Oceania Cruises occupies a unique niche in the market, offering luxury cruising on boutique ships at a more accessible price, by offering fewer inclusions so you can choose where to save. The alcoholic drinks, shore excursions and pre-cruise hotels are not included in the basic price, but apart from those the experience is one of complete luxury - intimate vessels, impeccable service, long port stays, beautiful decor and more.
Culinary Creations: What and Where
The line is known for its flexibility and options, and now it is offering even more choice with a new series of fabulous shore excursions, called Culinary Creations Land Tours. They will be available from early-mid 2016, and are designed to showcase the culinary highlights of Oceania's amazing destinations.
These tours for foodies will include engaging activities such as local market visits, cooking school classes, top-rated restaurants and other epicurean attractions, for a tasty overview of each place. The most interesting part of these tours? They are no rushed day excursions - they fit in at the beginning, end or sometimes in the middle of an Oceania cruise, and involve a two or three night stay in the city itself or in the surrounding region.
Destinations to be offered as part of the Culinary Creations program are Rome, Barcelona, Provence (from Monte Carlo), Tuscany (from Civitavecchia), Greece (from Athens), London and Argentina (from Buenos Aires).
The president and chief operating officer of Oceania, Jason Montague, commented on the new tours: "As destination experts we recognize that many cultures around the world are often defined by their culinary traditions, and the new Culinary Creations Land Tours we designed are perfect for guests seeking a more in-depth exploration of those traditions."
What's on the menu?
There are plenty of amazing tours around Europe available, as listed above. Here are the three which we are most excited about!
Provence via Monte Carlo
The French countryside is a food-lover's wonderland: bread, cheese, more bread, more cheese and all kinds of fresh ingredients put together with gallic flair and centuries of tradition. Don't forget the wine.
Oceania's three-night tour begins in the port of Monte Carlo, and guests stay at the Château de Berne. From there they will help to prepare a traditional lunch with fresh garden produce, sample wine and delicacies, tour charming local villages and learn about olive oil production in the region. A tasting and tour of a private wine cellar is perhaps the high point, but it's one peak among many in this incredible tour.
Brigade of London
London is a city of huge diversity, with something new and unique happening around every corner. The mix of quaint Englishness and modern multiculturalism makes it a mecca for those who love to experience the latest and greatest in everything - art, music, and food, glorious food.
The London tour is a three-night one, and includes the renowned Borough Market where anyone who loves to eat is guaranteed to feel right at home. As well as sampling the wares there, guests will take part in a Master Class at Brigade Cook School and prepare a three-course lunch. On the more alcoholic side of things, the tour also features a tasting at one of the oldest wine and spirits shops in St. James.
Greece via Athens
It was a toss-up between this and Tuscany, but Greece made the list for its olives. The country has some of the best of Mediterranean cuisine, and its long traditions and amazing use of staples like meat, cheese and honey makes it a winner in our books.
The two-night stay in Athens allows guests to visit an open-air market, learn to make some traditional dishes and visit the Acropolis. The tour also includes wine and ouzo tastings, and a food and wine pairing lunch at Varoulko, a Michelin-starred restaurant helmed by one of Greece's top chefs.
Adventurous eaters, Oceania Cruises might have just the holiday for you! French countryside, bustling London, historic Athens and more - the new Culinary Creations Tours are a great new addition to this unique line.