Ultimate Dinner Parties At Sea, Just $1000 To Attend

dinner parties at sea

Have a conversation about cruise ships and the topic of dining options usually comes up. It’s just a popular topic that cruise lines invest a lot of time and resources in, striving to provide exactly what their passengers desire. Now, more than ever, cruise lines are doing just that, often tapping well-known culinary experts to bring their shore-side influence aboard the ships. Crystal Cruises is no exception and has their own unique twist on the food focus with what they call Ultimate Dinner Parties At Sea.

To begin the name-dropping we have Napa Valley vintners Bo and Heidi Barrett and multiple Michelin star-winning Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa each hosting one of Crystal Cruises’ 2013 Ultimate Vintage Room Dinners, all for the first time ever.

“The Ultimate Vintage Room dinners allow us to push the culinary envelope over the top, with each event truly a once-in-a-lifetime affair created just for Crystal guests,” said Toni Neumeister, Crystal Cruises vice president, food and beverage operations in a World Traveler article.

The exclusive events can accommodate just 12 to 14 guests (per event) who will have the opportunity to attend one of the seven-course, ultra-rare, wine-pairing feasts, either while sailing a Mediterranean cruise aboard Crystal Serenity (starting May 18) or the Black Sea aboard Crystal Symphony (departing July 13), respectively.

Held in the ships’ private Vintage Rooms just once or twice a year, the “dinner tab” to attend is $1,000 per guest.

Will it be worth the price? First, check the pedigrees of the hosts:

dinner parties at seaChef Nobu Matsuhisa
A noted celebrity chef, restaurateur and the brains behind a culinary empire, Matsuhisa will be on board with his first-ever “ultimate” meal for Crystal, accompanied by rare wine and champagne pairings.

Nobu will also hold autograph sessions, cooking classes, and larger omakase dinners throughout the sailing.

Bo and Heidi Barrett
Between Bo’s Chateau Montelena winery, depicted in the film “Bottle Shock,” and Heidi’s award-winning “cult” offering 1992 Screaming Eagle (averaging $6700 per bottle), the Napa couple is aptly credited for putting California wines on the map.

Accordingly, they will be personally selecting each vintage served for the evening.

The cruise itself? Not shabby either, a choice of two, 12-day voyages boast equally interesting itineraries that chime in on the destination focus craze staying late in port if not overnight.

The May 18 sailing actually overnights three times, in Monte Carlo (during the Grand Prix) and in Istanbul and Barcelona with visits to Mykonos, Santorini/Thíra, Sorrento, Bonifacio/Corsica and Florence/Livorno.

The July 13 Black Sea voyage explores Rome/Civitavecchia, Sorrento, Sicily/Taormina, Contanþa, Yalta and Sochi, with overnights in Odessa and Istanbul.

Cruise lines have been charging extra for upscale dining for quite some time. This is nothing new. But ultra-lux Crystal Cruises touts a more-inclusive way of doing things and fabulous culinary experiences as part of what they do.

Standard fare on a Crystal cruise includes the line’s unique cheese and wine cellars, overseen by on-board, certified cheese and wine sommeliers. Passengers enjoy fresh, chef-like cocktails served by certified mixologists too. Featuring gourmet dining options at every meal, whether in the Crystal Dining Room, at afternoon tea, or in the privacy of a stateroom, Crystal seemed to have all the bases covered.

Still, even Crystal has to draw the line somewhere.

Why not a $1000 upcharge for a lifetime dining event with world-class culinary experts? It’s probably a bargain.


[Photo credit – Crystal Cruises]

Grand Prix Package A Special Event At Sea

Grand Prix

Monaco’s Grand Prix has brought out the best of Formula One auto racing each year, and to race fans waiting for that starting flag to drop, there’s nothing better. In 1929, the first winner was a sleek Bugatti, completing the difficult course in just under four hours. Last year, racing legend Mark Weber crossed the finish line in less than two.

Want to know what next year will bring? Add the Grand Prix with Windstar package to a Yachting the Riviera yacht vacation.

Sail into the glamorous port of Monaco, on Windstar Cruises elegant sailing yacht Wind Surf, to experience the world’s most legendary auto racing event. With Windstar’s exclusive Grand Prix package added on to Wind Surf’s Yachting the Rivera voyage, race fans get preferred seating for the preliminaries on Saturday.

They’ll also get a glimpse at all the preparation that goes into the famous race, then the race itself on Sunday where they can cheer on their favorite driver with select seats.

Other highlights of the package include a night out in Monaco with dinner at the Café De Paris, followed by a night of gambling at Monte Carlo’s Grand Casino. Also included is an exclusive cocktail reception and Grand Prix dinner on board the yacht in Cannes as well as a special Sunday brunch the day of the race.

Rubbing elbows with the rich and famous has its cost though. The optional Grand Prix Package starts at $2,299 per person (in addition to cruise fare starting at $2999).

Mark Webber Wins 2012 Monaco Grand Prix



[Flickr photo by fusky]

Kensington Tours announces dream trips for sports fans

Kensington Tours, a travel company that specializes in private-guided adventure travel, has announced a series of tours that are guaranteed to be a hit with sports fans. These trips include VIP treatment for travelers, offering up luxury accommodations, access to glamorous events, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and of course, excellent seats at some of the most well known and legendary events in all of sports.

This Championship Series of tours includes options to attend events on three different continents, including jaunts to Europe for Wimbledon, the Ryder Cup, and the F1 Grand Prix in Monaco. In North America the events include a chance to attend the Masters golf or the U.S. Open tennis tournaments, as well as the Kentucky Derby, or the Super Bowl, while travelers to South America can opt to experience the Brazilian F1 Grand Prix in Rio.

Attending these amazing sporting events is just the beginning however, as Kensington has taken great strides to offer travel packages that ensure an unforgettable experience. For instance, some of the luxuries include helicopter transfers, police escorts, and guided tours of the host cities, as well as a chance to play a round of golf on some of the top courses in the world and get the opportunity to take a drive in a Ferrari. Upgrade options include private luxury boxes, limos, a private jet, and VIP access to behind the scenes activities as well.

While most of these sporting events are still months off, the Championship Series tours are already filling up fast. There is a reason why these events are so exclusive, and if you’re looking for the ultimate way to experience any of them, Kensington is here to provide that experience. For sports fans, these tours really are a dream come true.