Looking back on the first ever Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise, it’s hard to pick a ‘favorite part’, something we try to do at the end of every voyage. The question is normally asked after we are off the ship, in the car, and on the way home; “What did you like best?”, we will say to one another. The answers have ranged from a particularly interesting port of call, tour, crew member or, most often; a few precious minutes spent at a sidewalk cafe, just drinking in the scene. By the time we leave Seabourn Sojourn, the list of favorites will probably focus on personal moments made fabulous by a person or persons; the life blood of any outstanding sailing experience. Still, there are a number of highlights that made the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise a lifetime quality memory, mostly all little things, done well, as Seabourn does.
Our port of embarkation, Monte Carlo, is a beautiful place to begin a cruise vacation and a perfect location for the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise which many Seabourn guests took advantage of, enjoying the nightlife in the overnight port.
That we had fresh fruit in our suite on Seabourn Sojourn, replenished twice daily, made for a healthy snack between amazing creations made by celebrity chefs along for the sailing.
Caviar Sail away is a signature Seabourn event that fit right in with the Food and Wine theme of the sailing. As an ingredient in a number of dishes designed by the chefs on board, would see caviar nearly every day in one form or another.
The crew members on Seabourn Sojourn were honestly happy to see us, as opposed to pretending to like us because it is their job to do so. The difference is staggering. Pictured here, Ivan (who works in 12 different places on the ship at last count) and Roccio (my suite stewardess who was just as sweet as sugar) from Brazil.
The Block Party is another signature Seabourn event that invites Seabourn guests out of their suites and into the hallway to meet other guests, crew and officers while snacks and beverages are served. Brilliant. Commonly heard the day after: “Oh, I met you in the hallway last night”.
The culinary skill level of these chefs on board the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise enabled some amazing creations probably not otherwise possible. Case in point: Chocolate Caviar. Bam.
One of my favorite places for an early dinner was the Patio Grill. Open even when it is a bit chilly outside, crew members carefully wrap passengers in blankets, if needed.
Browsing for a set of pearls for Lisa, the $20,000 price tag was much higher than I anticipated, putting it beyond my reach. I liked that the helpful jewelry expert spent time with me, providing the knowledge I needed for the future as opposed to dismissing me as unworthy of his expertise.
The Colonnade Restaurant, an open air venue for those who chose to sit outside, provided a wonderful view of the places we visited. Shown here, Marseilles during lunch.
While there was so much Food and Wine content scheduled for the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise that I did not have much time for getting off the ship, I liked that we had views of beautiful places, like St Tropez , shown here.
I have never seen a more visible Cruise Director than Seabourn Sojourn’s Jan Stearman. In addition to being at every major event, she also sang (like a bird) with the ship’s entertainment staff.
Quite the showman, Iron Chef winner Patrice Olivon was a crowd favorite and got the cooking demonstrations that weaved throughout the programming off to the right start.
Passionate about wine, Sommelier Sebastian was the perfect choice to lead the three-day Wine Seminar as well as a number of other wine and aperitif-related events including pairing, tasting and just general enjoyment. “You love wine? You are going to love it more when I get done with you.”
Beautiful Santa Margherita provided my favorite beautiful backdrop for the time when Seabourn guests gathered on board for sail away.
Celebrity Chef Alfio Longo’s Pesto Making Demonstration and Competition got Seabourn guests into the Food and Wine experience in an active way that set the tone for other events throughout the voyage.
Seabourn’s energetic and inventive Chef Tony Egger was on hand, insuring the success of the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise. I have serious appreciation for people who let nothing stand in the way of culinary excellence.
Optional winery tours led by Sommelier Sebastian (who captured this image) took Seabourn guests deep into wine country with a knowledgeable, trusted source of information.
Arriving in Livorno was probably the most beautiful sunrise we saw on the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise.
Tasting what could become a signature burger on Seabourn, we picked between the two finalists one day at lunch. Both were wonderful.
In Livorno, when Seabourn guests came back from tours, rather than take them to the ship, they were dropped off at this castle where Seabourn had local merchants, a band and plenty of champagne on hand to welcome them back ‘home’. On hand, the Livorno port director told me no other company had ever asked to do this nor been allowed in this area, currently under historic restoration.
I liked that Seabourn linked in and brought back local flavor from each place we went on the 11-night Mediterranean sailing, including this little assortment of local delicacies from Livorno.
Remember, all this Food and Wine cruise content is layered on top of a first class hotel operation; the perfect springboard from which to launch what looks to be an event Seabourn will repeat in the future. Multiple sailings are scheduled for 2015. See your travel agent now; this one sold out fast. Rightfully so.
Granting us unprecedented access, only Food & Wine magazine and ChrisCruises were allowed in the dining room before each meal to capture photos of dishes and sit in on the chef’s menu briefing each night.
Throughout the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise, celebrity chefs on board for the event were approachable and happy to answer questions and provide helpful tips to Seabourn guests.
Going behind the scenes, Seabourn allowed unrestricted access to galley areas where the amazing culinary creations we saw on the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise were made.
Going into secure areas of the galley, Seabourn Food and Beverage Manager Paul Beswetherick showed me $200,000-worth of Caviar.
Touring places on Seabourn Sojourn rarely seen by the public, we now know what an officers stateroom looks like.
As part of the ‘family’ on Seabourn Sojourn, we totally enjoyed Executive Chef Neal Breen’s tasting and feedback session with cooks just before each meal on Seabourn Sojourn.
On board for the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise, Seabourn Manager of Restaurants and Bars Luca Dimatteo arranged interviews, total access and more for us.
One of the most popular events on the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise, a Wine and Cheese sail away, held in the ships’s stunning Observation Lounge when weather might have otherwise canceled the signature event.
A little something special was left for us every night in our suites on the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise.
I liked that the passenger group on Seabourn Sojourn felt comfortable in the environment created by the Seabourn Food and Wine cruise and did not hesitate to capture favorite moments on their devices.
What a thrill for Seabourn guests to work and learn alongside celebrity chefs on the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise.
Racing the clock, a Celebrity Chef Cooking Competition was one of the most popular events on the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise.
Inviting Seabourn guests into otherwise-restricted areas, the Mediterranean Galley Market Lunch brought Seabourn guests into the galley to sample a variety of delicacies, in the area of the facility where they were created.
What a nice touch to award each participating chef an engraved knife, commemorating their participation in the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise. Classsy.
Seabourn Sojourn’s Executive Chef Neal Breen, probably ready to have “his” kitchen back after the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise, was as gracious and professional as might be expected of any Seabourn crew member.
The beautiful Malta port of Valletta was an easy walk-off place to wander for a day towards the end of the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise.
Making sure everything was perfect for the last of three Wine Tasting Sessions, Sommelier Sebastian was intent on insuring an excellent experience for “his” guests, a personal commitment we saw in all areas of operation on Seabourn Sojourn.
A nice (and appropriate) gift to each of us along for the Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise, a Seabourn Wine Set.
“We remain, as always, at your service”- it was the last line on a memo from the Chief Purser on Seabourn Sojourn left in my suite explaining a credit that would appear on my account because taxes and fees charged had been slightly decreased…and is reflective of the general attitude of Seabourn about their family of guests.
I can not recall any other ocean cruise experience when I have remembered as many names of the crew members, and probably will for quite some time. They were just that good.
Coming up next: A gallery of 50 menu items, many created on this sailing.
Come Along With Us On The Seabourn Food & Wine Cruise
Here At ChrisCruises. com– Look for a complete list of daily posts, including:
- Seabourn Food And Wine Cruise Sails Away
- Food and Wine Cruise Visits Marseilles, Meets The Neighbors
- Seabourn Food And Wine Cruise Builds On A Solid Foundation
- Food and Wine Cruise Bakes A Luxurious Cake
- Thoughtful Surprises A Big Part Of The Seabourn Experience
- Looking Deeper, We Find Gold On Seabourn
- A Day At Sea Brings Bonus Food And Wine Events
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