From sampling fresh oysters from the famed Ston oyster beds in Dubrovnik, to private cooking instruction in the South of France, Crystal guests will savor 14 carefully crafted culinary excursions during Crystal Serenity's Wine and Food Festival cruise this summer. A delicious tour of coastal France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Croatia, the voyage maneuvers through the region known for its bountiful delicacies. Highlighting the onboard experience with cooking demonstrations and a chef's dinner is world-renowned Italian chef Gualtiero Marchesi, the first chef in Italy to be awarded three coveted Michelin Stars. Master Sommelier Robert Bath and wine educator Philip di Belardino will be aboard for wine tasting and further wine education.
The cruise travels from Monte Carlo to Venice, stopping in seven of the nine ports along the way for farmhouse visits in the Roman and Tuscan countryside, tapas tours and lessons in traditional Spanish cooking in Barcelona, and other wine and food-themed Crystal Adventures that allow guests to immerse themselves in the rich flavors and the culinary heritage specific to each region.
"This itinerary provides an unparalleled opportunity for culinary experiences that are true to each region with a focus on authentic cuisine and local delicacies renowned the world over," says John Stoll, Crystal's director of land programs. "The shore-side experiences and added benefit of our guest chef's and sommeliers' expertise compliment each other beautifully, providing a real treat for culinary enthusiasts on board this voyage."
Wine tasting in four countries and multi-course meals in spectacular settings such as the Isle of Capri and Dubrovnik's ancient sea port round out a list of extraordinary culinary shore tours, including six brand new options that allow guests to:
* New Explore the underground Codorniu Cava Cellars and visit Montserrat and its famous Benedictine monastery.
* New Travel to the Tuscan village of Monte Carlo to taste local wines, cheeses and extra-virgin olive oils.
* New Join a cooking class at a scenic country farm and prepare traditional Roman dishes including fresh fettuccini.
* New Visit a farmhouse to see how mozzarella and Limoncello are made and lunch at a deluxe Relais hotel.
* New Sample and learn about the cultivation of Croatia's world-famous Ston oysters.
* New Sample Umbrian wines in Orvieto's regional wine house in the underground passages of a former convent.
* Signature Collection Prepare and sample Italian cuisine during a hands-on cooking lesson in Florence.
More than 90 different Crystal Adventures shore excursions during the voyage offer something for every interest including history, art, architecture, culture, sightseeing, shopping, culinary pursuits and new active outdoor adventures including Barcelona by bicycle, diving off the coast of Croatia, and a sea caves expedition off the coast of Corfu.
Crystal Serenity's 12-day wine and food festival voyage, July 31 - August 12, 2008, begins with a shipboard overnight in Monte Carlo and features calls in Marseille, France; Barcelona, Spain; Florence/Livorno, Rome/Civitavecchia, and Sorrento, Italy; Corfu, Greece; and Dubrovnik, Croatia; before concluding in Venice. Fares begin at $5,166, per person, double occupancy, depending on suite selected.