Best Cruises for Wine Adventurers
From the Americas to Europe and Australia, here are 7 amazing cruises featuring shore excursions and onboard activities to please the most enthusiastic of oenophiles.
Cruise Line: Princess
What’s New: Next May, Princess will introduce its first West Coast wine-country cruises aboard the Sapphire Princess.
Ultimate Wine Itinerary: A weeklong sailing from Los Angeles to Vancouver lets passengers visit wineries in California, Oregon and Washington. Day trips might include a private tasting at Firestone, a wine pioneer in the Santa Ynez Valley. Pros also lead tastings onboard. From $860; May 9, 2009.
Cruise Line: Celebrity
What’s New: Last year, Celebrity launched its first wine-themed West Coast cruises. Sailings coincide with harvest season.
Ultimate Wine Itinerary: Guests can tour vineyards in California, Washington and Canada on the nine-night wine cruise from Vancouver to San Diego. Highlights: visits to two of Sonoma’s best tasting rooms, J Vineyards and the Kendall-Jackson Wine Center. From $700; Oct. 12, 2009.
Cruise Line: Carnival
What’s New: The line’s first South America cruises include 14- and 18-day tours on Splendor, its youngest ship.
Ultimate Wine Itinerary: The 14-day Cape Horn cruise calls in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Passengers can head to Uruguay’s pioneering Juanicó winery to taste signature wines like the Don Pascual Reserve Tannat, paired with cheese and sausage empanadas. From $2,600; Feb. 17, 2009.
Cruise Line: Crystal
What’s New: Crystal has new Wine and Food Festival cruises for 2009. F&W’s Lettie Teague lectures on the Serenity this month.
Ultimate Wine Itinerary: An 18-day cruise from Sydney to Singapore (stopping in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth) devotes a day to exploring the Barossa Valley, including a tasting at Peter Lehmann winery and a three-course, wine-paired lunch at Jacob’s Creek. From $10,700; Mar. 1, 2009.
Cruise Line: Holland America
What’s New: A new ship, the Eurodam, debuted in July with the cruise line’s F&W-sponsored Culinary Arts Center.
Ultimate Wine Itinerary: Wine-world luminaries (past guests have included Eric Lee from Simi winery in Sonoma) will pair Gewürztraminers and Rieslings during demos on the Eurodam’s Northern European cruises next summer, including a 10-day Baltic sailing. From $2,000; Jul. 12, 2009.
Cruise Line: Oceania
What’s New: Tour operator Food & Wine Trails has created new shore excursions for cruises to Italy, Greece and France.
Ultimate Wine Itinerary: Sommeliers, cookbook authors and other local experts lead food-and-wine trips in every port of call on the 12-day cruise from Rome to Athens. In Florence, cooking-school owner Judy Witts will take groups to under-the-radar wine bars. From $3,300; Apr. 21, 2009.
Cruise Line: Norwegian
What’s New: Onboard wine classes are part of NCLU, an education program that was introduced fleetwide in March.
Ultimate Wine Itinerary:During the seven-day Western Mediterranean cruise, sommelier-led NCLU classes focus on French producers like Pascal Jolivet and Mâcon-Villages, as well as star Italian grapes like Sangiovese. French and Italian cheeses accompany tastings. From $849; May 10, 2009.