Seabourn: Engaging Program Sets The Stage

The first full day of our 14-night sailing on the Seabourn Food And Wine Cruise brought a number of culinary-oriented events. Sailing to Halong Bay, Vietnam those sailing with us on Seabourn Sojourn could pick and choose anything from a informative live chef cooking demonstration to a lively small group experience with making molecular cocktails. By the end of the day, culinary content exclusive to the Food and Wine cruise would rack up nearly a dozen events, taking full advantage of our day at sea. Layered on top of what Seabourn already does on any given sailing; an impressive accomplishment to be sure. But not really the big story here.


Chef Bernd Siener - 14

The day began with an interesting cooking demonstration by guest chef Bernd Siener. With an impressive pedigree to catch the attention of those in attendance, Siener immediately set an unexpected tone for the day. “Don’t be a slave to recipes,” said Siener, encouraging the audience to experiment while sharing hard-learned lessons and cooking tips that might take a lifetime to accumulate otherwise. Among those:

  • Fresh Garlic: remove and discard the sometimes heavy flavored core
  • Soy Sauce: not all are created equal
  • Micro-Croutons: made from scratch, freeze the bread before cutting into tiny cubes
  • Season meat in the pan, not before, to bring out the full flavor
  • The biggest mistake made when cooking fish is using too much heat
  • How to check fish to be sure it is done? Insert a toothpick. If the toothpick goes in easily, it’s done. If not, keep cooking.


Chef Bernd Siener - 02

All good information, presented in an easy-to-understand manner that gave those in attendance something to take home and use in their own kitchens.   Still, Siener’s generous sharing of information was not the big story here. It was what happened after the cooking demonstration was complete that resonated with Seabourn Food and Wine Cruise guests.

They swarmed the stage.


Wines Of Asia Lecture - 26

Throughout the 60-minute cooking demonstration, the audience was eerily silent. Watching from the back of the room, it was difficult for me to tell if they were being polite and paying attention or just not all that interested. A pin hitting the carpeted Grand Salon showroom on Seabourn Sojourn would have made a racket. That quiet.

At other cooking demonstrations I have attended, there was usually some background noise as the audience compared notes, chatted about one step in a recipe or another and so on.

This intense level of engagement continued as Sommelier Sebastian Pacheco engaged a group of well-traveled Seabourn passengers for the first in a series of Mixology Demonstrations, this one on Molecular Cocktails.


Molecular Cocktail Demonstration - 01

The day would also bring a presentation on the Wines of Asia, turn the standard Afternoon Tea Time to the East with an infusion of Chinese Pastries and integrate advance destination information with an informative port lecture that went far beyond where to shop.


Molecular Cocktail Demonstration - 05

Looking ahead on the planned itinerary, this pattern would continue throughout the 14-night Taste of Asia sailing, stacking a variety of food and wine-specific content on each of the six days at sea.   This gallery gives a good idea of what was experienced on the first of those.


Dim Sum Lunch - 38

Still, it was not totally apparent why the food and wine content seemed heavily weighted to days at sea until the next morning, as we continued sailing to our first port of call in Vietnam: Halong Bay.

As the sun was rising, we regained the Internet signal commonly lost in this part of the world where satellite coverage is sparse. That too was not surprising, stalking Seabourn Sojourn on Marine Traffic for several weeks before our journey, I noticed there were many days when the ship simply could not be found by satellite tracking.

Twelve hours ahead of Florida time, I was beginning my day as Lisa was ending hers back home. Catching up on topics at both ends of the connection, the conversation froze when we entered Halong Bay at sunrise and I got a glimpse of what the day might bring.

Sailing To Halong Bay, Vietnam - 123

Engagement of Food and Wine content accomplished, it was time to engage a part of the world I had never seen before and might not return to ever again.


Follow Along With Us


  1. Facebook will feature each day’s post here as well as a variety of photo galleries created as we sail. Encouraged: Your questions and comments.
  2. Instagram lovers will see one post a day that summarizes much of what we saw and did in the last 24 hours.
  3. Pinterest boards for each port of call are already set up, ready to be filled with photos as time permits, subject to bandwidth limitations we may encounter along the way.  Also to be created and published perhaps with a bit higher priority, food and wine photos.
  4. Twitter has been populated with prescheduled tweets throughout the day that will be updated with events and happenings around the ship and ashore as the occur.  Follow @OrlandoChris, @SeabournCruise and the tag #SeabournFoodAndWineCruise.
  5. Tumblr will be all about food and wine with multiple posts throughout each day.
  6. Google+ posts will recap the day at its end
  7. Exposure Photo Storybooks will no doubt come after sailing and be more reflective of the entire experience, as usual.  Different this time, multiple storybooks focusing on culinary events as well as destinations visited along the way.
  8. Chris Cruises In Progress takes readers directly to a list of all Seabourn Food And Wine Cruise posts.
  9. 2016 Seabourn Food And Wine Cruise Journal- will be stuck to the top of the list here at while the event is in progress, all the daily posts, in order, travel journal style
  10. Your Questions Answered. Have questions as we sail?  Email for answers anytime