NCL showcases new celebrity winemaker cruises
Meet the vintners behind your favourite wines.
An experienced sommelier will tell you that wine tastes different depending on where and how you experience it. You'll taste different notes on a sunny Caribbean cruise deck and a crisp-weather Norwegian fjord, and will naturally find new flavours depending on how it's paired with food.
Now, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced a series of tasteful trips to help you find the best flavour wherever you are, with its new "Meet the Wine Maker Cruises".
This idea may have first been floated in 2015, with the initial pairing of Norwegian Cruise Line and the famous Michael Mondavi wine family, to bring a wine bar, The Cellars, aboard the Norwegian Escape.
Its rousing success saw a further Mondavi wine bar on the Norwegian Dawn in 2016, and now the full "Meet the Wine Maker Cruises" in 2017, bringing a prestigious range of vintners aboard for meet and greets, hosted dinners, bottle signings and all the wine education guests can absorb on the seven day trips.
What to expect
Great wine of course. The celebrity vintners will bring a range of exclusive special vintages aboard, as well as many of their personal favourites.
Each trip will also have all the usual luxuries, as well as plenty of times set aside for all things vino. The second night will see open-forum Q&As with the vintners, followed by a chance to pick up specially selected bottles and get them autographed.
The intimate dinners are probably going to be one of the main highlights, where small groups can dine with the wine makers and enjoy a curated five-course menu, with each course finding its perfect wine pairing, as chosen by the vintners themselves.
The vintners and cruises
So far, Norwegian Cruise Line has managed to book five different celebrity vintners, for five different cruises.
The first takes off on 22 September 2017, with Norwegian Dawn travelling from Boston to Bermuda. Michael Modavi is the first aboard, as the latest in three generations of wine making experience, and one of the biggest names behind the fame of California's Napa Valley vineyards.
The co-founder of Folio Wine Partners, and The Cellars will be accompanying guests across the Atlantic to Bermuda and sharing his favourite stories and vintages along the way.
The remainder are all round trip escapes from Miami through the Caribbean.
- 4 November 2017 - Bill Whiting. He's directed Tuscany's Castello Banfi estate to success, and as the founder of Banfi Vintners, now holds the post of Director of Wine Education there. Guests who want to expand their wine knowledge, and want to get at some of the maker's secrets, couldn't sail with a better person.
- 2 December 2017 - Aarón Sánchez. Different people might know him for very different things. He might be most prominent as a TV celebrity chef, but wine afficionados will probably think of him mostly as the spokesperson for Terrazas de los Andes wines. Others still might recognise him as a James Beard Award winner, for excellence in culinary writing and education. If you can't have a great meal without a glass of wine, or vice versa, this might be the one for you.
- 17 February 2018 - Gerard Bertrand. The renowned vintner of the renowned Languedoc-Roussillon. With decades of experience and more prestigious awards and accolades than almost anyone else the industry, this might be the perfect cruise for anyone who wants to get in-depth with some of the world's finest vintages.
- March 2018 - Salvatore Ferragamo (date TBC). The heir of the famous Italian fashion house has been delighting wine critics since 1999, working out of the family vineyard in the Il Borro Estate. Fashion and wine lovers alike might want to get on this one, or anyone else who's missed their chance at a previous booking.
If you can make your way to Boston or Miami for departure, you can find your spot on one of these cruises at Norwegian Cruise Line.
If you can't, it's a good thing you don't need to go far for a great drop of wine. In fact, you don't need to go anywhere at all, and can get it delivered right to your door.
Feel free try a deal or two while you're here.
- Get discounts of 10 % to 30% off at Wines Direct: Wines Direct daily deals are always exciting and you never know what you'll find. All you can be sure of is that there's always an exceptionally wide range.
- Get $100 off a crate of Naked Wines: Here's a way to support local winemakers, even if you can't meet them yourself, and get a mighty fine drop at the same time.
- Check the daily deals on Wine Selectors: The deals, and wines, can change day to day, but they're both always good. Wines here have all been passed by an expert tasting panel, with a particular penchant for regional tastes. If you share the same tastes, this one might be worth bookmarking.