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5 Great Things about Cruising in South America

6th April 2018

While many of us may have the curiosity and temptation to visit South America, it can seem like a somewhat daunting idea to travel there independently. Thankfully though, many cruise lines offer fantastic itineraries in this destination which include stops in all the most exciting places. So if there’s anything left stopping you, get the inspiration you need with these 5 great things about cruising in South America.

 

Peruvian Food

 

 

Peru certainly has a lot to offer its visitors. With Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, the Nazca Lines, and the Ballestas Islands among the top attractions, it’s easy to forget the more matter-of-fact aspects that the country has in store – one of which is the food. Peruvian food is among the best in South America, and capital Lima boasts some of the world’s top restaurants. Here are some must-try dishes:

  • Ceviche – probably Peru’s most famous dish, ceviche is made with raw fish, lime juice, and chilli
  • Lomo Saltado – similar to a beef stir-fry, this hearty, flavoursome dish will certainly satisfy your appetite
  • Papa a la Huancaína – boiled potatoes served with an egg, in a creamy yet spicy yellow sauce
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    Rio’s Atmosphere

     

     

    The world famous Rio carnival has given this capital a reputation it certainly deserves. While the event goes on for only around 10 days, the fun, party atmosphere is evident year-round. You’ll find that both residents and visitors like to spend their days sipping on cocktails and sunbathing on a beach like Copacabana or Ipanema, before heading to the vibrant streets of the city for food, drink, and dancing in the evenings. The friendly attitude of the locals is infectious, as are the sounds of musicians, whose tunes will stay in your head for days.

     

    Amazonian Wildlife

     

     

    On many South American cruises guests will get the opportunity to experience part of the beautiful Amazon rainforest. Stretching around 5.5million km over 9 countries, this incredible part of the world is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, many of which can be seen along its river banks. Sit back as you glide along one of the many rivers, and watch as the wildlife begins to reveal itself. Spot howler monkeys and sloths in amongst the trees, caimans on the edge of the water, and swooping macaws overhead. A cruise in the Amazon is among the best options for a wildlife cruise.

     

    Chilean Views

     

     

    At 2,500 miles from North to South, Chile is the longest country in the world – and as such all kinds of climate can be found across the country. Find extremes like the driest desert on earth - Atacama – in the North, to the impressive ice fields in the south. On a cruise to Chile, passengers will see scenery like never before, including some incredible fjords in the labyrinth of land that makes up the southern tip of the country, and the majestic glaciers in the Patagonian ice fields. Watch in awe as you sail past some of the most stunning views you will ever encounter.

     

    Cultural History

     

     

    South America has a vast and interesting cultural history, having been home to a number of different ethnic groups throughout the years. Incas, Mayans, Aztecs, Quechuas, and Muiscas – to name just a few of the more well-known civilisations – have all had a huge influence on today’s South America, and there is plenty of evidence of this all over. From famous sites like Machu Picchu and Chichen Itza, to the continued use of the ancient Quechuan language, and the traditional recipes still seen in rural areas, it’s clear to see that the significance of these cultures lives on.

    See our range of cruises to South America and find out more about your next adventure.


    What to Eat in Hong Kong

    17th October 2017

     

    Hong Kong is world-famous for its truly special and delicious food. As such a versatile place with influences from all over the globe, the chefs of the region have embraced the range of cultures that exist there, and the results are incredible. When it comes to what to eat in Hong Kong, there are undoubtedly far more things to try than you will have time for. In light of this, we have compiled a list of our favourites. If you will be embarking on a Hong Kong cruise, be sure not to miss these culinary treats.

     

    1. Dim Sum

    This is in fact thought to have originated in Northern China, but today it’s Hong Kong that is well-known for excellent dim sum. There are well over 100 different items that can be on a dim sum menu, but our favourites are the soft and fluffy steamed pork buns, and wonderfully flavoursome shrimp dumplings.

     

     

    2. Fish Balls

    These can be found in restaurants and at street food stalls, where they might be served in a soup or on skewers. They can be made with a variety of different fish, meats, and fish paste, and are often dipped or fried in a tasty curry sauce. You will develop a taste for these little delights after your very first bite, so be sure to try them in a few different places.

     

     

    3. Tai O Shrimp-paste

    Lantau Island is home to the quirky Tai O fishing village, whose sights and smells will certainly stay with you forever. With a fishing history of over 100 years, this area of Hong Kong still rightly prides itself on their well-known shrimp paste, and fresh and dried fish. Take time to peruse the markets, and try some amazing fresh street food.

     

     

    4. Congee

    While this is served all over China, the residents – and many visitors – of Hong Kong believe that their Cantonese congee sits high above the rest. It’s a rice porridge that can be served plain as a side dish, sweet as a dessert, or savoury as a meal in itself. The latter option usually includes vegetables and meats.

     

     

    5. Chinese Barbecue

    Known in Cantonese as siu mei, this choice of food in Hong Kong is a true favourite among locals and tourists alike. Barbecued pork and goose are the most common, and these are usually coated in a tasty, sticky sauce before being cooked. Like most foods here, there are plenty of different varieties to choose from, in restaurants and from market stalls.

     

     

    6. Fried Rice

    One of the most common dishes found in Hong Kong, fried rice is a favourite among many due to its quick and easy preparation, and wide variety of flavours and ingredients. Vegetarians and those with allergies can more often than not count on fried rice as a wholesome mealtime option, as it is gluten free, and can be served with or without meat, egg, vegetables, and soy sauce to name a few.

     

     

    These are just six of our favourites among all kinds of Hong Kong food, but of course there are so many other new things for you to taste. Before heading out on your Hong Kong cruise, try to research the different places you want to see, and things to do, in order to make the most of your time in this fantastic part of the world.


    What to Do in Singapore

    14th September 2017

     

    Singapore’s colourful history means a fusion of cultures have influenced the country, and made it the unique destination that it is today. Its ever-changing nature has caused it to appear something of a mystery to many people, and we think the best way to begin to uncover and understand it is to explore both the popular and the lesser known spots.

    As a popular port of call on many cruise itineraries, Singapore is probably more reachable than many people realise. Whether stopping here during an Asia cruise for a few hours or a few days, when it comes to planning your stay, our list of top things to do is a great place to start.

    1. Try a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel

    Raffles Hotel is a truly majestic hotel that dates back to 1887. It has hosted a plethora of historical figures including Charlie Chaplin and Rudyard Kipling, and is said to be the origin of gin-based cocktail, the Singapore Sling. The drink is thought to have been created in 1915, by a bar tender named Ngiam Tong Boon in the hotel’s Long Bar.

    2. See some incredible animals

    The Singapore Zoo is home to almost 3000 creatures, with everything from elephants, white tigers, and monkeys, to naked mole rats. Arguably one of the most ethical zoos in the world, the animals each have ample space, and the ability to roam free in some cases. For a more unusual experience, Singapore also boasts a Night Safari. This is a separate attraction to the zoo, and allows guests to see animals during the night while riding trams through the centre.

    3. Eat local!

    As a Southeast Asian country, Singapore can certainly compete with its neighbours when it comes to cuisine. There are so many choices ranging the whole culinary scale, from high end Michelin star restaurants to tiny carts selling street food – or hawker food as it’s known locally. You can even find the best of both worlds in Chinatown, with ‘Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle’ – a Michelin-starred street food vendor.

    Our Commercial Manager Callum Buchanan feels that Singaporean food is really something special:

    “Whenever I’m telling people about my time in Singapore the very first subject I talk about is the food. You’ll be blown away by the vast array of dining choices; I especially recommend ‘Mod Sin’ cuisine, simply meaning Modern Singaporean.”

    4. See the Singapore Grand Prix

    Combine your holiday with the Formula 1 racing schedule, and be a part of the brilliant experience that is the Singapore Grand Prix. With most activity taking place during the night, the atmosphere in the streets of Marina Bay is undoubtedly infectious and exciting. Find out more about the Singapore F1 Grand Prix and other F1 cruise holidays.

    5. Stroll through stunning and tranquil gardens

    Singapore Botanic Gardens has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, and is home to hundreds of different species. Visitors will find a spectacular rainforest quarter, the National Orchid Garden, pretty sparkling lakes, and more. Or, Gardens by the Bay offers an altogether more futuristic space, boasting extraordinary features such an aerial walkway, modern sculptures, and technological tree-shaped gardens among others.

    Callum rates Singapore very highly as a holiday destination:

    “Singapore is such an amazing city full of culture and energy, and I guarantee you’ll leave Singapore richer in life and you’ll be planning your next visit before you have even left!”

    Might this be the next destination for you? Find out more about Singapore cruises, and be sure to sign up for our new Asia brochure.


    We cruise on Celebrity Reflection

    16th November 2016

    Updated July 2019

     

    Sharon from our Concierge Team enjoyed an 11 night cruise onboard Celebrity Reflection. If you're thinking of cruising with Celebrity Cruises, be sure to read all about her experience below before you go!

     

     

    Pre-Embarkation

    We travelled one day earlier than the cruise departure date and stayed in Civitavecchia - the main cruise port for Rome where many cruises begin or end. We stayed in a local 4* B&B which had a great location, just three minutes’ walk from the train station and 5-10 minutes’ walk to port. We got the train from Rome airport and changed at Trastevere which was all very straight forward. It took us about 90 mins and cost just €11 pp. Having said this, I wouldn’t recommend the train back to the airport if your flight is before 14:00, or you are pushed for time.

     

     

    Civitavecchia

    Civitavecchia is a quaint little town where a wander down the back streets finds a few little hidden gems. We went to 80 FAME, a highly rated restaurant, and enjoyed an amazing meal with wine for around €25 each. I definitely recommend eating here. When it was time to head to the ship we were quoted €20 for a taxi, but found we could easily walk along the seafront and enjoy the view.

    Celebrity Reflection

    Check-in was seamless with lots of staff to welcome us; we were on the ship within ten minutes of arriving.

    Once onboard my first impression was - WOW this ship is beautiful! Our balcony cabin was nice and spacious - balcony 2B on Deck 6, forward (very forward). I also got to look at 2C with a partially obstructed view on Deck 6, which in my opinion was fine with a good mid-ship position. They are just above life boats but the view to sea looked great.

    Drinks Prices and Packages

    When we arrived we were offered an upgrade on our free drinks package for just $10 per person, per day, which was actually cheaper than what I was quoted prior to sailing. The Basic Drinks Package is fine, giving you a range of choice of beers, wines, and cocktails, but if like me you like to sample every cocktail at every bar, then you need the upgraded package - as a lot of cocktails are $13 and free drinks include just cocktails up to $6. The World Bar (formerly known as Molecular Bar) and Martini Bar cocktails are $13-15 so the Classic Drinks Package means you can’t drink there, as you’d need to pay the full price of each drink as a supplement, or the difference above $13 if on Premium. If you upgrade to Premium you can have drinks including premium sake and port etc in the restaurants which we did and loved. Definitely worth upgrading especially if you have free spend or onboard credit.

    Cruise Passengers

    There were lots of friendly Americans and Canadians onboard who were very sociable. In fact I found everyone onboard to be friendly, and the crew were great. We were relatively young at mid-40s, but I’d say the average age for this cruise was about 50. I didn’t see any kids other than a couple of teenagers. There didn’t seem like there would be a lot for them to do, but, if they are like my kids who are real foodies and like to chill, then it’s not a problem to bring them along.

    Cuisine and Dining

    Our dining package was $149pp, and enabled us to visit the below speciality restaurants, which were worth every cent.

    Murano was my favourite speciality restaurant, we paid extra so that we could enjoy it twice! We had Silver Service with table side flambéed chateaubriand, lobster, dover sole, and more. The service was impeccable and the food was to die for. The cheese from the cheese trolley was the best I’ve ever tasted, the best quality on the ship. In my opinion this was the best restaurant I have ever visited and even better than some Michelin Star restaurants. The usual cost to dine here is $55 but 1 visit is included in dining packages at $149pp.

    Sushi on 5 has amazing sushi and a relaxed informal atmosphere. Usually you pay per item here but because we were on the dining package they brought us all sorts just because they can! The sake was amazing, we easily finished off a few mini carafes.

    Qsine - We had a fantastic experience in Qsine, you can pick from the iPad as many tasting courses as you like. They do everything and it comes out all weird and wonderful with little tubes of sauces. The dessert menu is presented on a Rubix Cube, and they also bring you chocolate covered strawberries in a grass box! Overall it was a bizarre yet fabulous experience and a close 2nd to Murano. Usually there is a supplement to eat here at $35pp.

     


    Lawn Club Grill -  This wasn’t my favourite of the dining venues but I can see how some enjoy the grill master experience. Here you can have starter, flat breads like pizzas, a salad buffet, and a wide selection of meats and fish from the BBQ. To dine here it usually costs $55 pp.

    Tuscan Grille - The Tuscan Grille is a great speciality restaurant for anyone looking for traditional Italian/Mediterranean fare. You can enjoy freshly made pizza, pasta, and succulent steaks etc usually for a $45 supplement.

    Buffet Restaurant - The food was fantastic especially on Gala Dinner days, with a gourmet buffet all day including lots of seafood. Afternoon tea was a great hit served every day at the buffet and the chocolate fountain was (unsurprisingly) always popular.

    El Bachio Café is a lot like a highstreet coffee shop, but with the most delicious cakes selection. These are all free with the coffees which are covered in the premium drinks package.

    Entertainment

    Outside of the theatre most of the entertainment happens around the atrium where there are parties, DJ’s, and bands etc. The Martini Bar had a fantastic atmosphere with the bar-staff jumping on the bar and dancing to entertain everyone. It made for a great night. The World Class Bar has some unique cocktails for around $13-20 but doesn’t serve any other drinks like wine or beers so my other half had to bring his own from the other bars.

    The Sunset Bar at the back of the ship is a great place for a cocktail when sailing away but there are lots of other bars dotted around the ship.

     

     

    Lasting Impressions

    I had a wonderful experience onboard Celebrity Reflection. Overall it was a fantastic cruise and a lovely first experience of Celebrity Cruises. I can’t wait to return for a second cruise and take my two teenage daughters.

    Book your cruise on Celebrity Reflection


    Try before you buy at Taste London with Celebrity Cruises

    17th June 2016

    Updated June 2017

     

    Celebrity Cruises are famed for award winning cuisine and extraordinary dining venues. So we were more than pleased to be invited to Celebrity's grand stand at the Taste of London Food Festival for a tasting menu complete with wine pairings this week.


    Bringing modern luxury to London, the Celebrity Cruises stand beckoned us with bright white furnishings and a fresh green picnic lawn. Sitting in the sunshine with a glass of wine, we felt as though we were onboard one of Celebrity Cruises award winning cruise ships at the iconic Lawn Club.

    Representing classic dishes from Celebrity Cruises acclaimed restaurants, the menu presented us with a taster of what can be expected onboard.

     

    Tuscan Grille

    Our delicious two course tasting menu gave us a Taste of Tuscany with sample dishes from Celebrity's specialty Italian restaurant, Tuscan Grille.

    • Creamy Burrata and Marinated Tomato paired with Arneis Blangé, Ceretto Langhe
    • Dry Aged, Grass Fed NY Strip with Pollenta Cube paired with Chianti Classico, Peppoli

    Both mouth watering dishes come highly recommended and left us wanting more.

    During the event Celebrity Cruises shared the news that Celebrity Eclipse will be heading to Dublin whilst Celebrity Silhouette will be returnig to the UK for sailings out of Southampton from April 2018

    Celebrity Cruises offer tasting sessions during the Taste of London festival* for £15pp. We can’t think of a better way to experience a snippet of life onboard a Celebrity Cruises sailing than a gourmet luxury tasting at their stunning pop up lawn club. Catch them this weekend to try before you buy! 

     

    Luninae and Blu

    See also a few snaps from Celebrity Cruises at Taste of London in 2016, with examples of delicious dishes from Celebrity's suite guest restaurant, Luminae.

    The delicious celeriac veloute with black truffle was poured in front of us from a porcelain teapot and complimented with toasted sunflower seeds. This course was perfectly paired with a glass of Viognier, Jean-Luc Colombo, “La Violette”, Languedoc with explanations on the pairing from guest sommelier Kiki Evans.


    Second course was representative of the cuisine available onboard Celebrity Xpedition, Celebrity Cruises 100 guest mega yacht sailing the Galapagos. Corvina sea bass with sage brown butter and cavolo nero with asparagus tantalised taste buds around the table as Chef Garcia recalled real life experiences of the fascinating Galapagos Islands. This dish was perfectly paired with a fruity Sauvignon Blanc, Clifford Bay, Marlborough.


    Next came signature pistachio crusted lamb loin with juniper jam from Aqua Class Restaurant – Blu. Aqua Class guests can enjoy serene spa-inspired staterooms and exclusive access to specialty restaurant Blu, serving the finest of clean cuisine. Our lamb loin was complimented by a smooth and velvety Chilean Carmenere.

     

    See more on Celebrity Cruises

    *Taste of London 2017 is at Regents Park 14th-18th June with tickets from £17pp + transaction fee


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