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Cruising to a Caribbean culinary heaven

Cruising to a Caribbean culinary heaven

Celebrity Cruises are offering a new dining experience for those stopping off in Antigua

Further challenging stereotypes around cruise holidays, Celebrity Cruises has just launched a new dining initiative for those who enjoy a stop off in Antigua.

The cruise company, which operates around a dozen luxury liners on routes all over the world, has begun taking bookings for ‘At home with Chef Nicole’.

Although the quality of food aboard the ships has helped the company to win a raft of industry awards, the team know that passengers have a passion for discovering local culture and cuisine.

They’ve also noted the rise of companies such as Airb’n’b and hire-a-chef apps, which allow people to experiences locations very much with the help of locals.

‘With the rise of peer-to-peer dining apps entering the market, our discerning guests are constantly on the hunt for authentic experiences to enrich their holidays,’ said Jo Rzymowska, Managing Director at Celebrity Cruises UK & Ireland in a statement about the new intiative.

‘Whether this is in the form of the “At Home with…” experiences or our unique “Chefs Market Discoveries” tours where a Celebrity Cruises’ chef takes guests on a market tour ahead of breaking bread together on-board, we remain committed to giving our guests A Different View of each of our 280+ destinations.’

Celebrity Cruises are launching this particular new initiative in Antigua, with a view to rolling it out to other destinations. An intimate group of up to 12 guests are picked up from St John’s Pier and transported to the home of acclaimed local chef Nicole Arthurton.

Arthurton will provide a tour of her garden, where she grows some of the produce she uses, and provide a cookery lesson in her own kitchen. Guests will then enjoy a three-course meal on Arthurton’s veranda overlooking Runaway Beach.

The additional price for this special culinary event is $235 per person. Guests also get to take away the copies of the recipes they’ve prepared to – hopefully – recreate some of the magic at home.

Celebrity Cruises launched ‘At Home with…’ by demonstrating the concept at a special gathering in London last night, where 12 guests enjoyed a special Caribbean tasting menu.

They may not have been able to transport the Antigua sunshine and scenery, but the assembled guests – including Gay Star News – instead enjoyed the views from a swanky penthouse apartment in Clerkenwell, Caribbean cocktails, and a six-course tasting menu prepared by Vanessa Bolosier.

A Caribbean feast created by Creole chef Vanessa Bolosier
A Caribbean feast created by Creole chef Vanessa Bolosier

The Guadeloupe-born chef recently published the recipe book, Creole Kitchen, and runs supper clubs at the Beachcomber in Bayswater. The menu included lightly fried selfish fritters, breadfruit ‘Coocoo’ with seafood pepperpot and homemade coconut ‘Mont Blanc’ cake – as well as a unique banana wine to accompany dessert.

Bolosier’s food was a revelation, while her personal introductory talk to each dish emphasized the great variation in cuisine across the Caribbean region – something also explored by Nicole Arthurton in Antigua.

As the UK and US edge toward winter, the prospect of a Caribbean cruise is all the more alluring. The opportunity to experience the region’s cuisine up close and personal, and to bring some of that experience and knowledge home, is sure to prove an attractive one for serious food and drink connoisseurs.

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