I’m not a big ‘cruise ship’ fan but this is something that could get me onto a ship … specialty wine cruises. The trend is growing bigger each year with cruise companies adding more itineraries and wineries joining as experts or setting up their own.
Costco Travel has partnered with Celebrity Cruises to offer a series of member-exclusive winemaker cruises on their Solstice ship sailing through wine regions of the Mediterranean. They have four itineraries, each one partnered with a different U.S. winery – Wente Vineyards, Caymus Vineyards, Chateau Ste. Michelle and Grgich Hill Estates.
The six- to 12-night wine cruises will visit various wine regions… Barcelona (home to Spanish wines of Cava, Penedes and Priorat), Provence, Tuscany, Sicily, Croatia (origin of the first Zinfanel grape), Venice (region where Pinot Grigio, Prosecco and Recioto are produced), Montenegro (where the Vranac grape is used) and/or Greece destinations (Santorinia, Mykonos, Athens and Ephesus). The member program gives you a meet and greet winemaker reception, three-course wine-pairing luncheon, two private customized tasting events, two behind-the-scenes private tours (including a champagne tour of their 1,800 bottle two story glass wine tower). Solstice offers the Cellarmasters wine bar featuring the cruise industry’s first enomatic wine tasting and preservation system AND it has a 10,000 bottle wine collection to enjoy.
Check out Food and Wine Trails or Luxury Cruise Counselors for their offerings. There’s even a West Coast tour on Celebrity Cruise‘s Millennium that visits California, Oregon, Washington and Vancouver wineries.
If you aren’t into ‘mega cruise ships,’ check out some of the European river cruises like the ones with Uniworld.Â These smaller boats can tackle the rivers of Europe and get you up close and personal to more wineries than the big boats can.