• TRAVEL NOTICE: Learn more about COVID-19
  • Newsletter
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • Cruise Tips
  • News
  • Deals
You may also like
Dismiss
Best Foodie Cruises
Best Foodie Cruises
6 Best Cruise Lines for Wine
6 Best Cruise Lines for Wine (Photo: Silversea Cruises)

6 Best Cruise Lines for Wine

6 Best Cruise Lines for Wine
6 Best Cruise Lines for Wine (Photo: Silversea Cruises)
Kerry Spencer
Contributor
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter

A crisp glass of Sancerre or a deliciously rich Chateauneuf-du-Pape with dinner? Yes, please. Indulging in fine wine on your cruise holiday is nothing new, though cruise lines are now placing more focus on wine to offer expert-led programs on land and at sea.

Lines such as Cunard, Silversea and SeaDream offer tailored itineraries with trips to celebrated vineyards to meet the winemakers, plus talks, tastings and pairings onboard with a focus on the provenance of the food and the grape. Other lines are focusing on their wine lists, making sure that interesting bottles are available at wallet-friendly price points.

So if you'd like to learn the difference between a Pouilly-Fuisse and a Pouilly-Fume (the former is made of Chardonnay and the latter Sauvignon Blanc grapes), indulge your inner oenophile with these six cruise lines that are serious about wine.

SeaDream Yacht Club

The luxury line SeaDream Yacht Club -- with its two boutique-style vessels SeaDream I and SeaDream II -- arguably leads the way with its outstanding wine program.

The line's wine director, Martin Arentz, creates a series of annual Wine Voyages that take passengers directly to leading winemakers. Sailings include complimentary wine tastings, a food and wine pairing dinner per voyage -- known as the Winemakers Dinner that is hosted by a representative from a visiting winery -- plus "Yachting Land Adventures" (shore excursions) such as truffle hunting and visiting a local market with the ship's chef that are added to complement wine tours.

Highlights include sailings in the Western Mediterranean, with passengers getting to imbibe in historic vineyards in France and Italy, while learning more about the varieties of wine produced there.

If you care about the origin of the wine you're drinking, a SeaDream Wine Voyage is definitely for you.

Silversea

Silversea's Wine Tasting (Photo: Silversea Cruises)

Silversea places a strong emphasis on wine and, as part of its "Invictus" culinary enrichment program, the line has carefully selected 50 world wines for its complimentary wine list. The line also has a team of expert sommeliers onboard all cruises.

Featured Videos

Cruise Critic 2021: Cheers to 25 Years!

Cruise Critic 2021: Cheers to 25 Years!

Cruise Critic and JJ Cruise : Our Experience Onboard Celebrity Edge (June 2021)

Cruise Critic and JJ Cruise : Our Experience Onboard Celebrity Edge (June 2021)

Our Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Experience: March 2020 vs. July 2021

Our Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Experience: March 2020 vs. July 2021

Q&A with Celebrity Cruises' Captain Kate McCue (2021)

Q&A with Celebrity Cruises' Captain Kate McCue (2021)

Back on Celebrity Silhouette: Here's What It's Like On One Of Our Favorite Ships 15 Months Later

Back on Celebrity Silhouette: Here's What It's Like On One Of Our Favorite Ships 15 Months Later

Cruise Critic | EatSleepCruise: What's It Like Onboard Celebrity Edge?

Cruise Critic | EatSleepCruise: What's It Like Onboard Celebrity Edge?

Celebrity Millennium -- Video Tour & Ship Review (2021)

Celebrity Millennium -- Video Tour & Ship Review (2021)

Celebrity Apex -- Video Tour of The Magic Carpet

Celebrity Apex -- Video Tour of The Magic Carpet

Q&A: Cruisers and Crew Chat About The Joy of Cruising's Return

Q&A: Cruisers and Crew Chat About The Joy of Cruising's Return

Celebrity Apex -- Eden

Celebrity Apex -- Eden

Celebrity Apex -- The Retreat

Celebrity Apex -- The Retreat

Celebrity Apex -- Video Tour of the Infinite Veranda Cabin

Celebrity Apex -- Video Tour of the Infinite Veranda Cabin

Q&A with Celebrity Apex's Cruise Director

Q&A with Celebrity Apex's Cruise Director

Celebrity Apex -- Pools & Resort Deck

Celebrity Apex -- Pools & Resort Deck

Celebrity Apex -- Embarkation Process (2021)

Celebrity Apex -- Embarkation Process (2021)

The Most Exciting New Ships In 2021

The Most Exciting New Ships In 2021

5 Crazy Cruise Deck Attractions For the Adrenaline Junkie

5 Crazy Cruise Deck Attractions For the Adrenaline Junkie

Celebrity to Restart from U.S. Homeport, PLUS Royal Caribbean Given Green Light for Test Cruises!

Celebrity to Restart from U.S. Homeport, PLUS Royal Caribbean Given Green Light for Test Cruises!

Coin Ceremony For Celebrity Cruises' New Ship, Celebrity Beyond

Coin Ceremony For Celebrity Cruises' New Ship, Celebrity Beyond

Martini Bar Bartender Pours 15 Martinis at Once on Celebrity Cruises

Martini Bar Bartender Pours 15 Martinis at Once on Celebrity Cruises

Cruise Critic Tours Celebrity Edge

Cruise Critic Tours Celebrity Edge

Celebrity Edge First Look: 3 Revolutionary Dining Experiences

Celebrity Edge First Look: 3 Revolutionary Dining Experiences

Celebrity Edge Sneak Peek: Why You Should Be Excited About Celebrity Cruises' Newest Ship

Celebrity Edge Sneak Peek: Why You Should Be Excited About Celebrity Cruises' Newest Ship

Celebrity Edge Shipyard Hyperlapse Tour

Celebrity Edge Shipyard Hyperlapse Tour

What’s New On Celebrity Silhouette? - Video Tour

What’s New On Celebrity Silhouette? - Video Tour

Cruise Embarkation Tips: What NOT To Do On Your First Day

Cruise Embarkation Tips: What NOT To Do On Your First Day

Best Spots For Adults On A Disney Cruise Ship

Best Spots For Adults On A Disney Cruise Ship

Inside Cabins On Cruise Ships: Whose Is Best?

Inside Cabins On Cruise Ships: Whose Is Best?

Photo Tour of Celebrity Reflection

Photo Tour of Celebrity Reflection

Photo Tour of Regal Princess

Photo Tour of Regal Princess

Your Food’s Journey On Oceania Cruises - Behind The Scenes Video

Your Food’s Journey On Oceania Cruises - Behind The Scenes Video

Why Foodies Will Love An Oceania Cruise - Video Tour

Why Foodies Will Love An Oceania Cruise - Video Tour

Carnival Corporation Introduces the Ocean Medallion at CES

Carnival Corporation Introduces the Ocean Medallion at CES

Cruise Critic Tries The Ultimate Abyss Slide On Harmony Of The Seas (POV Video)

Cruise Critic Tries The Ultimate Abyss Slide On Harmony Of The Seas (POV Video)

HRH Prince Phillip Visits Cunard's Fleet

HRH Prince Phillip Visits Cunard's Fleet

Gavin Macleod - Capt. Stubing On "The Love Boat" -- Cruise Critic Interview (2013)

Gavin Macleod - Capt. Stubing On "The Love Boat" -- Cruise Critic Interview (2013)

Royal Rendezvous: 3 Cunard Queens Arrive In Southampton

Royal Rendezvous: 3 Cunard Queens Arrive In Southampton

Celebrity Silhouette's Conveyance (2011)

Celebrity Silhouette's Conveyance (2011)

Silversea offers a selection of wine-themed voyages throughout the year on different ships in different parts of the world, including Spain, Portugal, France and Australia. These are hosted by the line's Wine Ambassador, who is accompanied by leading vintners who share their expertise and introduce you to superlative varieties and vintages. In addition, there are onboard tastings and private tours to leading vineyards and wineries. If you want to get deeper, there is also an introductory sommelier course on offer.

Cunard

With a strong focus on learning onboard, Cunard has really upped the ante when it comes to wine by offering the chance for passengers to gain a WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) Level 1 and Level 2 qualification while at sea. WSET courses are aimed squarely at wine buffs with passengers obliged to complete an intensive three-day course of classes and exams.

All study material, a Champagne reception, commemorative photograph and a four-course pairing lunch in The Verandah restaurant on the final day of the course are included in the $325 (Level 1) and $625 (Level 2) fee. Those that pass also get to sail away with a globally recognized WSET certificate and a lapel pin.

Cunard's wine program also offers fleetwide fine wine seminars, tutored tastings, "Lunch & Learn" wine pairings, plus an annual "Voyage du Vin" sailing on Queen Victoria. The annual wine-themed cruise takes place in September -- prime harvest time in Europe -- and features talks and wine tastings led by world-famous experts such as Oz Clarke. If you have a varied palate, you're in luck as Queen Victoria carries an impressive collection of over 400 wines from 23 different countries, including the famed Chateau Petrus for those with a mega budget.

Oceania

Oceania Wine Tasting Experience (Photo: Oceania Cruises)

Upmarket Oceania Cruises offers special Champagne dinners with a brand synonymous with extravagance: Dom Perignon. The partnership involves a six-course tasting menu paired with Dom Perignon wines on the line's two O-class ships, Riviera and Marina.

The indulgent dinners take place once per sailing in La Reserve and sets passengers back $295 per person (plus 18 percent gratuity). But the quality of the wines and the excellent pairings make the cost worth it.  Passengers will get to sample three vintage Champagnes -- 2009, 2006 and the Rose 2004 -- with two courses built around each wine. The unusual thing about Dom Perignon -- and what makes it so extraordinary -- is that it's only released in vintages, using grapes harvested in a specific year. And if the grape isn't up to scratch that year, a Champagne won't be released.

If the Dom Perignon menu is too excessive for your budget, three other wine pairing menus are available on alternative nights: The Discovery and The Odyssey ($95 per person) and The Connoisseur ($165 per person). A sommelier talks guests through each pairing while ensuring passengers are suitably lubricated throughout the dinner. And for passengers who don't want to commit to a full tasting menu with wine pairings, the restaurant also hosts wine tastings and seminars.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises places a strong emphasis on wine, and claims that of all the cruise lines, it carries one of the largest and rarest collections at sea -- 300 labels and as many as 50,000 bottles. Some 2,500 bottles are on display at any one time in the shimmering glass wine tower that takes center stage in the main dining room of each Solstice-class ship.

The line also boasts what is arguably the most expensive bottle on any cruise line -- a $4,000 Screaming Eagle from Napa, California. (The head sommelier rings the head office in Miami when one of these is sold.)

Celebrity hosts regular wine tastings and cruises timed to coincide with the harvest season in Europe, hosted by U.K. wine experts Amelia Singer and Joe Fattoni, (who can be seen on that country’s Channel 5 TV program The Wine Show). On these sailings, the line creates a series of special wine-themed shore excursions to complement the onboard offering. Passengers can visit vineyards in Spain, France, Italy and even Greece, journeying to the heart of historic wineries such as the Torres Estate near Barcelona.

Princess Cruises

Sabatini's Wine Toasting (Photo: Princess Cruises)

Princess Cruises expanded its wine program in 2018, overhauling its main dining room wine list to encompass 142 choices from around the world -- most at price points under $50. The redesigned wine list, created to make it easy for even casual drinkers to find what they like, was built by wine expert Doug Frost, one of four people in the world to have both a Master of Wine and Master Sommelier certification. The list is also designed with the line’s ports in mind, so passengers can find local wines from where they are traveling.

Wine is also part of the focus of the line’s culinary-focused shore excursions, developed in partnership with Bon Appetit. Sample tours include an excursion in Sorrento, Italy, that pairs three pastas with three local wines or a trip to the vineyards around Ensenada, Mexico. (Baja California is a hot new wine region, worldwide.) And don't forget Vines, the line's wine bar that has interesting flights and wines by the glass; buy one and your nibbles are complimentary.

Updated January 08, 2020

How was this article?

Featured News

1
The 2021 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Cruise Deals You Don't Want to Miss
5
Cruise News Roundup: Holland America, Norwegian Restart Additional Cruise Ships; SeaDream Returns to Cruise the Caribbean
Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy and Cookies Statement and Terms of Use.