Range - Volume 7

Page 1


CULINARY OASIS

Retreat to a Rwandan tea garden on the edge of a mountain rainforest

What’s Inside

Come

Go

Dine at the heart of One&Only Nyungwe House’s tea plantation and try the resort’s signature Nyungwe green goddess pasta featuring pesto made from the tea plants. Photo courtesy of One&Only Nyungwe House, Rwanda

26

Time Out in Vietnam

Photographer Julia Nimke takes us on a colorful journey through the country’s scenic rice fields and bountiful markets.

36

A Taste of Place

Dive into the signature food-and-drink experiences at destination hotels in Portugal’s Alentejo region, Canada’s Fogo Island and Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park.

44 Savor the Island

Fresh fish, rum made from sugar-cane juice and a growing cacao industry: Enjoy the local flavors and meet some of the people behind Martinique’s vibrant food culture.

54

An Epic English Pub Crawl

Writer Bonnie Munday embarks on a trekking adventure through the southwest English countryside, where charming pubs await at each day’s end.

64

A Perfect Day In

Whether you’re strolling Cartagena’s Old Town or learning how to dance champeta at a local club, here’s how to take in the Colombian port city.

68

Ask a Local

Anderson Vacations’ Pamela Parks shares the best times to spot whales on Haida Gwaii, an archipelago off the coast of British Columbia.

70

Port of Call

Everything you need to plan your pre- or post-cruise stay in Juneau.

72

Outtake

One more moment in travel.

EDITORIAL

Editorial Director

Sydney Loney

Executive Editor

Dominique Lamberton

Senior Editor

Brett Walther

Contributing Editor

Andrew Elkin

Assistant Editor

Aimi Mayne

ART

Design Director

Stefanie Sosiak

Photo Editor

Lori Morgan

CONTRIBUTORS

Christian Heurtelou, Jessica Huras, Robert Liwanag, Caitlin Walsh Miller, Felicity Millward, Adam Monastero, Bonnie Munday, Julia Nimke

RESEARCHERS

Amanda Ghazale Aziz, Leila El Shennawy, Corinna Reeves

Sustainable Practices

COPY EDITORS

Christopher Korchin, Robert Ronald

PROOFREADER

Diane Carlson

PRODUCTION

Director of Marketing & Delivery

Valerie Lenoir

Printer

Mi5

SALES

Senior Director, Partnership Marketing & Engagement

Danielle Clement

Senior Director, Partner Relations (Cruise) Rachel Grogan

Director, Partnership Marketing (Land) Franca Iuele

Range is printed and distributed with Mi5 Print and Digital, a sustainable business partner and Earth-friendly printing company. Range is printed on Inspira text and cover and is a 100-percent sustainable sourced product. All fiber is sourced under a zero-deforestation commitment, produced using materials from rapidly renewable tree plantations. Inspira is fully PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, one of the world’s largest forest certification systems) chain of custody-certified.

2 QUEEN STREET EAST 20 TH FLOOR TORONTO, ON M5C 2G7

Publisher Jeff Willner

President

Michael Johnson

SVP, Marketing

Shahla Lalani

SVP, Operations

Kristina Boyce

SVP, Partner Relations

Beth Butzlaff

VP, Destination & Specialty

Ian Elliott

VP, Member Relations

Mark Stubbert

What is Ensemble?

Ensemble is a leading travel organization comprised of top-tier travel agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada. As a valued client of one of our member agencies, you gain access to exclusive perks, amenities and experiences as well as expert advice and exceptional customer service from the foremost authorities in the travel industry. ensembletravel.com

Range (Volume 7). All rights reserved, Ensemble Travel Ltd.

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Dine like royalty on board Queen Anne®

Our newest ship, Queen Anne,® o ers you an exceptional dining experience, just like our other Queens. In addition to our much-loved restaurants, you’ll find exciting new options, leaving nothing to be desired. Be swept away by the inviting atmosphere that awaits in the Britannia RestaurantTM and indulge in a wide variety of exquisite dishes and matching wines, accompanied by the famous White Star ServiceTM that Cunard® is renowned for. Every evening becomes an extraordinary event at this magnificent venue.

The Queens and Princess Grills dining experience

Sail in a sumptuous Grill Suite for access to an exclusive dining destination that o ers unforgettable culinary experiences. You’re free to choose from a variety of tempting dishes that are sure to please your taste buds and keep you curious for what’s next. Waiters provide unparalleled service as you enjoy your meals at the same table throughout your voyage. Whenever you wish to dine, your seat – and excellent service – are waiting for you.

Aji Wa
Sir Samuel’s
Aranya

Taste the Unexpected AT SEA AND ON LAND

As the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation, Windstar is proud to offer some of the highest-rated culinary experiences at sea and on land. In addition to our specialty haute-cuisine sailings with world-renowned chefs, our culinary program includes chef-led market tours, ingredients sourced from local markets and an innovative, delicious plant-based program. Come aboard and savor the journey with Windstar Cruises!

Please contact your Ensemble travel advisor for more details.

Dig In

When you travel, it’s not always about where you go or what you do, it’s about what you eat. Citrusy, straight-from-the-sea ceviche served oceanside on a luxe glamping adventure in La Paz, Mexico. A traditional Bedouin lunch — malfouf (stuffed cabbage rolls), shrak flatbread and zarb (meat and vegetables roasted underground over hot coals) — in the middle of the Jordanian desert. Arguably the best lobster roll in the world savored at a picnic table overlooking the Atlantic on a remote point on Prince Edward Island. Mmmm… These are just a few of my favorite travel food memories. I love food. Not just the eating of it, but the rituals and manners built around it — and how closely it’s tied to family, culture, friendship and the way we connect with others, even total strangers, when we’re a long way from home. Sometimes, it’s the food itself that is the unforgettable thing. But, quite often, it’s the people you share it with.

When my husband and I got engaged in Paris — fromage, I know! — we dined at Le P’tit Troquet, a cozy bistro where we were seated in a small room containing only two tables. The other was occupied by a Lebanese family, celebrating a birthday. By the end of the evening, despite our high-school French, they had invited us to share their champagne and cake (especially exciting as it was from famed French patisserie, Lenôtre). Now, many years later, I can’t recall the flavor of the cake or whether it lived up to the reputation of its bakers, but I do remember that warm, humanity-affirming moment of generosity and joint celebration.

Naturally, food and travel are inextricably linked, and it makes sense that gastrotourism is trending (the global culinary tourism market is projected to reach almost $18 billion by 2027). “People are looking for experiences and connections,” says Cheri Ozimac, a Mississauga, Ontario-based travel advisor who specializes in food and wine. “They want to be immersed in a destination, and food plays a vital role in that.” (One of Ozimac’s own favorite travel food memories involves a combination of “out of this world” pasta and locally made limoncello paired with a stunning view of the Amalfi Coast. “The pasta just tastes different in Italy.”)

Of course, there’s no better way to explore another culture than by sitting down to local dishes with the people who prepared them. Ozimac says that travelers are increasingly looking for dining experiences that require more than just booking a dinner reservation. Pasta-making classes with a nonna in Bologna, or tours where you’re invited to a family’s home for dinner fill up fast. “Sharing a meal just brings people together,” she says.

In this issue, we give you a taste of some of the choicest culinary adventures worth sharing, including the best off-the-beaten-path pub food in southwest England, vineyard festas in Portugal, a firsthand dive into Martinique’s vibrant food-and-drink culture and lessons in plucking tea leaves at a restorative rainforest retreat in Rwanda. Itadakimasu! (For the meaning of this lovely Japanese way of expressing gratitude before a meal, turn to page 13). 

What’s your favorite travel food memory?

Please share it with me at editor@ensembletravel.ca.

@ RangebyEnsemble

Contributors

Aimi Mayne

WRITER

Hometown

Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

Home base Toronto

The place I can return to again and again is the island province of Bohol in the Philippines. Since I was a kid, my family and I have traveled to my mom’s birthplace, and it feels more special each time. Nothing compares to the serenity I feel listening to the waves crashing and watching the sun set as we share a “boodle fight,” which is a communal feast served on banana leaves.

When I’m not collaborating with Range , I’m working on my other creative pursuits, including photography and videography. And ever since I moved to Toronto, I’ve developed a love for exploring the city’s diverse food scene, one cuisine at a time!

Cruise News — page 14

Andrew Elkin

WRITER

Hometown and home base

Montreal

My favorite travel memory is a trip to Corsica 10 years ago, when our daughter was just starting to walk. She insisted on making her own way and that set a leisurely pace — it was just what we needed and gave us a different view of the island.

When I’m not collaborating with Range , I write and edit for various brands and publications, lead projects to help decarbonize transportation and work on documenting all the family trips we’ve taken over the last decade.

A Taste of Place — page 36

Julia Nimke

PHOTOGRAPHER

Hometown

Frankfurt (Oder), Germany

Home base Berlin

My travel style is flexible. I love anything from sleeping in a tent on a 26°F night in Patagonia to spending days on a luxury overnight train through the Andes. When traveling on my own, I’d say I’m a flashpacker — a backpacker with a cushier budget.

When I’m not collaborating with Range , I’m photographing for other travel and lifestyle brands. And when I’m not shooting, I’m meeting up with friends and checking out new food spots in my city. I also enjoy cycling and reading books that transport me to different places.

Time Out in Vietnam — page 26

You Deserve an Ensemble Experience

Upgrade your travels with Ensemble, a leading North American organization of top-tier travel agencies. Enjoy access to exclusive perks, exceptional amenities and extraordinary experiences, on land and at sea.

TO UNLOCK YOUR ACCESS TO THESE ENSEMBLE EXCLUSIVES, CONTACT YOUR ENSEMBLE TRAVEL ADVISOR.

Destination Dining ™

At Holland America, our cuisine goes beyond the plate. We now offer more than 80 varieties of fresh fish sourced locally from across our worldwide network via our first-ofits-kind Global Fresh Fish Program. So, whether you’re a fresh fish aficionado or simply looking to indulge in exceptional cuisine, let our talented chefs prepare something special for you on board Holland America!

FRESH LOCAL INGREDIENTS

Please contact your Ensemble travel advisor for more details.

Ships’ Registry: The Netherlands.

GOING PLACES

NEW & NOTEWORTHY

Rocks of Ages

Instantly recognizable to James Bond fans as the villain’s hideout in 1981’s For Your Eyes Only, this monastery complex in Meteora, Greece, has a new claim to fame: It’s now part of a UNESCO Global Geopark. Reaching heights of nearly 1,000 feet, the sandstone columns that proved an irresistible perch for Byzantine monks were recently deemed by UNESCO to be of “international geological significance,” along with 17 other sites around the world, including a sprawling cave complex in China and the world’s oldest mercury mine in central Spain. In order to qualify for the designation, local stakeholders must demonstrate a commitment to the region’s conservation and sustainable development.

Food to Fuel the Games

Athletes, spectators, volunteers and journalists will eat more than 13 million meals at the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games — and the goal is to make them the greenest of any Games yet. To cut the carbon footprint of its catering in half, Paris 2024 organizers are doubling the amount of plant-based food served (compared to previous Games) and sourcing 80 percent of ingredients from France (this includes free-range eggs from Nantes and cheese from Lyon and Saint-Étienne). While there will be international options, the focus is on French cuisine: Athletes in the Olympic Village can start their days with a fresh baguette from the on-site boulangerie or grab one of chef Amandine Chaignot’s twisted croissants, filled with a poached egg, artichoke cream, truffle and goat cheese, from a food stand dedicated entirely to French fare.

READING LIST

Cookbooks That Take You Places

The SalviSoul Cookbook: Salvadoran Recipes & the Women Who Preserve Them Writer, recipe developer and food stylist Karla Tatiana Vasquez pays homage to her heritage through a collection of 80 recipes shared by fellow Salvadoran women, including three kinds of pupusa (the stuffed corn tortilla is El Salvador’s national dish).

Koreaworld: A Cookbook

Stroll the streets of Seoul, as well as Koreatowns around the world, with chef Deuki Hong and journalist Matt Rodbard, and pick up recipes like sesame oil pickles, grilled kimchi wedge salad, Taco Bell bibimbap and Dalgona candy — made famous in Netflix’s Squid Game — along the way.

The Levantine Vegetarian: Recipes from the Middle East

There are classics like hummus and falafel, but James Beard Awardwinning author Salma Hage, originally from Lebanon, has a whopping 140 plant-based recipes in her latest cookbook, including fresh creations like sesame halloumi fries and za’atar cucumber noodle salad.

IN THE AIR

Fine Dining at 35,000 Feet

Pea and carrot ravioli with roasted turnip and nori sauce; black cod with quinoa, sun-dried tomatoes and marinière sauce; lobster with pico de gallo and tea sauce. These are just a few of the 12 Californianmeets-French dishes triple-Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn of San Francisco’s Atelier Crenn has created for Air France. Every month through January 2025, the airline is offering two of the Frenchborn chef’s pescatarian and vegetarian dishes in its La Première and Business cabins on flights departing from select U.S. destinations. And the gourmet menu items don’t stop there: Air France has tapped other international chefs to design dishes for departures worldwide, including Singapore’s three-Michelin-starred Julien Royer.

Preserving the Birthplace of Pride

Fifty-five years after a police raid of the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village sparked the Stonewall Uprising, a nearly 2,100-square-foot visitor center has opened next door to the historic bar. The Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center preserves the history of Stonewall and shares stories of the LGBTQIA+ community’s fight for equality through tours, lecture series, visual art displays and immersive exhibits, including one curated by journalist and activist Mark Segal, who took part in the riots in 1969.

Itadakimasu

In Japanese culture, it’s important to show gratitude for the food you’re about to eat, where it came from and the hands that prepared it. On your next trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, express your appreciation by saying Itadakimasu before eating, which loosely translates to “I humbly receive.” (Bonus points for uttering Gochisousama deshita upon finishing your meal, which means, “Thanks for the food.”)

LOCAL LINGO

Cruise News

From zero-waste cruising to a rise in sailing solo, here’s what’s making waves.

Cruising Toward Zero Food Waste

Hurtigruten’s full circle “farm-tofleet-to-farm” initiative is fighting food waste. Dishes on board the cruise line’s signature Coastal Express voyage not only feature local Norwegian produce, but any edible leftovers are sorted by the kitchen and converted to compost when they reach port in Stamsund. It doesn’t stop there: The compost is then delivered to a nearby farm, which supplies fresh vegetables and herbs back to the ship.

TREND

Go Nolo

According to a recent survey by Avalon Waterways, 13 percent of cruisers are planning to travel solo on their next river booking — and the cruise line is catering to this growing trend. Avalon Waterways does not charge single supplements on select staterooms for most departures in Europe and Southeast Asia, and president Pam Hoffee is spreading the word about river cruising’s opportunities for “nolo” (on your own but never alone) experiences: “From small-group, passion-packed excursions to on-your-own exploration with the AvalonGo app, our guests are invited to not only uncover new discoveries, but to learn new things about themselves, every day, along the way.”

Where the Ocean Meets the Tracks

Thanks to new hybrid experiences, you can ride the rails and sail the seas in one go. Hop a train to your Princess Cruises ship with its Rail & Sail program, a partnership with rail service Brightline that offers transit from five Florida train terminals to two departing cruise ports. In November, Crystal’s Crystal Ports & Vintage Rail of Europe itinerary will sail passengers from Rome to Venice before they board the Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient-Express to Paris. And on Royal Caribbean’s Utopia of the Seas, the immersive dining experience Royal Railway – Utopia Station takes you on a virtual train trip courtesy of LED screens in the faux railcars’ windows.

HACK

Magnetic Hooks

Did you know stateroom walls are metal? Take advantage of this cruise-ship quirk by packing a few magnetic hooks. The small-but-mighty accessories are perfect for hanging everything from room-key lanyards, hats and totes to stilldamp towels and bathing suits.

RAIL × SAIL

For those with epic taste…

Virgin Voyages’ award-winning dining is the garnish on top of award-winning vacations.

For Sailors dreaming of a sunshine-laden vacation at sea, we offer unforgettable getaways that can make those dreams a reality. Our kid-free voyages have won top awards — from Travel & Leisure to Cruise Critic for our dining, cabins, nightlife, and brilliant service. Whether your Sailors want to spend a week sailing along the Mediterranean coast or exploring the wonders that lie beyond, we have an extraordinary itinerary for them.

And for a limited time, second Sailors enjoy 70% off when they book by July 31st. Cheers to that!

Gourmet Goods

Amp up the flavors on your next getaway with travel accessories fit for any foodie.

Portable Picnic

Spread out this water-repellent canvas mat at the beach or park, and you’ll have the perfect setup for your locally sourced picnic.

Weekend Rug, US$119 basilbangs.us

Snack Pouch

This food-grade silicone bag is just the right size for snacks, whether you’re packing trail mix for a hike or pretzels for on the plane.

Go Bag, US$20 stasherbag.com

Slim Bottle

The flat design of this six-ounce bottle makes it easy to tuck into the sleekest bag or backpack (or even your back pocket).

A7 memobottle, US$25, Silicone Sleeve, US$18, memobottle.us

On-the-go Espresso

Compatible with recyclable Nespresso

Original capsules, this hand-powered espresso maker churns out a fresh shot whenever — and wherever — you need a caffeine boost.

Minipresso NS2, US$60 wacaco.com

Mini Hot Sauce

Ripe chili peppers, agave nectar and a hint of coriander combine with white truffle for a punchy, flavorful sauce in a 1.5-ounce bottle you can take anywhere.

Mini White Hot Sauce US$40 (pack of four), truff.com

Pocket Sea Salt

Sometimes you just need a pinch of salt on the go. Have some at the ready with this tiny tin of bright and briny Oregon-harvested sea salt flakes.

Sea Salt Slide Tin, US$6 jacobsensalt.com

JOIN US ON OUR REIMAGINED SHIPS FOR A VOYAGE OF A LIFETIME

BOOK ONE OF OUR EXCEPTIONAL ITINERARIES BY CONTACTING YOUR ENSEMBLE TRAVEL ADVISOR. PART OF ABERCROMBIE & KENT TRAVEL GROUP

Top Dogs

No simple sausage-and-bun combos here — these franks from around the world transform a street-food staple into so much more.

Pølse, which means “sausage,” became a staple in Norway in the 1950s, though sausages have existed here since the Middle Ages. Norwegians fervently enjoy the humble hand-held, consuming an estimated 100 pølse per person annually. They are traditionally made from pork, and topping choices range from plain mustard and ketchup to creamy potato salad. To enjoy a pølse in true Norwegian style, ask for it served on lompe, a flatbread made from potato and flour. Where to try it: Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it wooden pølse stand Syverkiosken has been an Oslo mainstay for years, renowned for its extra-savory sausages cooked in a secret-recipe stock.

USA Chicago Dog

Ketchup gets passed over in the Windy City and, in its stead, is a salad’s worth of veggies. All-beef wieners nestled in a poppy-seed bun are dressed with yellow mustard, celery salt, diced white onions, tomato slices, sweet pickle relish, a dill-pickle spear and pickled sport peppers. Where to try it: Go straight to the source at the Vienna Beef Factory Store in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, which also supplies sausages for hot-dog stands around the city.

CHILE

Completo

Chile’s completo is defined not by the toppings themselves, but by their quantity (they must be piled high to create a properly loaded dog). Avocado, mayo and diced tomato are a popular trio that have earned the nickname “Italian completo” because their colors resemble those found in Italy’s flag. Where to try it: Santiago institution Fuente Alemana is known for its classic Chilean sandwiches, including the completo.

PHOTO: JENNIFER LIVINGSTON/TRUNK ARCHIVE.

Ruth Reichl

The legendary New York-based chef, writer and editor chats about her latest novel, the pleasures of Paris and her next food obsession.

Ruth Reichl has always been devoted to food. In the 1970s, as co-owner and chef of the Swallow Restaurant in Berkeley, California, Reichl was key in shaping the city’s burgeoning food scene. She served as restaurant critic for both the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times in the 1980s and ’90s and, later, as the editor-in-chief of Gourmet. Nowadays, in addition to writing cookbooks, memoirs and novels, Reichl publishes her sharp-witted culinary observations in her weekly newsletter, La Briffe. “I still walk into every restaurant with great expectations,” she says. “The only difference is I don’t have an expense account anymore.”

In April, Reichl returned to the world of fiction with The Paris Novel, a sumptuous love letter to the city’s brasseries, writers and art history. Set in 1983, it follows Stella St. Vincent, a shy New Yorker who visits Paris for the first time. There, she encounters literary greats James Baldwin and John Ashbery, dines at Robert et Louise and becomes infatuated with the story of French painter Victorine Meurent. “This book is filled with everything I care about most,” says Reichl.

Range What inspired your new novel?

Ruth Reichl In Save Me the Plums, my memoir from 2019, I wrote about trying on a black Dior dress at a vintage store in Paris, but not buying it. My old editor, the late Susan Kamil, asked me, “Couldn’t you turn that into a novel, where a character does buy the dress?” I had the same experience as Stella does in the first chapter of The Paris Novel, where I put on the dress, looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself — I was the most fabulous creature. Buying the dress helps Stella open herself up to the sights, sounds and flavors of Paris.

R You have just arrived in Paris. Take us through your day.

RR One of the first things I will do is walk along Rue Mouffetard in the 5th arrondissement. It’s one of the oldest market streets in the city, dating back to Roman times, and it’s such a great introduction. Afterwards, I’ll go for some oysters. The oysters in France are so delicious, and there’s a place called Huîtrerie Régis near Saint-Sulpice that I love. And then I’m going to eat as much cheese as I possibly can.

R What do you love most about modern Paris?

RR Until fairly recently, the French ate French food. Now, Paris has everything. In the 18th arrondissement, for instance, is a neighborhood called Goutte d’Or, and it’s predominantly African. You see foods you never see in America, like baobab juice, because we don’t have the same diaspora. You can taste how different the foods from the eastern, northern, western and southern parts of the continent are. It’s really exciting.

R Which country’s cuisine will be your next obsession?

RR Last year, an Indian magazine asked me to judge a cookbook contest, and I realized how unbelievably ignorant I am about Indian food. The cookbooks were so eye-opening. It’s an enormous country, and the cuisine changes greatly from one area to another. The Indian food that we have in the United States is a tiny fraction of what is eaten in India. It’s something that I would love to learn more about. 

RANGE × AMAWATERWAYS

La vie à

Historic French villages, lush vineyards and plenty of wine and cheese make for perfect pairings on this AmaWaterways river cruise.

Bordeaux

It’s barely April, yet spring has arrived in Bordeaux.

I’m admiring the French countryside on the ele-

gant sundeck of AmaDolce as we sail what Camille Dernis, our cruise manager, describes as the “café au lait” waters of the Garonne River. There is a glass of fruity merlot at my side.

For the next seven days, AmaWaterways’ Taste of Bordeaux cruise ferries us through the Bordeaux region, navigating two tidal rivers and an estuary, pausing long enough for us to experience wine tastings from Grand Cru estates and small family-run vineyards. On board, we’re treated to locally inspired cuisine, including fresh baguettes from a nearby bakery and bowls of steaming bouillabaisse, paired with some of the finest vintages the region has to offer. We also embark on epic market pilgrimages and bike through peaceful villages with cobblestone streets dating back to medieval times en route to some of the region’s famed wineries.

No vineyard visit is the same. “The vines began growing two weeks early this year,” Nathalie Depoizier Escuredo tells our group as we hike through Château

Boutinet, the winery she runs with her husband Jérôme in Villegouge, a short bus ride from our ship’s port in Libourne.

That growth is not necessarily a good thing, she explains, as an early start to the season carries the risk of frost, which damages the vines. To help reduce its own impact on climate change, Château Boutinet became certified organic in 2020, relying on nature rather than herbicides and pesticides. As we wander through the dewy grass, a fluffy Southdown lamb pops its head out of the property’s barn to get a look at us. During the fall and winter months, the resident flock grazes between the vines, keeping weeds at bay and helping fertilize the soil.

Château Boutinet isn’t the only environmentally conscious vineyard in the region — we learn that producers are increasingly adopting more sustainable methods of grape growing. Renowned Château de Ferrand, a Grand Cru Classé of Saint-Émilion since 2012, produced its first certified organic vintage in 2021. Purchased by Marcel Bich in 1978 (better known as the founder of the BIC company), the handsome

ABOVE, LEFT TO RIGHT

Melt-in-your-mouth foie gras mousse is among the highlights on the AmaDolce menu; the ship at twilight, docked at Libourne.

OPPOSITE PAGE

The bow of AmaDolce provides a postcard-perfect view of the town of Bourg.

château sits on a 100-acre estate that’s a winning combination of vineyards, forests and parks.

THIS SPREAD, LEFT TO RIGHT

Sprawling vineyards and fairytale châteaux are typical of the Cadillac landscape; medieval archways meet quaint limestone houses in Bourg; appetizers on AmaDolce — including this savory shrimp cake — are always artfully plated; AmaDolce’s Captain Jean-François Robin keeps an eye on the tidal rivers.

In the limestone building where the wine is produced, blended and stored, French oak barrels age predominantly merlot-based blends. We sample four vintages, along with a palate cleanser of sharp, dry cheese and cured ham, beginning with the youngest wine, a 2018 merlot and cabernet franc blend (silky smooth and expressive with fruity notes) and working our way through 2016, 2014 and finally 2008. My favorite is the 2014 vintage, which is high in tannins and has a fruity, aromatic finish. (We’re thrilled to discover that bottles are available to purchase, so we can relive the experience back on board AmaDolce, where passengers are free to bring their favorite wines from the day to enjoy while dining on the ship.)

But before returning to the ship, we visit the medieval village of Saint-Émilion, known for its historic monuments, including the monolithic church, dug out of a rocky hillside in the 12th century, and its wines. At the end of the tour, we wander into Les Macarons des Saint-Émilion, where the precursors to

modern-day macarons were first baked by Ursuline nuns in 1620. It’s impossible to leave without a box of the simple delicacies, which are made with only three ingredients (almonds, sugar and egg whites) and baked on food-grade paper that you peel off, like a sticker.

On the third morning of our river adventure, we cruise down the Gironde estuary, stopping in the town of Blaye where a row of bikes awaits. Christiane, our guide, leads us down the winding streets of the 17th-century citadel. Built during the reign of Louis XIV to defend the city of Bordeaux against enemy attacks, it’s now home to a number of charming boutiques and bistros.

From there, we bike to the mostly flat vineyards just outside the city, stopping to admire a handful of idyllic châteaux. The return trip to the ship along a converted railbed is easy, and we make it back in time for the Printemps des Vins de Blaye, a local wine and food festival that just so happens to be taking place in the citadel during our stay.

The festival features more than a hundred pro -

Savor the Ship

Three essential wining and dining experiences on AmaDolce

TUCK INTO A FRENCH FEAST

AmaWaterways is a member of Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, a prestigious international gastronomic society originally founded by Louis IX. In a showcase of this culinary distinction, the onboard chef prepares a one-night-only locally sourced dinner.

TAP THE EXPERTISE OF A WINEMAKER

An international wine producer leads lively (and complimentary) wine tastings on all Celebration of Wine River Cruises.

WATCH THE PROS PREPARE A MEAL

Reserve a spot at the Chef’s Table where you can watch the ship’s skilled culinary team prepare a sevencourse dinner complete with local wine pairings.

ducers from the area and the grounds of the citadel are dotted with tasting tents and gourmet markets. Some festivalgoers push trollies piled with cases of wine to their cars, while others savor freshly shucked oysters and spit-roasted pork. We wander from tent to tent, sipping from keepsake wineglasses filled with a local rosé.

That evening, we port in Bourg, a small town on the right bank of the Dordogne, and enjoy a walking tour through the village on our way to AmaWaterways’ own exclusive wine festival, held at Maison des Vins des Côtes de Bourg, overlooking the pretty town. Wine producers line up glasses for tastings and there is plenty of cheese and charcuterie. One of the most interesting wines is a 100-percent merlot cuvée from Le Clos du Mounat vinified and matured in clay jars. The jovial local band So French! livens the atmosphere with accordion music and, before long, half the room is on the dance floor (I even end up dancing with the ship’s captain).

Our journey ends where it began, in the city of Bordeaux, where we spend a day visiting Les Halles

de Bacalan, an indoor market featuring local specialties, including crêpes, truffles and fried chicken. A plate of freshly shucked local oysters appears in the middle of our communal table — and we don’t hesitate. They are meaty and taste richly of the sea. A trip to Bordeaux’s wine museum, La Cité du Vin, across the street grounds our experience through an immersive exhibition of the region’s wines and beyond — there are even smelling stations where we learn to recognize the aromas of different wines, although at this point, I’m pretty good at identifying merlot.

On our final night aboard AmaDolce, I relax and revisit the adventures of the day, gazing out at the rolling movement of the river, which is mesmerizingly at eye level from where I sit at a white-cloth-covered table in the ship’s dining room. My server appears and deftly drains a bottle of merlot into my glass. I recall what Jérôme, the co-owner of Château Boutinet, said to us during a tasting in his vineyard: “Do you know what makes a good bottle of wine? An empty bottle.” After all the wonderful wines I’ve experienced in Bordeaux, I couldn’t agree more. 

Time Out in Vietnam

There was no plan. Each day of this top-to-bottom tour of the country unfolded spontaneously, magically, with sudden bursts of beauty and joy.

Photos by Julia Nimke Words by Sydney Loney

The Hà Giang Loop begins and ends in Quản Bạ, lazily uncoiling over 215 miles of canyons and mountain passes and leading adventurers — predominantly on motorbikes — into some of the most remote regions of northern Vietnam. It’s a road much like the country itself: With every curve and shift in direction, you might encounter something unexpected and unforgettable. An ancient, ornate temple emerging from the landscape. Tidy rice fields spreading across flat stretches of countryside. Children pausing to play at an overlook on a steep hillside. “I like to capture spontaneous moments that touch or move me in some way,” says Berlin-based photographer Julia Nimke. She found plenty of those moments on her 21-day journey by bus, train and motorbike, beginning in Hanoi in the north and ending along the Mekong Delta in the south.

HA LONG BAY

There is no cell service in the remote areas of Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising nearly 2,000 rugged limestone islands. Julia captured a friend diving from a fishing boat during a peaceful afternoon on the water. “The softness of the light, the depth of the colors and the quietness lasted all day.”

Initially, Julia only intended to spend two nights in Hội An — but lingered for four. “There was just so much life on the streets,” she says. “I was drawn by the vibrancy of the colorful lanterns, which are everywhere, and the bright yellow shops that are no taller than two stories, so nothing mars the skyline.” The ancient coastal trading port at the mouth of the Thu Bồn river is known for its cobblestone streets, its architecture — including the famous Japanese Covered Bridge, built in the 15th century — and its custom-made clothing (tailors take your measurements, you pick your fabric). The food is also worth sticking around for, Julia says, particularly cao lầu, the region’s signature dish made with rice noodles boiled in water from a specific well in the town and topped with barbecued pork, lettuce, herbs and rice crackers.

No matter where you are in Vietnam, you’re likely to happen upon a market. Farmers peddle their produce from open stalls, stands and storefronts in towns and villages, from narrow wooden boats in floating river markets and even from the backs of bikes and scooters on the streets. “About 90 percent of the merchants in the market stalls were women, and they all seemed to know each other,” Julia says. “There was a strong sense of community everywhere I went.” Julia relied on homestays and the generous hospitality of local families throughout her journey. At one homestay, her hosts’ daughter delivered a plate piled with fresh mango, dragon fruit, rambutan and longan to her as she relaxed in the family’s garden. “One of the things I liked best about Vietnam was how warm and welcoming the people are,” she says. “It just felt so honest and pure to be there.” 

A Taste

Where you check in is more than a place to lay your head: It’s your base in a destination and frames the way you see, feel and even taste it. We spotlight three hotels around the world where food and drink are not just part of the stay — they define it.

of Place

L’AND VINEYARDS

From Grape to Glass in Portugal

Pick, sip and even soak in the grapes growing all around you at this wine retreat in Portugal’s Alentejo region.

L’AND Vineyards overlooks a rolling landscape of olive groves and wheat fields about a one-hour drive east of Lisbon. “People come here to taste classic Portuguese wines and to understand how we produce them,” says Pedro Durand, the hotel’s head sommelier. Established in 2011, L’AND is a working winery and luxury hotel rolled into one: The 163-acre estate is home to 37 suites and six villas. Fifteen acres of grapevines produce the fruit for eight different wines, all of which are served and sold exclusively on the premises, such as the light and easy-drinking red wine made from mini-vineyards around the property.

“There are more than 250 grape varieties native to Portugal,” says Durand, who has about 150 represented in the L’AND wine cellar. “Some wines on the list have 15 different grapes in them — and these are incredible wines.” The self-described contemporary wine retreat has a wine tourism program to rival any other, with a range of tastings and experiences available in-house and off-site. In the winery tasting room, guests can opt for focused tastings — the L’AND cuvées, a tour of Portugal, international classics — or enjoy a guided tasting at one of several nearby wineries. There are wine events, too, like the annual Harvest Celebration, which takes place in August, when guests can help pick grapes before enjoying a

vineyard festa with live music and a barbecue (grilled scarlet prawns and spit-roasted black pig are on the menu). Even the spa is wine-themed: All treatments use the products of Austrian brand Vinoble Cosmetics, which employs grapeseed oil, polyphenols and other grape byproducts to revitalize skin and soul.

This constellation of grapes is the perfect accompaniment to an evening of stargazing — another brilliant attraction at L’AND. The area around the property is a designated dark-sky preserve, making it an ideal spot to take in this summer’s Perseid meteor shower. You can even catch the celestial show from the comfort of your room: The property’s Sky View suites are equipped with oversize skylights above the beds.

Over at the hotel’s Mapa restaurant, award-winning chef David Jesus designed the Caminhos tasting menu as a tribute to Portuguese explorers who followed the stars to faraway lands. The dishes blend regional ingredients with flavors from places like North Africa, Brazil and Japan — a few courses in, you might forget that you’re in Portugal. Then, along comes sommelier Durand with a carefully selected wine pairing, an elegant red balancing fruit and acidity, made from a grape native to the Alentejo region. It’s the L’AND Vineyards Touriga Nacional — the perfect reminder of exactly where you are.

Wining and Dining Around the World

A CHIANTI FOOD AND WINE SAFARI IN IMPRUNETA, ITALY Relais Villa Olmo is a boutique hotel in a 15thcentury farmhouse on the Diadema winery and olive oil farm. Its Chianti Food & Wine Safari experience lets guests immerse themselves in Chianti’s Big Five — wine, olive oil, walled villages, truffles and cheese — on a special backroads tour.

A DEEP DIVE INTO NAPA VALLEY VINTAGES IN ST. HELENA, CALIFORNIA

Expand your wine savvy with a stay at Meadowood Napa Valley, a hotel surrounded by vineyards. The Wine Center offers 12 on-site tastings and courses, a sommelier consultation to help plan your tasting-room itinerary and an insider’s tour with Meadowood experts.

SIGNATURE WINE TASTINGS IN PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Let Eden Roc Cap Cana’s sommeliers take you on a tour of the world’s great wine regions, all from under the domed ceiling of the La Cava wine cellar. They’ll also pull a few choice bottles from thousands of French and Italian vintages to pair with your meal.

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Guests help in the harvest before celebrating it with a vineyard barbecue; L’AND Vineyards’ architecture seamlessy fits with the rolling landscape around it; wine tasters learn to blend a wine, a Portuguese art form; red mullet and Algarve shrimp with xeq xeq sauce — chef David Jesus’s ode to Goan flavors — features in the Caminhos tasting menu.

Foraging and Preserving on Fogo Island

Get a close-up view of the culinary traditions that have been a way of life for centuries on this remote island off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Almost everything that we serve here can be grown here,” says Timothy Charles, executive chef at Fogo Island Inn. The hotel kitchen sources 80 percent of its ingredients from the island and its surrounds, which is tricky, considering nothing much grows outdoors between November and May (the inn is perched on the edge of the North Atlantic 284 miles north of St. John’s, the provincial capital). When growing season arrives, it’s a frantic, yet fulfilling, job to corral, cook and can the ingredients of the moment. This summer, guests get to be a part of the action.

The inn’s Historical Foodways and Forging the Path Forward retreat gives visitors a taste of what it’s like to stock an award-winning culinary program in such a remote place. Over a five-day stay, guests meet local producers and see a hydroponic farm, an apiary and Newfoundland and Labrador’s first kelp farming pilot project. You can also forage for wild plants, visit the community’s historic root cellars and venture behind the scenes into the inn’s pan-seasonal larder: a cellar filled with 400 vinegars, syrups, condiments and preserves.

Any berry, blossom or leaf that can be gathered during one of the island’s “seven seasons” ends up in a jar, from spruce tips, sorrel and kelp stipes (spring)

to bakeapples — also known as cloudberries — and strawberries (summer) to damson plums (fall, or berry season), root vegetables (late fall) and even fish. All this bounty will turn up on the inn’s menu throughout the year: A house-made vinegar might end up in a cocktail or a sauce. “It’s a pretty impressive arsenal we get to pull from,” says Charles.

Because guests are likely to have most of their meals prepared by the hotel kitchen (there simply aren’t many other options on the island), staff strive to keep the menu exciting. They operate a seven-day dinner menu, with three different mains offered each night. “We call it the cumulative dining experience,” Charles says. “All of the meals you eat relate to one another and leave you with a feeling that keeps stacking on itself and complementing the meals around it.”

An ecosystem of more than 50 on- and off-island suppliers supports that experience. (“The relationships are like friendships,” Charles says, “you’ve got to maintain them.”) This supply chain mirrors Fogo Island Inn’s role as a social enterprise: The inn operates on a profit-sharing model for its employees, and all revenues are recycled into the local economy through Shorefast, the charity that founded the inn as part of a holistic approach to help revitalize this outport fishing community.

Hands-on Foodie Adventures

FARM GARDEN TO KITCHEN TO PLATE IN PUERTO VARAS, CHILE

Experience what it’s like to farm — and cook — in Chilean Patagonia, a land of peaks, volcanoes, lakes and rivers. With Hotel AWA’s organic farm as your pantry, you’ll learn the basics of permaculture, harvesting the ingredients needed to prepare your lunch.

DISCOVER THE ART OF THE COCONUT IN RAA ATOLL, MALDIVES

Learn how the coconut, known here as the Miracle Tree, has a central role in Maldivian life, cooking and art. At Alila Kothaifaru Maldives in Raa Atoll, you’ll pick up the proper technique for climbing the tree to harvest its fruit, enjoy a mixology class (you put the lime in the coconut) and relax with a coconut-scented bath and massage.

FARM-TO-TABLE DINNERS IN MASSACHUSETTS, USA Weekly dinners at Chatham Bars Inn take “farm to table” literally: Produce is picked, prepared and plated for guests amid the inn’s farm plots. Angling aficionados can charter a boat in search of striped bass, bluefish, black sea bass and little tunny. Once reeled in, the captain will clean and deliver your catch to the kitchen for your next meal.

FOGO ISLAND INN
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Fogo Island Inn combines radical design with traditional elements like the “shores” propping up two floors of guest rooms; chef Tim Charles with Alf Coffin in his island garden; the inn’s dining room is the vantage point for whale and iceberg spotting, all while enjoying a lovingly prepared meal; a lunch of fresh scallop, lentil and carrot garnished with foraged yarrow.

A Tea Lover’s Retreat in Rwanda

Revel in this resort’s tea plantation setting, partaking in everything from plucking leaves to brewing the perfect cuppa.

About 6,500 feet up in one of the world’s last montane rainforests, tea, tourism and biodiversity have combined for a reinvigorating brew: One&Only Nyungwe House, a boutique wellness resort set on a working tea plantation.

When pluckers from the local cooperative aren’t working in the garden (they come by almost daily to groom the tea plants), Nyungwe House staff leads guests in tours of the plantations, lessons in plucking tea leaves (later used by kitchen staff in garnishes and pestos) and demonstrations on how to make the perfect cup — using tea made at the nearby Gisakura Tea Factory.

Rwanda Mountain Tea is one of the country’s biggest exports and the tea grown on the property has been given over to the local cooperative, which sells the crop to the factory. This livelihood means they no longer need to poach animals from the rainforest to sustain themselves — it’s a mutually beneficial approach that enriches the community, the rainforest and the resort. (One&Only Nyungwe House also supports a nearby school for the tea pluckers’ children.)

Beyond basking in the tranquility of the tea garden, guests benefit from the resort’s wellness program, with a full menu of spa treatments and yoga classes, plus a heated infinity pool overlooking the natural

wonder next door. The Nyungwe rainforest predates the last ice age (Rwanda is close to the equator and was untouched) and is richly biodiverse: Many species of plants, reptiles and birds in the forest are found nowhere else on Earth.

“It’s a place that rejuvenates your body and soul,” says Eloi Ntsinzi, sales manager for One&Only Nyungwe House. “You are next to one of Africa’s oldest rainforests — the energy of that forest is something that I cannot describe. It’s something that you feel.”

The rainforest makes up Nyungwe National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2023, the only remaining refuge for some endangered animals, such as Hill’s horseshoe bat, and home to 13 different species of primates. Guests can register for a trek to see the chimpanzees in the park — “You have to be fit,” says Ntsinzi, since these chimpanzees are often on the move — or take the Meet the Monkeys hike to see colobus and L’Hoest’s monkeys in their natural habitat.

Then again, you could simply stay in place, absorb the surroundings and pour yourself another soothing cup of tea. 

Ask your advisor about Ensemble Exclusive Amenities at the properties in this feature.

Tea Time from the U.K. to Japan

AFTERNOON TEA IN LONDON

NoMad London’s new tea menu proves that this interstitial meal still has a place in the 21st century: blue-cheese and sage scones, sandwiches of pastrami, daikon and mustard, and a list of the world’s most wanted singleorigin teas — all served under a soaring glass roof.

A SIGNATURE CEYLON RETREAT IN TANGALLE, SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka’s most famous export stars in this 120-minute sensory experience at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort that employs antioxidantrich Ceylon teas in skin scrubs and facials, as well as in a brew to sip after your Ayurvedic massage.

A TEA GARDEN ESCAPE IN KYOTO

A tea list from Kyoto-based supplier Ippodo Tea (established in 1717) and the Hyatt Regency Kyoto’s Japanese garden set the tone for Touzan restaurant’s tea menu, which goes from savory (marinated mackerel sandwiches) to sweet (uji matcha cheesecake) and includes the requisite scone, served with clotted cream and sweet black beans.

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A colobus monkey, one of several primate species that live in the rainforest around One&Only Nyungwe House; African-inspired sweets pair perfectly with a freshly brewed cup in the Tea Lounge; guest lodgings are set right in a working tea plantation; chefs at Nyungwe House spotlight Rwandan produce and local flavors.

Savor the Island

On a culinary journey across southern Martinique, our executive editor meets the passionate locals behind some of this French Caribbean isle’s most exciting flavors.

In the warm, clear waters off the fishing village of Le Vauclin, on the east coast of Martinique, I’m about to get the ultimate introduction to the flavors of the island. Floating on my back in the shallows of a sandbank, the sea swirling gently around me, I’m suddenly summoned for a snack and a cocktail.

Hundreds of feet from shore, on a guided kayak excursion, I wasn’t expecting to sip local rum punch and taste island ingredients like smoked fish and caramelized plantains. But this is no ordinary kayak tour.

Marc Marie-Magdelaine is the founder of Fleurdo Éco-Excursion, which offers guided adventures aboard transparent kayaks along the coast between Pointe Chaudière and Petite Grenade. His goal is to immerse guests in the surrounding ecosystem and educate them about the biodiversity of Martinique. Marc’s homemade bites and beverages are just another way to engage participants in the environment. “The idea is to attract all kinds of people, so everyone can leave full of knowledge,” he says.

The outing begins on shore when Marc and his co-guide Gérard, an oceanologist, help us into our two-seater kayaks. At our first stop, just around the nearest point, they lead an interactive lesson, touching on everything from the importance of seagrass (its roots help stabilize beaches and reefs) to the reason for the hazy skies (it’s sand from the Sahara, which routinely blows across the Atlantic, bringing nutrients to ocean ecosystems and the Amazon rainforest).

From there, it’s a short paddle to the sandbank, where Marc begins preparing his banquet at sea, pulling containers of ceviche, shrimp and condiments from a cooler on his boat. Soon, he’s topping cassava crisps with mango-studded ceviche and small pieces of bread with smoked marlin and pineapple chutney. Marc finishes everything with grinds of fresh spices, then lines up bottles filled with vibrant orange and green juices on the side of his boat.

“My concept is to make new versions of the tastes you find in Martinique,” Marc says. For his cocktail, Soleil, he combines La Favorite rum with mango and ginger juices, which is different from the Ti’ Punch and Planter’s Punch most visitors will try at the island’s restaurants and hotels. “My favorite part is serving you all my recipes,” he says. “My restaurant is in the sea.”

Marc’s passion-fueled spread is only the beginning of what I’ll taste on my culinary journey across the southern half of this French island in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles. Known as “the Island of Flowers,” Martinique’s rich biodiversity plays an outsized role in its food-and-drink culture. From waters teeming with mahi-mahi, marlin and tuna to verdant fields of sugar cane swaying in the breeze, to markets filled with local nutmeg, cacao, cinnamon and vanilla, the island produces all sorts of flavors — and Martinicans know just how to use them.

POISSON (FISH)

Galanga Fish Bar is tucked behind an unassuming gate in a quiet residential area in the hills above Fortde-France, Martinique’s bustling capital. Though you can’t see the sea from here, you feel its influence: The ceiling of the open-air dining room is festooned with hanging decor inspired by traditional fishing traps, and the menu, which changes monthly, features a selection of the freshest catches from the island’s fishermen.

“There is a lot of richness on the island, and the fish are a part of that,” says Yadji Zami, Galanga’s chef and owner. In 2018, Yadji left his career as an optician and opened the 36-seat restaurant with a mission to share and celebrate Martinique’s diverse food culture, which draws from Indigenous, African, European, Indian and Creole influences. Yadji has relationships with fishermen on both the Caribbean and Atlantic sides of the island, who call him to report their catches, from yellowfin tuna to sea bream, so he can build his menu around them.

When I stop by for lunch, I start with a fresh passion-fruit juice blend, topped with currant and cacao powders and edible flowers from the restaurant’s garden. An amuse-bouche of tuna belly served with yam cream and herb pesto gives me a taste of what to expect for the main, for which there are two choices: marlin sashimi with crispy rice, or grilled kingfish with chimichurri and pumpkin dumplings. The latter, a species of mackerel, is hearty and mild-tasting, accompanied with bright vegetables and soft gnocchi-like dumplings.

As I linger over dessert, Yadji pops over to ask how everything was. All I can manage is an effusive nod,

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Red and yellowtail snapper are just two of the species found in the waters off Martinique’s 218 miles of coastline; fishermen haul a boat on shore after a day at sea; colonial architecture and the Byzantine-domed Bibliothèque Schoelcher await in Fort-deFrance, Martinique’s capital.

“Everything you ate today is from the hills and the sea and made with love.”

my mouth full of tangy passion-fruit meringue tart. “Everything you ate today is from the hills and the sea and made with love,” he says.

RHUM (RUM)

Driving through southern Martinique, fields of the island’s top crops — sugar cane and banana — roll over the landscape, coming right up to the roadside.

Today, Martinique’s sugar cane, which was introduced by European colonizers in the 17th century, is primarily used to produce rum. While most of the world’s rum is made with molasses, a byproduct of sugar production, rhum agricole, as it’s known in Martinique, is made from sugar-cane juice, a process that’s protected by an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), like champagne and Roquefort cheese.

Braud & Quennesson is both the southernmost and newest rum distillery in Martinique. As I turn into the property in Le Marin, driving up a long road lined with towering palm trees, a massive herd of resident cattle is on the move. Formerly a sugar-cane plantation and factory founded in 1866, the 7,000-acre estate was reborn as a distillery in 2022, its fields full of sugar cane once more. Two years in, the rum is already winning awards.

“Martinique’s volcanic soil and tropical climate not only make for the perfect conditions for sugar-cane cultivation, but they also enhance the mineral-rich profile of our rums,” says cellar master Lyse Carlier. Originally from Tours, France, she fell in love with rum-making in Martinique during an internship and, after honing her craft in Cambodia, recently returned to join Braud & Quennesson.

In the tasting room — a refurbished Creole house built in 1650 with stately window shutters and black-and-white floor tiles — I sample Braud & Quennesson’s lineup of six rums. The aromatic Rhum Blanc Agricole 55°, which earned a gold medal at the 2023 Spirits Selection by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, is my favorite. “The notes of lime and orange blossoms are clear, bringing suppleness with a gentle hint of the aromas of our sugar cane,” Lyse tells me. “I like to drink it with a bit of sugar and lemon or, as we used to do in Cambodia, with an ice cube of mango juice.”

CHOCOLAT (CHOCOLATE)

As my time — and tasting — on the island winds down, there’s one more stop to make: Monde des Épices. This spice boutique in Le Lamentin is one of the best places to find local nutmeg, cinnamon and the French Caribbean spice blend Colombo (a mix of cumin, turmeric, coriander and more), not to mention chocolate.

Bénédicte Huyghues Despointes and her husband, Victor, recently acquired the longtime business, which acts as a sister shop to Bénédicte’s burgeoning chocolate venture, Bénédicte Chocolats. On the floor above the spice shop is a chocolate factory where she handcrafts her bonbons and bars, and hosts workshops.

Bénédicte uses Martinican ingredients like sugar, vanilla and rum in her confections, and she’s just launched a product using the island’s cacao. Growing up with two cacao trees in her garden, she knows firsthand what sets Martinique’s cacao apart. “Here, every cacao tree is surrounded by fruit trees — bananas, oranges, apricots — and because of that, our cacao takes on different flavors; it’s something very special.”

It’s also rare — for now. Once a dominant industry on the island, cacao plantations disappeared in favor of agricultural heavyweights sugar cane and bananas. But a group of producers is on a mission to change that: Valcaco is a cooperative of roughly 40 producers across Martinique working to revive the industry. Earlier this year, producer Jean-Michel Marie won gold at the international Cacao of Excellence Awards for the “superior quality and flavor diversity of their cacao.”

Bénédicte will soon be sourcing cacao from Valcaco for her new chocolate squares (for her first batches, she used cacao from her family’s garden). She designed the squares to showcase the complex and fruity flavor of Martinique cacao. “They are small bites of chocolate without anything inside,” she says. “You want to eat it and be able to taste the cacao behind it.”

Later, when I board my flight, I inhale one last breath of tropical air, relieved that I’ll still be able to savor the island’s flavors at home. Balancing atop my carry-on is a bag loaded with purchases from Fort-de-France’s covered market, Monde des Épices and duty-free: a box of Bénédicte’s bonbons, candied mango, vanilla, Colombo spice and a bottle of rhum agricole. 

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Each cacao pod contains about 40 beans, which will be fermented, dried, roasted and ground in the chocolate-making process; Martinique is home to around 15 rum distilleries, many of which offer tours and tastings; sashimi is a go-to preparation for chef Yadji Zami at Galanga Fish Bar in Fort-de-France.

RANGE × OCEANIA CRUISES

Ocean Flavors

How setting sail on Oceania Cruises’ Vista turns a journey at sea into a culinary odyssey.

Inever say no to fresh burrata. There’s something particularly magical about the contrast of its creamy texture against a chewy Neapolitan-style pizza crust. As soon as I see this combination on the menu at Waves Grill, I know what I’m ordering.

The pie arrives at my table, its crust beautifully charred from the wood-fired oven, a silky ball of burrata and thick ribbons of prosciutto piled on top. I admire both it and the warm glow spreading across the sky outside my window. Yet the sun isn’t setting over the Italian countryside, which the pizza is conjuring up, but over an endless expanse of ocean — I can’t believe I’m eating pizza this good at sea.

“We do all our cooking from scratch,” says Oceania Cruises’ executive chef Frederic Camonin, as he later leads me through the labyrinth of stainless-steel kitchen galleys that run beneath the decks of Oceania Cruises’ Vista, pots clanging and steam swirling through the air around us. French-born Camonin has traveled the world as a chef at sea for the past 20 years.

I can smell the pastry area before I see it. Croissants, Danishes, baguettes and other baked goods are prepared here for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, so they’re always at peak freshness. “We have people working in the kitchen 24 hours a day,” Camonin says, adding that the success of Vista’s ambitious from-scratch food program comes

ABOVE

For many Vista passengers, a day at sea begins with the expansive breakfast buffet at Terrace Café.

OPPOSITE, LEFT TO RIGHT

Topped with spicy shrimp and zesty lime juice, avocado toast is elevated to high art at Aquamar Kitchen; the menu in the Grand Dining Room changes daily, with each evening’s dinner service offering a selection of 10 entrées.

down to people power. Half of Vista’s onboard staff is dedicated to preparing or serving meals, totaling 140 chefs — or one chef for every 10 guests. I mention my fabulous pizza from the night before and he nods: “We brought a chef from Italy on board to teach the cooks how to make pizza.”

That’s the other secret behind Oceania Cruises’ culinary prowess: recruiting experts to train its culinary team. As we emerge at the other end of the galley in Red Ginger, the ship’s pan-Asian restaurant, Camonin tells me that Oceania Cruises also enlisted a Japanese sushi chef to coach its cooks on the art of preparing fresh fish. “We always get someone who knows the fundamentals to come and show us how to do it properly, and which products to use,” he says.

When I dine at Red Ginger later that evening, I learn the culinary team also shares that knowledge with guests. I listen in as a server sets a bowl of edamame down at the table to my right while explaining the best way to pop the soybeans from their pods. Meanwhile, on my left, a sommelier is walking a couple through the origin and flavors of the albariño grape and how it will complement the zesty notes of their next course: bay scallops with makrut lime.

While there are educational moments to be had at every meal, the ship’s Culinary

ABOVE, LEFT TO RIGHT

Oceania Cruises was the first cruise line to launch a culinary school at sea; Vista’s refined Polo Grill steakhouse wouldn’t look out of place in New York.

OPPOSITE

Crispy Apple Tart — a star of the dessert menu — is ably supported by a scoop of Humphry Slocombe Sweet Summer Corn ice cream.

Vista’s Can’t-miss Culinary Stops

AFTERNOON TEA AT HORIZONS BAR

Horizons Bar transforms into a British-style tearoom every afternoon, with white-gloved servers wheeling carts filled with savory finger sandwiches and flaky scones. Other servers circulate with a selection of teas, while a string quartet sets the tone for sophisticated snacking.

COCKTAILS AT FOUNDERS BAR

From barrel-aged Negronis to cocktails crowned with aromatic smoke bubbles, the drinks served at Founders Bar could go toe-to-toe with those of any cutting-edge bar around the world. Swing by for a pre-dinner drink or a nightcap to close out the day’s adventures.

CHEF’S MARKET DINNERS AT TERRACE CAFÉ

Center is the ultimate hub for fledgling foodies. During a cooking class focused on North Atlantic cuisine, executive chef and director of culinary enrichment Kathryn Kelly brandishes a chef’s knife in front of me and 23 other students, each of us stationed at our own gleaming induction cooktop.

Kelly demonstrates the correct way to hold our knives in order to effortlessly slice through long planks of celery as we prepare lobster salads. As we squeeze our lemon halves, she shows us how to use the opposite hand as a strainer, spacing our fingers just enough to let the juice pass through while catching any stray seeds.

“Don’t touch those,” Kelly says firmly, as our little hunks of Delmonico steak sizzle while we sip bourbon-based Boston Tea Party cocktails. (We’ll never master a restaurantstyle char if we shuffle them nervously around our pans.)

Though my steak achieves a decent flame-kissed finish under Kelly’s instruction, it doesn’t quite compare to the chef-prepared rib eye, dry-aged for 28 days, that I order for dinner at Polo Grill the next evening. I slice into the tender, buttery beef, then dunk it in a creamy au poivre sauce while admiring the glow of the sunset streaming through the window across the restaurant. If it weren’t for the gentle sway of the ocean, I’d think I was dining in a classic New York steakhouse — but here I am, still blissfully at sea. 

Buffet restaurant Terrace Café periodically hosts special Chef’s Market Dinners, where dishes inspired by the local cuisine of the ship’s port of call bring a sense of place to the onboard fare, including a Bermudian-style spread complete with rice ’n’ beans and codfish cakes.

An Epic English Pub Crawl

Medieval history. Pastoral landscapes. High step counts. Hearty fare and refreshing pints. This once-in-a-lifetime walking journey was worth every mile for writer Bonnie Munday.

Bonnie Munday Photos by Felicity Millward

“You’re really doing this!” our friend Liz exclaimed, hugging us goodbye. My husband, Jules, and I were standing in the historic market square of Devizes, Wiltshire, with everything we’d need for the next three weeks strapped to our backs. It was a brisk March morning and Liz, who grew up here and is one of our closest friends, was there to see us off as we headed out into the countryside of southwest England. Our plan was to walk across four counties, all the way to Cornwall.

We were really doing this. And we were feeling pretty apprehensive about it. After months of studying maps and planning our route, now it was real. Not only was it a long, long walk from Jules’s hometown, it was also a walk into the next phase of our lives. We’d just sold our house in Canada and pulled back on our workloads, semi-retiring. We wanted to do something big to put an exclamation mark on the transition. Something that allowed us to really immerse ourselves in the beauty of England after years of being able to visit for only a week or two at a time.

From our starting point in Wiltshire — home to Iron Age forts and ancient stone circles, including Stonehenge — we’d head southwest into the counties

of Somerset and Devon, finishing up in Looe on the Cornwall coast. It would be roughly 155 miles of walking in total. What makes this kind of countryside pilgrimage even possible is that, across the U.K., there is a network of public footpaths on private land that has existed for hundreds of years. The routes were once essential for getting to work, school, markets and church, and to this day, anyone can access them. There are several famous designated long routes, including the Thames Path and Pennine Way, but to get from Devizes to Looe, we’d create our own using the Ordnance Survey’s Maps (OS Maps) app, cobbling together stretches of lanes and footpaths. We’d walk eight to 12 miles a day over three weeks across hilly, mushy terrain (it had been raining for months), but we were banking on the warmth of a village pub to greet us at the end of each daily finish line.

SOUTHEAST SOMERSET

“Can we have the Barolo with our dinner, please?” I ask Sam Sharratt-Malone, our server in the pub of the George Inn, where we’re staying for the night. It’s our wedding anniversary, but, more importantly, it’s the end of day two of our journey. We arrived in the

OPENING SPREAD, LEFT TO RIGHT

On a sunny afternoon at Exeter’s Ley Arms, lunch — and a local cider — moves out to the garden; there are more than 3,500 miles of footpaths and trails in the county of Devon alone.

village of Nunney soaked, windburned, muddy-booted and blistered and are in need of a celebratory bottle.

“We’re out of that Barolo right now,” he says, “but I’m sure the pub owners have something similar in their wine cellar.” And with that, he’s off, dashing across the road to pull a bottle from their collection. The special service fits this special place.

Although Sam has been the front-of-house manager here for a year, he and his husband only recently moved into the village — and he says it already feels like home. (The locals immediately invited them for coffee dates, and Sam was asked to host and MC July’s Nunney Fayre Day, an annual event with craft and local-produce stalls on the main street and live music on a stage in the center of the village.) “When I was a kid, we moved around a lot because of my dad’s job in the military,” he says. “Now, I feel like I fit in, like I’ve been here forever.”

The George is the only pub in this village of 856 people and was built in the 17th century. Its huge glowing fireplace couldn’t have been more welcome after squelching across miles of fields in the rain. I order the blue-cheese-topped beef burger with salad after Sam explains that the menu is made up of meats,

dairy and produce procured exclusively from local sources. On Sundays, it’s all about roasts served with potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and seasonal vegetables. Through the multi-paned window we can see the ruins of Nunney Castle just across the road and decide to explore the grounds the next morning before setting off on our day’s walk. The castle was built in the 1370s by a knight named Sir John de la Mare, but was heavily damaged by Oliver Cromwell’s cannons almost 300 years later during the Civil War. Walking across the drawbridge over the castle’s moat and staring up at its curved stone walls is like taking a trip back in time.

NORTH SOMERSET

Six days into our adventure, we reach north Somerset and the town of Watchet, where you can see across the Bristol Channel to Wales. More than a thousand years ago it was an important Saxon port, and the coins from its mint turned up as far away as Scandinavia — Viking plunder. We stay a little further inland, in Washford, the riverside setting of the 12th-century Cleeve Abbey and home to the White Horse Inn, which welcomed its first guests in 1709. It’s a Monday evening, but when we open the door of the inn’s low-ceilinged pub, it’s full of

THIS SPREAD, LEFT TO RIGHT Wells Cathedral makes a majestic trail marker; traditional direction signs, like this one in the village of Nunney, are known as fingerposts; the White Horse Inn is a haven for weary Exmoor hikers.

locals talking and laughing as though it were Friday.

“I have so many loyal regulars that when one doesn’t show up, I call and make sure they’re all right,” owner George Shan tells us. He bought the business only a year ago, despite having never worked in a pub, let alone owned one. “I had no idea what I was doing,” he says. “The first time I pulled a pint, I didn’t fill the glass to the top. The customer said, ‘That’s a very generous half pint.’ I had a lot to learn, including the British people’s dry sense of humor.”

George left China when he was 18 and lived in Singapore and Malta before moving to London in 2018. He and his wife, Helen, quickly fell in love with the English countryside — its history, landscapes, people and pub food. Though the specialty tonight is a selection of curries, I choose the sautéed free-range chicken breast with wild mushrooms, accompanied by a glass of local cider called Fuzzy Duck from the Torre Cider Farm just up the road.

The White Horse is the center of the community not only for its customers, but for George and Helen, too.

“Even though we’re not from this area, or even from this culture, people are very welcoming,” George says. “I didn’t feel at home in London. But I think I’ll live here for a long time — I want to be one of the locals.”

DEVON

From Washford, we put Somerset behind us as we make our way south through Devon toward the small city of Exeter. We’re now two-thirds of the way into our walk and my boots tell a story of climbing countless hills, hiking curved tracks between tall hedgerows and navigating muddy bridleways deeply divoted by horses’ hooves. It’s liberating to be carrying what we need, relying only on our legs for travel — it helps that our blisters have healed, our legs are stronger and we’ve adapted to the weight of our backpacks.

We have also mastered OS Maps. Now when we set off each morning, serenaded by birdsong, we can fully take in the charms of southern England instead of stopping every so often to make sure we don’t miss a turn. We pause on the hillsides, looking back for the view of what we’ve just put behind us. Lunch is usually Cornish pasties purchased that morning from a village bakery, and we enjoy them on a bench in an ancient churchyard, or leaning on a stile next to a field dotted with ewes, newborn lambs at their sides.

After so much blissful countryside, it feels a little strange to suddenly pass through a city. Exeter is sparkling in the sun, its pedestrian mall bustling with Saturday shoppers. Hidden underneath lies

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT

Left in ruin after the English Civil War, Nunney Castle retains its medieval moat; the Wood Life glamping hosts Matt and Amanda Bate; guests at the Wood Life are treated to Devon’s soul-stirring scenery; the bluecheese burger is a must at the George Inn; dating back to the 18th century, the George remains Nunney’s only pub.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT

An idyllic stretch of trail skirts farmers’ fields in Wells; cozy details give the White Horse Inn the warmth of a family home; the White Horse doubles as Washford’s community center; Devon goat cheese and roasted heritage beetroot on mixed greens is a seasonal specialty at the Ley Arms; White Horse Inn owner George Shan.

a medieval tunnel system, constructed in the 14th century to supply water to Exeter’s inhabitants. Yet far older is the city’s wall, about 70 percent of which still stands. It was built by the Romans, who arrived in 55 AD, to protect a 5,000-man legion.

A few miles south lies the village of Kenn and the Ley Arms pub, a thatch-roofed establishment dating back to the 1200s. We’re here for dinner — and for a glamping orientation from Matt and Amanda Bate, the owners of the Wood Life, our accommodation for the night about two miles from here. Jules orders the sole (caught that morning off nearby Brixham) with capers and lemon parsley butter, while I opt for a couple of vegetarian appetizers featuring pan-fried mushrooms from Dawlish with crumbled Devon blue cheese, and a shallot-stuffed ravioli topped with cherry tomatoes, pea shoots and baby arugula.

Over dinner, Amanda tells us that, a few years ago, she left a full-time job with a nonprofit to start the Wood Life — two utterly private rustic-chic glamping accommodations. She’d spent several years working for a conservation organization and says helping preserve their corner of ancient Devon countryside was important to both of them. Matt, an arborist and woodworker, now runs courses in a converted barn

just outside their home, and the glamping sites sit on land that Matt’s ancestors farmed for hundreds of years (generations back, the pub was also owned by Matt’s family). “It’s glorious isolation,” Amanda says. “Your own utopia.”

Our bed for the night is in the cedar-scented Shepherd’s Hut, right next to a private bath wagon that Matt built (it houses a full-size tub and woodfired heater for hot baths overlooking the lush fields).

Climbing into bed, Jules and I know we’ll soon be lacing up again and heading west. We’ll skirt the northern edge of brooding, desolate Dartmoor, cross into Cornwall and then bog-hop for miles across Bodmin Moor to the seaside resort town of Looe and its wide beach. That stretch will mark our final week.

But for now, we luxuriate in the dark night that’s silent but for the sound of lambs bleating in a nearby field. It’s lovely to fall asleep surrounded by green, knowing that tomorrow we’ll be out there again, wind on our faces, feeling the pure exhilaration of being alive and traveling on foot. Sleeping on the land we’re passing through on this epic walk reminds us why we decided to take it on in the first place: to be a part of the beautiful English countryside — and to know there are many new paths (and pubs) yet to discover. 

A PASSPORT FOR YOUR TASTE BUDS

Savor a world of flavors on your next vacation — without even leaving the ship. Kickoff the evening with pre dinner sips and elevated small bites in the elegant ambiance of Vintages wine bar. From fried chile calamari sizzling with flavor to grilled cobia wrapped in a house-made tortilla, Sabor Modern Mexican brings the heat from south of the border. When your taste buds long for Tuscan-inspired cuisine, Jamie’s Italian serves up classics like buttery garlic bread and fan-favorite chianti-braised short rib. And discover tasty innovations like crispy shrimp kataifi and Borkshire pork belly served with apples and crackling at Wonderland. World class cuisine and global goodness await when you sail with Royal Caribbean ® .

Please contact your Ensemble travel advisor for more details or to book.

Izumi Japanese Cuisine
Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver

WHERE NEXT

Playa de Bocagrande, Cartagena

Just a 15-minute drive from Cartagena’s Old Town is Playa de Bocagrande, a golden beach fronting a skyline of high-rise hotels where you can rent a lounger and wind down as the sun glistens over the Caribbean Sea. Or, if you’re looking for a livelier scene, hop between the many restaurants and bars that abut the long stretch of sand. Bocagrande’s modern setting is in striking contrast to the historic walled city, which you can explore in our guide to the perfect day in Cartagena beginning on page 64.

Cartagena

COLOMBIA

From eclectic shops in the historic Old Town to champeta lessons in lively dance clubs, a wealth of discoveries awaits in this storied port city.

When tour guide and journalist Néstor Meléndez Soler was a little boy, he thought kids all over the world had secret hiding places they called la caleta. Turns out, that was a Cartagena thing — la caleta means “secluded cove,” or cove within a cove, and it’s how the Spanish, who arrived in Colombia around 1500, referred to the port city. It’s also where they stashed their plundered gold and silver. “Leather, liquor — whatever you want, you can find it in Cartagena,” says Meléndez Soler.

Indeed, the walled Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984, and the neighboring Getsemaní area, a former working-class enclave in the throes of gentrification, are a color-blocked tangle of streets made for treasure hunting. You never know what’s around the corner — an impromptu salsa street party, a boutique filled with one-of-a-kind handicrafts or a breathtaking view of the Caribbean Sea.

PHOTO: DAVID ACOSTA/UNSPLASH.

Morning

It’s 8 a.m. and Cartagena’s Bodeguita dock is bustling. I’m boarding a powerboat alongside 20 strangers heading for the Islas del Rosario, a 27-island archipelago about 22 miles off the coast. As we cruise through Cartagena Bay, the city’s humidity, powerful even early in the morning, disappears completely. Soon, we’re on the Caribbean Sea and our driver revs up. “Hold onto your hats, and have fun,” he says in Spanish. We bound over the waves, and our first moment of bonding is a collective “Wooo!” as we catch air over a particularly big one. (Joy, it turns out, sounds the same in English, Spanish, Dutch and Italian.)

The best emeralds in the world come from Colombia, prized for their color, clarity and sparkle. The blue-green sea around Isla Grande, the biggest island in the Rosario cluster, ticks all the same boxes. We alight at Pa’ue Beach Lounge, and I get into the water immediately to confirm its quality. (Verdict: flawless.) I

swim-snooze-repeat my way through the morning, hopping on a paddleboard once just to say I did, until my cabana attendant shows up with a chair, a table and a whole pan-fried mojarra. The fish, typical of Colombian Caribbean cuisine, is served with sweet brown rice and fried plantains.

01 To ensure the protection of its coral reefs, the Islas del Rosario were designated a national park in 1988.

02 Colombian Caribbean cuisine makes the most of abundant catches of mojarra, lobster and prawns.

03 Choosing between sun or shade is the toughest decision you’ll face at Isla Grande’s laid-back Pa’ue Beach Lounge.

Afternoon

Back in Cartagena, I spend the afternoon winding my way through the Old Town in search of hidden treasures to bring home. The family-run Librería Los Mártires sells first editions of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel García Márquez at a bookstall nestled under the arches at the base of the famous clock tower. There are playful, modern finds — including papier-mâché cows, pigs and chickens encrusted in fuchsia and chartreuse beads — at El Centro Artesano, an organization that works with, and provides microfinancing for, Indigenous artisans. At Artesanías de Colombia, a nonprofit with a similar mission, I pick up two mustard-yellow piggy banks — well, a turtle bank and an armadillo bank, technically — carved out of totumo, an inedible fruit with a hard rind. St. Dom carries exclusively higher-end Colombian designers who do chic, riotously colorful updates on classic accessories, like Woma Hatmakers’ two-tone woven sun hats, Michú’s multihued embroidered handbags and Garces Bottier’s chunky-heeled leather sandals.

It’s a lot of browsing, so I stop by a corner café called La Esquina Del Pandebono for its specialty: a starchy, fluffy cheese bread and a glass of tart lulo juice, a must for citrus lovers. From there, I secure a rooftop table at Mirador Gastro Bar, a day-to-night café, restaurant and bar that prioritizes Colombian flavors and ingredients. I’m just here for a snack, but somehow end up ordering a trio of ceviches — shrimp in a tangy passion-fruit mayonnaise is a standout — and a spicy mango- inflected darkrum cocktail called Tiempo al Tiempo. It’s inspired by the clock tower directly opposite my perch, and it’s the ideal drink to linger over, watching the Plaza de los Coches below come alive as the sun sets.

04 With labels ranging from Carlo Carrizosa to Juana Gomez, St. Dom brings the most in-demand Latin designers under one roof.
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF ST. DOM (04); MATYAS REHAK/ADOBE STOCK (05).
05 A statue of Cartagena’s founder, Spanish conquistador Pedro de Heredia, dominates the Plaza de los Coches.

Evening

It’s about 6 p.m. when I get to Plaza de la Trinidad, the heart of the Getsemaní neighborhood. You can feel the city’s energy shifting, relaxing, released from the afternoon heat — which is perfect for my purposes. I’m meeting the charismatic Danny Stark, who runs the tour company Beyond the Wall Cartagena, for an intro to champeta, a homegrown dance and music style that blends Afro-Caribbean rhythms and sounds.

As we meander through Getsemaní’s narrow streets, Stark rattles off his inside-out knowledge of champeta, from its origins in percussive communication between settlements of escaped slaves in the 18th century to the impact of the first vinyl records to arrive from Africa in the 1960s. Today, it’s defined by “picó parties” — gatherings of 10,000-plus to hear modern champeta blasted out of building-size sound systems — and the rise of champeta TikTok. We end our tour at Club Los Carpinteros, a local hot spot on Calle 28, with a dance lesson. One 12,000-

peso margarita later (that’s about US$3) and I’m dancing champeta-style (if you squint) to the sounds of Mr Black El Presidente and Kevin Florez. Then I remember my dinner reservation.

Getsemaní might be a bohemian backpacker paradise, but it’s also home to Cartagena’s buzziest restaurant. Celele, named one of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2023 (and every year since 2020), is tucked inside a colonial house featuring exposed beams and brick walls, yellow and brown tiles and an intimate interior courtyard, which makes chef Jaime Rodríguez Camacho’s quasi-experimental fusion cuisine feel like home cooking. Well, home cooking if your parents made burrata with roasted watermelon and hibiscus gazpacho, or confit hen served with sour guava and fried banana peels. The chocolate cream, served with a sharp tamarind gel, sweet chilies and a crumble made of local seeds and corn, is one final treasure to cap the day. 

WHERE TO STAY

SOFITEL LEGEND SANTA CLARA CARTAGENA

Set in a former convent dating back to 1621, this 125-room hotel seamlessly blends history and luxury within its grand Spanish Colonial walls. Join a butler-led tour to learn about the property’s original features, such as the convent well, and see tributes to Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez, whose time at the convent as a reporter inspired Of Love and Other Demons

06 Follow the infectious, thumping beats of champeta, and you’ll likely find yourself at the door of Getsemaní’s Club Los Carpinteros.
07 Chef Jaime Rodríguez Camacho founded the Caribe Lab Project, which aims to preserve ancient Colombian recipes and ingredients.

History and Humpbacks in Haida Gwaii

An expert take on the ancient customs and striking landscapes of “Canada’s Galápagos” — a rugged archipelago off the coast of British Columbia.

01

What’s your favorite thing about Haida Gwaii?

That you have to see it with your own eyes. The archipelago is made up of more than 200 islands, and photos can’t capture the raw beauty of the sunrises and sunsets against the rocky coastline. Mornings in Haida Gwaii are incredibly serene, and you get to see the islands wake up throughout the day.

02

How do you include Indigenous voices in your tours?

Our eight-day Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii itinerary dedicates five days to Haida Gwaii. Visitors learn about the Haida people, an Indigenous group who have lived on the archipelago for more than 12,000 years. James Williams, a Haida Gwaii Watchman — the traditional protectors of the islands’ cultural sites — guides visitors along the Golden Spruce Trail and Tow Hill, a volcanic plug in Naikoon Park.

SENIOR LEAD OF GROUP OPERATIONS AT ANDERSON VACATIONS

Born in Calgary and raised across Canada, Parks is a 20-year veteran of the tourism industry. Today, she creates itineraries and fosters partnerships at Anderson Vacations, which offers immersive small-group tours throughout North America.

03

Are there opportunities to see wildlife?

On the ferry from Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii, you might spot orcas in July and August, and humpback and gray whales from March to June. Whales are deeply important to Indigenous people, with orcas playing a significant role in Haida culture.

04

How can visitors help to preserve these lands?

In 2021, the Haida Nation introduced the Haida Gwaii Pledge. Unlike a city, which has its artifacts in museums, most of Haida Gwaii’s relics have not been moved from the land. The Pledge encourages respect — how you receive it is how you should leave it — and asks that visitors honor the Haida ways of being. For instance, you need to ask permission before snapping a photo of a person or landmark, and you should take only what is given to you, leaving behind things like rocks and feathers.

ABOVE

In the village SG – ang Gwaay Llnagaay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the remains of cedar long houses and carved mortuary and memorial poles illustrate the Haida way of life.

A taste of paradise with Princess

Name a better pairing than food and travel — we’ll wait. Princess presents a variety of cuisine to satisfy every palate, along with onboard culinary and wine programs that tell a story with every bite and sip.

Whether it’s a seven-course multi-sensory meal, seasonal dishes made with regional ingredients or a slice of the best pizza at sea, you’ll indulge your inner gastronome on every sailing. And when you step into the main dining room, you can do it on your schedule: Enjoy the flexibility of traditional (same table, same waiter each night), reservable and walk-in service.

CASUAL DINING

Savor fish and chips at O’Malley’s Irish Pub. Share a hand-tossed pie at Alfredo’s Pizzeria. Indulge in seafood favorites at Crab Shack. Whatever you’re craving, Princess has you covered, from sushi to barbecue to gelato.

EXPERIENTIAL DINING

Get lost in rich culinary storytelling with 360: An Extraordinary Experience or the intimate Chef’s Table and Chef’s Table Lumiere. Disappear into a Victorian-themed world of mixology and magic at Spellbound by Magic Castle. Experience the imaginative artist-inspired dining journey at Love by Britto.

SPECIALTY DINING

Relish premium steaks at Crown GrillSM. Delight in handmade pasta at Sabatini’sSM Italian Trattoria. Sample bisques, bakes and broils at The Catch by Rudi. Enjoy the perfect steak at Butcher’s Block by Dario. And taste the work of a master of modern Japanese cuisine at Makoto Ocean.

WINE AND DINE

Exclusive to Princess guests: Expand your palate with Princess’ partnerships with two iconic Napa Valley-based wineries, Silverado Vineyards and Caymus Vineyards. Enjoy transcendent meals perfectly paired with wine for the ultimate dining experiences. Food and wine go together like ... Princess and wine: they’ve even earned an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectatormagazine Award of Excellence.1

Juneau

Step ashore for a day of discovery in the Alaskan capital, where close encounters with wildlife are as captivating as the region’s colorful past.

ALASKA

As you come into port at Juneau, sailing past mist-shrouded coastal rainforests and delicate, ribbon-like mountain waterfalls, there’s a further wonder in store: You’re docking right in the city’s downtown. The irony of Juneau — the only continental state capital not reachable by road — is how accessible it is for cruise-ship passengers. After disembarking, you’ll find an endless succession of buses shuttling explorers to the nearby Mendenhall Glacier, a 13-mile-long river of ice. It’s also mere steps to the Goldbelt Tram, which will whisk you 1,800 feet up the slopes of Mount Roberts for spectacular views over the city, with bald eagles soaring overhead. Carry on from the docks to discover this delightful former frontier town’s compact center, complete with turn-of-the-century storefronts on historic South Franklin Street.

Temperature

Average daily highs range from 33°F/1°C (January) to 64°F/18°C (July).

HISTORY

1880

Guided by local Tlingit chief Kowee, prospectors Joe Juneau and Richard Harris strike gold panning a river in Alaska’s Silverbow Basin.

1881

A vote is held to name the settlement that’s sprung up at the base of that river. Joe Juneau successfully lobbies to have it named after himself — after allegedly buying voters drinks.

1944

The closure of the Alaska Juneau Gold Mining Company marks the end of the city’s gold rush, estimated to have been worth the equivalent of $7 billion today.

JUNEAU

IF YOU’RE UP FOR A DAY TRIP…

Fly to Admiralty Island

A scenic 30-minute floatplane ride south of Juneau will take you to an island known to the native Tlingit as Kootznoowoo, or “Fortress of the bears.” With a brown-bear population 1,600 strong — one of the highest concentrations of the species on Earth — there’s no better place to see these powerful predators in action. Scale the observation tower at Pack Creek to spot them fishing for salmon.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Peak Whale Watching

Whale-watching opportunities abound between April and November, when the northern Inside Passage is home to around 600 humpback whales (who wisely prefer to winter in Hawai‘i). The most impressive spectacle, however, is reserved for July and August, when these massive mammals engage in a cooperative hunting behavior known as bubble-net feeding, casting “nets” of bubbles from their blowholes to corral fish swimming above. The payoff for patient whale-watchers comes when members of the pod burst from the depths — mouths wide open — to devour their encircled prey.

DID YOU KNOW?

As Alaskan cruises surge in popularity (the number of visitors was up 30 percent in 2023 over prepandemic levels), efforts are underway to curb overtourism. Beginning this cruise season, Juneau has imposed a daily limit of five large ships in port.

EAT THIS

King Crab

It turns out the “best legs in town” are also the most convenient for cruisers. Located right on the waterfront, Tracy’s King Crab Shack draws famously long lines for its three-pound buckets of king crab legs. It’s a monster-sized meal that’s meant to be shared — but all that melted butter could tempt you to make it a solo effort.

IF YOU WANT TO TIME-TRAVEL…

Think Outside the Museum

Although the Alaska State Museum is great for a glimpse of Juneau’s past, these immersive experiences bring the region’s rich history to life.

AJ Mine Gastineau Mill Venture underground on a tour of what was once the world’s largest gold-producing mill, then try your hand at panning. (You get to keep whatever you find!)

Sentinel Island Lighthouse

A series of maritime disasters at the turn of the last century prompted the construction of several lighthouses along the Inside Passage, including this gem, which serves double duty as a whale-watching tower.

Sealaska Heritage Institute Engaging speakers, awe-inspiring artwork and interactive exhibits (including the reconstruction of a traditional clan house) immerse you in Southeast Alaskan Native culture.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Vietnam’s capital is home to 8.4 million people. Naturally, there are museums, markets, bustling cafés for day and chic cocktail bars for night. It’s also more than 1,000 years old. “It’s a city that feels like it exists outside of time,” says photographer Julia Nimke, who captured this moment during her travels.

PHOTO: JULIA NIMKE. TEXT: SYDNEY LONEY.

YOU’LL NEVER WANT TO VACATION ANY OTHER WAY

FINALLY, A VACATION WORTH THE CALORIES

If you consider delicious eats a top priority on vacation, we’re going to get along just fine. Our food is globally inspired, locally sourced, and made fresh daily, but most importantly it’s just really good. With so many restaurants serving up daring new dishes and classics done right, you’ll wish there were more meals in the day.

But, who’s counting?

When you plan your Celebrity cruise with your Ensemble travel advisor you can expect personalized service, experienced and knowledgeable travel experts and when booking a veranda or above enjoy an exclusive $100 shore excursion credit per stateroom.

PLUS select 2024 sailings receive Classic beverage package, unlimited basic Wi-Fi & Pre-paid gratuities.

Please contact your Ensemble travel advisor for more details.

Travel Better

Thank you for traveling with us in the latest issue of  Range  by Ensemble. Start planning your next journey — beyond these pages — with your trusted Ensemble travel advisor .

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