Cultural and Culinary Theme Cruises for 2018-19

America's Test Kitchen as seen on Holland America Line's Nieuw AmsterdamPHOTO: America’s Test Kitchen as seen on Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam. (photo courtesy of Holland America Line)
“America’s Test Kitchen” on Holland America Line

Holland America Line is already heavily featuring its new partnership with “America’s Test Kitchen” aboard its ships and the fleet is set to bring more culinary talent to 2018. A trio of special themed sailings will feature cooking shows and interactive workshops, as well as the opportunity to meet cast members from the television show.

Meet-and-greets will occur at a book signing and reception, while additional events will include a question-and-answer session, presentation on recipe development and kitchen knowledge trivia.

The first theme cruise is scheduled for May 6, 2018, aboard Westerdam’s seven-day Alaska Inside Passage itinerary. Showcased on that departure will be Jack Bishop and Bryan Roof. Bishop is the CEO of “America’s Test Kitchen” as well as tasting lab expert and cookbook author. Roof is the executive food editor for “Cook’s Country” magazine and a televised test cook.

The second sailing will depart on July 7, 2018, aboard Zuiderdam’s 14-day Northern Isles circuit. Showcased on the ship will be Bridget Lancaster and Lisa McManus. Lancaster is the executive editor for new media, television, and radio at “America’s Test Kitchen” as well as the television host. McManus is an equipment-testing and ingredient-tasting executive editor at “Cook’s Illustrated” and “Cook’s Country” magazines as well as on-screen gadget expert.

The third voyage will leave on September 22, 2018, aboard Veendam’s seven-day Canada & New England Discovery route. Julia Collin Davison and Rebecca (Becky) Hays will be highlighted. Davison is executive editor for the book division of “America’s Test Kitchen” and television host. Hays is the deputy editor of “Cook’s Illustrated” and “Cook’s Country” magazines plus televised test cook.

Benovia Winery on AmaWaterways

Wine connoisseurs will want to take note that Benovia Winery Proprietors Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane and Wine Educator Peg Melnik will be hosting an AmaWaterways river cruise. From June 29 to July 6, 2018, AmaViola’s seven-night Melodies of the Danube Wine Cruise will set sail from Budapest, Hungary to Vilshofen, Germany.

The 84-stateroom vessel will float down the Danube while guests enjoy Wachau Valley wines as well as Benovia tastings onboard. Other wine experiences will include a “Welcome Aboard” reception, three seminars, social tasting on the Sun Deck and a Wine Dinner hosted by Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane.

The Miami Dolphins on MSC Cruises

On March 17, 2018, MSC Cruises will host the Dolphins Fan Cruise aboard its brand new MSC Seaside. Both Miami Dolphins players and cheerleaders will be on the ship for guests to interact with as part of the three-year partnership between the cruise line and NFL football team.

Onboard for autographs will be Kim Bokamper, Terry Kirby, Sam Madison, Nat Moore, Joe Rose and Patrick Surtain. Guests can pose and cheer with cheerleaders for photo-ops, while former players will be on hand for Q&A sessions. Cheer squad and mascot T.D. will also present special performances.

The themed fan cruise will be available annually over the three-year span of the collaboration. Also, on April 28, 2018, the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders will have their annual calendar shoot on the MSC Seaside at its port for guests to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the process and enjoy other hosted programming.

The Quintessential Collection on Ponant

Starting in May 2019, Ponant will offer its Quintessential Collection of themed cruises. “Designed to inspire travellers in destinations,” sailings will showcase onboard speakers and performances as well as shore excursions focused on regional cultures and themes.

—Green and Gentle Lands: Exploring Gardens and Historic Sites, May 14-22, 2019: Retired Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden and internationally recognized horticulturist, Holly Shimizu, will host conversations on the ship. Guests will explore Kew Gardens, Chelsea Physic Garden, and the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh for a lunch.

—Sicilian Food and Wine Experience, June 28-July 6, 2019: Travel and food writer for The New York Times and the Financial Times, Mary Taylor Simeti, will lecture onboard. Passengers will discover Palmero and Greek temples, as well as enjoy Wine Spectator-selected wines and pairings with help from regional wine ambassador and educator, Marco Scapagnini.

—Treasures of the Mediterranean World: A Family Learning Adventure, July 15-22, 2019: Professor of Classics at the University of Cincinnati and Greek archaeology/mythology expert, Kathleen M. Lynch, and host of “Myths & Legends” podcast, Jason Weiser, will chat about local history, literature and culture. The Young Explorers children’s program will encompass photo workshops and a mock Olympics competition.

—History, Art, and Architecture along the North Sea, August 23-September 1, 2019: General Director of the Municipal Museum of Bruges, Till-Holger Borchert, will accompany the trip as guests check out the likes of the Louisiana Museum and Groninger Museum.

—A Musical Odyssey in the Mediterranean, September 18-27, 2019: Former principal flautist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Michael Parloff, will lead several private recitals featuring flautist Jasmine Choi, cellist Nicholas Canellakis, and pianist and composer, Michael Brown. Guests will also see Delphi and the Ancient Theater in Taormina.

— World War II History – From Hong Kong to Japan’s Inland Sea, September 27-October 10, 2019: Expert World War II historian and son of John Bradley—who hoisted the flag on Iwo Jima—James Bradley, will be onboard. Travelers will follow the path of American General Douglas MacArthur and visit Okinawa’s beaches, Mount Fuji and the Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima.

—World Affairs Cruise – Origins of Greek Civilizations, October 9-18. 2019: CNN host and “Washington Post” columnist, Fareed Zakaria, retired US Air Force general and former Director of the CIA, Michael V. Hayden, and internationally best-selling author and columnist for “Harper’s,” Daniel Mendelsohn, will be on hand while guests traverse Athens and Crete.

Seabourn Conversations on Seabourn

Luxury line Seabourn is preparing a series of fresh Seabourn Conversations to host on its upcoming new Seabourn Ovation beginning in May 2018. Included among the special speakers and departures are the following highlights:

—Sir Tim Rice, May 5 – 16: The English author and lyricist have won three each of the Oscars, Golden Globes and Tonys in addition to multiple Grammys. Following his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber, he has brought his talents to Seabourn with the wonderful fleet-wide production show, “An Evening with Tim Rice.”

—Dr. Andrew Weil, May 5 – 16: Another contributor to Seabourn’s software is the world-renowned leader and pioneering doctor in the field of integrative medicine who established his “Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil” program onboard all the line’s ships. His holistic treatments can be found at The Onboard Spa by Steiner.

—Michael Teitelbaum, May 26 – June 9; November 14 – December 4: The demographer and historian at Harvard Law School have written more than 10 books as well as pieces for “Foreign Affairs,” “Science,” “The New York Times” and “The Atlantic.”

—Armando Manni, August 4 – 18: The “M” in K+M Extravirgin Chocolate who partnered with Seabourn-favorite Thomas Keller as the “K.” The gourmet and entrepreneur is known for MANNI Oil.

—Grant Harrold October 1-13: Harrold is a broadcaster, commentator, public speaker and butler trainer recognized as “The Royal Butler.”

—Warren Fahey, November 14 – December 4: Fahey is a cultural historian plus author, broadcaster and performer focused on “curious” folklore.

—Dean McFlicker December 4 – 22: McFlicker is an award-winning producer and director having worked on campaigns for “The Voice,” “This Is Us,” “Law and Order,” “America’s Got Talent” and more.


Acapulco drawing more cruise ships

Photo Credit Dave Jones, Acapulco Cliff Diver.

Acapulco said the number of cruise calls scheduled for 2017 is up 64% from last year.

The destination said it has 28 calls on tap for the year, up from 18 last year.

The port authority said the calls are coming from a variety of lines, including Norwegian, Regent Seven Seas, Silversea, Oceania, Crystal, Global Cruises, Saga and Hapag-Lloyd.

Holland America Line recently canceled eight visits to Acapulco this year because of security-related concerns. The port said it had arranged a meeting with HAL executives to “present them with ongoing security advances at the port.”

“Similarly, a meeting is scheduled with the Operations Committee of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) to deliver a firsthand report on the operation of cruise ships at the destination,” the statement said.

Fincantieri lays first keel block for Nieuw Statendam and order a Third Ship

Fincantieri lays first keel block for Nieuw Statendam

Fincantieri laid the first piece of keel for Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam at its Marghera yard in Venice, Italy on 20 March. The 260-ton block, which is 11.3 metres long and 34.8 wide, will form the central section of Nieuw Statendam.

Built as a sister to Koningsdam, Nieuw Statendam will be Holland America’s second 99,800gt Pinnacle class ship and will be delivered at the end of 2018. The vessel will be able to accommodate up to 2,650 passengers in more than 1,300 cabins and feature interiors created by two major studios – Tihany Design and YSA Design.

Holland America Line to Build Third Pinnacle Class Ship for Delivery in 2021


Carnival Corporation announced that it has signed a memorandum of agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A. to build two new cruise ships with final contracts expected to be executed in early 2017. The two new ships are designated for the company’s Holland America Line and Princess Cruises brands.

Holland America Line’s new ship will be built at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Marghera, Italy, with an expected delivery in 2021.

“We are extremely pleased to formally announce these two new ships and build on the success and popularity of their sister ships already sailing guests around the globe,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “Our goal is to exceed expectations of the 11.5 million guests who sail with us each year, and these new ships will offer more opportunities for our guests to create lifelong vacation memories while generating added excitement around the fast-growing global demand for cruise vacations.”

Holland America Line’s new 99,500-ton, 2,660-guest ship will be its third Pinnacle Class vessel, following the design of the line’s newest and largest ship, ms Koningsdam, and its sister ship, ms Nieuw Statendam, scheduled for delivery in November 2018.

The new ship will combine classic hallmarks of the brand while featuring several of the innovative venues that were introduced on Koningsdam, as well as new concepts that will debut on Nieuw Statendam and additional elements unique to the new vessel.

Each of Carnival Corporation’s new ships will be specifically designed and developed for each brand and the guests and markets it will serve, supporting the corporation’s overall goal of providing extraordinary vacation experiences at an exceptional value for its guests around the world. Specific features and amenities for the ships, along with deployment details, will be revealed in the coming months.