Monet’s Garden: Inspiring Fine Art & First-Class Cuisine

Photographs by Derek Fell from Monet’s Palate: The Artist & His Kitchen Garden at Giverny by Aileen Bordman and Derek Fell, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith.
Photograph by Derek Fell from Monet’s Palate: The Artist & His Kitchen Garden at Giverny by Aileen Bordman and Derek Fell, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith.

Fine art and food are not necessarily natural bed partners, although for city travelers they are both essential elements of a world-class vacation—particularly in Europe. Both are also integral to the Celebrity Cruises® modern luxury experience, not to mention that the preparation of fine food is itself an art form that so many of us delight in—whether as creators or consumers.

A new cookbook, Monet’s Palate Cookbook, by Aileen Bordman and Derek Fell (Gibbs Smith), speaks to two of Claude Monet’s lesser-known passions—gardening and fine cuisine—shedding light on the private life of the very public painter. Though many art lovers are more than familiar with the Giverny house where Monet lived and its garden, which boasted the now infamous waterlillies heralded by the green Japanese bridge, food lovers will delight in uncovering the detailed description of Monet’s two-acre kitchen garden, as well as the recipes it has inspired.

Continue reading “Monet’s Garden: Inspiring Fine Art & First-Class Cuisine”

The Double Threat of Maria Ho: Premier Poker Player & World-Savvy Traveler

Maria Ho: World Traveler and World-Class Poker Player
Maria Ho: World Traveler and World-Class Poker Player

Maria Ho, who is currently ranked in the world’s top 3 best female poker players (she’s been last woman standing in two World Series of Poker finals) is also extremely well traveled, globe trotting on frequent trips to Europe, the Caribbean, and Australasia. However, you might know her best as a contestant on the 15th season of award-winning CBS show, The Amazing Race.

Born in Taiwan, Maria moved to LA with her parents and sister at the age of 4. She attended the University of California at San Diego and received a degree in communication studies and a minor in law. It was then that she picked up poker, playing occasionally for fun with friends. After graduating, Maria moved back to Los Angeles and built enough confidence and skill set to pursue poker professionally. Taking the industry by storm just one year after launching her career, Maria played in The World Series of Poker and, in 2007 and was The Last Woman Standing, finishing 38th out of over 6,000 players. In 2011, she won the same title, finishing 27th at the World Series of Poker Europe main event, which—to date—makes her the first and only player to ever hold both titles at the 2 tournaments’ main events, which have earned her more than $1.6 million in the short course of her whirlwind career.

We recently caught up with Maria to discuss poker-playing prowess and world-class travel.

What would be your top 5 tips for poker playing novices?

  1. Study and apply yourself to the game. There is always something more to learn    about poker and tons of resources to help you become a great player.
  1. Be humble and realize there is always room for improvement. Be willing to honestly look at the holes in your game and correct them.

Continue reading “The Double Threat of Maria Ho: Premier Poker Player & World-Savvy Traveler”

Wanderlust: Gifts for the Internationally Minded Moms

CEL_EUR_Capri_Family_TH84157 (1)

Buying gifts for the people we love most can often be challenging—we want them to be thoughtful, personal, and demonstrative of our sentiments. Additional woes, such as purchasing a present for the person who has everything, traveled everywhere, and has discerning international tastes to boot, only serve to make the pursuit more difficult. So, with May around the corner, cue Mother’s Day-buying angst for so many of us who want to shower Mom with love, gratitude, and—of course—a gift she’ll cherish and enjoy. With this in mind, we’ve curated our favorite presents for the Moms out there with wanderlust.


The Food-Loving Mom

Try the World, $50 – $210

We’re a little bit smitten with this subscription box service that’ll bring Mom a taste of world travel right to her doorstep. Choose from a single stop, a “6-Month Journey,” or a “1-Year World Tour,” and Mom will receive a culinary expedition of six or seven signature delicacies selected by a celebrated chef from the “country of the month.”

Continue reading “Wanderlust: Gifts for the Internationally Minded Moms”

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”

Think Outside the Frame: How to Make Your Trip Mementos Shine

This scene will probably seem all too familiar. You arrive home from your grand vacation adventure. You can’t wait to display trophies of your trip: pieces of unique art, photos from famous locales, neat little doodads that bring a sense of worldliness into your home. In a flurry of excitement, you throw black-framed photos on your wall and an exotic statuary on your end table. But now it seems dull, disjointed. Your exciting souvenirs fade into the rest of your decor. We consulted interior design professionals for tips on how to draw focus to your vacation mementos in ways that are as elegant as they are creative.

The go-to method for displaying photos is usually picture frames, of course. But that doesn’t mean it has to be a dull collection of unrelated snapshots in homogeneous frames. Berley Farber, personal curator, designer, and owner of
San Francisco-based Farber Art Services, recommends creating a montage of your vacation photos and mementos on one wall to tell the complete story of your trip. He also mentions that if you want that extra artist’s eye, you can always hire a professional designer for hanging photos. Rates can run around $150 per hour. Continue reading “Think Outside the Frame: How to Make Your Trip Mementos Shine”

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.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 2016 In True Irish Style

Cork CitySt. Patrick’s Day 2015 may be over, but it’s never too early to start planning for next year’s festivities! And where better to celebrate than in the country where the holiday began? St. Patrick’s Day dates back to A.D. 461, when St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, passed away. The holiday was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century. In the modern era, St. Patty’s is celebrated the world over with parades, festivals, special meal and drinks, wearing the color green and more.

We here at Celebrity Cruises® know the value of traditional cuisine and raucous good fun—not to mention a good Irish pint and pub—so we’re offering you the chance to experience Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day merriment just like a local with a bevy of different shore excursions in Cork (Cobh), Dun Laoghaire and Waterford (Dunmore East), Ireland. All excursions include a tasty spirit or two (as well as time to walk your drink off), so book your adventure today.

Get Corked

Jameson Irish Whiskey is the world’s best-selling Irish whiskey, so the Jameson Heritage Center—the highlight of Celebrity’s Cork City & Irish Whiskey shore excursion—is a must do for any hard liquor lover visiting the active seaside city of Cork. At the Center, visitors can learn all about the history of whiskey making via a guided tour through the Old Middleton Distillery and finish off the adventure with a glass of Jameson Whiskey. To complement the Jameson experience, tour guests also have the opportunity to see Cork’s old wharves and learn about the city’s role during the Irish War.

Continue reading “Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 2016 In True Irish Style”

MoMA Stages Retrospective for Icelandic Icon Björk

Image still courtesy of “All Is Full of Love” music video. 1999. Directed by Chris Cunningham. Music by Björk. Image courtesy of One Little Indian
Image still courtesy of “All Is Full of Love” music video. 1999. Directed by Chris Cunningham. Music by Björk. Image courtesy of One Little Indian

Perhaps Iceland’s most famous export is musician-actress Björk. Born in Reykjavík, Iceland in 1965, the artist has had 30 singles reach the Top 40 on various international pop charts, won a Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival, shown off her fashion quirkiness with a now-infamous swan dress at the 2001 Academy Awards, and released countless projects involving visuals, instruments, objects and performance, such as the music apps she created for her last album, a children’s education program and musical robots.

In appreciation of all Björk’s creative and artistic achievements, the Museum of Modern Art is launching a retrospective of her work that will run from March 8, 2015 to June 7, 2015. The exhibit will feature visual and audio samples from Björk’s 20-year career, including excerpts from her seven music albums (starting with 1993’s Debut to 2011’s Biophilia), various films, music videos, photography, fashion designs, and more.

Continue reading “MoMA Stages Retrospective for Icelandic Icon Björk”

Getting to Know You: Kacey Musgraves


Earlier this month, singer-songwriter—and current AXESS magazine covergirl—Kacey Musgraves announced that she was adding almost a dozen new shows to her 2015 Same Tour, Different Trailer show and fans rejoiced. The country wunderkind is country music’s first female artist to have her debut album reach gold in eight years, and she’s also the first female artist to have multiple Recording Industry Association of America singles on her debut album. Though the “Merry Go ’Round” artist may not be a household name outside of the country music scene just yet, we’re pretty certain that it’s only a matter of time.

Born in Golden, Texas, Musgraves wrote her first song in elementary school, honing her music skills by both singing in church and playing the regional opry circuit. After high school, she recorded her first album, moved to Austin, and was chosen to participate on the reality show Nashville Star. Although Musgraves finished a disappointing seventh, she had caught the country-music bug and consequentially moved to Nashville to pursue her dream. The rest—as they say—is history.

Continue reading “Getting to Know You: Kacey Musgraves”

Travel Tips from Author Junot Díaz

Junot Diaz Travel Tips

Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz would make for an ideal travel companion. The author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which the BBC recently named the 21st century’s “best novel so far,” is smart, well-traveled, and always ready with a suggestion for a new book. “I am an insane reader,” Díaz says in the latest issue of Celebrity Cruises’ AXESS magazine. There is nothing I won’t sink my eyes into and enjoy immensely.”

Currently working as the fiction editor at Boston Review and as the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at MIT, Díaz says travel to his home country remains a priority. “I left Santo Domingo when I was six years old, but I never forgot about it,” he says. “I think that fueled a lot of my returns and a lot of trying to immerse myself in that place that once was mine.”

In between his teaching and activism work on behalf of writers of color, Díaz is currently at work on a science fiction tome, which will feature a 14-year old female protagonist with superpowers.

At our behest, Díaz pulled together three tips to guarantee terrific travels: Continue reading “Travel Tips from Author Junot Díaz”