Tag Archives: Cruises

Three America’s Test Kitchen Feature Cruises Showcase Cast Members, Editors and Authors

Foodies and those who simply love to learn about gastronomy can now embark on a culinary journey with Holland America Line during three exclusive America’s Test Kitchen feature cruises. The special sailings elevate the cruise line’s partnership with the multifaceted media company and will showcase leading America’s Test Kitchen cast members.

The three America’s Test Kitchen feature cruises are the May 6, 2018, seven-day Alaska Inside Passage cruise on Westerdam; July 7, 2018, 14-day Northern Isles on Zuiderdam; and Sept. 22, 2018, seven-day Canada & New England Discovery on Veendam.

“Our America’s Test Kitchen shows and demonstrations on board have become a highly-rated guest favorite, and these new feature cruises will offer an even more robust experience,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We are thrilled to have the talents of some of the most knowledgeable and well-known experts in the culinary industry join us on three special sailings, and we know that fans are going to have a great time while learning a lot of fantastic cooking tips and recipes.”

In addition to dynamic cooking shows and hands-on workshops, guests on board will be able to meet the experts from the show at a book signing and reception, attend a question and answer session, join them for a multimedia presentation on recipe development, and test their kitchen knowledge at trivia.

The following America’s Test Kitchen special guests are scheduled to appear:

Seven-Day Alaska Inside Passage, May 6, 2018 on Westerdam

Jack Bishop, left, and Bryan Roof.

Jack Bishop, left, and Bryan Roof.

Jack Bishop is the chief creative officer of America’s Test Kitchen. He was part of the original team that started America’s Test Kitchen, beginning with the launch of Cook’s Illustrated magazine in 1993. Bishop directed the launch of Cook’s Country magazine in 2005 and the building of the company’s book publishing division. He is the tasting lab expert on America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen. Bishop also is the author of several cookbooks including Vegetables Every Day and The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook.

Bryan Roof is the executive food editor for Cook’s Country Magazine and is an on-screen test cook for Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen. He began working as a test cook for Cook’s Illustrated in 2006 and has worked on various magazine, book and website projects, including the magazine’s popular On the Road feature.

14-Day Northern Isles, July 7, 2018 on Zuiderdam

Bridget Lancaster

Bridget Lancaster.

Bridget Lancaster is the executive editor for new media, television and radio at America’s Test Kitchen as well as the host of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen. She joined the Cook’s Illustrated magazine team in 1998 and is an original cast member of both television shows. Bridget currently serves as the lead instructor for the America’s Test Kitchen Online Cooking School.

Lisa McManus

Lisa McManus.

Lisa McManus is an executive editor in charge of equipment testing and ingredient tasting at Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines. She researches and writes about kitchen gear and food, and she’s the on-screen gadget expert for America’s Test Kitchen. Lisa joined America’s Test Kitchen in 2006 after working as a newspaper food editor and as a magazine and newspaper journalist in Boston, New York and California.

Seven-Day Canada & New England Discovery, Sept. 22, 2018 on Veendam

Julia Collin Davison

Julia Collin Davison.

Julia Collin Davison is executive editor for the book division of America’s Test Kitchen, host of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen. She began working as a test cook for Cook’s Illustrated in 1999 and is responsible for the food and recipe development for all America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks.

Becky Hays.

Becky Hays.

Rebecca (Becky) Hays is the deputy editor of Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines and is an on-screen test cook for America’s Test Kitchen. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City, Hays joined America’s Test Kitchen in 2000 and specializes in healthful cooking.

Holland America Line’s Partnership with America’s Test Kitchen
Holland America Line and America’s Test Kitchen launched a partnership in 2016 with the transformation of the ships’ culinary centers into kitchens that replicate the television set where the popular America’s Test Kitchen TV shows are recorded for broadcast on public television nationwide. Following the success of the partnership, Holland America and America’s Test Kitchen will nearly double its selection of onboard cooking shows with the addition of six new recipe demonstrations in 2018. Available on all cruises, the onboard cooking shows and hands-on workshops are hosted by Holland America chefs trained by America’s Test Kitchen culinary experts and, like the TV shows, combine thoroughly tested recipes with practical tips on everything from how to select fresh fruits and vegetables to how to use kitchen knives safely and efficiently.

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Oceania Cruises: 3 Insider Ship Tips, Part 3

By Guest Lecturer Sandy Cares

Last year, I began sharing a few of my favorite tips for sailing with Oceania Cruises. From the flip-top lids on the lovely Bulgari amenities to the simple way to keep your table from being cleared at Terrace Café, you learn more each time you’re on board. As a frequent guest lecturer on board, I’ve picked up lots of helpful tips along the way, so I wanted to share a few more that I’ve found especially helpful.

  1. You can attach Currents, the daily shipboard newsletter, to your wall with refrigerator magnets because the walls are metal. If you didn’t happen to bring any magnets, you’ll find no end to them at any of the ports along the way. Or just pop into the boutique on board and pick up a couple of Oceania Cruises magnets. By the way, these Oceania Cruises magnets make absolutely great and inexpensive little giveaways to your tour guides and other locals you meet along the way!

  2. That clock on your nightstand is sheer genius. Did you realize all you have to do is lift it at night and it lights up so you can see the time? Put it back down and the room is dark again.

  3. My last tip is on packing to leave the ship. Be sure to leave something out of your suitcase to wear on disembarkation day. Be mindful and set an outfit aside for yourself before rolling your suitcase into the corridor. Stories abound on this subject. A guest once admitted to me that he mistakenly packed his wife’s set-aside outfit while she was asleep and he had to climb mountains of suitcases in the middle of the night to retrieve it before she woke up. It’s also easy to avoid getting locked out of your room when moving luggage into the hallway. Simply remember to “lock” the deadbolt and the door will prop open until you are finished moving all of your luggage out.

Happy cruising!

The post Oceania Cruises: 3 Insider Ship Tips, Part 3 appeared first on Oceania Cruises Blog.

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Single Cruises: The Best Place for Singles to find a Companion

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Single Cruises: The Best Place for Singles to find a Companion

Since there is a great demand for cruise lines, there is also a rapid increase for single travelers who would want to spend some of their precious time in the cruise. Usually, single travelers are on its peak during Valentine seasons.

During this time, single cruises will give their customers a special singles prices, exclusive singles activities and other valentine related events. Single Cruises are the best way to complete your single adventures.

It is already been a common knowledge to everyone that many singles get disappointed during the V-day. In addition, most of these people find it hard to go out every year and search for their Valentine’s Day date.

Usually, their reason is that they are too shy or do not have enough time to go out and look for a date. So, for all the singles out there who are on the verge of giving up in looking for a date, it would be better if you just save all your money and join the Single cruises.

When you are alone you are a total stranger to everyone on the single cruise, so usually other people who knows what the single cruise is for, would tend to be more comfortable and relaxed even when being surrounded by other strangers. This way, you are allowing yourself to get acquainted with other people and become more flexible and comfortable around them.

Who knows, perhaps while you are busy meeting new friends your future partner is just around the corner or he or she is just in front of you. This can be brought upon by the many activities single cruises offers for their guests.

Single cruising has already become very famous and an inexpensive way to meet new people, and many single people do vacations by themselves since it gives them the choice, privacy and provides them special and thrilling adventures with other people who could potentially be mates or at least great friends.

If you want to enjoy the hot sun, beautiful resorts and the limited rum punch, a Caribbean Single Cruise will be a great option for you. But, if you opt to being a hopeless romantic, and want to taste a glass of red wine, with the full moon beckoning you, then a European Single Cruise will be better for you. Whatever it is that you want, there will always be a Single cruise that will suit you best.

All you just have to do is make some research about the cruise line that provides the best single special and that will definitely suit your taste and preferences.

Here are extensive tips that can help you decide which to choose:

1. Travelers who are alone will be charged of a single rate. This is because most cabins are designed for double occupancy, so what most cruises do is just to add for an extra charge to one person in a room. Obviously, you are not paying for a 150 – 200% additional charge, but expect it to be a bit of a pricy.

2. There are cruises that give up the additional fee during promos but will give you a room with another person. If you do not like your privacy to be invaded or if you do not want to share a room with someone, it will be good if you choose to have an additional price to have a single room only for you.

However, if you are a person that finds it more interesting to be with someone in a room, then you can always grab the promo.

3. Try to look at the broadsheet or in the internet to know if there are still available single cruises in which you could join. There are instances that a cruise is pre-booked by a Singles Organization that allows only their members to join the cruise. However, most of these organizations are also allowing non-member singles to join with them, but with a pricier tag than those who are members of the organization.

Though you will be able to join such groups, you will still be traveling as a single. The good thing about joining them is that you would be able to meet other single persons. You do not have to be doubtful when joining such group, since they are just like you – single cruisers, who are in deep search for companionship and love.

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Mozart, Bach, Mahler, Debussy and Ravel. Masters, all, each boasting an enduring legacy of musical influence that still echoes around the world. The ships of Crystal River Cruises don’t simply bear the names of these greats. On captivating routes along Europe’s mighty waterways, these stunning vessels carry with them the elegance and grace that is synonymous with the region, and their namesake composers. The destinations featured on Crystal River itineraries pay tribute to the masters and their musical contemporaries with landmarks, statues, and of course, performances of the symphonies and concertos that shaped European culture centuries ago. We are delighted to invite you to some of these performances, with a twist that is decidedly Crystal, as the brand new 2018 Crystal Collection of shore-side experiences is unveiled.

A special highlight of every Crystal River voyage is a complimentary live musical experience that captures the true essence and cultural character of the region. These intimately orchestrated “Signature Events” combine privileged access to a landmark venue — palaces, theatres, even monasteries — with an enthralling command performance by classical musicians acclaimed for their unique repertoire and world-class skills, exclusively for Crystal guests.

As you travel through musical meccas in Austria, Germany and Hungary, the enchanting Signature Events that await you on your journeys include:

Art & Music at the Belvedere Palace (Vienna, Austria)

Vienna’s Belvedere Palace lights up the night in Austria.

Opera singers, ballet dancers and a celebrated Viennese orchestra converge in the halls of this baroque landmark for a classical concert and evening spent mingling with some of the world’s great artworks. The Belvedere Palace was built in the early 1800’s as the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy – a perfect perch for a royal, with its expansive view of Vienna and the palace’s spectacular gardens below. The Belvedere now houses paintings by Kokoschka, Schiele and Klimt (including the inimitable The Kiss).

Lively String Ensemble Concert in Kloster UND (Krems, Austria)

This restored 17th-century Capuchin monastery is overflowing with throwback elegance from its heyday – dramatic arches, rich wood ceilings, and finely wrought metal and glass details. It’s the perfect juxtaposition for the evening’s performance by violin master Barbara Helfgott and her Rondo Vienna ensemble, who excel at adding their own entertaining twists to the world’s most beloved music from all periods. From traditional Viennese waltzes to Gershwin, Porter and even Joplin, your evening will be filled with heavenly strains fit for the venue.

The Sparkling Madlenianum Opera & Theatre (Belgrade, Serbia)

Your sparkling evening takes you to Zemun town, a historical part of greater Belgrade and home to Madlenianum Opera & Theatre. The only privately-owned opera and theatre company in south-eastern Europe welcomes Crystal guests exclusively into its meticulously designed amphitheater. Enter the grand foyer, where you’ll enjoy sparkling wine beneath the space’s signature chandelier, glittering overhead with more than 1,000 crystal pieces. You’ll then be treated to an enchanting performance by Serbian musicians skilled in classical and contemporary works, and perfectly echoed in the hall’s acoustics.

Buda Castle, on the banks of the Danube River.

‘Princesses of Violin’ at Budapest History Museum (Budapest, Hungary)

The Budapest History Museum is located in the southern wing of the UNESCO-listed Buda Castle, which has held prominence along the Danube River since 1265. Baroque grandeur and breathtaking sights are literally everywhere you turn in this one-of-a-kind venue, with its glass-domed roof and sprawling Danube views. You’ll be treated to the distinctive and globally acclaimed string stylings of violin trio, Princesses of Violin, whose talents span centuries of music, from the classics born in this region to contemporary hits.

Jazzy ‘Spring String Quartet’ at Saint Florian Monastery (Linz, Austria)

The high-energy style of this famed jazz-rock-classical crossover quartet may not be what the Augustinian monks who used to live at Saint Florian had in mind for their hallowed halls, but the performance is definitely in line with Linz’s longstanding flair for cultural inventiveness. Enjoy this exclusive evening in the historical monastery, as Spring String Quartet turns traditionally sedate violin music upside down.

Classical Concert, Castles & Chateuax (Rüdesheim and Koblenz, Germany)

While the actual venue may vary depending on the date of your sailing, the evening performance in store for this Signature Event is invariably astounding. Featuring the innovative talents of La Finesse String Quartet, masterfully modern interpretations of classical works will fill grand halls of select preeminent venues.

In Rüdesheim, you’ll spend an evening within Germany’s Rheingau, a Wine Enthusiast “Best Wine Destinations 2017” region. Whether at Schloss Vollrads, built on ancient Roman foundations; 1200-year-old Schloss Johannisberg, considered the world’s earliest Riesling producer; or Kloster Eberbach, with its medieval structures built by Cistercian monks – you’ll be carried back to the quiet beauty and classical notes of another time.

In Koblenz, rolling hillside vineyards set the stage for La Finesse, with venues including the high-roofed Schloss Kaisersaal ballroom of the Electoral Palace (affording remarkable acoustic sound), or in the landmark cast-iron and glass foundry building at Sayner Hütte.

Join Crystal River Cruises for exclusive Signature Events, as we present unforgettable tributes to the musical masters that have inspired the world for centuries, in storied locales that will continue to inspire your wanderlust.



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Stunning St. Croix Enhances Several of Holland America Line’s Caribbean Cruises

Balmy breezes, turquoise waters and lush green mountains await you at one of Holland America Line’s lesser-visited Caribbean ports — the stunning island of St. Croix. Measuring 86 square miles, St. Croix is the largest of the three isles that make up the U.S. Virgin Islands. Much of the island has been set aside as parkland, which means fewer tourist hubs and more space dedicated its natural wonders like pristine beaches and prime locations for snorkeling and diving.

St. Croix

St. Croix also is also home to many fascinating historical sites. At various times throughout its history it was controlled by Spain, Britain, France, the Netherlands and Denmark; the latter’s influence is the most visible in the architecture of St. Croix’s charming capital city of Christiansted, located on the northern coast. On the western point of the island lies Frederiksted — a busy port surrounded by significant colonial attractions including a restored sugar estate and an 18th-century fort. This port also features a family-run rum distillery and offers fantastic restaurants and shops.

Continue reading below for some of the highlights you can find on this magnificent island!

St. Croix


Sure, it’s the largest town on St. Croix, but it’s the charming Danish-influenced architecture that makes it most noteworthy. The city center is a protected national park lined with candy-colored buildings and historic churches, while the streets are made of cobblestones and punctuated by stone archways. At the waterfront, which was a focal point of the island’s sugar trade, a wharf is populated with restaurants, bars, water sports shops and an 18th-century fort.


This city is laid out in a grid system: seven streets by seven streets. Although established in 1751, Frederiksted was rebuilt in 1878 in a Victorian gingerbread style following a great fire due to a labor revolt. St. Patrick’s church, which was constructed in the 1840s, is an impressive sight. Other buildings of note include the Customs House and the eponymous fort. Steps from the pier, Frederiksted Beach has chair, umbrella and paddleboard rentals.


Pristine, untouched and unforgettable — there’s no other way to describe this natural park just off the northeast coast of St. Croix. Walking trails crisscross the expanse through frangipani and tamarind trees and cacti to beautiful beaches. Turtle Bay, on the western side, wows with its magnificent snorkeling; the protected waters and massive coral reef are home to more than 250 kinds of fish. Admission numbers are limited each day; advance booking is required.


Sugar never tastes so good as when it’s distilled into rum. And a visit to the Cruzan distillery, founded in 1760, is not only a treat, it’s an island classic. The same family has been producing this rum for eight generations. Guided visits weave through the factory’s operations, past bubbling liquids and wooden casks, with guides explaining the spirit-making process from distilling to bottling. Tours conclude with sample cocktails, and purchased bottles can be packed for travel.

If you’re not sure what do to ashore, check out our EXC Port Planner for St. Croix and tailor your time ashore:

St. Croix port planner.

Whether you choose to explore on your own, or take part in one of our amazing EXC tours, you’re guaranteed to love this beautiful tropical island.

What would you most like to see while at St. Croix? Tell us in the comments below!

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