When looking for an elevated food and wine experience at sea, several cruise lines stand out with their offering. A cruise is a great way to see the world without packing and unpacking your suitcase. For lovers of fine dining and great wine, the food and wine selections above most cruises seem ordinary. A few cruise lines do food and wine very well, and those are featured here.
Ship size varies greatly, from the small Windstar ships with 200 passengers to Cunard's Queen Mary with over 2,400 passengers. Larger ships offer more variety in entertainment, but smaller ships are more intimate. It all depends on what you're looking for.
When advising my food and wine loving guests, I steer toward the luxury cruise lines - such as Oceania, Regent, Crystal, Seabourn, and Silversea, which offer great service and great food and wine at sea. I also focus on wine region focused itineraries, and more cruise lines are starting to cater to that segment of travelers with culinary and wine themed cruises. Cruise lines vary in terms of what's included. Some include wine and other alcoholic beverages, although most do not.
Here are some of the most exciting culinary and wine themed cruises for 2016.
Oceania is the cruise line for lovers of fine food and wine. They do food extremely well, and offer great wine experiences as well. The Marina and Riviera feature exciting specialty restaurants, and the premium La Reserve by Wine Spectator, a paired wine dinner on board guided by a chef and sommelier. Onboard, you will find culinary classes and many ports feature Culinary Discovery tours which allow you to sample local foods.
Oceania offers culinary cruise with world renowned master chef Jacques Pepin, the Executive Culinary Director for Oceania Cruises. Guest enjoy specially designed signature menus, lectures and culinary demonstrations on this cruise. Click on the dates below for more details.
Sail from Lisbon to Dublin and discover the cuisines and spirits of Spain and France with special themed events and activities, daily wine tastings, and informative lectures. Enjoy Europe’s best seafood in Spain’s Galicia region, sweet port in Porto, cognac in La Rochelle, and world-famous wines in Bordeaux. Click on the links for a description of each cruise.
Culinary and Wine Delights of Spain and Morocco
Sail from Lisbon to Barcelona and explore golden Costa del Sol beaches, Moorish Alhambra, and the Roman ruins of Cartagena and Tarragona. Sit at a café in Tangier’s medina sipping mint tea and watching old men play backgammon. Nestle up to the other exclusive yachts in Ibiza’s harbor with some 80 blissful beaches calling your name.
World-renowned chefs and wine experts share their talents at lectures, special meals and tastings on board and ashore. Enjoy cuisine from top name guest chefs and wine education for renowned wine educators such as Master Sommelier Fred Dame, Napa Italy share their insight into the delicate nuances of wine.Valley winemakers Beau and Heidi Barrett, and Gaia Gaja of Peidmont, Italy.
February 29, 2016 - Bali to Singapore
May 1, 2016 - Istanbul to Rome
October 2, 2016 - New York to New York
November 22, 2016 - New Orleans to New Orleans
December 9, 2016 - Papeete to Auckland
The experience of river cruising is very different from ocean cruising. First, the capacity of the typical river cruise ship is under 200 guests (as opposed the up to thousands that sail on ocean cruises). So you are getting a more intimate experience. Second, river cruises include some things that usually cost extra on ocean cruises such as beer and wine with dinner, shore excursions and tours, and wireless internet. And third, you will be able to sail into small ports that large ships can't get into, which gets you close to cities and towns in a way that is not possible with an ocean cruise.
Because of everything that is included in your river cruise fare, river cruising can be a great way to travel through the most beautiful wine regions of Europe.
River cruise lines offer a nearly all-inclusive experience. Your meals, shore excursions, beer and wine at dinner, and wireless internet are typically included your cruise fare. When comparing operators to determine the best value, look at the included excursions, stateroom size, age of the ship, and cost of optional tours to get a good picture of which is really the best deal. It is often not the lowest priced cruise.
AMAWaterways has been doing river cruises for several years, and they offer a wide array of options. AmaWaterways offers exclusive wine cruises that showcase the acclaimed wine regions along Europe’s Danube, Douro, Mosel, Rhine, Rhone and Seine Rivers. These wine sailings are hosted by wine experts and include complimentary lectures, wine tastings, exquisite cuisine with paired wines, and excursions to historic vineyards and wine cellars. Guests learn about centuries-old wine traditions, sample one-of-a-kind vintages and enjoy wine-themed excursions. Click on the links below to check out your options for 2016.
Your palate will applaud as this enriching adventure teaches you what to look for in a good wine. A wine expert authority will teach you the ropes during a lecture and wine tasting. Visit local wineries and attend wine tastings conducted by a wine expert; and enjoy a special dinner featuring food and wine pairings; and more.