• Crystal Cruises Announces Wine & Food-Themed Cruises for Early 2013

    Australasian and Balinese culinary arts will kick off ultra-luxe Crystal Cruises' 2013 Wine & Food-themed series, with regional star chefs and wine experts headlining two new, 12-day Crystal Symphony itineraries: Australia/New Zealand departing January 17 and Australia/Bali leaving February 11.

    A bevy of experts will teach complimentary cooking lessons, hands-on recipe instruction, wine tasting, cocktail-mixing classes, and special dinner menus that all showcase the area's unique gastronomic specialties. Presenters include:

    • Damien Pignolet Sydney's renowned Modern Australian/French fusion chef and executive chef at Bistro Moncur restaurant.
    • Heinz von Holzen Balinese cookbook author and owner of the island's only traditional, multi-award-winning restaurant and cooking school, Bumbu Bali.
    • Greg Doyle Former Australian Restaurateur of the Year and Owner of Pier, one of Australia's finest seafood restaurants and a Sydney institution.
    • Cameron Douglas New Zealand's first and only Master Sommelier.

    Connoisseurs can also indulge in optional, intimate Vintage Room dining experiences, offering multiple courses paired with extraordinary wines.

    "These wine, food, and spirits programs offer travelers another level of cultural understanding," says Toni Neumeister, vice president of food and beverage operations. "They provide them with sensory souvenirs they can share with friends and family forever."

    The voyages offer intimate access to each country's culinary capitals, from the renowned wine regions of South Australia and Wellington to New South Wales' fine dining and Northern Territory's outback pubs. The January "Koalas and Kiwis" itinerary explores Brisbane, Newcastle, and Sydney (overnight), Australia before sailing through stunning Milford, Doubtful, and Dusky Sounds en route to Dunedin, Christchurch/Lyttelton, Wellington, and Auckland, NZ. The February "Reefs and Rainforest" voyage overnights in Sydney before venturing north through the Great Barrier Reef, Brisbane, the Whitsunday Islands/Hamilton, Cairns, Darwin, and Benoa/Bali.

    All-inclusive starting prices are $3,520 and $3,890, respectively, per person, double occupancy, with up to $3,000 in "Book Now" savings off the 2-for-1 fare if booked by August 31. Three additional Wine & Food-themed voyages are also scheduled for May, July, and November 2013, in other regions.

    Extraordinary culinary experiences are a hallmark of every Crystal vacation. Extensive, innovative choices for gourmandizing include the ultra-luxury line's coveted cheese and wine cellars, overseen by on-board, certified cheese and wine sommeliers; fresh, chef-like cocktails served by certified mixologists; gourmet dining options at every meal, whether in the Crystal Dining Room, at afternoon tea, or in Nobu Matsuhisa's specialty restaurants; fine wines, champagnes, and premium spirits; and gratuities for bar, dining, and housekeeping staff -- all complimentary and included with every cruise.

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