(5:00 p.m. EDT) -- In response to the success of its years-long partnership with the Mondavi wine family, Norwegian Cruise Line is offering a second season of "Meet the Winemaker" cruises on two of its vessels, featuring appearances by well-known vintners, including Michael Mondavi, Gerard Bertrand and Salvatore Ferragamo.
The sailings will feature free Q&A sessions and meet-and-greets with the experts, which will be held in the atrium and open to all passengers.
Additional for-fee vintner-led events -- like wine tastings ($19.95 per person) and five-course wine-paired dinners ($59.95 per person) -- will be held at The Cellars, a Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar. The venue was introduced on Norwegian Escape when it launched in 2015 and added to Norwegian Dawn in 2016; it boasts a curated wine list and the services of a certified sommelier. (Space is limited for added-fee events, so reservations are necessary and can be made once onboard.)
Winemaker sailings for 2017 and 2018 include:
- September 22, 2017 - Norwegian Dawn: Michael Mondavi (Michael Mondavi Family Estate, Napa)
- November 4, 2017 - Norwegian Escape: Bill Whiting (Banfi Vintners, Tuscany)
- December 2, 2017 - Norwegian Escape: Aaron Sanchez (Terrazas de los Andes, Argentina)
- February 17, 2018 - Norwegian Escape: Gerard Bertrand (Languedoc-Roussillon region wineries)
- March 2018 - Norwegian Escape: Salvatore Ferragamo (Il Borro Winery, Tuscany)
"Given the incredible reception of Michael Mondavi's past visits aboard our ships, we are excited to expand upon this concept to provide our guests the opportunity to get up close and personal with renowned experts within the winemaking industry," Mark Kansley, Norwegian's senior vice president of hotel operations, said in a statement.
--By Ashley Kosciolek, Editor