(2:35 p.m. GMT) -- P&O Cruises has announced two brand-new wine-themed shore excursions in collaboration with wine expert and P&O Cruises' Food Hero Olly Smith.
The tours -- A Taste of Madeira, a tour developed by Olly Smith and Olly Smith’s Taste of Madeira -- will be available fleetwide on selected itineraries that feature calls to Madeira from later this year. Each tour has been designed to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the process of winemaking at Blandy’s Wine Lodge on the island, including tastings of the different wine varieties available.
Smith -- who is behind the line’s popular wine and tapas bar The Glass House -- will be present on all Olly Smith Taste of Madeira tours, with the excursion featuring a trip to Blandy’s Quinta Santa Luzia vineyard and the lodge's museum. Smith will share secrets about the island's wine and how it's made, with the tour finishing with a wine tasting and lunch.
A Taste of Madeira, a tour developed by Olly Smith will offer a similar experience, but the much-loved wine expert will not be present. It will, however, feature wines selected by Smith and passengers will receive an Olly Smith tasting notebook and a copy of his book, "Eat & Drink: Good Food That’s Great to Drink With," as a keepsake of the experience.
Smith commented: "Whether you’re an absolute wine tasting beginner, or a seasoned pro, you’ll get the low down directly from the wine makers in these carefully crafted vineyard experiences."
P&O's senior vice president Paul Ludlow said: "P&O Cruises takes guests to some of world’s greatest wine regions, where stunningly beautiful vineyards and wineries serve as the perfect backdrop for their food and wine adventure. Our local wine and culinary experiences are designed to give an authentic taste of the destination visited. These brand new wine tours from Olly Smith provide our guests with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn about Madeira’s tastiest secrets from one of the most respected and best loved wine experts in the world."
Smith will host a Taste of Madeira tour on Ventura's 13-night round-trip Canary Islands and Portugal cruise from Southampton, departing July 10, 2017. Later in the year, he will host the tour on Britannia's Spain and Canary Islands itinerary -- a round-trip cruise departing Southampton on September 4, 2017. The line is yet to reveal how much each tour will cost.
--by Kerry Spencer, Editor, U.K.