More educational programming, more unique local ingredients, and more guest chef dinners—including, for the first time ever, two Vintage Room Dinners – distinguish Crystal Cruises’ fall Wine & Food-themed voyage from Miami to Rio on November 23. The expert line-up features Hans Neuner, Portugal’s two Michelin-starred, 2012 Chef of the Year, and former Crystal chef more than a decade ago; Rob Wilson, Culinary Institute of America NY graduate and Master/Executive Chef at the Montage Laguna Beach; renowned master mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim; and wine historian Nina Wemyss. The exotic cruise aboard Crystal Symphony features six Brazilian ports (including one maiden call), two Caribbean islands, and a local overnight in Rio.
Sourcing local ingredients and products during port visits, the experts will incorporate them in:
* NEW: Seven-course Vintage Room Dinners, prepared by each of the guest chefs, with extra-extraordinary wine pairings and edification from the guest wine expert.
* Two Guest Chef Dinners for all guests in the Crystal Dining Room, with all-inclusive wine pairings recommended by the guest wine expert.
* Cooking demonstrations, newly held outdoors on Crystal’s pool deck (weather permitting). Neuner will showcase his modern, art-meets-technology approach to the Portuguese flavors that have influenced traditional Brazilian cuisine, like bacalhau.
* Intimate hands-on cooking classes in Crystal’s galley.
* Hands-on cocktail-crafting sessions, teaching guests how to make the local libations for friends and family back home. Abou-Ganim will give his “Modern Mixologist” twist to traditional local cocktails like the batida and caipirinha, using cachaca and local spices – with guests receiving a souvenir muddler to take with them.
* Tastings of South American wines.
“Without even leaving the ship, guests can see, taste, smell, feel, and learn about the ingredients, dishes, and beverages that only local foodies would know best—from an obscure ingredient to the gourmet side of regional culture,” says Toni Neumeister, vice president of food and beverage operations.
Crystal’s own culinary team will also be pulling out all the stops for American Thanksgiving, preparing gourmet takes on traditional fare, like butternut squash soup drizzled with pumpkin seed oil; maple-brined, roasted turkey with chestnut, wild mushroom & raisin dressing; praline sweet potatoes; cider-thyme gravy; and caramel-apple bread pudding with homemade pumpkin ice cream and bourbon-vanilla sauce.
From Miami, the sailing visits Barbados/Bridgetown, British West Indies; Devil’s Island, Iles du Salut, French Guiana; and Belem, Fortaleza, Natal (maiden call), Maceio and Salvador, Brazil, ending with an overnight stay in Rio. All-inclusive, “Book Now” fares for the 16-day cruise begin at $3,990/person, with $1,700/person in savings if booked by August 30. A shorter, 12-day “Getaway” version of the voyage is also available from Barbados to Rio, starting from $2,995/person if booked by August 30.
Extraordinary culinary experiences are a hallmark of every Crystal vacation. Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity’s extensive, innovative choices for gourmandizing include the ultra-luxury line’s coveted cheese and wine cellars, overseen by on-board, certified cheese and wine sommeliers (Court of Master Sommeliers-certified); all-inclusive, chef-like cocktails served by certified mixologists; and gourmet dining options at every meal, whether in the Crystal Dining Room, at afternoon tea, or in Nobu Matsuhisa and Piero Selvaggio’s specialty restaurants.