The Crystal Cruise Experience

If you’ve heard about Crystal Cruises, you know that it’s the pinnacle of luxury.

“At Crystal Cruises, we are motivated by a single goal: to provide you with the finest experience not only in cruising but, in all of luxury travel.”

When you travel on-board two of the highest-rated ships in the world, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, you will discover the hallmarks of Crystal: extraordinary service, abundant space, exceptional quality and incredible choices— the Crystal Cruise essence and difference.

veranda-CCYour accommodations on-board are impeccable. You’ll be pampered. A personal butler who will anticipate your every need will attend your penthouse suite. Complimentary amenities will include wine and a selection of your favourite spirits. You’ll have a sanctuary at sea. Your spacious, contemporary stateroom has all the touched of your own home: wireless internet, television, DVD player, soft drinks, bottled water as well as something you probably don’t have at home, an ocean view. The ulliving area- CCtimate indulgence. You’ll have a separate living and dining area, private workout studio, sound system and three flat-screen televisions. Delicious beginnings. Savor the arrival of each day with a quiet breakfast on your private verandah. Simple luxuries. Enjoy the beauty of fresh flowers, the pampered comfort of twice-daily housekeeping and nightly turn-down service.

The bars and lounges on-board are astonishing. Enjoy custom-blended cocktails at the Cove Bar. theater- CCImagine fresh mango, muddled raspberries and a zest of ginger. When the sun sets, the fun rises at LUXE. Your nights will be accompanied with an amazing DJ and an incredible atmosphere. If the nightclub isn’t for you, you can enjoy a Broadway-style production, Hollywood celebrity guests, comedy revues and classical recitals in the theater.

The difference is crystal clear.


Interested in Crystal Cruises? Click here to speak to one of our specialists.

What you didn’t know about Olives

800px-NCI_2_green_olivesOlives have become an essential ingredient in the kitchen and especially in Mediterranean cuisine. In a previous post, we talked about how good olives are for your health but did you know all these unique facts about them?

1) Olive oil is produced the same way now as thousands of years ago. Olives are still harvested by hand, collected in nets and placed at the foot of an olive tree. Several days later, olives are  taken to the closest mill where stones weighing several tonnes crush the olives and pits into mash. The olive mash is then spread on to thin mats and pressed, separating the oil.

2) Olive oil is a stretch mark prevention treatment.

3) Greece is the largest producer of olive oil.

4) Olive oil contains no cholesterol, sodium or carbohydrates.

5) Eye shadow was once made from olive oil. Women in Greece created the first ever eyeshadow by mixing olive oil and charcoal. 800px-Olives_in_bowl

6) Your baked goods will last longer if you substitute butter for olive oil. The vitamin E and poly-phenols help for a longer shelf life.

7) Olives start out green and turn black or purple as they ripen.

8) Olives are drupes— fruit with skin.

Chef Christine Cushing just released a brand new olive oil with  the taste and aroma of fresh almonds, green apple, green banana and fresh lettuce. Click here to find out about it. Also, if you’re interested in the Mediterranean and Mediterranean cuisine, find out about an EXCLUSIVE Bon Vivant offer by clicking here.

What are the top 5 spices used in Turkey?

Turkish cuisine is the perfect juxtaposition of east meets west— a fusion of Central Asian,Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 1.50.29 PM Caucasian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisine.

The spices that are prevalent in their dishes are unique, bold and bursting with flavour.

The top 5 spices used in Istanbul are:

Red Pepper Flakes

If you like your food a little bit spicy, try adding red pepper flakes. Made by drying and crushing red chili peppers, usually cayenne, red pepper flakes adds a perfect addition to a flavourful meal.

Health Benefits:

  • An excellent source of beta-carotene which is converted to Vitamin A— promotes healthy vision, particularly night vision.
  • A potent antioxidant

urfa bieber
Urfa Biber
Also known as Isot Pepper, Urfa Biber is a dried Turkish chili pepper that often is described by its smoky, raisin-like taste with hints of chocolate and tobacco.  Use this in rice, stews and any dish that you wnt to have a deep, dark flavour with a touch of heat.

Health Benefits:
Peppers are filled with capsaicin, which has a lot of health benefits. It helps to burn calories, helps heartburn, has pain-relieving properties and also helps to curb your appetite.

This is one of the worlds most widely used spice. The warm, balsamic and aromatic flavour of oregano makes the perfect addition to Mediterranean cuisine.

Health Benefits:

  • Used to help respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract disorders.
  • Applied topically, oil of oregano can help skin conditions such as acne and dandruff.
  • Contains fiber, iron, magnese, vitamin E, iron, calcium, omega fatty acids and more.

In Turkish cuisine, Mint is used fresh and dried in many salad recipes as well as meat, poultry and fish. Since Mint has an extremely strong flavour, use a small amount at first until you get used to it.

Health Benefits:
Promotes digestion and soothes stomach aches and indigestion
The strong aroma of mint can help with nausea and headaches
It is very effective in clearing up congestion of the nose throat and lungs
Cumin packs a big punch. It’s nutty, peppery flavour brings the perfect spice to any dish. It is great for fish dishes, curries, couscous and much more.

Health Benefits:

  • Controls diabetes
  • Contains essential minerals. A tablespoon of cumin will give you 6 percent of the recommended daily value of magnesium
  • Because of it’s high antioxidant content, some studies have shown it to play a role in fighting cancer

If you want to get a taste of Istanbul and learn perfect Turkish recipes click here.


Image from:

Top Chef Hits the High Seas with Celebrity Cruises


Celebrity Cruises has just taken sea-bound culinary voyages a delicious step beyond thanks to their new partnership with Bravo’s “Top Chef” franchise. If you’re a fan of the Emmy Award-winning culinary competition program, you might want to jump aboard and join in on this new global, food-based adventure called “Top Chef at Sea.” These cruises give fans a coveted opportunity to enjoy an “exclusive taste of the well-known series with enhanced culinary experiences,” according to a recent press release.

The Nitty Gritty
Celebrity Cruises will launch four cruises (starting in July and going through to November 2014) to idyllic destinations including Europe, Bermuda, the Caribbean and Alaska, each featuring former “Top Chef” contestants. The cruise line test drove the concept last year with their “Top Chef: The Cruise” charter, to resounding and overwhelming success. These four new cruises mark the industry’s first Top Chef-themed, licensing partnership and Celebrity’s first, exclusive Top-Chef-inspired experiences available on 10 Celebrity ships.

Top Chef Perks
Perks include complimentary cooking demonstrations and being a part of the show’s Quickfire Challenges where the audience has a chance to ask Top Chef contestants those burning questions you might have been yelling at the TV during the show. For those wanting a more exclusive experience, private cooking classes and events hosted by former “chef’testants” (for an additional fee), are also available. Guests can enjoy “Top Chef” inspired menu evenings on board 10 ships on Celebrity’s luxury vacations for all sailings departing July 2014-2015.

‘Top Chef’ viewers are constantly asking for their chance to get a taste of the show first-hand,” said Jamie Cutburth, SVP of Partnerships, Bravo & Oxygen Media. “With their commitment to and excellence in providing top-tier gastronomic experiences, the partnership with Celebrity Cruises is a delicious way for us to satisfy this request for Bravo’s loyal and passionate fan base.”

Looks like everyone is in for a tasty time. To get a sneak peek at the “Top Chef at Sea,” concept, watch the video below. For eligible sailings, please contact one of our Bon Vivant Specialists in booking this new concept onboard Celebrity Cruises.

Bon Voyage!

by: Mary Luz Mejia

Oceania’s Islands & Icons with Chef Christine Cushing- The Greek Isles

Chocoholics Rejoice! Stir it Up- Delicious Chocolate Concoctions Aboard Seabourn Ships

I LOVE chocolate.  At times, it’s hard for me to describe how much I enjoy eating rich, smooth, chocolaty goodness.  Some might call it a weakness, but to them I say- you don’t know what you’re missing!

When I first heard that the Seabourn chefs had created a new chocolate treat in their test kitchens, I immediately became excited and decided to look into it further. And let me tell you, I’m so glad that I did! Corporate Travelling Chef Rak Adhikary, is a chocolate genius. He has combined world famous Belgium chocolate truffles with hot milk, to create a new hot chocolate concept.

The chocolates are speared on a handy little stick, and are placed in a steamy cup of milk. The chocolates are stirred in, and voila! A delicious new spin on hot chocolate is created. It’s creamy, and oh so delightful. Even better, you’re not limited to one specific flavour! Some of the decadent choices include a classic milk chocolate, a wonderful dark, and my personal favourite- a caramel chocolate combination.  This new creation has proved to be very popular, and guests have taken to it like a kid in a candy store.

To Seabourn: on behalf of myself, and chocolate lovers everywhere- we thank you for this fantastic new twist on a classic that everyone loves!

By: Ruby Reis