Oceania Cruises Announces New Culinary Discovery Tours for European Voyages

Building on its leadership position as the cruise line for epicureans, Oceania Cruises announced a significant expansion to its popular Culinary Discovery Tour series. The newest Culinary Discovery Tours will debut in Barcelona, Marseille, Antibes (France), Catania (Italy) and Iraklion (Heraklion, Greece) during select sailings aboard Marina and Riviera this spring and summer as the ships cruise throughout Europe.

Exclusive to Oceania Cruises, the Culinary Discovery Tours provide guests with epicurean interests a unique opportunity to interact with well-known regional culinary experts while exploring local food markets, restaurants, vineyards, farms and cooking schools. During the entire tour, guests are accompanied by a chef instructor from The Culinary Center, Oceania Cruises’ hands-on cooking school. All tours begin with an orientation about the local cuisine and many conclude with a destination-inspired cooking class or tasting in The Culinary Center.

“Culinary traditions are at the heart of many cultures around the world, and with our Culinary Discovery Tours we’re able to provide guests with the unique opportunity to share firsthand in those traditions,” explained Executive Chef Kathryn Kelly, director of culinary enrichment for Oceania Cruises. “On our new tours, guests spend time in the kitchen with local culinary experts and renowned chefs learning about regional ingredients and cooking customs that have influenced European cuisine for centuries. Our goal is for guests to walk away with new culinary skills, satisfied taste buds and a deeper appreciation for the vibrant culinary traditions found in Europe.”

Highlights from the new Culinary Discovery Tours include:

Barcelona – Chef’s Gastronomy Tour and Tapas Lunch
This tour is designed to illustrate how Barcelona became a culinary mecca with its depth of produce, variety of fish, quality of meats and ingenuity of the region’s chefs. Guests will join the Culinary Center chef and local Catalan culinary expert for a short drive through the city to the famous Las Ramblas Boulevard. The first stop is an innovative pastry shop called Escriba where the art of chocolate figurines was pioneered. A few steps away is La Boqueria, the city’s most famed market hosting over 250 stalls offering exotic and exquisite produce, meats and fish. After exploring La Boqueria, guests will take a short walk through the Gothic Quarter en route to Santa Caterina market, a smaller market with a colorful mosaic tiled roof and 70 stalls, and a favorite destination for The Culinary Center faculty. The final stop is the trendy restaurant, Tapeo. Using the best market produce, Tapeo's Chef Daniel blends both tradition and innovation. Guests are treated to a variety of Catalan tapas, perfectly paired with Spanish wines. After a leisurely tapas lunch, guests will enjoy a trip to the famous Bubó pastry shop to select a pastry to enjoy later on the ship.

Marseille – Michelin Chef Reine Sammut and Aix-en-Provence Market Tour
Guests will immerse themselves in the cuisine of Provence in this tour designed for food and wine enthusiasts. The tour begins with a scenic drive to the charming town of Aix-en-Provence. Guests will enjoy a stroll through the colorful and bustling daily market along with the ship’s Culinary Center chef and local tour guide to explore a vast array of herbs, cheeses, sausages, vegetables and fruits. The best part of the tour is yet to come as another picturesque drive brings guests to the Hotel Auberge la Fenière near the village of Lourmarin. Michelin star and nationally renowned Chef Reine will welcome guests to her cookery school for a one-of-a-kind cooking demonstration of her beloved recipes. Using fresh, seasonal and local ingredients, Chef Reine will prepare a menu of authentic Provençal cuisine while guests learn about the subtleties of flavor and historical influences. Once the cooking process is complete, guests will delight in the chef’s creations while taking in the natural vistas surrounding the property. After some relaxing time aboard the ship, guests will meet again with their chef at The Culinary Center for some additional “culinary time” dedicated to the cuisine of Provence.

Antibes – Shopping with the Chef and French Cooking Class
Guests will pass through the port’s stunning gates and enjoy a stroll to the town’s picturesque open air market. The seaside village’s quintessential market brims with colorful produce, fresh flowers, local cheeses, freshly caught fish and seasonal harvest from local farmers. Along with their chef from The Culinary Center, guests will taste and shop for essential ingredients for the Provençal cooking class later in the tour. Guests will make stops at various stalls and taste local treats such as socca, a chickpea flatbread cooked in a wood-fired oven. Before heading back to the ship, guests will stop at one of the local shops for coffee and macaroons. Once on board, guests will participate in a 90-minute private cooking class and make a classic Provençal lunch using the ingredients purchased earlier. In addition, guests will be treated to samples of tapenades, wines and cheeses, including a tasting of Absinthe, a popular aperitif of Provence.

Catania – Chef Market Tour, Cannoli Making and Lunch
Guests will enjoy a short drive to Mercato del Pesce di Catania, an ancient street market offering a wonderful cacophony of exotic sights and sounds. Next they will visit the market “like locals” as The Culinary Center chef and experienced culinary guide offer expert knowledge in Sicilian cuisine. After a short walk, guests will arrive at a family-owned patisserie to experience cannoli making, Sicilian-style. As guests observe the Sicilian pastry chef, they will learn how to make their own picture-perfect Sicilian cannoli. A short drive will take guests to Osteria Nero d’ Avola in Taormina, a famous local restaurant. Guests will be greeted by the owner and slow food advocate, Chef Turi, who will provide an overview of the day’s ingredients and menu. Chef Turi will prepare an exquisite lunch accompanied with wines from the local Etna Benanti winery, served personally by one of the Benanti brothers.

Iraklion (Heraklion) – Cretan Cooking Class and Lunch
Guests will travel by coach towards the traditional village of Zaros nestled in the foothills of Mount Ida, the island’s highest summit, and according to mythology, the birthplace of Zeus. As the coach ascends to the center of the island, the countryside vistas become more spectacular. The Culinary Center chef and local tour guide will discuss native herbs and share highlights of the world-renowned Cretan cuisine. Upon arrival, guests will discover how the village has retained its time-honored methods of farming, weaving, wood-carving and cooking. Guests will wander through the gardens and cobblestone pathways to reach the central tavern for a hands-on preparation of seasonal dishes such as dolmadakia (stuffed grape leaves), gemista (stuffed vegetables) and cheese pies made with nuts and honey. The next stage of the tour offers guests the opportunity to meet a local specialist and learn about Cretan olive oil, which is a sacred and indispensable aspect of the local cuisine. The Cretan cuisine is exceptionally nutritious as it features plenty of vegetables, beans, grains and wholesome olive oil. The tour will conclude with a magnificent and freshly prepared Cretan-style meal along with sampling of local Cretan wine.

For more information about Oceania Cruises or the Culinary Discovery Tours, please call 1.855.OCEANIA (1.855.623.2642) or contact a professional travel agent.

About Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises offers the finest cuisine at sea, elegant accommodations and exceptional personalized service, all for an extraordinary value. Known for its unique and destination-rich itineraries that appeal to the seasoned traveler, Oceania Cruises calls on more than 330 ports across Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Asia, Africa and the Americas aboard five award-winning mid-size ships: the 684-guest Regatta, Insignia and Nautica, and the 1,250-guest Marina and Riviera. Oceania Cruises will add a sister to its trio of award-winning 684-passenger ships; with new ship Sirena scheduled join the fleet in April 2016.

Contact an Oceania Cruises Specialist

For detailed information regarding an Oceania Cruises itinerary and pricing, please contact our Personal Vacation Planners today!


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