Tokyo star chef Luca Fantin, of the 5-Star Bulgari Ginza Tower restaurant, Il Ristorante, has been added as a guest expert to Crystal Cruises’ January 17 Wine & Food-themed voyage. 

The Crystal Symphony “Koalas & Kiwis” cruise sails through some of Australia and New Zealand’s hottest destinations, such as Lonely Planet “Top 10” travel cities Newcastle and Wellington. Fantin joins fellow esteemed culinary master Chef Damien Pignolet, wine expert Eugenio Jardim, and Master Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim in presenting complimentary, on-board culinary enrichment about the area.   

Fantin’s contemporary Italian fare and Japanese pedagogy, combined with Pignolet’s Australian-French fusion, mirror the international influences found in Aussie-Kiwi food. Combined with Crystal’s own creative cuisine and Japanese-Peruvian dishes from Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, guests are in for a truly eclectic, yet incredibly sophisticated, mix of global tastes. The two chefs will treat guests to hands-on instruction in preparing some of their specialties, live cooking demonstrations, and specially-designed menus for select Crystal Dining Room dinners. Wine expert Jardim will lead pairing and tasting sessions and mixologist Abou-Ganim will teach perfect cocktail-making for home entertaining.

More than 65 Crystal Adventures, many brand new, in destinations both classic and up-and-coming spice up the gastronomic theme. 

Delectable onshore experiences include:
•    Gourmet dining and wine, olive, vodka and traditional cheese tasting in Newcastle’s Morpeth and Hunter Valleys
•    Cooking lessons using Christchurch’s local fare, including the catch of the day from fisherman just steps away
•    Three-course vineyard lunch, wine and olive oil tasting in Wellington’s Greytown & Martinborough

“Australia and New Zealand are fantastic destinations for foodies,” says Crystal’s Vice President of Food and Beverage Operations, Toni Neumeister.  “We’re thrilled to welcome such a high caliber of food and beverage experts aboard to underscore the tremendous flavor of the itinerary.”

The 12-day itinerary calls in Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney (overnight), Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, and Auckland.  All-inclusive fares start at $3,520/person, with $3,000/person in “Book Now” savings until October 31, making this the most value-priced of Crystal’s 2013 New Zealand cruises.