SEATTLE, April 14: Expanding on its popular on-board enrichment program, Holland America Line is offering guests a roster of culinary classes on a variety of topics. Ranging from seasonal cuisine to fruit and vegetable art, the flavorful and fun classes enable guests to learn from Holland America Line’s own professional culinary staff and discover the finer art of entertaining during their cruise. Hosted by the on-board party planner, these classes are in addition to the guest chef program and take place in the Culinary Arts Center, a state-of-the-art “show kitchen at sea,” or in one of the many bars and lounges. The line schedules classes throughout the day on both sea and port days to fulfill the demand for the culinary program.
“The classes are very popular with Holland America Line guests, and we’re able to make their cruise even more enriching with these entertaining subjects,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “By showing our guests how to make orzo while sailing in Greece or how to arrange a beautiful bouquet, we’re creating experiences that they can take home and share with their friends and family.”
The extensive offerings allow Holland America Line to develop a comprehensive program around the line’s award-winning cuisine. With the “‘Taste of Excellence’ Cookbook Series,” a Holland America Line chef demonstrates how to make a popular recipe from the line’s own cookbook. “Cooking With the Cruise Director” always proves to be fun as the cruise director takes direction from one of the ship’s chefs on making a delicious dish. Rather than simply marveling at the beautiful fruit and vegetable carvings adorning the ship’s buffet, guests can learn how to make their own melon flowers and edible arrangements with the “Fabulous Fruit and Vegetable Art” class.
The itinerary-themed cooking demonstrations focus on the ship’s sailing region and bring the local flavors on board. When in Alaska, the program offers “Flavors of the Northwest” and “Fresh Ketch.” Guests sailing on Caribbean itineraries may learn how to make jerk chicken or shrimp scampi, while those on Mediterranean cruises could prepare pasta with chorizo sauce or a warm crostini with classic caponata and mozzarella.
Guests can also learn how to make the cruise line’s “Signature Cocktails.” Three to four mixed drink recipes are taught per session from a ship’s bartender. Wine tastings continue to be so popular that Holland America Line has created two different levels of tastings: premium and navigator. To complete the culinary experience and emphasize entertaining as a whole, the line also offers a class on “The Art of Flower Arranging” taught by the ship’s on-board florist. For a more dramatic flare, guest can learn “The Art of Ice Carving” as the ship’s professional ice carvers demonstrate how to make an ice carving, transforming a 300-pound block of ice into a beautiful sculpture in under an hour.
Budding junior chefs also can get in on the action with the youth Culinary Arts Center activity program to teach kids and teens how to cook. The “Let’s Make…” classes incorporate dishes from breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, while “Finger Foods” shows the finer art of making favorites like sweet potato oven fries and porcupine cookies. Teens also can attend adult culinary demonstrations.
Holland America Line launched its innovative culinary guest-enrichment program in 2005. Each of the line’s 14 ships features a Culinary Arts Center. The Culinary Arts Centers presented by “Food and Wine” magazine resemble the elaborate show kitchens used by celebrity chefs on television cooking programs and offer culinary demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking classes aboard every Holland America sailing. Each facility features a theater-style venue, with two large plasma video screens and a large cooking display counter where guests can learn from the masters.
Holland America Line ships are the perfect setting to showcase award-winning guest experts. In addition to the enrichment experience provided by the culinary stars on board, passengers can dine in a variety of venues, including everything from a quick bite poolside to a formal five-course affair. Every ship features an elegant main dining room, a sophisticated Pinnacle Grill where guests can sample Sterling Silver beef and fresh seafood, the casual indoor-outdoor Lido Restaurant, and the Terrace Grill on deck for lunchtime fare. For cruise brochures or for more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com.