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travel menu specialty series: food and wine cruises--indulge two passions at once!

by Lisa Bonet

Sometimes thinking of new ways to spend a holiday can be a little frustrating and finding new destinations to travel to can seem like a major chore. Culinary travel holidays are something that have taken off greatly over the last few years, with more vacationers finding jetting off to far flung destinations to learn about cooking new and exciting cuisines a real joy. However, one often overlooked area of pleasurable vacations like this is the Food and Wine Cruise, something which can help you learn new skills, discover new tastes and all without the hassle of trying to book new accommodation for every destination. You simply unpack once and arrive at each port of call for a new foodie heaven experience. 

Food and wine cruises

This kind of vacation can be something that is really different, unique and totally removed from your normal run of the mill beach or tourist break. Deciding to take a look at foodie inspired holidays means that the world really is your oyster. Some cruises will offer the chance to experience cookery lessons, where you will learn to make new dishes inspired by the places you visit, or you may get instruction on fine dining and wines on board the ship. Some other cruise liner packages will offer the traveler the chance to stop off at notable culinary ports throughout the world, in order that local delicacies and fine wines can be sampled in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. You may also find that some cruise liners offer a mixture of both. Depending on what cruise line you choose, you may find that there are well known or renowned celebrity chefs or cooks on board too, who will be giving cookery lessons or offering short courses on the regional specialty foods from whichever place in the world you are visiting.

Alongside the culinary aspects of such a vacation, many cruises will also offer wine courses. This is so that you can learn about the right wines to accompany your dishes and also get a feel for what food tastes right with which particular type of wine. Naturally, these types of holidays are somewhat age restricted and you must be over eighteen years of age to participate. Some cruise liners will only take passengers who are over the age of twenty one for such holidays, so it is important you check thoroughly before booking to avoid disappointment. 

Ideas for destinations

European Cruises: A cruise around European countries is ideal for people who want to explore some of the rich wine producing regions of this part of the world alongside a wealth of culinary experiences. For instance, a Windstar is introducing its first purely food and wine focused vacation, which will begin next year. From 2014, they will be offering a package, which is devoted to the experience of Spanish wine and food and takes in the ports of Cadiz and Malaga, amongst others. On board the liners, passengers will be treated to local Spanish delicacies and learn about the right wines to accompany them, as well as being afforded the time to visit local vineyards and take part in culinary trips off ship. The same company also offers similar trips to the French Riveria, Italy and the Baltic. 

Asian Cruises: The Asian Culinary Cruise is as yet a relatively small market and liners and places are limited. However, Paul Gaugin Cruises is offering a chance for vacationers to experience exotic destinations such as Tahiti and Polynesia while enjoying real gourmet food cooked by celebrity chefs. Many of them will also offer cooking demonstrations.

American Cruises: Perhaps more ideal for the first time cruiser, or someone who does not necessarily wish to fly to get to the liner (though this is dependent on which state you live in), taking a cruise in the USA may be the best opportunity to experience world cuisine, while staying closer to home. It can be worth looking into holidays with Holland America, who operates two specific ships that take part in culinary cruise vacations and that each have their own ‘culinary arts centers’, places in which chefs will teach their willing students to create delicious dishes and learn new creative kitchen skills which they can then take home with them. They specifically tour America from May through to September, but the rest of the year take in other worldwide destinations including Australia and the Mediterranean.

Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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