. Think a culinary-themed walking tour and a pastry class at Le Cordon Bleu. In Lyon, visit the famous Les Halles market. In Grignan, venture to a truffle farm, enjoy private wine tastings in Beaujolais and get an exclusive cooking class with Michelin-starred chef Anne-Sophie Pic.

6. Maine Windjammer Cruise

You don’t have to board a huge cruise ship to enjoy a foodie experience! Aboard a historic schooner you’re treated to fine dining and amazing comfort food. The Maine Windjammer Association vessels serve meals cooked in tiny galleys in wood burning stoves. Just the process of cooking in these tight quarters is a sight to behold. Enjoy an authentic Maine lobster bake too.

7. Carnival Cruise Line

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This major cruise company has a hefty menu of dining experiences across its entire fleet. In 2020 Carnival Cruise Line’s very own CFO (Chief Fun Officer) Shaquille O’Neal will open the Big Chicken on Carnival Radiance. Other tummy pleasers: Food Network Star, Guy Fieri has dishes ready for you to try at Guy Fieri’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse. For those special occasions, book a table at the Steakhouse for an unforgettable evening.

8. Girolibero’s Ave Maria

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This unique barging holiday tour operator’s culinary offerings on the Ave Maria vessel are so popular for their bike-barge tour of Northern Italy, the company created a special cookbook due to popular demand. “The Ave Maria barge cuisine offers local recipes from the Waterways of Venice,” says a Girolibero rep. Ave Maria guests can bite into famous eats in this Venetian hinterland from Mantua to Venice with an award-winning chef and veteran guide.

10 Travel Apps Worth Recommending

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By Alexa Wheeler | Brand Marketing and Communications Specialist

Ascape VR

When you need an extra ounce of convincing.

This is the perfect source of travel inspiration if you’re on the fence about taking the trip or need help deciding where to go. With an extensive collection of 360 degree videos and scenic virtual tours, the app makes viewers feel like they’re actually experiencing the destination.  

Duolingo

When you’d rather speak in the native tongue.
The perfect way for travelers to immerse themselves into a culture by learning the language of their destination.Whether they’re taking a three-month backpacking trip or a three-day getaway, the app offers on-the-go lessons ranging from beginner to advance for 37 different languages.

Packpoint

For those whose suitcase is still empty 24 hours prior to takeoff.
This is every traveler’s dream whether they’re a packing procrastinator or simply get overwhelmed not knowing what to expect at their final destination. The app builds custom packing lists based on length of travel, activities planned and forecasted weather.

SkyGuru

For those who grip the seat every time the ride turns bumpy.

This is a worthy travel companion offering travelers reassurance whether it’s your first flight or 500th. The app lets users enter their departing and landing information before takeoff and then provides weather reports along the entire route and explanations for each stage of the flight.

SafeTravelRX

For the traveller who needs reassurance they’ll be safe and sound.
This app takes the fear out of traveling to foreign destinations when health and safety is a concern. Among many features, the app offers on-demand global assistance recognizing a traveler’s location based on GPS and connects them with the appropriate medical professionals when seconds count.

CityMaps2Go

For those who thinks international data plans are a thing of the past.
An offline map and travel planner that lets travelers explore millions of places around the world accompanied by inspiring photos and tips. App users can then organize their trips with lists and a detailed map that’s available with or without a wifi connection.

TV Food Maps

For the self-proclaimed epicurean.
The must-have app for any travel, cooking show and good food aficionado. The app features more than 5,000 restaurants as seen on 49 different food shows allowing travelers to not only plan their roadtrips (or any type of trip) accordingly but to be notified every time they’re in the vicinity of a restaurant on TV.

Google Translate

For those who tried Duolingo, but still need a little help.
This app allows travelers to use their cameras for instant text translation with or without a data connection. Or if needing to know how to ask for the check or where the bathroom is, the app can translate up to 32 languages instantly as you type.

SitOrSquat

For those who can’t hold it.
This is the perfect companion for when nature calls and you don’t know where to go. The app features a public restroom map with designated green “Sit” ratings or red “Squat” ratings.

Postagram

For those not into social media but want to share his/her memories.
Postagram lets you send your photos as real customizable postcards via snail mail.They can be shipped almost anywhere worldwide for only $2 in the U.S. and $3 internationally.

A Few Personal Rules for the Best Cappuccino

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When I arrive in Italy, no matter what city or airport, I like to enjoy a traditional cappuccino with one of its best companions: cornetto, sfogliatella or frolla. Flights from North America always arrive in Italy in the morning, so it is the perfect time.

My personal few rules for the best cappuccino:
-- SMALL. Don't ask for small, medium or large, because traditional cappuccino is one size. Compared with what we are used to now in NorthAmerica, you will probably call it a "mini cappuccino", because it is served in a small cup, one size up from the espresso cup. See photo. But I assure you the flavour is what counts, not quantity.

-- MILD in temperature. If you are served a hot boiling cappuccino you are not sipping a traditional cappuccino. Heat changes the flavour. Besides....you cannot drink it...too hot...you have to wait...why do I have to wait? Why do I want to suffer? 

-- with a CAP. The word cappuccino means "little hood". The top of your cappuccino has to have a round shape. 

-- DENSE and ANTI-DIET. The milk used is the 3.25%. No more. No cream, otherwise you have a total different flavour.

-- Lastly and most important: ONLY IN THE MORNING! Cappuccino for Italians is a breakfast thing. If you want to "blend in" with the locals, order cappuccino until 11, then for the rest of the day, especially after a meal, switch to espresso. If you really find espresso too strong, go for an espresso MACCHIATO (literally "stained"), which is served in the same little espresso cup but with a touch of milk foam for a beautiful 'mini-mini-cappuccino' experience.

Buon viaggio a tutti!

-- Antonio, President - Savour Italy

Moab, Utah - a Hidden Wonder

by Lorilee Larsen, Travel Time Travel Advisor

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We just returned from our first weekend getaway to discover more of Utah.  We had never heard of Moab until a co-worker of Lorne recommended it.  What a lovely hidden gem, 2.5 hours  southeast of Salt Lake City.

After an easy Friday afternoon drive, we arrived in Moab and the scenery was more than we expected, beautiful red rock on a grandeur scale, seemed to go on forever in each direction.  

The existing hotels in Moab are all bustling and many have recently been renovated.  We reserved a room at the Holiday Inn Express and were delighted to have a full mountain view. A new hotel building is also underway, due to the high occupancy in Moab, with the most recent being Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites which is just opening its doors. Another great option is Moab Under Canvas - an upscale glamping experience on the outskirts of Moab.

Moab is surrounded by two national parks;  Canyonlands and Arches National Parks.

We booked two tours during our stay.  We enjoyed a 4x4 drive through Canyonlands National Park with our guide and drove to incredible heights, taking in tremendous sights.  We learned that numerous movies have been filmed in this park, including "Thelma and Louise" 's infamous final cliff scene ! (See photo below with me in it)

After lunch, on our next tour, we rafted down the Colorado River in a 10 passenger dingy, perfect for our 35C afternoon.  It was a great way to stay cool and continue basking in the gorgeous red rock backdrop.  

As I mentioned Moab is an undiscovered wonder that North Americans have hardly taken note of, however, Europeans have visited Moab by the hundreds, for many years.  At our hotel and at restaurants we heard primarily Italian, French, German and Swiss being spoken. They love Moab and have been instrumental in sustaining what Moab has become today.  

Moab is known for fantastic hikes as well as being a bikers paradise.  Every kind of bike tour is offered with extensive new bikes paths connecting the town to the parks and river.

On our first evening we drove down a pretty road beside the Colorado River.  We stopped to climbed some rocks  and the sun began to set, it was lovely.  The next day our guide pointed out this same road and told us that National Geographic had voted it the #2 most scenic route in the US, second to California's Pacific Coast Highway. The drive is over 40 miles long and includes a restaurant and a well-loved winery.

For extra ease in getting to Moab, one can fly Boutique Air from Salt Lake City to Moab in plush, white leather seats, aboard a 15 passenger aircraft for a 55 minute flight at a cost as low as $60/person.

Keep Moab in mind for a new discovery of nature's beauty in Utah. 

5 Things I Learned in India

by Stephanie Bishop

When I told friends and family that I was going to India on holiday, they definately fell into two camps.  

CAMP ONE:  "Really?  What about the poverty/ The crowds? The food?"

CAMP TWO:  "I envy you!  India is at the top of my bucket list - I can't wait to go!"

And me?  Like many first-time travellers to the country, I fell exactly between the two camps; excited about the discovery yet apprehensive about the unfamiliar.  Happy and anxious at the same time. 

Golden Temple in India

Golden Temple in India

1) It’s a huge country, so be prepared to be overwhelmed. And don’t be overly ambitious: India’s impossible to see in a couple of weeks so it’s wise to see one bit at a time. I chose a Golden Triangle Tour with Globus – it’s a popular itinerary for first‐timers taking in Delhi, the “Pink City” of Jaipur, plus Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. If possible, arrive a couple of days before your tour starts so you can adjust to the time difference and get over some of the inevitable culture shock

Amer Fort outside Jaipur, India

Amer Fort outside Jaipur, India

2) Don’t try it on your own. Of course, you can travel independently here, but if time is of the essence and you want someone to help you unravel the mysteries, go for a guided tour. Certified guides will be your interpreters, and not just for language (though I was surprised to learn how widely English is spoken) but for do’s and don’ts, where it is safe to eat, shopping ideas and how to best interact with locals. Our guide was brilliant in arranging for us to visit the Taj Mahal early in the morning.

Taj Mahal - India

3) Enjoy the food. Indian food is so much more than curry and I experienced some delicious, surprising meals. North American food is widely available, especially in upscale hotels, but it would be a shame not to try some local specialities. Be careful of the spices though! A meal in a private home, arranged by my guide, was a definite highlight.  

Indian Foods 

Indian Foods 

4) Read up ahead on local customs. You may be expected to remove your shoes when visiting temples. Ladies may be expected to have their heads or legs covered. It’s so important to show respect.  

Street scene in Hyderabad, India

Street scene in Hyderabad, India

5) Attitude is all. India is not Canada and there may be mysterious, inexplicable delays in service. Traffic is horrendous, yet fascinating, and will make rush hour at home look like a dawdle. Your personal space may be invaded, and you are guaranteed to witness things you’d never see at home, from piteous beggars and cow dung patty sellers to sidewalk dentistry.  

Next time I go to India, when people ask why, I'll be telling them it's because it's a beautiful, confusing, alive and captivating county, and I can't wait to go back!

Travelling Solo with Kids - by J Pearson

Jason Pearson recently travelled with his two young sons, Sullivan, 11, and Max, 8, around the world in 341 days. Their adventure was, in part, a tribute to the boys’ mom, Jane, who died of cancer when Sullivan was four, and Max an infant. Jane had always dreamed of travelling the world with her boys, just as her family had done when she was 10 years old. In this story, Jason, Max and Sully cruise the Caribbean with Norwegian Cruise Line.

Travelling with kids, as an only parent, is rewarding. I get to see them 100 per cent of the time in all their glory, watching through their eyes as they discover things for the first time. The excitement, energy and curiosity in which they participate and explore is like nothing else. I’m able to experience what they experience and make the final call on what activities we do. But travelling solo with kids can also be difficult, frustrating and tiring. When I’m completely exhausted and just can’t deal with one more, “Daddy, can I…?” there is no one else to tag in or help.

Norwegian Cruise Line does a superb job of anticipating this. They cater to kids in a way that makes it feel like the vacation is just for them and they’re in control. Sully and Max are able to enjoy all their favourite foods (for Max this means unlimited ice cream cones/ floats), as well as select show performances and excursions that they are drawn to.

Norwegian Getaway’s kids’ club programs are the cherry on top. At night, the boys plan the next day around what activities they want to attend. And I am able to enjoy some much needed solo time, without having to worry about where they are or what trouble they are getting into.

Mystical Machu Picchu

By Joy McGinnis - Feb 21, 2017

One of my first “bucket list” trips was to Machu Picchu, Peru.

I was recently out of a bad relationship and looking for some spiritual sustenance with which to salve my lovelorn heart.

I had always dreamed of hiking the Inca trail, but when I learned camping was part of the experience, I just had to say no. 

I’m all about adventure and cultural immersion, but I don’t sleep on the ground. 

Every girl has her limits. 

Click here to read more about this article.