From France to Vietnam: 4 Vietnamese Dishes that were influenced by the French

From the country’s thriving coffee culture to the ubiquitous rice-flour baguette, the culinary culture of Vietnam reveals French influences at every turn, making this country’s cuisine ever so diverse. The Franco-Vietnamese relations began with the arrival of Catholic missionaries in Vietnam in the 17th century. France colonized Vietnam and Cambodia, forming the Indochinese Union in 1887, which set the French influence in Vietnam for the next 70 years. French colonialism influenced Vietnam in numerous ways – most noticeably in their cuisine. However, the locals took these influences and made these dishes their own. And while the two cuisines couldn’t be more different at first glance, they share far more than you would expect, regardless of history.


The French started sipping this magical concoction in the 1600s. About 200 hundred years later it was brought over to Vietnam. And while the French usually serves it hot and black as espresso or with steamed milk as café au lait, Vietnamese coffee is customarily served cold and sweetened with rich condensed milk. Coffee drinking is now very common all around Vietnam since the quality of beans that are grown in the country’s backyard is outstanding. Today, Vietnam is the 2nd largest coffee producer in the world.

Vietnames Coffee


Creamy Desserts

Cooked cream desserts like bánh flan, whose name and appearance contradicts its origins as crème caramel, are typical in Vietnamese cooking. In France, these desserts are usually made with a milk and cream mixture, while in Vietnam they use coconut milk instead. Another twist that makes it extremely popular in Vietnam is the addition of coffee instead of caramel like the French do.

La Baguette

Bread is not widespread in East Asia, but when the French colonists arrived in Vietnam, they brought in their influence in the form of baguettes. However, while the French make their dough with wheat flour, Vietnamese use rice flour, giving it an entirely different flavor and texture. These baguettes are used as the base of one of the most famous Vietnamese dishes in the world called banh mi. This sandwich, which depending on where in the country you are, may contain either margarine and pâté, or a combination of cheese, cold cuts, pickled vegetables, sausage, fried egg, fresh cilantro, and chili sauce.

Vietnamese Style Sandwiches - Banh Mi


Pot Au Feu to Pho

Another French influence in Vietnamese cuisine is a traditional soup known as Pho, pronounced fuh. This staple consists of a salty broth, fresh rice noodles, a sprinkling of herbs and chicken or beef, which some say may be a copy of the French pot au feu or stew. The noodles, of course, are part of a basic Asian dish while the beef certainly comes from the European influence, since meat is not very common in Eastern cuisines. .

Vietnamese Pho

From the lush countryside of farms and rice paddies outside of Saigon to the bustling shops and restaurants of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, enjoy the traditions and unique culture and cuisine of Vietnam with us on a voyage this winter.

The post From France to Vietnam: 4 Vietnamese Dishes that were influenced by the French appeared first on Oceania Cruises Blog.

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“Beauty and the Beast” Premieres as a Brand-New Stage Spectacular Aboard Disney Cruise Line

CELEBRATION, Fla. – A tale as old as time takes the stage with “Beauty and the Beast,” a brand-new musical production inspired by Disney’s live-action adaptation of the animated classic. The show expands upon the most imaginative elements of the highly anticipated live-action and classic films to delight Disney Cruise Line guests aboard the Disney Dream.

Audiences once again fall in love with the enchanting fairytale as they embark on a sweeping journey to discover the power of transformation through true love and courage. This new production of “Beauty and the Beast” celebrates the romance, adventure and magic of the live-action film, weaving in the charm and nostalgia of the award-winning animated feature.

“Beauty and the Beast” brings the timeless fable to life like never before, featuring a style of theater that interlaces classic storytelling elements with cutting-edge technology, to create a unique, theatrical experience in the 1,340-seat Walt Disney Theatre. An innovative take on the story transforms renowned songs into spectacular, show-stopping numbers, and lavish costumes and puppetry bring a fresh perspective to beloved characters.

Re-imagining a tale as old as time

Drawing inspiration from the live-action film, the stage musical uses the scenic motif of a music box to guide spectators through the story. Set designer, Jason Sherwood (“Paint Your Wagon,” “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular”), worked in concert with video designer, Aaron Rhyne (“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular,” Broadway’s “Anastasia”), to create a transforming set that takes audiences on a magical journey through the music box, from Belle’s provincial French town to the Beast’s mysterious castle.

To bring “Beauty and the Beast” to the stage, Disney assembled an all-star creative team, led by director and choreographer Connor Gallagher (“Tangled: The Musical,” “Found”). Gallagher collaborated with writer Sara Wordsworth (“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular,” Broadway’s “In Transit”) and a talented collection of Broadway artists to create an imaginative, new approach to this iconic story.

Through a combination of high-definition projections, dynamic scenery and a little bit of Disney magic, this new interpretation of “Beauty and the Beast” creates a visual panorama that reaches beyond the stage and into the audience. Complementing the immersive set, lighting design by four-time Tony Award-nominated, Japhy Weideman, punctuates the powerful emotions of the classic tale.

Orchestrating a song as old as rhyme

“Beauty and the Beast” features songs from the original animated film’s award-winning soundtrack by acclaimed composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman. Complementing the score, the show also includes two of the new songs created for the live-action film by Menken and lyricist Tim Rice, “How Does a Moment Last Forever” and “Days in the Sun.” Enchanting arrangements and orchestrations by Matt Castle and Frank Galgano (“Into the Woods”) bring a unique musical identity to the production.

Beloved songs like “Belle,” “Something There” and “Beauty and the Beast” received a musical makeover that reflects the show’s stylized approach, while songs like “Gaston” and “Be Our Guest” leap to the stage as joyful and exuberant production numbers.

One of the most iconic songs in the Disney canon has been completely re-imagined for the stage. “Be Our Guest” is a multi-course French dinner rooted in imagination and fantasy, as rousing choreography and dazzling visual effects fill the stage during this full-fledged spectacle.

Unveiling the magic of the enchanted objects

Blurring the line between costuming and puppetry, costume designer Sarah Cubbage (Broadway’s “Skylight”) and puppet designer Jeff Conover joined forces to give life to the enchanted objects of “Beauty and the Beast.” Beloved characters like Lumiere, Mrs. Potts and Cogsworth are realized in an unprecedented way, using innovative puppetry and elaborate costumes to bring these characters to life in their true scale.

“Beauty and the Beast” debuted during the Disney Dream voyage departing Nov. 6, 2017, joining an incredible lineup of Broadway-style stage productions aboard the ship, including “The Golden Mickeys” and “Disney’s Believe.” The Disney Dream sails three- and four-night cruises to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral, Fla.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-DCL-2500 or contact their travel agent.

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Featured image: Inside the ‘Gustav Klimt Complete Paintings‘ coffee table book

The notion that there are few things in life as valuable as global travel is at the heart of every Crystal experience. We understand that it’s impossible to fully capture the intangible treasures that come with each new discovery, no matter how many perfectly-filtered-and-framed snaps fill your social feeds. It is this spirit of priceless memories of far-off lands and adventures that inspired the Exclusively Crystal online boutique, which launched earlier this year.

Brad Sherman with the Crystal crew.

The collection of globally-inspired keepsakes began as a singular, one-time offering for guests aboard the full World Cruise in the form of the Exclusively Crystal Collection Lifestyle Book. What came of the idea is so much more – a comprehensive array of pieces designed exclusively for Crystal, meant to reflect your favorite travel memories and inspire your next ones. Crystal partnered with Brad Sherman and his expert creative team at The Social Graces to develop a collection of pieces that authentically represent the culture highlighted on Crystal itineraries, and boast the luxurious qualities travelers expect from Crystal.

“The collection featured in the Lifestyle book was originally intended to showcase select pieces that encompassed the spirit of wanderlust and a Crystal World Cruise,” Sherman shares. “We found that the ideas continued to flow and the enthusiasm surrounding the special pieces continued to grow. Every traveler connects with a destination so differently, and their tastes and personal styles vary so much, we were compelled to broaden the collection and make it available on a grander scale.”

Rustic natural stone meets pure silver in this set of Dourado candlesticks.

The collection began with roughly a dozen keepsake pieces, then grew to more than 150 items that span various categories of practicality and pampering, based on the abundance of ideas that represent the many destinations Crystal explores.

Enter the Exclusively Crystal online boutique, where you’ll find treasures that transcend the tchotchkes and trinkets found in worldwide gift shops. Each memento has been thoughtfully created to reveal not just a connection with a destination, but a Crystal connection. Wooden inlay music boxes handcrafted in Italy and a coffee table book of the complete works of Gustav Klimt reflect the arts of the European river region sailed by Crystal Mozart, Crystal Bach, Crystal Mahler, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel. Stone-and-silver Dourado candlesticks sourced from Brazil and cozy alpaca blankets from Peru reminisce of South American adventures and elegance, and genuine mother-of-pearl jewelry boxes provide a Balinese home for your treasures.

All leather goods – which range from practical luggage tags to chic handbags and lush carry-on duffels – were designed by Sherman and his Los Angeles team, then crafted by top leather artists in Bangkok, by the very same hands that weave items for several noted global luxury brands.

Throughout the collection, you’ll find touches and details courtesy of Sherman’s eye for design and understanding of all things Crystal, honed over more than 20 years of designing keepsakes for our guests. Sterling silver and diamond jewelry pieces that boast Crystal’s signature seahorses are entirely Brad’s creation, while other pieces are things found during his own travels that have been “crystalized.”

The finest leather and craftsmanship is incorporated into each Exclusively Crystal piece.

“Crystal is known for signature luxury experiences and amenities, so we couldn’t simply offer a collection of items that travelers can find anywhere,” he says. “Every ‘Exclusively Crystal’ piece is just that: designed exclusively for Crystal.”

Of course, since Crystal ships and yachts are dream destinations unto themselves, there are plenty of items that allow travelers to bring a bit of that luxury home. Elegant cut crystal decanters and glassware, embossed leather travel journals, aprons and other apparel sporting the name of your favorite Crystal vessel, and many other Crystal pieces are available.

While you’ll still find inspiration in the Exclusively Crystal Collection Lifestyle Book found in each stateroom aboard Crystal vessels, the trove of globally-inspired treasures is found solely in the online boutique, where the selection continues to expand with each new adventure. As you fulfill your wish lists this season, and your travel bucket lists in the coming months, look for upcoming items that represent the gift of travel, from paella and cooking pieces from Spain and Brazilian and Argentinian bone pottery, to silver plates from Israel and hand-painted plates from remote Alaskan villages.

No matter where in the world you are, have been, or dream of visiting, the gift of Crystal travel is just a click away.



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Carnival Cruise Line Revamping Specialty Dining and Breakfast Menus, Reintroducing Baked Alaska Across the Fleet


As part of its ongoing effort to keep its culinary offerings fresh and exciting for its guests, Carnival Cruise Line is revamping the menus for several of its specialty dining venues and reintroducing Baked Alaska across the fleet.

The menus for Carnival’s steakhouses, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurants, and delis, as well as main dining room breakfast offerings, have undergone a transformation with a variety of tantalizing new items reflecting lighter ingredients, updated preparation techniques and exquisite presentation to keep pace with changing palates.

Baked Alaska – a classic dessert made of cake and ice cream topped with merengue – is also being reintroduced after several years with uniformed waiters performing the time-honored tradition of parading the tasty confection throughout the dining room prior to service.

The updated steakhouse menus, currently available on three ships, offer mouth-watering appetizers such as Iced and Smoked Fresh Oysters with Apple Mignonette; Tuna Tartare with Yuzu Sphere and Avocado “Leche de Tiger”; Risotto with Crab, Mushroom and Brown Butter, and Heritage Berkshire Pork Belly with Apple Walnut Preserve.  These complement a selection of USDA prime steaks, including new items such as an A-5 Wagyu steak and lighter fare like Farmhouse Chicken with Roasted Honey Vinegar and Dover Sole Pan-Seared with Lemon Potato-Mousseline and Shallot Emulsion.  Four additional ships are expected to get the new menus by early next year.

The new menu for Cucina del Capitano reflects the diversity of Italy’s culinary regions, with dishes like Branzino Al Forno in Crosta Dorata with tomatoes, stewed chickpeas, salmoriglio and mushroom bark, along with Risotto Milanese with saffron and Parmesan cheese, Grande Braciola Di Maiale – a tomahawk pork chop with fennel pollen, shallots and crispy sage – and Costina Di Manzo Con Porcini with salsa verde and young tomato bruschetta.   House-made burrata – an Italian favorite made with mozzarella and cream and distinguished by its rich buttery flavor – has been added to menus as well, with classic Italian favorites like chicken Parmesan, meatballs and fried calamari also available.   The new Cucina del Capitano menus are currently on three ships – Carnival Magic, Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze – with Carnival Sunshine expected to updated next month.

Breakfast menus in the main dining rooms are just as varied with delicious options such as avocado toast; a Breakfast Bowl featuring kale, spinach, faro wheat berries, sesame seeds, feta cheese, raspberries and a sunny side up egg; and fresh-baked Broccoli and Cheddar Egg Frittata.  There’s also a Broken Egg Sandwich served panini-style with fried eggs, bacon, cheddar, greens and hash browns; and a “Breakfast Board” with a soft boiled egg, house-made yogurt, seasonal jam, baby lettuce salad, pastrami, and grilled sour dough bread.   For those on the go, a new “breakfast express” is available on port days featuring orange juice, eggs, hickory-smoked bacon or sausage and pastries, all “in and out” within 25 minutes.  An assortment of traditional breakfast favorites such as French toast, pancakes and cereals is also offered.   Thus far, 12 ships feature the popular new breakfast items with the balance of the fleet expected to receive the new menus by mid-2018.

The line’s delis have undergone a dramatic change, as well, with an updated design and host of new choices, including seven sandwiches such as meatball, buffalo chicken, and The Cubano with roasted pork, ham, pickles, mustard and Swiss cheese, along with Southwest chicken, falafel and turkey wraps.  Diners can enjoy a sweet finish to their meal with a Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie baked fresh every morning.

Carnival is also re-branding its 24-hour pizzerias to Pizzeria del Capitano offering five kinds of hand-tossed, thin-crusted pies – from Margherita and pepperoni to artisan-style quattro formaggio, mushroom, and prosciutto.   The re-branded delis and pizzerias will be incorporated into additional vessels during scheduled dry docks.

With the popularity of Seafood Shack which debuted on Carnival Vista last year and offering lobster rolls, fried clams, chowder and other New England-inspired fare, the concept has been expanded to nine additional ships.

To learn more about Carnival Cruise Line, visit For reservations, contact any travel agent or call 1-800-CARNIVAL.

Carnival can also be found on: FacebookInstagram

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Cruise Ship Etiquette

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Cruise Ship Etiquette

The thing to remember when you are on a cruise is that
you are traveling with a lot of other people, and what
you do can affect them. We never know how what we say,
do, or wear can affect other people. Here are some
tips so that the cruise is enjoyable for everyone.

1. Dress appropriately

It’s important to know ahead of time what the dress
will be for evenings, and for on the ship. If there is
a dress code for meals, make sure that you adhere to
it. If you dress inappropriately, you will be
uncomfortable and so will the other diners.

2. Be courteous with lounge chairs

Everyone wants to have a deck chair, but when people
are constantly saving them for people who may or may
not come to the pool it takes away from people who are
wanting to use them. Don’t reserve any more deck
chairs than necessary, so that everyone has a chance
to have a lounge chair and it’s fair to everyone. This
is one of the biggest problems on cruise ships.

3. Smoking

Make certain that when you smoke you smoke in areas
that are designated for smoking. There may be people
that are allergic to smoke, and it’s not fair to
compromise their health.

A good rule of thumb is to think about the things that
make you uncomfortable about other people, and make
sure that what you are doing isn’t affecting someone
else the same way. When people respect one another,
everyone has a better time and enjoys their vacation.


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