I am so excited that we finally have a sail date for the next Food Network Cruise! This year, Food Network Chef Anne Burrell, the spiky blond-haired, quirky star of "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef" and "Worst Cooks in America," will be aboard.
The new Celebrity Silhouette will be the ship for the 11-Night transatlantic cruise that sets sail Oct. 22 from Civitivecchia (Rome) and travels to New York.
Last August, I was fortunate enough to sail aboard the Celebrity Solstice to the Eastern Caribbean for seven nights with Food Network celebrity chefs Cat Cora and Aaron Sanchez. (See my columns of Sept. 17 and Oct. 15 at www.hometownnewsol.com).
On that cruise, from the VIP port side embarkation to the very exclusive, red carpet cocktail parties with our celebrity chefs, we definitely felt very special. Everyone in the group wore Food Network pins that allowed us into each of the private events, including cooking demonstrations, hands-on classes and "lawn parties." Other guests on board were constantly asking how they could participate and were disappointed to learn that the package had to be purchased before sailing. As a matter of fact, you can only purchase this cruise through a Signature Travel Network member agency.
This year, the cruise sails from Rome to Caglieri, Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean (after Sicily). Explore the Roman amphitheater, Spanish townhouses and Pisan watchtowers.
Next on the itinerary is Palma de Mallorca, the capitol of the Balearic Islands. It is the largest city in Mallorca and is noted for being one of the European top vacation destinations because of its extremely mild, sunny climate.
After a full day at sea you arrive in Lisbon, Portugal, a legendary city with more than 20 centuries of history. A maze of dark and narrow streets, Europe's westernmost capital city has quickly become one of the most cosmopolitan and is a favorite stop for cruisers on the transatlantic cruises.
For the next six days at sea you will enjoy various activities with the Food Network crew. Celebrity Cruises has its own lineup on this exciting new ship. The Silhouette is the fourth of the Solstice Class ships and has more features than the previous three.
They are adding a number of options to the Lawn Club areas, such as the interactive grill. The Lawn Club Grill, with its shining stainless steel grills and appliances for interactive cooking demonstrations and classes focused on pizza-making, grilling and more, is fabulous.
In the evening, the venue will transform into an eatery where passengers can choose top-quality meats and either grill themselves, along side a Celebrity chef, or have it grilled to order. This dining option will have a fee, but sounds like fun to me.
Also the Lawn Club will have a 48-seat retreat, "The Porch," for casual breakfasts and lunches. An Art Studio will allow guests to take part in various art classes.
The Aqua Class Staterooms on the Silhouette offer unlimited access to the AquaSpa relaxation room and Persian Garden and many spa extras, the most popular being complimentary dining in the specialty restaurant Blu. Those who love the spa life will love this category class.
Fares for the Food Network cruise start at $1,897 per person (plus $91.15 for taxes and fees) and includes pre-paid gratuities. Airfare, transfers and travel insurance are additional.
If you are a "foodie" or just enjoy being part of something special, you won't want to miss out on this one.
Patty Toppa is a travel consultant with Gadabout Travel. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.cruisetraveltours.com.