Irini is the 15th amateur chef to be crowned MasterChef champion. The retired banker, who grew up in Crete, triumphed over 55 challengers in the series, with John Torode describing her cookery as 'magical'. Irini's first cookbook, Under The Olive Tree, is out in July. 'My biggest ambition is to continue showcasing Greek food and ingredients,' says Irini.
Cruise the Aegean and cook with MasterChef winner Irini Tzortzoglou in 2021
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Island hopping on the Aegean Sea in the spring months is a wonderful way to spend your holidays, taking in the lush green olive and lemon groves and golden beaches. On this brand-new eight-day tour, you will see some of Greece's most romantic destinations, where culture, history and a slower-paced way of life all harken back to a time gone by.
Sailing on the elegant Celestyal Crystal, your itinerary will include stops on the Greek islands of Rhodes, Crete, Milos, Mykonos and Santorini, as well as Kuşadası in Turkey.
Making your trip even more unforgettable will be the presence of MasterChef 2019 champion Irini Tzortzoglou, who was brought up in Crete before she moved to the UK. Irini will give an exclusive talk, take part in a Q&A session on board your ship and will meet you during your private excursion to a traditional Cretan organic farm, where she'll pass on her knowledge of the cookery of her homeland.
'Greek food, with its appealing strong flavours, fresh ingredients and simplicity of preparation, has always had its fans among the millions who have visited the country', says Irini. 'I firmly believe that the ingredients are king and respect the traditional methods of their treatment.'
Cooking demo with Irini
To celebrate the release of her first cookbook in July, Irini will give an interactive cookery class during your farm visit and cook you a meal from the recipes in Under The Olive Tree.
Cruise on the Celestyal Crystal
As well as the delicious food cooked by Irini, you'll enjoy delicious all-inclusive meals aboard your cruise ship, created by the chefs from fresh ingredients. With a choice of restaurants and bars - including the Thalassa Bar, where you can enjoy stargazing with an evening drink - you'll be spoilt for choice. The suites and staterooms are super comfy and you can pamper yourself in the spa, use the fitness centre or take part in arts and crafts or dancing lessons.
Explore the Greek islands
As you approach Rhodes, you'll see the clifftop Acropolis of Lindos before disembarking and wandering the Old Town, where the cobbles were once walked by the Crusaders, Byzantines and Romans. Visiting the volcanic landscape of Milos is an otherworldly experience, Heraklion in Crete is full of landmarks, beaches and stylish nightlife, while the windmills and whitewashed villages of Mykonos look stunning from any angle.
Reasons to book
Cook with MasterChef Irini
Your celestial ship
The best of the Greek Islands
Your expert guide
- Cruise on elegant Celestyal Crystal for eight days with all-inclusive meals and drinks.
- Visit Heraklion with Irini Tzortzoglou for a traditional Cretan cookery class.
- Enjoy a meal cooked from Irini's new cookbook.
- Take part in an exclusive talk and Q&A session with Irini.
- Join a medieval tour of the Acropolis of Lindos and explore.
Day1Arrive in PiraeusPiraeus, Greece
Arrive in Athens and transfer to the port of Piraeus. Leave the historical, classical city of Athens on the Celestyal Crystal and set sail on your overnight voyage to Turkey. Your first night will give you the opportunity to relax, indulge in all-inclusive hospitality and anticipate the adventures ahead on your Aegean foodie Odyssey.
Day2Kuşadası, TurkeyKusadasi, Turkey
Arriving this morning in Kuşadası, Turkey, you'll have all day here with plenty of time to explore this colourful beach town. Kuşadası is the coastal gateway to the Hellenistic ruins of Ephesus, famed for one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis. A complimentary excursion is included and is not to be missed.
Take in the lovely Rhodes Old Town, a maze of atmospheric cobbled streets that will transport you back to the Byzantine Empire and beyond. You'll enjoy a full day here in Rhodes, with plenty of time to discover the crystal clear waters, wonderful beaches and lush wooded valleys. There is a complimentary excursion to Lindos included today.
Day4Heraklion, Crete - organic farm excursion with IriniIraklion (Heraklion), Greece
Arrive today on Greece's largest island, Crete - a place of mystery, myth and legend. Take in the bustling Heraklion and some of Crete's extraordinary archaeology and history. There is a complimentary visit to the Palace of Knossos included today, once home to Europe's oldest civillisation and the setting for the legend of Greek hero Theseus and the Minotaur.
Exclusive experience: This afternoon, enjoy a private excursion to a traditional Cretan organic farm. Here Irini will give an interactive cookery class and cook you a meal from the recipes in her brand new cookbook, Under The Olive Tree.
Day5SantoriniSantorini , Greece
Santorini is instantly recognisable with its gorgeous whitewashed houses and sweeping coastline. Sunsets here take your breath away and the landscapes are just gorgeous. Don't forget to try one of the many restaurants at the edge of the caldera. In the evening, explore at leisure or simply relax on deck sipping cocktails or a glass of fine Greek wine.
Day6MilosMilos (Adamas), Greece
You may be asleep when you depart Santorini, but by morning you'll have arrived in Milos, the island of colours, ready for a fresh breakfast prepared by the chefs on-board. You'll have time to explore Plaka, Milos' capital, and its 2,000 year-old catacombs, or simply soak up the sun on the flat rocks of stunning Sarakiniko Beach. The real beauty of this island is to be found in its stunning landscapes: wind- and sea-sculptured rock formations, soft sandy beaches, secluded coves and crystal clear aquamarine waters. The island's most famous export is the Venus de Milo sculpture.
Explore Mykonos, the Island of the Winds, today. You'll be able to spend a full day sightseeing or simply strolling through the atmospheric Old Town past its immaculate whitewashed houses, winding alleys, lovely little churches and delightful restaurants. You'll undoubtedly recognise the picture-perfect white windmills that sit side-by-side overlooking the sea. There are also the ancient temples on neighbouring Delos to explore.
Day8Return homeMykonos, Greece
Arrive back in Athens at 9am today and transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Intimate Mediterranean-style ship
The elegant Celestyal Crystal has 10 decks of comfortable staterooms and suites, holding just 1,200 guests. There are elegant restaurants, bars and four lounges for drinks - one with a dancefloor - as well as the promenade decks, perfect for stargazing. Amalthia and Olympus restaurants boast impressive menus, formal service and stylish décor, whereas the Leda Buffet and Aura Grill are more laid-back. There's a spa with a large pool and treatment rooms, plus fitness rooms for dance and zumba classes.