The Best Cruises for Wine Aficianados
Whether you are a seasoned wine aficionado, with a taste for the finest wines or newest discoveries, or simply want to learn more about the culture and traditions of winemaking while sipping a glass or two, you’re part of a growing trend of travelers who enjoy incorporating wine-related experiences into their travel plans. Many of my clients select their next vacation based on their ability to perfectly blend their passion for wine into their vacations. Fortunately, options for wine-related travel are plentiful.
Cruising offers a unique perspective on wine travel. River cruises venture deep into winemaking heartlands, while ocean cruises offer the chance to discover less-frequented destinations. Recently, many cruise lines have boosted their wine enrichment programs, both onboard ship and on shore, to offer the discerning oenophile a deeper immersion into the wines of the regions visited. Here are a couple of my favorite wine cruises.
France is one of the largest wine producers in the world, with a complex and rich tradition dating back to the sixth century B.C. Legendary wines – bubbly Champagnes, rich reds from Bordeaux or Burgundy, and delightful rose’s from Provence, to name but a few – abound, complemented by ancient vineyards, beautiful scenery, and superb cuisine. Many of France’s wine regions cluster around navigable rivers or canals, including the Rhone River (Burgundy and Provence), Garonne River (Bordeaux), and Canal du Midi (Pays d’Oc). Luxury river cruises, operated by companies like Scenic River Cruises, AmaWaterways, and Uniworld, as well as intimate family-owned hotel barges, crisscross the country.
Columbia River Valley
Closer to home, the Columbia River Valley in Washington and Oregon boasts over one hundred vineyards and wineries, producing some of America’s finest wines. River cruises offer a great way to discover this beautiful and remote area, combining plenty of time for wine discovery and appreciation with opportunities to appreciate its scenic beauty and history. I enjoyed a wine cruise on the Columbia River last summer, and would recommend it to anyone looking to deepen their appreciation and understanding about wine.
Voyage du Vin
On the high seas, two 2019 cruises top my list of recommendations for oenophiles. Cunard Line’s fabulous Queen Victoria visits some of Europe’s finest wine destinations on their annual Voyage du Vin in September, 2019. Guests on this 14 night cruise will not only enjoy the signature luxury and gracious, attentive services for which Cunard is renowned, but they will also enjoy a variety of wine enrichment activities, including an opportunity to participate in a Wine Academy program, partake in bespoke wine dinners, indulge in hosted wine tastings, and visit some of France, Spain, and Italy’s leading vineyards. Queen Victoria also boasts one of the largest wine cellars afloat, boasting over 400 wines from 23 different countries, as well as a unique gin and fizz lounge, where handcrafted British gin is infused with fine wines, such as Cava, Prosecco, and Champagne.
France and Portugal
What better way to experience a wine cruise along the French coastline than on the only French-owned cruise line, Ponant Luxury Cruises & Expeditions. Also in September of 2019, their brand-new Le Dumont d’Urville (named after the explorer) visits several smaller ports along the French and Portuguese coasts on a seven night Atlantic Shores voyage. During a call at La Rochelle, guests can visit the legendary Saint-Emilion wine region, while the home of Portugal’s legendary Port wine can be discovered during a call at Porto. True to its French heritage, the wine list onboard reads like a who’s who of legendary French wines – an added bonus after a day of sightseeing!
These are just a sampling of the many wine-related cruises available throughout the year. Working with a knowledgeable, experienced travel consultant gets you expert advice, creativity, and privileged or exclusive access to wineries and vineyards not open to the general public. The next time you’re sitting down to enjoy a glass of wine after a long day at the office is a great time to begin dreaming about your next vacation!
Why Work with a Travel Specialist?
Working with a knowledgeable travel specialist is priceless. Not only will you enjoy my expertise, advice, highly personal service, and advocacy, you’ll also benefit from my extensive connections that can provide you with access to unique, personalized, and authentic experiences not available to the general public. In addition, you’ll experience seamless, white glove service from wheels up from your departure airport to wheels down on your return. My goal is to make your wine cruise the vacation of a lifetime.