Medoc wine in Bordeaux. Tea in the UK. Poncha in Madeira. Combining its recent focus on unique, local gastronomy, ultra-luxe Crystal Cruises is offering more than two dozen Crystal Adventures ashore that explore Europe through libations.
From alcoholic drinks like brandy to non-alcoholic liquids like olive oil, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony travelers can sip and swig their way through the Mediterranean, Baltic, and Western Europe until December, learning about the history and culture behind iconic lubricants along the way.
Examples of tasting and crafting excursions include:
- Arctic beer at the oldest pub in Tromso.
- 16th-century Benedictine herbal liqueur, at a palace near Honfleur.
- Fresh cider and apple brandy from the centuries-old “Orchard of Norway” area near Eidfjord.
- Vodka in Honningsvag, Lofoten, and Stockholm ice bars.
- Cafes offering rum and honey poncha near Madeira, limoncello in Sorrento, and soumada in Mykonos.
- Famous alcohol distilleries like Bushmills near Belfast, Hennessy in Cognac (near Bordeaux), and Heineken in Amsterdam.
- Olive oil at a Malaga mill.
- Traditional tea at an 18th-century Belfast area estate and a Russian tea plantation near Sochi.
- Highland, Lowland, Speyside, and Island whiskies, at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society near Edinburgh.
Wine-related outings are especially numerous, with insight into:
- Unconventional winemaking, seen through a Mykonos winemaker who plays classical music to his wines, and a modern reserve winemaker near Bilbao whose cellar integrates into the landscape.
- Medoc Classified Great Growth Chateau estates, from the man who literally wrote the book on Bordeaux wines.
- Wine history, including a 400-year-old Malta wine cellar, Mallorca‘s oldest winery, and French wines’ birthplace, Nice.
- One of the most celebrated limited private label white wines, at a Corfu Count’s private estate.
- International wine distribution, via a leading Bordeaux wine trader.
- Viticultural geography, at wineries in St-Tropez — where south-facing slopes and microclimate make it ideal for certain vintages – in Constanta — where Champagne-like land and weather have helped win 130+ international wine gold medals – and Arrecife, where the volcanic soil is inhospitable for crops, yet extraordinary for grapevines.
“Local wine, spirits, beer, teas—such drinks embody the aromas and tastes of destinations,” says John Stoll , vice president of land programs. “These excursions are another way to gain understanding of unique European cultures and traditions.”
Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony sail throughout Europe from now to December, on voyages ranging from five days to month-long, extended vacation combo cruises. All-inclusive, Luxury European cruise fares start at $1,895/person, with additional savings if booked by April 30. Prices for the culinary excursion series start at $64/person.
Extraordinary culinary experiences are a hallmark of every Crystal vacation. Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity’s extensive, innovative choices for gourmandizing include the ultra-luxury line’s coveted cheese and wine cellars, overseen by on-board, certified sommeliers (Court of Master Sommeliers-certified for wine); all-inclusive, chef-like cocktails served by certified mixologists; and gourmet dining options at every meal, whether in the Crystal Dining Room, at afternoon tea, or in Nobu Matsuhisa and Piero Selvaggio’s specialty restaurants.
For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit www.crystalcruises.com