Category Archives: Food and Drink

89 Wine Awards For Celebrity Cruises

89 Wine Awards For Celebrity Cruises

Raise A Glass!

Celebrity Cruises Honored With 12 Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards

With 89 Awards for Celebrity Cruises in Nine Years, the cruise line continues its tradition of excellence with the most awarded wine collection at sea.

The awards for Celebrity Cruises’ onboard wine program continue to flow as the cruise line adds 12 additional Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards to its nearly decade-long list of accolades. Wine Spectator annually recognizes restaurant wine lists which feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style.

For nine consecutive years, Celebrity Cruises has set the standard for onboard wine programs, holding more awards from the world’s leading authority on wine than any other cruise line. In addition to receiving 10 “Awards of Excellence” for the second consecutive year, Celebrity received two coveted “Best of Awards of Excellence” for its unique wine lists on the brand’s newest ships — Celebrity Apex and Celebrity Edge — making it the only cruise line among a small, elite group of establishments in the world that have received awards for the past nine consecutive years.

AWARDS

All of the main dining room restaurants on Celebrity’s Millennium and Solstice Series received this year’s “Award of Excellence.”The list of Celebrity Cruises Wine Spectator’s 2021 Restaurant Awards include:

  • Celebrity Apex — Cyprus (“Best of Award of Excellence” since 2020) and Fine Cut (“Award of Excellence” since 2020)
  • Celebrity Constellation – San Marco (“Award of Excellence” since 2013)
  • Celebrity Eclipse – Moonlight Sonata (“Award of Excellence” since 2013)
  • Celebrity Edge – Normandie (“Best of Award of Excellence” since 2019)
  • Celebrity Equinox – Silhouette (“Award of Excellence” since 2013)
  • Celebrity Infinity – Trellis (“Award of Excellence” since 2013)
  • Celebrity Millennium – Metropolitan (“Award of Excellence” since 2013)
  • Celebrity Reflection – Opus (“Award of Excellence” since 2013)
  • Celebrity Silhouette – Grand Cuvee (“Award of Excellence” since 2013)
  • Celebrity Solstice – Grand Epernay (“Award of Excellence” since 2013)
  • Celebrity Summit – Cosmopolitan (“Award of Excellence”)

Celebrity Cruise’s wine collection at sea

Offering one of the largest wine collections at sea, Celebrity Cruises offer over 500 selections. They come from the world’s most sought-after wine regions and some of the most acclaimed labels. An educated and knowledgeable team of Sommeliers onboard every ship help navigate the options. They offer a variety of experiences that immerse guests in wine education and enjoyment including:

  • World Wine Tours – opportunities to sample different wines from across the globe and learn about regional and varietal technicalities
  • Food and Wine Pairing Workshops – samples of contrasting pairings to teach the fundamentals of food and wine chemistry and the way food and wine interact
  • Destination Wine Tours – immersions into beautiful regional wine-producing areas around the world, including winery tours and tastings

Recommended Reading; Celebrity Infinity Cruise Ship Review

Champagne Delivery at the Shake of Your Phone

VIRGIN VOYAGES “SHAKE FOR CHAMPAGNE” ON-DEMAND CHAMPAGNE DELIVERY SERVICE

Also unveiled for Scarlet Lady is Sip, A Luxuriously Effervescent Champagne Lounge and Caviar Bar

Virgin Voyages announced its exclusive on-demand champagne delivery at the shake of your phone. Shake for Champagne enables Sailors to request champagne, anywhere on board Scarlet Lady.

Click play to watch Virgin Voyages Shake For Champagne trailer.

SHAKE FOR CHAMPAGNE

When the Virgin Voyages Sailor App is shaken, a secret Champagne button is revealed

Once pressed, a bottle of Möet Chandon Impérial will be delivered to the Sailor.

Delivered in an eye-catching, gleaming Virgin red champagne bucket, the service includes a 750ml bottle of Möet Chandon Imperial with two glasses. Möet Chandon Imperial is a blend of over 200 crus, mingling the full body of pinot noir with the suppleness of Meunier and the finesse of chardonnay – the perfect pairing for a day or evening sailing in the warm Caribbean sea.

Also Revealed. Luxurious Champagne Lounge and Caviar Bar – Sip.

Sip is a decadent lounge featuring a diverse curation of champagne labels, including Moët Chandon – Virgin Voyages’ featured champagne house. A glass of bubbles compares well to other cruise lines at just $9. For something more lavish, a sailor can splash out on a $1,000 vintage bottle. With Virgin’s quintessential British heritage and eccentricity in mind, Sip will also offer a signature afternoon high tea.

The glamour and effervescence of champagne inspired the design by Virgin Voyages and HKS Hospitality. Sip features a long marble bar with rose-gold inlay, and encourages Sailors to indulge in one of the most luxurious pairings of them all, champagne and caviar.

The colour of the champagnes that will be served is echoed in the gold and rose-pink hues offset by deep watery blues, with carrara white marble bars and tables. The deep ocean blue banquette wall and carpet that wraps through the space, will create a chance to revel or relax at all times of day as the ship sails through the ocean’s blue waves.

LIMITED-TIME BOOKING OFFER 

Sailors can toast to Virgin Voyages’ inaugural season now through November 30, as those who book April or May sailings will receive a complimentary special Virgin Voyages limited-edition bottle of Möet Chandon Imperial in their cabin upon their arrival. Sailors who book now can also snag their voyage with half off their deposit. Future Sailors and First Mates are invited to check out Virgin Voyages by visiting www.virginvoyages.com.

Recommended Reading Virgin Voyages – Dining Venues

A Cocktail From Barbados for National Rum Day

Celebrate National Rum Day with a Cocktail from Barbados

The Birthplace of Rum

Today is National Rum Day so why not celebrate with a delicious cocktails from Barbados, the birthplace of rum (see recipes below). Barbados is the number one destination for all rum connoisseurs and heritage enthusiasts who want to discover the fascinating story of the spirit of the Caribbean.

Photo Credit: By Aneil Lutchman

Cheryl Carter UK Director of BTMI says – “Rum is not only a part of our history but in our way of life, many friendships are made and arguments resolved over and/or with, a rum cocktail.  It’s deeply rooted in our history and culture and is a favourite with almost everyone on the island. We encourage our visitors to explore the many varieties and, several rum distilleries on the island, as each has its own unique, fascinating story to tell.”

Barbados was built on the business and culture of rum and has been producing the spirit for over 350 years. From as far back as the 1600s, sugar – and the rum which was made from it – dominated the economic development of Barbados, right up until the 1990s. Barbados was known as “the richest spot of land in all the European colonies in the Caribbean region”, all made possible by a thriving sugar industry, and booming rum production.

St Nicholas Abbey – Barbados

On island visitors have the unique opportunity of seeing a working sugar plantation at St. Nicholas Abbey; here they can witness the grinding of the sugar cane, the traditional distillation process and the oak barrels where the rum is stored, giving the St. Nicholas Abbey rum its magnificent flavour.

Mount Gay Rum Visitors Centre – Barbados

Considered to be the oldest rum brand in the world, the Mount Gay Visitor Centre enables visitors to discover the secrets of the Mount Gay rum making process; by delving into the history of the brand and, sampling its award-winning spirits.

The Foursquare Rum Factory though modern is yet another award-winning factory on the island. This factory offers free self-guided tours and tasting sessions and, it also houses a heritage park with picturesque landscaped gardens.

Visitors can also embrace this magical elixir in the islands first rum vault, hidden on the platinum west coast at the prestigious Colony Club. The Rum Vault boasts the largest collection of rum in Barbados with over 150 varieties to choose from.  There, guests can also enjoy Rum pairing dinners, Rum themed mixology demonstrations and Rum inspired culinary classes.

Great Rum Cocktail Recipes for National Rum Day

Why not try your hand at a few great rum cocktails? Here are a few recipes shared by Visit Barbados.

3 Star Mojito

2 oz Plantation 3 star white rum

6 mint leaves

1 oz simple syrup

1 oz lime juice

Top with soda water

Pepper my Corn!

1.5 oz Plantation 5yr Rum

1 oz GuavaJuice

1 oz Passionfruit juice

Manuka Honey Tea

½ oz Simple Syrup  with a pinch of Black pepper

1 oz Fresh Lime Juice

Garnish: Citrus Wheel with Red Pepper Corns

Fancy That!

2 oz Plantation Pineapple Rum

Orange Cinnamon Clove Tea

1 oz Lemon Juice

2 oz Passionfruit Juice

1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

2 dashes Orange Bitters

Other Blog Posts Related to Barbados

Corky’s Garage – The Best Bar In Barbados

Experience an evening of mixology at the sophisticated Corky’s Garage – Barbados

Barbados – Sustainability for a Greener Future

How To Make The Sapphire Princess Cocktail

Cruise News

As Sapphire Princess returns to Southampton for the summer, Princess Cruises has announced the ships’ namesake gin-based cocktail will be served exclusively onboard the vessel.

The ‘Sapphire Princess’ was created in partnership with the Bombay Sapphire Distillery, located in nearby Hampshire at Laverstoke Mill.

Inspired by the 2,670-guest ship and its Mediterranean ports of call, the bright blue-hued drink is the newest addition to the ship’s cocktail menu, complementing the extensive beverage options already available onboard.

New Shore Excursion

Princess Cruises has introduced an exciting new excursion for 2019. The visit to the Bombay Sapphire Distillery will be available on the day of disembarkation in Southampton. The in-depth tour offers guests the chance to learn the process of gin production, taste the signature botanicals for which the distillery is renowned and toast their holiday. For more information on the tour read my post Bombay Sapphire Distillery with Princess Cruises.

I was very fortunate to be invited by Princess Cruises to enjoy a guided tour at Laverstoke Mill hosted by Sam Carter, Senior Brand Ambassador for the Bombay Sapphire Distillery. After the tour we were treated to a very special class on how to make the Sapphire Princess Cocktail.

The drink includes a generous measure of Bombay Sapphire gin, which is itself made with botanical ingredients sourced from several of the countries and destinations Sapphire Princess sails to.

Sapphire Princess Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 45ml Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 15ml Blue Curacao
  • 15ml MARTINI Bianco Vermouth
  • 15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Splash of Prosecco

Glassware: chilled martini cocktail glass

Method: Squeeze the lemon juice into a cocktail shaker and add all other ingredients (except the sparkling wine) including lots of cubed ice and shake well for 10 seconds. Using a fine tea strainer, strain the cocktail into a martini cocktail glass and add a splash of Prosecco. Garnish by squeezing an orange peel disc over the drink, allowing the oils from the orange skin to rest on the top of the drink. Then using a knife, make a cut 1/3rd of the way through the orange peel disc and place on the rim edge of the glass.

Here’s a video I took from our class with Sam Carter.

The cocktail’s mixers include Blue Curacao to evoke the sea. A splash of Prosecco signifies the fizz and bubbles created by waves in the water.

Sapphire Princess Offers

Sapphire Princess will spend April – October 2019 sailing to a variety of destinations from Southampton including the Mediterranean, Norwegian Fjords and Canada & New England.

The new cocktail is available on sailings including:

An 11-day Canary Islands cruise, departing October 8, 2019 on Sapphire Princess. Sailing roundtrip from Southampton. Ports of call include Vigo, Spain, Madeira (Portugal), Santa Cruz De Tenerife (Spain), Gran Canaria (Canary Islands), Lanzarote (Canary Islands). Prices from £1,099 per person click here for details.

A 14-day Mediterranean Adventurer cruise, departing August 17, 2019 on Sapphire Princess. Sailing roundtrip from Southampton, ports of call include Seville (Spain), Barcelona (Spain), Marseille (Provence – France), Livorno (Florence/Pisa – Italy) Civitavecchia (Rome – Italy), Alghero (Sardinia), Ceuta (Spanish Morocco – Spain). Prices from £1,249 per person click here for details.

To book visit www.princess.com

For a tour of the ship, check out the video of me with Ben and David having a bit of fun onboard Sapphire Princess.

 

Bombay Sapphire Distillery with Princess Cruises

As well as a glass of bubbly, I am also partial to a pre dinner gin and tonic. Gin has become very fashionable in recent years, with many different types available. My first experience of Bombay Sapphire was about 10 years ago. From that very first sip I fell in love with its creamy almond texture and unique botanical blend.

Little did I know, in 2014 my favourite gin’s new home was just down the road from me. I discovered the Bombay Sapphire Distillery when Princess Cruises invited me to try their signature cocktail there. This is a shore excursion now offered to guests cruising on Sapphire Princess from Southampton in 2019.

Laverstoke Mill, Hampshire

Set in the heart of the Hampshire countryside, Laverstoke Mill consists of 3 Grade II listed buildings formerly used for milling corn and paper.

Laverstoke Mill can be traced back to the Domesday Book. It is now one of the most sustainable distilleries in the world.

These cottages were the homes of on site workers.

The Glasshouse

The Glasshouse is home to the ten botanicals that make up Bombay Sapphire’s unique blend. One side has a Mediterranean climate, while the other is a Tropical climate.

The Test is the purest chalk-stream in the UK. It runs a water turbine which generates electricity for the distillery.

Inside the Glasshouse you can see, smell and learn about each botanical.

The Dakin Still House

A tour of the Dakin Still House is a must. Evidence of it’s rich history adorns the walls and brings the romance of the ‘old days’ back to life.

The two Carter head stills used for producing Bombay Sapphire are named after Thomas and Mary Dakin, who were connected with the early recipe used for Bombay Gin.

Sample the aromas of 22 bowls containing various aromatics.

As you go around each table, punch a hole on the areas of the card which you like the smell of. At the end of your visit, you can present this at the bar where your perfect cocktail will be made for you to enjoy.

You will also find a fabulous display of the bottle and label designs throughout the ages.

Enjoying my perfect gin cocktail, The Laverstoke.

We were also treated to a special class to learn how to make the signature Princess Cruises, Sapphire Princess Cocktail. You can read about that in my post How To Make The Sapphire Princess Cocktail

Location

Laverstoke Mill, Whitchurch, Hampshire, RG28 7NR

OPENING TIMES

7 days a week 10:00 – 20:00 (last admission 18:00)

You can follow them on social media and share your photos when you visit

Facebook – Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Instagram – Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Best Pub in Southampton for Titanic Fans

Ever since I first saw the Titanic movie, I have wanted to visit the pub where Jack wins his ticket to sail on the fateful ship. So when I arranged to meet Cruise Miss in Southampton, this seemed like the perfect excuse to find it. Of course, I should have known that Danielle was familiar with the pub and knew the manager! I was pleased to hear Danielle liked the idea of meeting there, so I knew I was going to like it.

The Grapes, Southampton

Southampton’s maritime associations date back to 1838 when the first foundation stone of the dock was laid. In 1840 the railway link to London opened and two years later the first dock was complete. Southampton soon became known as the Gateway to the Empire, and in 1912 The Grapes was a popular haunt with dock and ship workers including the crew of the Titanic.

Original ornate sign of The Grapes, Southampton

As you approach the building, you can see the original ornate sign from 1912. The inside of the pub is huge and refreshingly traditional. There are no airs and graces here, but the management, staff and locals are so friendly and the gin menu would put any ‘swanky bar’ to shame.

As a long shot, I asked one of the bar staff if they would be able to make a ‘Sapphire Princess’ cocktail, which they did.

The ‘Sapphire Princess’ cocktail

The walls inside are adorned with incredible Titanic memorabilia. The star of the show has to be a framed blueprint of the ship.

Story of the Slade Brothers

The story that made The Grapes most famous for it’s connection with RMS Titanic, is the lucky escape of the Slade Brothers. This plaque outside the pub tells the story.

Titanic Memorabilia

Here is just some of the Titanic memorabilia that can be found at The Grapes pub.

Southampton Shore Excursions

If you are visiting Southampton as a port of call, the cruise line probably wont tell you about The Grapes. For obvious reasons they don’t like to mention Titanic, which is a shame because most cruisers have a place in their heart for the ship. We can imagine how the people on board would have been feeling about being on such an incredible vessel for her inaugural transatlantic. We know that feeling of excitement as you embark your cruise ship and the anticipation of making memories.

The Grapes is located in Oxford Street, which is a short stroll from Dock Gate 4 (Princess, P & O and Cunard) and about 15 minutes from Dock Gate 10 (Royal Caribbean, MSC, Celebrity Cruises). There are always taxis available at the port and in the UK you get a standard rate, so no need to haggle like you do in some other countries.

Location

41-43 Oxford Street, Maritime Quarter, Southampton, Hampshire, SO14 3DP

OPENING TIMES

Mon: 12:00 – 22:30
Tue – Wed: 12:00 – 23:00
Thu: 12:00 – 23:30
Fri – Sat: 12:00 – 00:00
Sun: 12:00 – 22:30

You can follow them on social media and share your photos when you visit

Facebook – The Grapes

Instagram – The Grapes

Christmas Lunch at Coworth Park Hotel

Coworth Park is an 18th Century Mansion House set in 240 acres of stunning Berkshire countryside. Formerly known as Coworth House, ownership has passed through the hands of many Lords and Ladies over the years. Now one of the ten hotels that make up the Dorchester Collection, Coworth Park Hotel comprises 70 rooms, a Michelin Star Restaurant and two additional eateries, an eco spa, 30 stables, a riding school, a helicopter pad and its very own polo club.

I have been looking for an excuse to have lunch at Coworth Park for some time, so when a friend and I were looking for somewhere to enjoy a Christmas Lunch, Coworth Park immediately came to mind.

Royal Connections

Nestled in Sunningdale near Ascot, Berkshire, Coworth Park Hotel is set out of sight and is easy to miss if you don’t know about it. However, the mansion house made the news headlines in May 2018, when Prince Harry and Prince William chose to overnight at Coworth Park the night before Harry and Meghan’s Wedding. This may have been an easy choice for the Princes, as they have many happy memories of playing Polo together at Coworth Park.

We arrived early in order to take in the beautiful surroundings. Everyone at the hotel is so friendly and made us feel welcome the moment we pulled up outside the door.  There is ample parking available however, I recommend getting a taxi as the cocktails are divine.

I ordered a French 75 for each of us. The gin and champagne cocktails were freshly prepared and beautifully presented, served with delicious sweet and savoury popcorn.

I stopped for a quick photo with the main Christmas tree on the way to the Drawing Room.

 

We sat and enjoyed our cocktails with the most beautiful view.

The Restaurant

The day before our visit, I had received a call from the restaurant to reconfirm our reservation. The lady who called me was Andrea. I had emailed ahead to explain that I intended to write about my visit and would appreciate a table with a view if possible. I also said that I would like to take photos and, appreciating the privacy of other guests, would prefer not to be in the middle of the restaurant for this purpose. Andrea confirmed that she had received this information and that they would do their best, and I assured Andrea that I would not impose on any other guests by my photography. I didn’t think any more of it. When we arrived at the restaurant it was Andrea who greeted us. She was lovely. Her positive energy was delightful and she excitedly showed us to our table.

Champagne With A View

We were shown to the perfect table by a window. On the table was a card with my name on it. I opened it and it read:


It’s personal touches like this that really makes you fall in love with a place.

Champagne with a view of Coworth Park

The stunning oak leaf chandelier in the Restaurant Coworth Park

Our Christmas Lunch

We were spoilt rotten with the culinary delights presented to us. Trust me you will NOT be going home hungry.

A delicious wholemeal roll with three assorted butters.

Scallop Cornet with XO Sauce and Coworth Oreo with Smoked Cods Roe

Heirloom tomato, goats curd and garden mint

Smoked and Cured Halibut with Clementine, Rye, Herb Creme Fraiche with a “sprinkling” of caviar!

Norfolk Bronze Turkey, Sage, Chestnut Stuffing with All The Trimmings

A sorbet of sorts

Coworth Park Mont Blanc, chocolate, chestnut, pear

The meal was sensational, the service was faultless and the atmosphere in the restaurant was relaxed and friendly. All in all David and I had an unforgettable experience.

We stepped outside. By now the sun was beginning to set and the clouds and the Christmas lights were starting to glow.

The time had come for us to leave Coworth Park and head home. We had such a wonderful time in the lounge and restaurant.  There is still horse riding, afternoon tea, the Barn, the spa and an overnight stay to experience. So for now, Coworth Park, we bid you adieu but you can expect to see us back again soon.

Coworth Park Hotel Information

Address:

Coworth Park Hotel, Blacknest Road, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7SE

Hotel and Restaurant Enquiries: +44 (0) 1344 876 600

The Spa at Coworth Park:  +44 (0)1344 756756

Polo and Equestrian Enquiries: +44 (0)1344 756 763

Special Dorchester Collection Offers: Take a look

Or you can visit their website for further information on their Homepage

Interested in other Dorchester Collection Hotels?

You might like to read my post Lunch at The Dorchester

Corky’s Garage – The Best Bar In Barbados

For those of you who know me, and if you don’t you have probably guessed by the title of my blog, I like to enjoy the finer things in life. I do have an inner beach bum, but nothing beats a classy joint with people who know how to party.

As part of my Caribbean Cruise on Viking Sea in March this year, I had the pleasure of spending some time in Barbados. During my whirlwind trip of the Island I met Anna, a lovely Italian lady from Milan. Over conversation, Anna told me how she had moved to Barbados five years ago and was now running her own bar. I immediately felt a huge sense of admiration (with an equal amount of envy), as she had turned her dream into a reality.

Corky’s Garage is located on the west coast of the island, opposite the beautifully historic St. James Parish Church.  Set within a modernised classic Barbadian chattel house, Corky’s Garage offers a relaxing place to enjoy cocktails, cigars and conversation.

Authentic Italian

Anna has brought her Italian flair to the menu’s of Corky’s Garage. Serving authentic Italian dishes including homemade pizza and pasta.

The menu changes monthly, dishes currently on offer include:

Bruschetta (plain, classic, pesto, formaggi or caprese)

Caprese Salad

Creme Brulee

THIRSTY?

At Corky’s Garage you can enjoy a fine selection of craft beers, gins or whatever takes your fancy.

Mixologist

Fancy a cocktail? Liquid Expressions is a regular event at Corky’s Garage where Mixologist Alexnder Davinci shows off his incredible talent for making delicious cocktails that are works of art.

Cigars

If cigars are your thing, Corky’s Garage have a great selection to satisfy any cigar aficionado.

Live Entertainment

A popular night at Corky’s Garage is Sax and Trax with talented saxophonist Mylon Clarke.

Corky’s Garage is open from five o’clock in the afternoon until late. It’s a great place to party until the early hours and local celebrities such as Arturo Tappin and DJ Timeless are regular visitors. Anna’s outgoing and happy personality is what infuses the great food, cocktails and decor is taking this friendly upmarket Barbadian bar well on it’s way to being an island legend.

Anna with local celebrity DJ Timeless.

I can’t wait to go back to Barbados and get myself a Corky’s Cocktail.

You can find them here:

Eliville House’ Trents Tenantry Road
Folkestone Park, Saint James, Barbados
To book a table or a private function contact:
Email: reservations@corkysgarage.com
Call:  +1 246 538 9595

You can follow Corky’s Garage on Facebook here

You may also be interested in my post Viking Sea Cruise – Last Day – Barbados