Sail, Sip & Savor Taipei, Taiwan

By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert  

National Palace Museum

Taipei is a menagerie of cultural and culinary possibilities. Taiwan’s capital is a mega metropolis consisting of modern skyscrapers and bustling markets, but for a glimpse of its history and culture, be sure to explore Taipei’s museums, temples and parks. For instance, the National Palace Museum is an artistic wonderland of stunning riches that features paintings, calligraphy, ceramic, jade, lacquer and bronze collections. And the sweeping eaves, pillars and elaborate stone and wood-carvings of Longshan Temple are beautiful.  An excursion to Yehliu Park should not be missed, as you will witness incredible rock formations caused by centuries of wave erosion, wind, rain and the action of the earth’s crust.

In addition to FREE Unlimited Shore Excursions, Regent Seven Seas Cruises® offers Regent Choice Excursions, which allow you to delve deeper into a destination for a nominal fee. One such excursion is the High Tea at Chiufen Village. For just $89 per person, you will visit historical sites that mark the gold rush of 1890 to World War II. You will also delight your palate with a traditional snack and tea in one of the village’s teahouses.

Whichever excursion you choose in Taipei, you will fall in love with “The Heart of Asia.”

SAIL: Taipei, Taiwan. Shop for silks, jade, lacquer items, screens and scrolls as well as traditional blue glazed cloisonné porcelain or electronic gadgets. Buy herbal, green or flower teas and Mao Tai, the spirit called Chinese firewater.

SIP: Babo (Bubble Tea). A Taiwanese original poured over ice, tiny tapioca balls and flavor-infused tea unite to create this cold chewy concoction. Colorful fat straws complement this delicious drink to catch tapioca pearls in each chilled sip.

SAVOR: Bao. Stuffed steamed buns are a must-try item. Luckily they are a staple on every menu, so they won’t be hard to find. Fillings range from sweet to spicy fish, pork or vegetables.


Mara Papatheodorou Mara Papatheodorou is a Master Foodie, a Tastes & Traditions Expert and a nationally established entertaining specialist. She has interpreted the cuisine and experienced the culture of over 65 countries worldwide. As an 11 year Contributing Editor at BON APPETIT Magazine, Mara scouted and produced the Entertaining with Style section that highlighted how real people entertain around the country and the world and was editor of their international editions. She works as a consultant with food companies developing recipes, menus and promotional campaigns.

Mara is the Tastes & Traditions Expert for Regent Seven Seas Cruises where she lectures regularly about the history of cuisine and culture and what to sip and savor in various ports. Watch her dining and wine tour videos on our website under multimedia. She next sails on the Seven Seas Navigator from New York to Canada October 12-22, 2014. You can read more about her at www.marapapa.com

More to Explore: Brazil in Seven Photos

Exotic adventure, scintillating skylines and irresistible samba beats come to mind when planning a Brazilian vacation. There are few countries as diverse and dynamic as this in South America – let alone the world. Brazil’s unique geography spans from the heart of the Amazon rainforest all the way to the great rivers that border Uruguay, making it the perfect destination to explore aboard the mid-size, all-suite ships of Regent Seven Seas Cruises®.

Brazil’s beauty is better seen than told, which is why we’ve collected seven images of our favorite sights. Share your favorite places, ports or experiences from your voyage across Brazil in the comment section below. Enjoy…

Iguazú Falls

Iguazú Falls

It was widely reported that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt exclaimed “Poor Niagara!” when she visited Iguazú Falls. You can experience the extraordinary natural beauty of these waterfalls on the pre- or post-cruise Extraordinary Land Program, Iguazú Falls Experience, which offers a closer-than-ever look at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Beaches of Búzios

Beaches of Búzios

The tiny fishing village of Búzios, just 105 miles from Rio de Janeiro, is considered one of the ten most beautiful spots in the world. Take a comfortable schooner cruise along the pristine islands and then lounge on a magnificent beach while sipping delicious caipirinhas.

Meeting of the Waters

Rio Solimoes

The “Meeting of the Waters” takes place near Santarém, where the waters of the two rivers run side by side and can be clearly seen, each bearing its own individual color. The Solimões River forms the lighter half, its ‘cafe au lait’ coloring owed to the rich sediment that runs down from the Andes Mountains. The darker side is the Rio Negro, and it gets its ‘black tea’ hue from leaf and plant matter dissolved in the water.

Rio Grande do Sul

Rio Grande do Sul

Established in 1737 by the Portuguese, Rio Grande do Sul is the only seaport of the Brazilian State and the most important trading center due to its strategic location. Explore this lovely city, its gracious squares and beautiful churches. Visit the Museum of Sacred Art and the fascinating Oceanographic Museum.

Ipiranga Park

Ipiranga Park

Ipiranga Park, near São Paulo, is a peaceful oasis containing some of the most poignant artifacts of Brazil’s history. Within the park you will find a sprawling museum and the Ipiranga Monument, which marks the historic site where Emperor Pedro I of Brazil declared independence from Portugal. This is just one of the many places you can visit on a Regent Choice Shore Excursion to São Paulo.

Copacabana Beach

Copacabana

Copacabana captures the rhythm and beauty of Rio de Janeiro. This lengthy crescent-shaped stretch of sand is truly the place to be. You can expect the beach to be bustling, and that is much of the appeal, as you will experience a true slice of Carioca life. There may be children playing soccer, families frolicking in the surf, and people of all ages walking up and down the shoreline for miles.

Corcovado & Christ the Redeemer

Corcovado & Christ the Redeemer

New York has the Statue of Liberty. Paris has the Eiffel Tower. Dubai has the Burj Al Arab hotel. And, of course, Rio de Janeiro has Christ the Redeemer. Journey to the top of Corcovado Mountain aboard a cog railway and, upon reaching the upper terminus, you will be awe-struck by the magnitude of the 120-foot-high statue.

Sail, Sip & Savor Amsterdam, Netherlands

By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The allure and appeal of Amsterdam is apparent. The capital of the Netherlands will charm you with windmills, guild-house squares and gabled houses with colorful shuttered windows and flowerboxes grace its wonderful waterways. Featuring over 60 miles of canals, more than 70 islands and hundreds of different kinds of bridges, taking a canal cruise on one of the famed glass-topped boats is a terrific way to see and enjoy the area’s picturesque sights.

Dutch history and art beckon. Amsterdam claims to house over 140 galleries and 40 museums. From the phenomenal collection at the national Rijikmuseum that features Rembrandt’s masterpiece The Night Watch, to the Van Gogh Museum to the Royal Picture Gallery, there is something for everyone’s artistic taste.

The city’s Jewish heritage is an important part of its history and relevant points of interest include the Schouwburg Theatre, the Jewish Historical Museum, Anne Frank’s House and the Portuguese Synagogue.

Of course, a visit to Amsterdam would not be complete without sampling delicious food and drink from coffee houses, bakeries and bars to Michelin-starred restaurants.


SAIL: Amsterdam.
Delft blue and white porcelain, tulip embroidered linens and clogs are classic Dutch mementos. If the dazzle of diamonds appeals, this city is known for its extensive diamond trade. Coffee, crisp ginger cookies and licorice are tasty gifts, as well.

SIP: Beer or Jenever. The Dutch have been brewing beer since the 14th century and are known for Heineken, Grolsch and Amstel. For adventurous spirit drinkers, sip a shot of jenever, the local juniper based gin.

SAVOR: Dutch Delicacies. Have a bite of Edam & Gouda, the country’s famous cheese, nibble on bitterballen, traditional small fried meatballs, or native pickled herring. A must-try sweet is the stroopwafel, a thin waffle cookie glued together with luscious caramel.


Mara Papatheodorou Mara Papatheodorou is a Master Foodie, a Tastes & Traditions Expert and a nationally established entertaining specialist. She has interpreted the cuisine and experienced the culture of over 65 countries worldwide. As an 11 year Contributing Editor at BON APPETIT Magazine, Mara scouted and produced the Entertaining with Style section that highlighted how real people entertain around the country and the world and was editor of their international editions. She works as a consultant with food companies developing recipes, menus and promotional campaigns.

Mara is the Tastes & Traditions Expert for Regent Seven Seas Cruises where she lectures regularly about the history of cuisine and culture and what to sip and savor in various ports. Watch her dining and wine tour videos on our website under multimedia. She next sails on the Seven Seas Navigator from New York to Canada October 12-22, 2014. You can read more about her at www.marapapa.com

More to Explore: Overnighting in Tokyo

By Dr. Lori Verderame

As you approach the cruise port on Harumi Island, you know you have arrived somewhere special: Tokyo.

Tokyo, Japan

Beyond the breathtaking views of the Rainbow Bridge and the futuristic skyline, you will find serene traditional gardens and awe-inspiring temples, as well as renowned museums, such as the Tokyo National Museum, which is arguably the best of its kind in all of Japan.

Japanese Gardens

And if you are looking to do a bit of shopping, this is one of the best destinations to do so. There are many shopping districts in Tokyo, such as the upscale Ginza district, as well as the Nakamise district, which is a great location for souvenirs and quick snack foods near the famous Senso-ji temple. However, Shibuya is the shopping district that most people recognize for its zebra crossing. There are many options and cultural landmarks in the vicinity including the dog statue, Yoyogi Park, Tokyo Tower, and the Meiji Jingu shrine. For an unforgettable experience visit Tokyo’s famous, and the world’s largest, Tsukiji Fish Market. Restaurants and shops (including ramen shops) are located outside of the fish market’s main gate.

Shibuya District

Takamex / Shutterstock.com

After delightful day of shopping, historical touring, and/or sampling delicious dishes, plan on an extraordinary evening. Tokyo is home to the world’s largest number of Michelin-starred restaurants with 242 dining establishments. Fourteen of these fine restaurants are rated three stars and the cuisines range from French to Italian to traditional Japanese, which includes Sukiyabashi Jiro, the best sushi restaurant in the world.

Sushi

As dusk falls, witness the vast city lights, which twinkle like gemstones at night. There are countless observation decks where you can take in the lovely night views of the sprawling metropolis.

Tokyo at night


Dr Lori Dr. Lori Verderame is a celebrity antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality. With a background in art, antiques, and museums, Dr. Lori holds the doctorate from Penn State University and hosts antiques appraisal events worldwide. She is the star appraiser on the Discovery Channel worldwide. She sails on Regent Seven Seas Cruises and offers talks on various destination and special interest topics. Visit www.DrLoriV.comwww.Facebook.com/DoctorLori or follow her on Lori Verderame on Google+. Dr. Lori will sail on Seven Seas Navigator to the Caribbean in December 2013 and to the Black Sea and the South Pacific and Australia in 2014.

More to Explore: Easter Island, Chile

By Dr. Lori Verderame

Rapa Nui

Exploration is an exciting aspect of travel. Experiencing far off lands, immersing oneself in another culture, and capturing memories of unchartered territory can be life-changing. One such experience is a trip to fascinating Easter Island.

Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995, Easter Island has the distinction of being one of the most remote islands in the entire world and its history is mysterious and fascinating.

Easter Island

Easter Island, named by the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen who landed on Easter Sunday in 1722, is most famous for its highly recognizable extant monumental statues numbering 887 called Moai. It is thought that these statues were made and sited by the early Rapa Nui people as far back as 1100 AD.

Carved from volcanic ash native to the island, teams of four to six artisans produced a single moai using chisels representing a head of a deceased ancestor. The largest known moai weighs 82 tons. Transport and siting of the massive statues required an advanced pulley system and the aid of anywhere from 150 to 250 men. There is evidence that a rope connected to the moai was used to initiate a rocking motion—back and forth—in order to move the heavy statue. This may account for reports of the moai “walking” to an intended site.

Easter Island Moai

In addition to the moai statues, cave decoration, specifically painting, is common to Easter Island. Many caves show pictographs of mythological imagery, which tell the stories and reveal the legends of the Rapa Nui people. Artifacts were found on Easter Island including small objects of adornment and detailed carvings of female figures that were thought to be used in fertility rites ceremonies.

The beauty of the lush landscape, interesting art objects, warm people, and pristine beaches of Easter Island attract historians and tourists alike. And the early culture of the Rapa Nui people and their famous Easter Island ancestor heads satisfy a traveler’s desire to explore and experience this exotic and faraway destination.


Dr Lori Dr. Lori Verderame is a celebrity antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality. With a background in art, antiques, and museums, Dr. Lori holds the doctorate from Penn State University and hosts antiques appraisal events worldwide. She is the star appraiser on the Discovery Channel worldwide. She sails on Regent Seven Seas Cruises and offers talks on various destination and special interest topics. Visit www.DrLoriV.comwww.Facebook.com/DoctorLori or follow her on Lori Verderame on Google+. Dr. Lori will sail on Seven Seas Navigator to the Caribbean in December 2013 and to the Black Sea and the South Pacific and Australia in 2014.

Opening Night: New Production Shows Debut Across the Fleet

Regent Seven Seas Cruises opened the curtain on 10 new and exciting production shows that were especially designed for Seven Seas Voyager®, Seven Seas Mariner® and Seven Seas Navigator®.

The new line-up aboard Seven Seas Mariner® includes:

Cirque Rock 'n Roll

  • Cirque Rock ‘n Roll” leaves guests absolutely spellbound with a musical tour through the history of this timeless genre. From Elvis Presley to Michael Jackson and Aerosmith to Beyoncé, this sweeping epic number features jaw-dropping aerial performances on a multilevel industrial steel apparatus.
  • Dancing in the Streets” is reminiscent of those cool summer nights cruising the streets of America. The show features an orchestrated medley with music from The Four Tops, The Temptations, Lionel Richie and The Jackson Five.
  • Film Flashback” brings the 80’s to life with iconic moments from stage and screen as talented performers perform scenes from “Flash Dance,” “Footloose” and “Dirty Dancing.”

The new line-up aboard Seven Seas Navigator® includes:

Seven Seas Navigator Entertainment

  • The Piano Men” this original production offers a night of well-known favorite songs by Elton John and Billy Joel performed by the Regent Signature Orchestra.
  • Cirque Navigator” transports the audience to a fantasy forest with choreography showcasing modern dance, aerial feats, Celtic dance and classic ballroom routines.
  • Broadway Tonight” celebrates music from top Broadway shows including “The Book of Mormon” and “Kinky Boots,” as well as long-running favorites such as “Jersey Boys,” “Rock of Ages” and “Nice Work if You Can Get It.”
  • Dawning of Aquarius” is a 1960s retrospective performance featuring music from The 5thDimension, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

The new line-up aboard Seven Seas Voyager® includes:

Seven Seas Voyager Entertainment

  • Cirque L’Amour” is tribute to the city of Paris and its renowned nightlife featuring a stunning aerial ballet with romantic displays of human power and trust.
  • Come Sail Away” resurrects the 70’s with the music from the Divas of Disco: Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor and Alecia Bridges, as well as favorites by The Carpenters, The Bee Gees along with television themes including “M*A*S*H*,” among others.
  • Dancing to the Hits” is a stunning display of ballroom dance with music by pop favorites Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and Adele.

The genius behind these world-class productions is the creative collaboration between Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ entertainment department and Jean Ann Ryan Productions. Witness the fruit of their labor every night across the fleet as talented actors, musicians, aerialists, dancers and stage crew bring their vision to life.

Sail, Sip & Savor Europe

By Mara Papatheodorou, Regent Seven Seas Cruises® Tastes & Traditions Expert

Fall in love with the magic of Europe, from the coastal areas and islands of the Mediterranean to breathtaking beauty of Scandinavia. In the south, archaeological ruins, mountain villages, terraced vineyards and cafes create alluring regional tapestries. And to the north, each country and city flaunts wandering waterways, colorful flowerboxes and architectural splendors from modern to ornate.

Enjoy FREE Unlimited Shore Excursions that highlight the Acropolis in Athens, the Coliseum in Rome and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul all of which are some of the most majestic ancient edifices in the world. Other ports like Dubrovnik and Antibes have charming cobblestoned old towns for strolling and shopping.

In Stockholm wander the cobblestoned streets of Gamia Stein (Old Town), see an exhibit at the National museum or visit Djugarden Park and its open-air Skansen Museum. Abundant with forested archipelagos, take a boat tour or island hop. And in Helsinki, shop on the chic boulevard Esplanadl, walk the waterfront or take time to visit the Old Market Hall where specialty foods from crayfish to cloudberries are sold. Have fun at Copenhagen’s famous Tivoli Gardens where the oldest Ferris wheel in the world.

With so much to see and do, I’ve put together a special “double” section of sail, sip and savor tips for you to enjoy:

SAIL: 

Lavender

The Mediterranean. Colorful ceramics hail from each country while olive oil, wine, honey, herbs and spices are delicious culinary mementos. Leather and gold accessories are also popular. Shop for lavender in Croatia and Southern France.

Scandinavia. Classic tabletop items are blue and white porcelain, while modern designs come in glass, silver, cut crystal or blonde wood.
 

SIP:

Anise Aperitif

baldovina / Shutterstock.com

Wine or an Anise Aperitif. Whether Red, Rose or White, most Mediterranean countries make very good wines. And anise is the base for a local licorice flavored drink.

Aquavit, Beer or Vodka. Potato distilled liqueur aquavit originated in the 15th century and is still Scandinavia’s signature drink. Beeris the region’s number one export. A true sipping adventure is a shot of aquavit followed by a beer chaser! Forvodka, sip Finlandia.
 
SAVOR:

Smorgasbord

Olive Oil & Citrus. Mediterranean dishes are simple but sublime. From seafood to lamb or pork, olive oil and lemon are prominent ingredients. Fresh fruit is the sweet finale.

A Traditional Smorgasbord. This buffet bonanza features smoked fishes, cured meats, cheeses, potatoes and salads. Butter, mustards and lingonberry sauce complement hearty breads. Favorite desserts are jam tarts and butter cookies.
 


Mara Papatheodorou Mara Papatheodorou is a Master Foodie, a Tastes & Traditions Expert and a nationally established entertaining specialist. She has interpreted the cuisine and experienced the culture of over 65 countries worldwide. As an 11 year Contributing Editor at BON APPETIT Magazine, Mara scouted and produced the Entertaining with Style section that highlighted how real people entertain around the country and the world and was editor of their international editions. She works as a consultant with food companies developing recipes, menus and promotional campaigns.

Mara is the Tastes & Traditions Expert for Regent Seven Seas Cruises where she lectures regularly about the history of cuisine and culture and what to sip and savor in various ports. Watch her dining and wine tour videos on our website under multimedia. She next sails on the Seven Seas Navigator from New York to Canada October 12-22, 2014. You can read more about her at www.marapapa.com