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Holland America’s Culinary Council Dives Into Enhancing Onboard Restaurants

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Holland America is utilizing the expertise of the seven members of their Culinary Council by entrusting each chef with a designated onboard dining experience to enhance and improve. The council is comprised of elite international celebrity chefs who bring global influence to every dining venue across the fleet.

Rudi Sodamin, Culinary Council Chairman

Sodamin’s Cedar-Wrapped Salmon

Sodamin oversees all aspects of onboard dining, in addition to bringing his influence and expertise to Rudi’s Sel de Mer. The popular French brasserie is a standalone venue on Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam and is featured on other ships through special pop-up dinners in the Pinnacle Grill. Born in Austria, Sodamin was trained in France and recently released his latest culinary masterpiece, an art table book called “Food Faces” that feature over 150 images of edible creations that display a whimsical spectrum of human emotion. His innovative approach has made him the most decorated chef on the ocean.

Jonnie Boer

Jonnie Boer will bring the flavors of his internationally acclaimed restaurant, De Librije, onboard select sailings through special Taste of De Librije evenings in the Pinnacle Grill. Dutch-born Boer is the driving force behind De Librije, a regional, fine-dining restaurant in the Netherlands. Recognized as one of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, De Librije has earned a 3-star Michelin rating every year since 2004.

David Burke

Burke’s Burrata Salad

A leading pioneer in unique, contemporary American cuisine and a master of French culinary technique, Burke will continue to enhance the menu at the Pinnacle Grill. He partnered with Smith & Wollensky CEO Alan Stillman to open the critically acclaimed Park Avenue Café, and then in 1996, he became vice president of culinary development for the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group. Burke is a restauranteur, cookbook author, inventor, and consultant at ESquared Hospitality, which owns and operates the BLT restaurant brand. He’s been featured on “Iron Chef America” and “Top Chef Masters.”

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Elizabeth Falkner

At the forefront of the culinary arts and a recurring judge and competitor on the Food Network, Falkner will be introducing a variety of new, lighter fare to venues fleetwide. Frequently speaking about healthy cuisine and eating habits, she is an advocate for people to think more like athletes and “stay fit to cook.” She does both savory and sweet, traditional and modern, and has earned accolades for her San Francisco shop, Citizen Cake.

Andy Matsuda

The newest member of the Culinary Council, Matsuda will lead sushi offerings in Lido Market as well as the sushi in Tamarind on select ships. Aboard Nieuw Statendam, Matsuda’s creations will be featured at Nami Sushi, the new sushi bar inside Tamarind. The Japanese-born chef is at the forefront of sushi trends and techniques. At Matsuda’s Sushi Chef Institute in Los Angeles, he teaches aspiring chefs and professionals about sushi and Japanese cuisine.

Ethan Stowell

A recent addition to the council, Stowell will bring the unique flavors of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest onboard ships sailing in the region. Also known for his pasta and Italian dishes, Stowell will introduce several of his recipes at New York Pizza and select Lido Market stations on all ships. With an impressive roster of highly acclaimed restaurants, he’s helped change the face of the Seattle food scene. Stowell was named one of the Best New Chefs in America by Fiid & Wine magazine in 2008, and was chosen as one of the Best New Chef All-Stars in 2013.

Jacques Torres

Torres’ Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

The chocolatier known as Mr. Chocolate, Torres will guide masterful chocolate desserts for Holland America’s dining venues, as well as the Chocolate Surprise Dessert Parade featured on the last gala evening of every cruise. A French-trained Master Chef and artisan chocolatier, Torres is a James Beard Award recipient. After rising to executive pastry chef at New York’s legendary Le Cirque, he opened a chocolate factory and stores throughout New York. Torres is cohosting and head judge on the new Netflix culinary show “Nailed It” with Nicole Byer. Debuting March 9, the reality program pits home bakers against one another attempting to recreate edible masterpieces.

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Carnival Horizon Makes Inaugural Call in Canadian Port

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Carnival Cruise Line’s brand new Vista-class ship Carnival Horizon made her first-ever call in Halifax, Nova Scotia yesterday.

The day was a welcome change for cruise passengers; it was the first port stop after six days at sea crossing the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean. Ship officers as well as local officials held a traditional plaque ceremony in the Library onboard, where a plaque was given to the ship by the Port of Halifax and other tokens were exchanged, including a model of the ship given to the port by Carnival Cruise Line.

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Carnival Horizon is the sister-ship to Carnival Vista, which pioneered a number of new concepts for Carnival including the SkyRide bicycling attraction and the Dreamscape LED sculpture in the atrium. Some of Horizon’s unique new features include a sit-down barbecue smokehouse and brewery as well as a Cat in the Hat themed WaterWorks water park.

Click here for a video of the ship headed into the Port of Halifax.

Click here for our article on all of the free food found aboard Carnival Horizon.

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Carnival Cruise Line

Everything Carnival Horizon, Part 10: Before You Disembark

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Hard as it is to believe, our time together exploring Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ships is coming to an end. But before that can happen, we need to take one last spin around the Carnival Horizon… just to make sure you aren’t missing anything!

How Do You Spend That Final Day?

Nobody likes to think about disembarkation, yet that seems to be what the mind winds up focusing on during those final 24 hours of any cruise. You’re not even off the ship yet, but the mind begins wandering to the work that will be waiting on your desk or the unmowed lawn waiting to be tended. Our best advice: Given that you are on a Carnival ship, do as they advice and Choose Fun for as long as you possibly can.

Sure, you’ll have to pack your suitcase eventually… but the last day of your vacation is when you should slow down enough to soak it all in. Give yourself a little extra time to sit in a quiet spot, staring out at the sea and taking mental photographs. Have a long, leisurely brunch (during which you allow yourself to have a second, and maybe even a third, Bloody Mary. Head to Cherry on Top and get one more of those amazing ice cream sandwiches, which you know you’re going to have cravings for once you get back home.

Choose your cookie. Choose your ice cream. Choose your toppings. Eat. Could anything be simpler?

One thing we’d definitely recommend you do in advance: If you have a specialty restaurant you want to enjoy that final dinner-at-sea in, make a reservation. For many people, dining at the Steakhouse, for example, is a perfect capper to their cruise. Tomorrow, they’ll be back to making their own dinner and clearing their own tables, so why not have one final high-end meal?

Go ahead, live a little… it’s the last night of your cruise!

Another thing you definitely want to make sure to do on that final evening is head to the casino to cash in any winnings you might have! One of our favorite ways to make sure we go home with a little money? Cashing out whenever we have a decent win on a slot machine, putting a fresh $20 bill in the game… and sticking those tickets into the safe in our stateroom and not touching them until the week is over. When it’s time to head upstairs on the final night and pack our bags, we grab those tickets and cash them out.

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One way we fight the melancholy that can often set in on the final day is by booking another trip, which on the Carnival Horizon can be done by visiting the future cruise desk on deck 10. Then, having put it off as long as we possibly could, we finally head back to the room and pack. After spending a fair amount of time deciding what to bring and what to leave behind during the days building up to the cruise, the packing-to-disembark process is a lot quicker and easier. You know the drill: Throw everything into the suitcase, don’t even bother folding it, taking as little time as possible.

The saddest thing ever? Seeing all the suitcases lining the hallways, waiting to be collected on that final night.

If you need any information at all about the disembarkaton process, make sure to check the Fun Times or ask at Guest Services. But don’t leave this until the last morning… trust us, the staff will have their hands full trying to get everyone off the ship so that a whole new group of passengers can board and begin their vacations! In fact, if you have anything at all you need to deal with Guest Services about, try not to wait until that last evening, because the place can become a bit of a zoo!

And remember that there is no room service available on that final morning, so if you want to grab one last free meal, you’ll have to actually leave the room… or at least convince one of your traveling companions to do so! Again, consulting the Fun Times will tell you where you can go for that final meal, whether it’s a sit-down breakfast or just grabbing some coffee to get yourself going!

Sadly, it is here that we, too, must part ways. Here’s hoping that you’ve enjoyed our special, in-depth look at the Carnival Horizon. Keep checking back for more information on not only this ship but the upcoming Carnival Panorama, which we’re already excited to explore!

 

 

 

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Cruise News

Property Brothers to Set Sail on Royal Caribbean Ship

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Royal Caribbean and the Property Brothers themselves, Drew and Jonathan Scott, are excited to announce a special upcoming cruise aboard Mariner of the Seas. 

Fans can join the twins this December 3 to 7 on a four-night voyage aboard the ship, which will have just completed a $90 million renovation this year. Sailing With the Scotts will include presentations with the brothers, as well as panel discussions and workshops. Attendees will also get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the latest season of Brother vs. Brother, as well as a personal session of 20 Questions with Drew and Jonathan. The twins will also host shore excursions, meet & greets, photo sessions, and dance lessons, as well as their Scott Living Showroom at Sea, featuring a sneak peek of new pieces from the brothers’ own home goods collection.

photo: Sailing with the Scotts

The brothers will be donating $25 to the charity WE (formerly known as Free The Children) for each stateroom sold for this special sailing. Every $25 will provide one person with access to clean water for life in a developing community.

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Cuisine aboard the ship includes sushi, hibachi, freshly made pasta at Jamie’s Italian, and bar bites and arcade games at Playmaker Sports Bar & Arcade. The vessel will also feature the new Bamboo Room tiki lounge.

During the day, travelers can enjoy rock climbing, ice skating, surfing on the FlowRider, and the new Sky Pad – a virtual reality, bungee jumping adventure, as well as an escape room and glow-in-the-dark laser tag.

For more information on this special cruise, visit sailingwiththescotts.com.

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