Sharpening Culinary Skills At Oceania

It’s more than two years since we experienced cooking at sea (and we lived to write about it) and, at the time, Oceania’s Director of Culinary Enrichment speculated what her upscale cruise line was doing would continue to grow.

Chef KellyKathryn Kelly also said that she believed in five years only Oceania would be teaching customers like this, because it was too expensive to create the Culinary Centers on the Riviera and the Marina.

What’s happened?

Two years ago, shore excursions under the title of Culinary Discovery Tours were conducted mostly in Europe. In a nutshell, you shopped at local markets, ate at local restaurants and cooked the ingredients you bought as part of a culinary class.

Today, while the tours are still mostly (15) in Europe, the concept has been expanded to Australia and New Zealand (2), South America (2) and, later this year, the Caribbean (3). Today, the tours have evolved so that you may wind up at a biodynamic farm in Tortola where organic produce was planted according to the lunar calendar…or cooking pizza in a Tuscan oven…or picking herbs to go with lunch on a New Zealand hillside.

It’s all about time in the kitchen, because that’s where you learn to cook. The kitchen could be on the shore excursions, or back in the ship’s Culinary Center. That’s where Chef Kelly — as she is widely known — will teach up to 24 people at a time how to…well, cook.

“Guests love it,” she said. “They’re on vacation. They learn to relax. When we’re at sea, there are two classes a day. In ports, we take guests to market. There are so many fabulous markets.”

Maybe the people at Norwegian Cruise Line love it, too. Oceania’s ships will soon be owned by Norwegian, and you know what they say about reaching somebody’s heart through the stomach…

Today at portsandbows.com: “3 for Free”  Princess promotion

Celebrity Constellation
11 nights
October 25, 2014
Istanbul, Ephesus, Haifa, Jerusalem, Valletta, Messina, Naples, Rome
Inside $599
Cost per day: $54
www.celebritycruises.com

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