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From Calypso brunch to chowder cook-off, HAL highlights local cuisine in 'Sip, Savor and Sail' cruises

From Calypso brunch to chowder cook-off, HAL highlights local cuisine in 'Sip, Savor and Sail' cruises
Holland America Line's 'Sip, Savor and Sail' cruises in the Caribbean, Europe and Alaska focus on local cuisine and beverages, and have specially developed shore excursions. On these five voyages, guest chefs and local vintners, mixologists and brewmasters will share their expertise and their creations during classes, demonstrations and tastings in the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine, while specialized menu options will be featured in the dining room and alternative restaurants.

Natacha Gomez, catering manager of Kokiyaj Bar and Grill and owner of Chef T in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, is booked for the 'Sip, Savor and Sail' cruise in the Caribbean on Maasdam’s April 7 voyage. She will host a Calypso Brunch in the Pinnacle Grill, among other activities. Special excursions include 'History & Cuisine of San Juan on Foot' at San Juan, Puerto Rico, 'Caribbean Culinary Experience' at Basseterre, St. Kitts, and 'Catamaran Cruise with Lobster Lunch' at St. John’s, Antigua.

In Alaska, the themed sailings will be Westerdam’s May 2 departure, Statendam’s July 13 sailing and Amsterdam’s Aug. 16 voyage. Alaska seafood and produce will be featured, paired with select wines from Northwest vintners and brews from Juneau’s Alaskan Brewing Co. During a 'Louder Chowder Cook-Off' competition, the guest chefs will go head to head, preparing chowder from mystery ingredients.

Alaska cruises feature a total of 16 'Sip and Savor' shore excursions in Juneau, Homer, Kodiak and Ketchikan, Alaska; and Victoria, BC. Examples include 'Glacier View Bike and Brew' at Juneau and 'Exclusive Mountaintop Flightseeing & Crab Feast' at Ketchikan.

Noted chefs and vintners are booked. Jeff Maxfield, executive chef of the SkyCity Restaurant atop the Space Needle in Seattle, and Seis Kamimura, executive chef CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, will be aboard the May 2 cruise, along with Wendy Stuckey of Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, located outside of Seattle.

In Europe, Ryndam departs May 4 round-trip from Harwich, England, for France, Spain and Portugal. The cruise will feature Antony Bennett, executive chef of La Tasca authentic-style tapas restaurants in the UK. Also joining the sailing are master of wines Simon Field and Rebecca Lamont, the head of Wine School at Britain’s oldest wine merchant, Berry Brothers and Rudd.

Five excursions will highlight the region’s culinary and cultural contributions to the world, including 'A Taste of Northwest Spain,' 'Flamenco & Traditional Spanish Meal' and 'Panoramic Cadiz & Jerez with Sherry Tasting.'