By Mike Coleman
Culinary improvements aboard three tall sailing ships and new, luxurious voyages to the White Continent highlight news this week from the global cruise industry.Â
Star Clippers has unveiled new menus aboard the Star Clipper (170 guests), Star Flyer (170 guests) and flagship Royal Clipper (227 guests), thanks to the assistance of culinary advisor and three-star Michelin chef Jean-Marie Meulien.
The menu transformation features a selection of starters, entrees and desserts, featuring more local dishes and ingredients based on the ships’ itineraries.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises, meanwhile, has added four new Antarctica cruises in late 2007 and early 2008, due to what company officials are calling overwhelming demand. Guests will enjoy all the White Continent has to offer amid the comfort of the world’s top-rated expedition cruise ship, Explorer II. Previous Regent itineraries to Antarctica have already sold out.
In an effort to cater to an international clientele, the Star Clippers transformation now features a two-week menu cycle. Summer itineraries in the Mediterranean are reflected in a large selection of French and Italian dishes, while menus for winter sailings in Asia, French Polynesia and the Caribbean switch to highlight local fare.
“We’ve worked for the past two years to evolve our cuisine while remembering that we serve guests from around the world, with different tastes,” said Bernd Schroter, director of hotel operations for Star Clippers.
“Chef Meulien has taken our menus to a higher level, and we know that both returning and first-time guests are going to enjoy the selections as much as we’ve enjoyed creating them,” said Schroter.
Meulien, whose recent cookbook, Flavors of the Mediterranean, can be found in kitchens across the globe, is onboard twice a year to conduct week-long training programs with each ship’s culinary staff.
Guests yearning to explore the largely unknown continent of Antarctica, can now choose from four new Regent departure dates – Nov. 8 and 24, and Dec. 20, 2007, and Feb. 25, 2008. Each of the 16-night cruises will depart from the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia, Argentina.
Explorer II will then cross the Atlantic to the wildlife-rich shores of the Falkland Islands, where guests can explore the photogenic British outpost of Port Stanley, followed by the dramatic glacial coastline of the South Shetland Islands and the mountainous peaks of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Guests will also be among the few to ever set foot on Antarctica and explore, weather permitting. The cruises are scheduled to take place during Antarctica’s spring and summer seasons, which bring milder temperatures, longer days and unrivaled wildlife viewing, including the famous shoreline gatherings of thousands of penguins.
The presence of Explorer II’s team of naturalists, historians, marine biologists, geologists and ornithologists will add immeasurably to the voyage. An onboard enrichment program, hosted by a professional photographer, will include group discussions and tips on how best to capture wildlife sightings with a camera.
Explorer II features polished brass and wood interiors, with all ocean-view suites and staterooms, two open-seating restaurants, a full-service health club and a salon.