Wine Connoisseur Paradise: Navigating the Wine Personalities of Ultra-Luxury and Ultra-Premium Cruise Ships

Are you an oenophile yearning for a truly immersive wine journey on the high seas? Whether you prefer the elegance of French Bordeaux, the vibrancy of Italian Sangiovese or the complexity of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, every pour on a luxury cruise line will ignite your passion for wine. From hidden gems to rare vintages, each sips tells a unique story of the regions visited. Join us on a wine odyssey as we delve into a world of luxury cruises and their exceptional wine offerings.

Embark on opulent wine adventures with Ultra-Premium Cruise Lines:

Azamara

One of the major regions wine fans will be attracted to Azamara is their itinerary design. Although some lines repeat the same route week after week, Azamara gradually moves its ships around the globe, allowing wine enthusiasts to book a segment calling on ports in their favorite wine regions.

Wine on board: Azamara includes beverages as part of their all-inclusive pricing. They offer a selection of several varietals in almost unlimited quantities along with a high standard of liquors like Gordon’s Gin. Passengers can sip Nicholas Feuillatte Brut Champagne to their heart’s content by upgrading to the Ultimate Beverage Package priced at $23.95/day or choosing their “By the bottle” wine list.

Spectacular wine experiences: If your itinerary includes the city of Bordeaux, expect an overnight stay to explore the city and spectacular tour options like a visit to both Chateau Lynch Bages in Paulliac and Chateau Kirwan in Margaux.


Cunard

You would expect a line that encourages tuxedos and kilts for men on formal nights to excel in the wine department. Cunard is the only line offering regular transatlantic service on seven-night voyages aboard Queen Mary 2.  On voyages like these, the ship is your destination, and the wines do not disappoint.

Wine on board: Cunard’s wine list offers over 480 wines from 27 countries. The Port Bar features that namesake beverage, offering vintages dating back to 1840, the year Samuel Cunard founded the company. Cunard offers classes from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) onboard in addition to wine and food pairing themed lunches. Their wine list features some of the world’s rarest bottles like Domaine Leflaive Montrachet, Penfold’s Grange and Domaine de la Romanee Conti selections.

Spectacular wine experiences: As a wine connoisseur you are familiar with the five famous first growths of Bordeaux, but have you ever tasted them side by side in a five-wine flight? Cunard offers this tasting of these famous Premier Crus at around $350.


Began an extraordinary wine journey with the Ultra-Premium Cruise Lines below and discover curated wine lists that elevate your taste buds to new heights of luxury.

Crystal

Here is a line offering nine dining options. There are times you prefer a salad and rose wine alfresco. You might want champagne and canapes in your stateroom or Italian cuisine in Osteria D’Ovidio.

Wine onboard: The Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony also feature The Vintage Room, an ideal venue for food and wine pairings. The line has redefined inclusive luxury by offering wines like Jacquart champagne and Bandi Chianti Classico Reserva.

Spectacular wine experience: The Vintage room is the setting for their six-course tasting menu matched with appropriate wines ($300/head) or the Ultimate Vintage Room Dinner ($1,200/head).


Explora Journeys

Explora is MSC Cruises’ entry into the luxury cruise market. You can tell you are an honor guest as you are greeted with a welcome bottle of champagne in your suite and your choice of spirits.

Wines onboard: The thinking behind the inclusive wine list is to identify wines by varietal while featuring those varieties from undiscovered places or producers within the wine regions where the ship is sailing.

Spectacular wine experience: Every ship has at least one wine sommelier, but how many other ships have a Sake sommelier to help compliment your Asian entrée?


Holland America

Here is a line ideal for wine fans. Their ships have a series of specialty restaurants, ideal for the wine fan seeking to match wines with courses. Expect to find an American steakhouse, French seafood restaurant, Italian venue along with an Asian restaurant. Suitable wines are available in each venue.

Wine onboard: Holland America Line won the top spot from VIBE Vista, an industry group, for best wine program in 2020. They teamed up with James Suckling, longtime Wine Spectator editor to offer a wine list comprised of wines all rated 90+ points. These wines are at all price points.

Spectacular wine experience: In addition to an excellent wine program, Holland America also has a Whisky bar onboard. The selection is extensive and large tags are attached to each bottle eliminating the uncertainty of the cost of each whisky. They hold tutored tastings too.


Oceania

Oceania has had a longstanding relationship with world famous chef, Jacques Pepin. In partnership with Wine Spectator, they have brought La Reserve, a wine sanctuary to their Marina and Riviera ships.

Wine onboard: You are expecting good wine, but it’s always a treat to discover great wines that are hard to find elsewhere. Oceania has recently introduced its Rare Wine Collection including hard to find names like Mouton Rothschild and Ornellaia.

Spectacular wine experiences: Wine enthusiasts enjoy nothing more than a leisurely served tasting menu with wines paired with each course. La Cuisine Bourgeoise is one example of what’s in store for you.


Regent Seven Seas

For a cruise line known for ships that are not too large, Regent Seven Seas features The Compass Rose, the largest specialty restaurant across their fleet. Regent maintains a partnership with Food & Wine Trails, who provide shore excursions for the gourmet traveler. If you want to visit a distillery in Ireland or a vineyard in Bordeaux, this is an ideal choice.

Wine onboard: This is the place to find an excellent selection of California wines. The complimentary wines are ones you would be proud to serve at home, like a 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape.

Spectacular Wine Experience: Wine fans know the Wine Spectator compiles an annual list of top restaurants with spectacular wine lists. The latest list includes The Compass Rose, located on the Regent Seven Seas ship Seven Seas Explorer. They have held a WS Award of Excellence since 2020.


Seabourn

Here is a line that was known for smaller ships and larger luxury before other cruise lines jumped on the bandwagon. If you have sailed with Seaborne before, you know what to expect.

Wine onboard: A substantial selection of approximately 15 whites and another 15 reds from around the world are included with your cruise fare. Nicolas Feuillate champagne is on the list too. For wine fans thinking they might need to “trade up” to find better wines, you should find favorites like Saint Emilion from Bordeaux, Provence rose and Albarino from Spain on the list.

Spectacular wine experience: Seaborne has an interesting option for lovers of fine wine. Select a package at one of three tiers ($350, $600, $850) and enjoy a 17-24% bonus.


SeaDream Yacht Club

SeaDream’s theme is “It’s yachting, not cruising.” If you want to sail on a vessel with 112 passengers max, served by 95 crew, look no further. Now combine a smaller ship with a wine-themed destination.

Wine onboard: Expect wine themed activities like a tasting menu dinner hosted by a winemaker who pairs wines with each course. Wine tasting sessions are hosted by local winery personnel.

Spectacular wine experience: The “Champagne and Caviar Splash” takes place on Caribbean voyages. Enough said.


Silversea

Silversea ships are smaller and sail to all seven continents. Smaller ships can get into ports that larger ships cannot. Venice, Italy and Hamilton, Bermuda are examples of ports where smaller ships have an advantage,

Wine onboard: With 70 selections on the complimentary list, industry experts credit their list as the largest inclusive selection at sea.

Spectacular Wine Experience: If 70 selections is not enough, the Connoisseur list includes Vega Sicilia Unico (2005), possibly Spain’s rarest and most expensive wine. Red Burgundy is represented by Jacques Prieur Clos de Vougeot (2012) and Chateau d’Yquem (2006) is a tempting dessert wine from the Sauternes region of Bordeaux.


Swan Hellenic

Here is a line known for expedition cruises to destinations like the North and South poles and other beautiful remote parts of Europe, Scotland, Africa and many others. Although you are retracing the steps of explorers, you are not forgoing luxury. Every suite onboard has its own fireplace!

Wine onboard: Swan Hellenic has partnered with Jeunes Restauranteurs (JRE) to provide a dining experience hosted by visiting chefs, many with Michelin stars to their credit. The wine sommeliers are beyond capable with finding the wine you may desire from a very interesting wine list.

Spectacular Wine Experience: Ships have a very well-stocked bar with a selection of wines and beers included, a selection of premium beers, wine and spirits are available at an additional cost. In the evening the maître d’ can accommodate any special requests.

Viking Ocean

Viking River Cruises is a household name. Building on that success, they launched a fleet of ocean-going vessels. One of the features making Viking unique is the inclusion of shore excursions. If you are traveling to a wine region, you should expect a visit to a vineyard.

Wine onboard: Viking offers complimentary house wines, beers and soft drinks with onboard lunches and dinners, plus specialty coffees and assorted hot teas that are available 24 hours a day. For those who would like to upgrade and enjoy unlimited beverages, Viking offers a Silver Spirits beverage package, which covers any drinks (excluding champagne) up to $18.00 USD, including premium wines by the glass, cocktails, all house pouring wines, champagnes, beers, liquors, well drinks, mixers/long drinks and soft drinks throughout the day for a flat fee per guest.

Spectacular Wine Experience: Viking allows passengers to bring their own wine (within limits) and does not charge corkage fees for wine you bring into the dining room. This can be your opportunity to find spectacular bottles onshore and share them with your tablemates as you recount your experiences.


Whether you are exploring the wonders of the seas or engaging in opulence, these cruise lines ensure every glass raised onboard is a celebration of the finest wines. Cheers to a journey of luxury and flavors!  Written with help from Bryce, a true wine connoisseur.


See cruise here:

Azamara Cruises

Crystal Cruises

Cunard Line Cruises

Explora Journeys Cruises

Holland America Line Cruises

Oceania Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Seabourn Cruises

SeaDream Yacht Club Cruises

Silversea Cruises

Swan Hellenic Cruises

Viking Ocean Cruises

 

 

1 thought on “Wine Connoisseur Paradise: Navigating the Wine Personalities of Ultra-Luxury and Ultra-Premium Cruise Ships”

  1. For a wine fan, there is plenty of choice. Several lines have spectacular wines onboard along with tasting menus. If you are traveling to ports in “wine country” it looks like they offer seriously wine themed shore excursions.

    Reply

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