Excite the Senses on Celebrity Cruise Lines
Last week I had the extraordinary pleasure of boarding the Celebrity Cruise Line for a 7-day “Excite The Senses” culinary themed adventure to Alaska! This was my first cruise and it was amazing to share the experience with my mom. There were so many stories, recipes and photos to share from our time onboard as well as on land, I don’t even know where to start! So, I decided to put together a “top 10″ list of yummy excerpts from the trip. If this serene and spectacular snapshot from our balcony isn’t enough to convince you to book your cruise right now, this mouth-watering list will have you ready to hop on board as soon as possible!
Keep reading if you have ever dreamed of going on a food lover’s cruise!
Top 10 reasons to go on a Food Lover’s Dream Cruise!
1. The Chefs
The talent behind the “Excite the Senses” culinary adventures is absolutely astounding. This trip was hosted by Celebrity Director of Culinary Operations, Chef John Suley. He is a James Beard nominee and all-around rock star chef! Once you see some of this food, I think you will agree…
2. The Ports of Call
First stop, Ketchikan. My mom and I enjoyed lunch at Annabelle’s, known for their “keg and chowder” combo. Homemade seafood chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and an ice cold Alaskan beer.
Then we explored the capital city of Juneau. Nestled among the tourist shops we spotted a fantastic hole-in-the-wall dive bar, “Deer and A Beer.” (Can I tell you, there is nothing funnier than making my mom go into a dive bar for a beer at 3 in the afternoon…) There wasn’t a menu, they only served two things: Reindeer sausage and Beer. Truth is, they were fantastic! Plus, it was a hoot to watch my mom sit on a bar stool with napkin of bar peanuts surrounded by the locals.
Finally, on the other end of the spectrum, we found ourselves more in our element enjoying high tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, Canada. What a gem of a city and an outstanding way to end our cruise!
3. The Brunch Buffet
No joke, this was the most EPIC buffet I had ever experienced. Table after table of anything you could ever want for brunch. My eyes went straight to the seafood and I was done. Check out that pile of Alaskan King Crab legs! Chef John said that he likes to incorporate local specialties on board whenever possible. They picked up these beauties while in port.
4. The Cookbook
Celebrity took their dedication to fine cuisine to a whole new level with this “Excite the Senses” cookbook. Honestly, it is so much more than just a cookbook. It is a comprehensive study of the gastronomic delights available on board. Not only can you find easy to follow recipes from some of your favorite meals and beverages on board, but there is gorgeous photography and endless entertaining tips. It is one gargantuan book that is a thrill to set on your lap and pour through for hours!
5. Wine Pairings
One of the highlights of our time on the ship was a Wine Theme Dinner at the specialty restaurant SS United States with Chef John Suley and Nicole Quandt of Wente Vineyards. We enjoyed dishes inspired by our Alaskan journey paired with wines from the Wente Nth Degree collection. Absolute perfection… Plus, where else can you enjoy such fine wines and cuisine while gazing out the window at a glacier?
My favorite dish was this “Fresh Yukon Gold Potato Gnocchi with Prosciutto di Parma, White Asparagus, Arugula, and Toasted Pine Nuts” paired with the Nth Degree 2008 Merlot.
6. Beer Pairings
This voyage marked Celebrity’s first ever Beer and Food Pairing dinner at Qsine. This dish called “Lava Crab” was paired with a Duvel Belgian Golden Ale. Qsine is all about breaking the mold and creating a culinary journey that is ready to surprise and delight your palate. It was fascinating to experience such refined dishes paired with beers from all over the globe.
7. Attention to all Dietary Needs
Celebrity understands that many guests have special dietary restrictions and they are ready to serve everyone. Their menus are now complete with icons to show items that are Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, No Sugar Added, and Lactose Free. There literally is something for everyone on board! No really… Take a gander at the unbelievable amounts of food that is stocked in the kitchen for an average 7-day cruise like this one.
Celebrity Infinity during an average 7-day cruise:
Tenderloin: 1500 lbs., Whole Chicken: 1800 lbs., Chicken Breast: 900 lbs., Rack of Lamb: 2700 lbs., Pork Loin: 1200 lbs., Salmon: 700 lbs., Tuna: 300 lbs.
Heavy Cream: 2100 liters, Fresh Eggs: 3000 dozen (that’s 36,000 eggs!), Butter: 2400 lbs.
Potatoes: 9000 lbs., Onions: 2100 lbs., Carrots: 1500 lbs., Romaine Lettuce: 6300 lbs.
Cookies: 1500 lbs., Ice Cream: 500 gallons, Fresh Fruit: 5000 lbs.
8. Cooking classes
The “Excite the Senses” cruises offer guests an opportunity to learn new skills and take home restaurant quality recipes from their vacation. This trip offered hands-on classes in making risotto and sushi as well as demonstrations in clean cuisine and grilling meats.
9. Iron Chef Compeitions
On the last day of our journey the ship hosted an “Iron Chef” type competition between two of the chefs on board. They teamed up with a guest randomly plucked from their seat, and the dishes were judged by three more guests from the audience. It was unbelievable what they created in only 13 minutes!
10. The Martinis!
If you are a fan of a good cocktail a Celebrity Cruise is right up your alley. The ship is overflowing with delicious concoctions for you to sip throughout the journey. Take a look at a few of the recipes from onboard that can be found in the Excite the Senses cookbook!
Celebrity Signature Cocktails
Fresh Cucumber Gimlet
1.5 oz gin
6 cucumber slices
.75 oz fresh lime juice
.75 oz simple syrup
Garnish – cucumber slices
Add 6 slices of cucumber, fresh lime juice and simple syrup to a clear mixing glass. Muddle all ingredients thoroughly. Add gin and a scoop of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Add 3 thinly sliced cucumber wheels to float.
Pair of Roses Martini
1.5 oz. Pear flavored Vodka
.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
.75 oz. rose syrup
Splash of soda water
Start with a clean mixing glass and a jigger to measure each ingredient. Pour each ingredient into the mixing glass. Add one scoop of fresh ice to the mixing glass and cover the tip. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a single rose petal.
1.5 oz vodka
.5 oz. Cointreau
.75 oz. lime juice
.5 oz. Hibiscus Syrup
.5 oz. pink grapefruit juice
1 oz. fresh kiwi juice
Using a clean mixing glass and a jigger, measure each ingredient and place into the mixing glass. Add a scoop of fresh ice and shake ingredients. Strain the contents into chilled martini glass.
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