Following the success of the 2018 series, Holland America Line is announcing dates for the 2019 Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruises that showcase the talents of the members of its esteemed Culinary Council, Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff and the line’s Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker partners. The Culinary Council comprises a collection of elite international celebrity chefs who bring global influence to every dining venue across Holland America Line’s fleet of premium ships.
The Culinary Council is led by Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, who is joined by international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner, Andy Matsuda, Ethan Stowell and Jacques Torres. James Suckling, world-renowned wine critic and Holland America Line’s wine curator, has created an extensive new wine list featured on all ships in the premium fleet. The cruise line also collaborates with Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff on its cocktail program and vintners from its home state of Washington, including Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, which helped develop the BLEND wine experience on board Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam.
“Our 2018 Food and Beverage Aficionado Cruises were extremely successful, with every demonstration standing-room only and each specialty dinner sold out, so we’re thrilled to bring this program back in 2019,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “Partnering with such a wealth of talented culinary and beverage experts makes Holland America Line unique in the cruise industry, and we’re in an incredible position of giving our guests authentic experiences and unprecedented access to these well-known personalities.”
During each Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruise, guests will have the opportunity to attend cooking, cocktail or wine demonstrations; get to know the experts at presentations; meet them at photo opportunities; and join an intimate, reservation-only dinner in the Pinnacle Grill.
Guests who wish to make reservations for the specialty dinner can contact Holland America Line’s Ship Services Department upon booking to secure their spot.
The 2019 schedule of Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruises includes:
Rudi Sodamin, Culinary Council Chairman
Sodamin was born in Austria and trained in France. The Master Chef recently released his latest culinary masterpiece, an art table book called “Food Faces” featuring more than 150 images of edible creations that display a whimsical spectrum of human emotion. His “Food Faces” have also been immortalized on Bernardaud porcelain and are on display in Rudi’s Sel de Mer, a sea brasserie available on all Holland America Line ships. Sodamin’s innovative approach has made him the most decorated chef on the world’s oceans.
- Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, Feb. 17, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Veendam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, Nov. 13, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
Burke is a restaurateur, cookbook author, inventor and consultant at ESquared Hospitality, which owns and operates the BLT restaurant brand. He has been featured on “Iron Chef America” and “Top Chef Masters.” He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has worked with legendary chefs in France and New York.
- Rotterdam, 7-Day Western Caribbean, March 3, 2019, roundtrip Tampa, Florida
- Veendam, 7-Day Canada & New England, Sept. 7, 2019, Boston, Massachusetts, to Montréal, Québec, Canada
The Japanese-born Matsuda is at the forefront of sushi trends and techniques. At Matsuda’s Sushi Chef Institute in Los Angeles, California, he teaches aspiring chefs and professionals about sushi and Japanese cuisine.
- Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, March 3, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
- Eurodam, 7-Day Mexican Riviera, Oct. 19, 2019, roundtrip San Diego, California
With an impressive roster of highly acclaimed restaurants, Stowell has helped to change the face of the Seattle food scene. He was named one of the Best New Chefs in America by FOOD & WINE magazine in 2008 and chosen as one of the Best New Chef All-Stars in 2013.
- Eurodam, 7-Day Alaskan Explorer, May 11, 2019, roundtrip Seattle, Washington
- Noordam, 7-Day Alaska Glacier Discovery, July 21, 2019, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to Seward, Alaska
A French-trained Master Chef and artisan chocolatier, Torres is a James Beard award winner. After rising to executive pastry chef at New York’s legendary Le Cirque, he opened a chocolate factory and stores throughout New York. Torres is co-hosting and co-host on the Netflix culinary show “Nailed It” with Nicole Byer.
- Zaandam, 7-Day Canada & New England Discovery, June 1, 2019, Montréal to Boston
- Veendam, 7-Day Canada & New England Discovery, Sept. 28, 2019, Montréal to Boston
DeGroff received the James Beard Award for Wine & Spirits, was inducted into the prestigious James Beard Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America in 2015 and is author of “The Essential Cocktail” and “The Craft of the Cocktail.” He is a partner in the award-winning Beverage Alcohol Resource bar-training program and founding president of the Museum of the American Cocktail.
- Zuiderdam, 11-Day Panama Canal Sunfarer, April 10, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
- Westerdam, 7-Day Alaska Glacier Discovery, Aug. 4, 2019, Seward to Vancouver
Top Vintners Share Their Love of Wine
The spotlight is on wine — and its fascinating journey from vine to table — on selectNieuw Statendam and Koningsdam itineraries throughout 2019. On each of these special cruises, a different Chateau Ste. Michelle expert will join the onboard vinologist for several one-hour sessions each day at BLEND by Chateau Ste. Michelle. They'll also be present for the ship’s special Cellar Master's Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center, where the accent will be on perfect wine and food pairings. There is a modest fee for this dinner.
BLEND — the only purpose-built wine-blending venue at sea — has a tasting table that accommodates 10 guests who can create their own blend from a selection of five barrels of single-vineyard red wine. In addition to participating in the blending process, guests also will learn about wine from each wine expert. BLEND has a small fee.
Al Portney, Vice President, International Sales
Portney is a veteran of the wine industry with 43 years of experience. He became vice president, international sales, for Chateau Ste. Michelle in 2006 after running his own company. Portney travels more than 200 days a year assisting the many people representing the wines of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and their associated wineries.
- Nieuw Statendam, 14-Day Azores & Normandy Expedition, April 21, 2019, Fort Lauderdale to Amsterdam, Netherlands
Cary Kloster, Vice President, Group Brand Director
Kloster joined Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in August of 2005 as Marketing Manager supporting Chateau Ste. Michelle and Domain Ste. Michelle brands. She has worked in roles touching all of the Washington brands, including Chateau Ste. Michelle, 14 Hands, Columbia Crest, Spring Valley Vineyard, Northstar and Col Solare.
- Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Vikings Saga, Aug. 18, 2019, roundtrip Amsterdam
Paul Asikainen, National Wine Educator
As National Wine Educator for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Asikainen is responsible for a wide breadth of educational activities representing the entire portfolio of domestic and import wines. Asikainen is certified through the Court of Master Sommeliers and Society of Wine Educators.
- Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Tropical Caribbean, Nov. 24, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
Tristan Butterfield, Winemaking
As an enologist, Butterfield describes his role as “caretaker” of the red wines at Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate Winery in Paterson, Washington. The winery houses over 85,000 oak barrels filled with wine from Washington state. He keeps track and monitors each lot of wine from harvest to bottle.
- Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Tropical Caribbean, Dec. 15, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
Natalie Guillen, Marketing Manager
Guillen develops and supports the annual marketing plans and cross-functional project management for Chateau Ste. Michelle, Eroica and Anew brands. Guillen is a long-time wine enthusiast and loves experiencing new cultures, cuisine and people. Her favorite travel destinations are wineries and vineyards around the world.
- Koningsdam, 10-Day Southern Caribbean, Feb. 3, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale
Tracey Keller, Winemaking
President and winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle, Keller oversees the winery operations and collaborates with her winemaking team to develop blends and tastes for the acclaimed winery.
- Koningsdam, 11-Day Ancient Empires, June 1, 2019, roundtrip Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Kara Koh, Winemaking
Koh is assistant winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle and has been with the winery for more than 20 years, working in most aspects of the business. Koh regularly shares her knowledge and experience at tastings and wine-pairing meals.
- Koningsdam, 13-Day Mediterranean Legends, June 24, 2019, roundtrip Civitavecchia (Rome)
Brett Scallan, Senior Vice President, Marketing
Scallan joined Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in September 2000 as Director of Marketing for Columbia Crest Winery. Prior to his current role, he served as vice president of domestic brands and vice president group brand director, with responsibilities including innovation.
- Koningsdam, 12-Day Mediterranean Legends, July 29, 2019, roundtrip Civitavecchia (Rome)
Thom Horsey, Wine Educator
As National Wine Educator for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Horsey is responsible for a variety of educational activities representing the entire portfolio of wines. Horsey is a 35-year veteran of the wine industry and has conducted more than 2,000 seminars on all aspects of wine.
- Nieuw Statendam, 14-Day Premiere Voyage, Dec. 5, 2018, Transatlantic crossing from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, to Fort Lauderdale
Lacey Steffey, Winemaking
Steffey is the assistant traveling winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle and works with partner facilities in Washington to ensure quality with daily tastings and assesses grape maturity.
- Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Vikings Sagas, May 5, 2019, roundtrip Amsterdam
Linda Chauncey, Director of Education
With more than 30 years’ experience in the wine and culinary industry, Chauncey oversees Chateau Ste. Michelle’s new Visitor Center and corporate education program, and creates a wide array of winetasting experiences for the more than 300,000 guests who visit the winery each year.
- Nieuw Statendam, 7-Day Eastern Caribbean, Feb. 17, 2019, roundtrip Fort Lauderdale