Benvenuto Expo Milano 2015: What To See at This Year’s Universal Exhibition

Screengrab courtesy of Expo Milano
Screengrab courtesy of Expo Milano

Celebrity guests headed to Italy this summer or fall should consider a detour to Milan where Andrea Bocelli will open Expo Milano 2015 on April 30. Running through October 31, the international fair will showcase technology from over 140 countries, and welcome over 20 million visitors. The historical city, which is home to majestic Gothic cathedral, the Duomo, and Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, previously hosted the Expo in 1906, when the show—which opened in conjunction with the opening of the Simplon Tunnel—was dedicated to transportation.

Participating countries will put forward their best cultural and technological ideas on this year’s timely theme, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, encouraging visitors to consider how we can continue to produce food safely and sufficiently. Exhibits include a 12-acre wheat field built near the city’s new Porta Nuova business district, and a “sustainable hub,” sponsored by Celebrity’s official coffee, Lavazza. With food being the central theme, Expo 2015 will also pay tribute to the best of each exhibiting country’s gastronomic traditions, including Italian specialties from Mario Batali’s American delicatessen chain Eataly, and frozen treats courtesy of the Gelato Festival.

Continue reading “Benvenuto Expo Milano 2015: What To See at This Year’s Universal Exhibition”

Designer Tech: Wearables Get A Fashionable Upgrade

Screengrab courtesy: Apple.com
Screengrab courtesy: Apple.com

While the initial entrants in the wearable tech field tended to feature clunky designs that would only appeal to a niche market more interested in functionality than fashion, wearables have now officially begun their evolution into wardrobe-staple status, with some of today’s top designers lending their stylish sensibilities to the growing wearables market, such as Diane von Furstenberg and Google, Tory Burch and FitBit, and Diesel and Samsung.

Here, some suggestions to bring your wardrobe into the future.

APPLE WATCH
Tech enthusiasts around the world have one date circled on their calendars—April 24—the day that the Apple Watch will finally hit stores and might even hit the Celebrity iLounge℠ in the near future. The sleek timepiece, which is the tech giant’s first foray into the personal luxury goods market, not only keeps time within 50 milliseconds of the definitive global time standard, but it also “taps” your wrist every time you get an incoming message, and learns your activity and fitness levels to suggest personalized all-day activity goals.

Prices start at $349, and go up to $17,000 for the 18-karat gold-cased version.

Continue reading “Designer Tech: Wearables Get A Fashionable Upgrade”

2015 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival: What to See

Jazz PlayerNew Orleans is home to some of the most festive, entertaining, and delicious festivals in the world. Perhaps the most well-known of these is Mardi Gras, and this past February marked the city’s busiest—and safest—one to date, with highlights including the ubiquitous parade and infamous Bourbon Street revelry. Celebrity guests who want to check the New Orleans Mardi Gras off their bucket list—and festival regulars, too, of course—will want to sign up for our 2017 Mardi Gras Signature Event Sailing on board Celebrity Equinox®. The limited-edition, 11-night sailing departs from Fort Lauderdale on February 20th, and with staterooms filling up fast, we advise that you book now to avoid disappointment.

Meanwhile, later this month, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival will be held at the New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Course over two consecutive weekends (April 24-26 and April 30-May 3). Now in its 46th year, the festival celebrates the city’s rich music culture that includes a wide variety of genres: R&B, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, Afro-Caribbean, folk, Latin, rock, rap, country, bluegrass, and of course, jazz. The don’t-want-to-miss lineup of artists currently slated to perform on the festival’s 10-plus stages include today’s hottest contemporary stars, including Ed Sheeran, John Legend, and Hozier; country artists Keith Urban and Kacey Musgraves; legendary performers Elton John and the Who; and jazz masters, Ellis Marsalis and the Rebirth Brass Band. In addition, the Georgia-based jam band, Widespread Panic, has been honored with the festival’s longest set—an impressive three hours and 15 minutes.

To keep fans going strong all weekend, the New Orlean’s top restaurants will set up pop-up food stands, serving over 200 different bites and beverages. The collective menu has been curated to include traditional and contemporary Creole and Cajun recipes, as well as the New Orleans standards (think po’ boys, alligator pies, and beignets from Café du Monde).

Tickets and hotels are still available, so if hot nights and even hotter music are up your alley, book your accommodations today.

Recipe: Chilled Sweet Pea Soup With Crab Salad

Blu Chilled Sweet Pea Soup Blu, Celebrity Cruises’ spa concept restaurant, which is exclusive to our AquaClass® guests, was designed to highlight our fresh ingredients, and showcase their clean, crisp flavors. At Blu, our world-class chefs deconstruct popular dishes to modernize them in an elegant yet simple way. Open for breakfast and dinner, the menu changes daily, with entrees that may include charred veal loin with roasted vegetables, or curried chicken and roasted beet salad. Appetizers include ever-popular beef carpaccio, as well as our signature chilled sweet pea soup with crab salad, which is as perfect for a quick spring lunch as it is an ideal prelude to dinner. With that said, we thought we’d share the recipe for this popular dish with you, just in time for al fresco lazy lunches and laidback evening suppers. Ingredients: Sweet Pea Soup 4 teaspoons olive oil 4 teaspoons shallots (chopped) 1 teaspoon garlic cloves (chopped) 2 pounds frozen green peas 6 cups soy milk 1 cup heavy whipping cream 1 bouquet garni To taste kosher salt To taste white petter (ground) Continue reading “Recipe: Chilled Sweet Pea Soup With Crab Salad”

Coffee Talk: How to Craft the Perfect Cappuccino

cappuccino

Today, this Milanese coffee creation is sought out more frequently than a good ol’ American cup of joe. But making the perfect cappuccino is trickier than you think. For it to be considered top-notch by any coffee-loving connoisseur, the added milk must be steamed to the correct temperature (between 130° and 150° Fahrenheit); the water pressure, or “the pull,” should be engaged for an exact amount of time; the cups must be filled just so… You see our point.

On board our Celebrity Cruises’ ships, the Italian espresso company Lavazza helps us maintain a world-class level of coffee drinks by training our staff (and retraining them every six months). They also inspect our espresso machines as if they were powerful sports cars, ensuring that our pressure pumps are perfectly calibrated, and our grinds are adjusted for the changing heat and humidity as our ships travel the world.

For those looking to recreate the Celebrity cappuccino experience at home, here are some of our tips for consistently preparing the perfect cappuccino.

  1. Chill the metal milk pitcher, then add the desired amount of cold milk.
  2. Froth the milk before you begin the pull. The milk should be frothed to between 130-150°F. When you begin to froth, always keep the tip of the stem wand just below the milk’s surface, riding up with the milk as it rises higher in the pitcher. After reaching 100°F, plunge the tip deeper into the milk.
  3. As the steam builds, tilt the pitcher so the milk begins to swirl. You are looking for a creamy consistency, with a texture of fine, dense bubbles. Upon reaching the perfect temperature, set the milk aside.
  4. Pull the espresso shot. It should take 25-30 seconds and—if done correctly—you will see a fine, thin caramel/hazel colored stream resting on top of the espresso shot, this I known as the “crema.”
  5. Now, pick up the milk pitcher and “work” the film (gently moving the pitcher in a circular motion) while you’re waiting for the pull to finish. You’ll see a creamy, glossy foam develop as the heated milk reacts with the whirling air.
  6. Pour the milk into the espresso to create a slight dome. The milk will drop out of the foam, giving the perfect balance of milk and espresso in the cup.

Celebrity Cruises Announces 2015 Top Chef Signature Sailing

top chef at sea

Get ready, Top Chef fans: Celebrity Cruises® has announced their 2015 Top Chef Signature Sailing. Like last year’s offerings, guests will able to dine, learn from, and interact with past cheftestants, which this year includes newest Top Chef alumni Gregory Gourdet and Doug Adams, as well as past favorites Nina ComptonAsh Fulk, Tiffany Derry and Chris Crary. The group will lead private cooking classes and best of all—and new to this year—host shore excursions with guests. Also new to this year: dual-style cooking demonstrations, which will pit cheftestants against each other in a culinary battle, while answering fans’ questions. In true reality show-style, the audience members will decide on the ultimate battle winner.

The 2015 Top Chef Signature Sailing will set sail on Saturday, November 14 onboard the Celebrity Reflection®. It joins Celebrity’s ongoing Top Chef at Sea activities, which include interactive Quickfire Challenges and Top Chef-inspired menu evenings on board nine of their ships, for all sailings departing through June 2016. Guests will indulge in some of the dishes the judges raved about on the show at Top Chef Night in the main restaurant.

Sign up now to see what culinary adventures lie in store for this year’s passengers.

 

Just in Time for Spring’s Easter and Passover Holidays: A New Spin on Roast Lamb

Turkish leg of lamb

Conventionally, the highlight of Easter Sunday’s dinner is a roast lamb dish. While many credit this to Spring being lambing season, the reason is actually rooted in the Old Testament in which we learn that the Children of Israel ate the gamey meat in remembrance of their Exodus from Egypt, when they were commanded by God to sacrifice a lamb and smear its blood on their doorposts so that the angel of death would “pass over” their homes when carrying out the final plague—the slaying of the firstborn—in retribution for the Egyptians’ cruelty. Subsequently, Jews have honored their escape from slavery by sacrificing the Paschal Lamb at Passover. Since the Pesach seder was Jesus’ Last Supper, it is believed that the Passover lamb must have been his final meal, and therein lies the roots of the Easter tradition. (Fun Fact: Incidentally, this is also why Easter is the only ‘moveable holiday’ on the Christian calendar—it falls in line with the Jewish Passover, which is dependent on a lunar (versus solar) calendar year.)

In honor of the Easter and Passover holidays, here’s one of Celebrity’s takes on roast lamb, which we think is the perfect update to your traditional Easter meal.

Ingredients

1 (12-pound) lamb leg (boned, whole)
10 garlic cloves (peeled, cut in four lengthwise)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons rosemary (chopped)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2  large white onions (rough chopped)
4 large carrots (rough chopped)

Method

Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).

With a small boning knife, make small incisions randomly around the leg of lamb. Insert the cut garlic cloves into the incisions, and with fingertips, press cloves all the way into the meat.

In a small mixing bowl, combine chopped rosemary with salt and spices; mix well and set aside. Brush lamb leg with olive oil, rub with the rosemary and spice mix. In a roasting pan, place onion and carrots on bottom; place leg of lamb on top.

Cook lamb or 7 to 10 hours, or until completely tender and almost falling from the bone. Remove and serve with a salad and tzatziki sauce.

Serves 6.

Packing for a Cruise: The Essentials

How can we help you?
How can we help you?

Packing for a cruise can intimidate even the most experienced of travelers because unlike “traditional” vacations, cruises have the prospect of “formal” and themed nights to contend with, thus vacationers are posed with the ultimate question: to pack, or not to pack, the tux or gown. What’s more, all clothing and travel items need to be packed into two suitcases, max. But worry not—cruise packing can actually be pretty stress-free; especially when you follow our top tips.

Wardrobe: Mix it Up

Most cruises feature both laidback and more formal dining options, so in addition to your casual attire—such as t-shirts, jeans, sundresses and shorts—you’ll also want to bring a set or two of dressier options for those nights when you want to take your evening up a notch. Tuxedo- and gown-averse guests needn’t worry—dark suits, or blazers with trousers will work just fine, as will contemporary nighttime looks for women. That said, should you wish to don cocktail attire, you’ll also feel right at home. Other essential items include a minimum of 2 bathing suits (so one will always be dry!), workout clothes, sun hats, sandals, and sunglasses. However, if you’re headed for a cooler region, you’ll also want to add a lightweight (but warm) coat, pieces you can layer, along with socks and suitable footwear.

Technology: Capturing the Memories

To help you remember every aspect of your trip, you undoubtedly want to pack a camera (or if you have a smartphone, a charger to make sure your device won’t let you down at the wrong moment!).

Continue reading “Packing for a Cruise: The Essentials”

5 Can’t-Miss European Events This Spring And Summer

Redentore_Venice_992x558Given its centuries of history and culture, Europe is unsurprisingly jam-packed with tourist-friendly events that span the fields of art, music and sports. Interested in classical music or theater? There are literally thousands of potential shows and excursions you can see over the course of a lifetime. To help you narrow down your options, we’ve taken the liberty of picking five of our favorite European events to share with you.

King’s Day

April 27

Who says royal traditions can’t change? Certainly not the Dutch. Since 1890, the Netherlands have celebrated Koninginnedag, or Queen’s Day, to celebrate the ascension of Princess Wilhelmina to the Dutch throne. With the subsequent ascensions of Wilhelmina’s daughter Juliana in 1948, and Juliana’s daughter Beatrix in 1980, the date for the holiday has moved around the calendar, albeit with the same name. However, with Prince Willem-Alexander’s rise to the throne in 2013, following Beatrix’s abdication, Koninginnedag has now become Koningsdag, or King’s Day.

Dubbed the “biggest street party of the year,” Koningsdag features live music,street parties, food stalls and a city-wide flea market, the vrijmarkt (or “free market”), which lets anyone sell second-hand wares in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark. (Even kids are allowed in on the sales action, peddling toys and clothes they’ve outgrown in the last year.). On this day, it is tradition for nationals to dress in Holland’s national color—orange—while the King and the royal family celebrate with visits two locations: Graft-De Rijp and Amstelveen.

Cannes Film Festival

Continue reading “5 Can’t-Miss European Events This Spring And Summer”

Celebrity’s Global Insiders on: Santorini, Greece

Europe_Greece_Santorini

With the understanding that knowledge is power, Celebrity teamed up with one of the world’s most influential travel brands, Travel + Leisure, to create a group of savvy travel and lifestyle experts who offer insights on everything from the destinations that Celebrity visits, to the modern luxury vacation experiences they provide. Celebrity’s Global Insiders uncover unique and memorable experiences in key destinations on all seven continents. 

Frequently cited as one of the world’s most beautiful islands, Santorini has long been a sought-after destination for travelers. The ancient island boasts of a classic Greek seascape—whitewashed houses accented by sea-blue roofs—and is a treasure trove for both professional and amateur archeology buffs. Located 120 miles southwest of mainland Greece, the island features sites that include tombs that date back to the 9th century and the sanctuary of Apollo.

In addition to its natural beauty, Santorini is also known for its tasty food and delicious wine. As a volcanic isle, the region is known for producing full-bodied and mineral-heavy wines, while meals revolve around fresh olive oil, garlic, fresh vegetables, meat and seafood.

Here’s how Celebrity’s Global Insiders recommend spending your time when docked in Santorini.

Julia Dimon CroppedJulia Dimon (Travel journalist and television personality)

Greece has some of the world’s most incredible cuisine so, when in the port of Santorini, foodies will want to enjoy all the local specialties. Start with a Taramosalata dip (fish roe pureed with lemon juice, oil and bread crumbs) and classic Greek salad before moving on to the Domatokeftedes, a fried tomato appetizer made from Santorini’s most famous vegetable. Choose from a mouth-watering supply of freshly-caught grilled fish like the Astakos (lobster). Drink up the Ouzo, a strong aniseed drink similar to French ‘Pastis’ before moving on to a carafe of Santorini’s homemade wine. Delicious cuisine set against a romantic backdrop of the southern Aegean Sea? Yes, please.

Continue reading “Celebrity’s Global Insiders on: Santorini, Greece”