Dream Design
The Reading Room

River deep, mountain high

Words by Marianne Dick

What better way to soak up a culture than to spend time with those who live, work and breathe it?

New Voyager cruise ship `near a coastline
Stories for... The Heart

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new local tours connect its passengers to communities through a range of once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

We all like to try and seek out unspoilt spots that are off the beaten track when visiting a new destination, whether it’s by researching prior to our trip or asking someone who has already been. It’s rare to experience true authenticity. Through Carrier, Regent Seven Seas Cruises® has recently introduced a set of local tours to its sophisticated excursion options – all free of charge, of course, in keeping with the company’s promise to offer a truly unrivalled experience.

For many families, mealtimes grant the opportunity to catch up on each other’s lives, and many of the expeditions involve sharing knowledge and stories over food. A stop-off in Bordeaux is elevated from what might usually include a tour of its 18th- and 19th-century architecture and a tasting of its famous wines, to a traditional dinner in a French family home in the heart of the medieval region – which guests will be chauffeured to, so that they can take in the verdant scenery. Diners will learn how residents live day-to-day and gain insight into seasonal ingredients, plus they may be bestowed a secret recipe that’s been handed from generation to generation.

Food in pan

Cruises via Valencia treat guests to a more hands-on dining experience by teaching them the ancient custom of making paella on an outdoor wooden furnace. Aspiring chefs will be escorted to L’Horta – a farming area on the outskirts of the city – where they’ll be able to literally pluck some of their ingredients from the surrounding land.


Another of the cruise line’s local tours involves joining a Corfiot family farm in the picturesque hills of this Ionian island. While guests won’t be expected to do chores, they’ll be allowed to feed the animals, pick juicy cucumbers and tomatoes, and taste silky honey straight from the hive. Finally, a trip to a nearby bakery should satisfy everyone’s saccharine senses for the day.

Foodies with a penchant for the arts will be drawn to the Florence tour, which whisks partakers off to Oltrarno’s daily market: one that is popular with the city’s inhabitants, but generally unfrequented by tourists. They’ll be encouraged to brave the popular Florentine street food, lampredotto, and won’t be allowed to leave without indulging in a creamy, cooling gelato. The tour is rounded off with a visit to some rarely-visited artisan studios.

Gain a deeper understanding of foreign cultures and connect with locals in a way that wouldn’t be possible without expert knowledge of these areas and their people. Experiences to treasure forever now await you on Carrier’s luxury cruise offerings with Regent Seven Seas Cruises® – and they’re all included within exquisite itineraries.