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Blackbird Vineyards Adriatic, September 2018


A perfect pairing! Share exquisite Blackbird wines while enjoying the stunning beauty of the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas. Travel the Dalmatian Coast and Greek islands and see ancient walled cities, spectacular history and waters in every mesmerizing shade of aqua-blue.  Each night you will sail in comfort aboard the award-winning Crystal Cruises Serenity.  Between daytime adventures and luxurious evenings relaxing aboard you will participate in private receptions, wine-paired dinners and events hosted by Michael Polenske of Blackbird Vineyards.  Guests wishing to participate in all Blackbird Vineyards events must book through MmMmTravel, reservations elsewhere (including directly with Crystal) will be excluded from winery events.

Cruise Highlights

Why Crystal Cruises by MmMmTravel?

Exclusive events hosted onboard by Michael Polenske of Blackbird Vineyards include private receptions, food & wine pairings, dinners & more.

Crystal Cruises’ all-inclusive value provides:

  • Complimentary fine wines, champagne, premium spirits and non-alcoholic beverages including bottled water,
    specialty coffees, soft drinks and fresh juices
  • Dining; including specialty venues Prego by Piero Selvaggio of Valentino’s and Silk Road by Nobu Matsuhisa of Nobu
  • Pre-paid gratuities throughout for housekeeping, bar and dining staff
  • 24-hour room service
  • Award-winning Broadway-style entertainment, piano bars and dance clubs
  • Recent-release films in spacious surround-sound theatre
  • A wide range of enrichment classes such as art, music, computer/technology, dance, and foreign language
  • Comfortable shuttles to town in most ports and concierge services for personal arrangements ashore
  • Gym with state-of-the-art fitness equipment and classes including yoga, Pilates, cycling, Kinesis systems & Tai Chi

 

 

Itinerary

Date Port Arrive Depart
Aug 31, Friday Venice, Italy Embark 11PM
Blackbird Vineyards Welcome Reception & Wine Dinner*
Sep 1, Saturday Piran, Slovenia 8AM 6PM
Sep 2, Sunday Rovinj, Croatia 7AM 5PM
Sep 3, Monday Dubrovnik, Croatia 9AM 6PM
Sep 4, Tuesday Corfu, Greece 8AM 5PM
Blackbird Vineyards Gala Wine Dinner*
Sep 5, Wednesday Zakynthos, Greece 8AM 5PM
Blackbird Vineyards Wine Tasting*
Sep 6, Thursday Taormina/Giardini Naxos, Italy 8AM 6PM
Sep 7, Friday Sorrento, Italy 7AM 11PM
Sep 8, Saturday Gaeta, Italy 8AM 6PM
Blackbird Vineyards Farewell Reception*
Sep 9, Sunday Rome/Civitavecchia, Italy Disembark AM

 

*Events, times, locations subject to final confirmation once aboard ship.  Invitations will be delivered the evening prior to event to MmMmTravel guests and a Guest Itinerary will be mailed with guests Final Cruise Documents. Guests wishing to participate in all Blackbird Vineyards events onboard must book through MmMmTravel. Anyone making their reservation elsewhere (including directly with Crystal) will not be included in all Blackbird Vineyards events.

 

Pricing

Cruise-Only Fares includes all beverages including fine wines, champagne, premium spirits and all non-alcoholic beverages such as bottled water, soft drinks and specialty coffees; gratuities for housekeeping, dining and bar staff; complimentary evening of specialty restaurant dining in Prego and in Silk Road or The Sushi Bar (additional reservations or visits available for a modest fee.); 24-hour room service; personal Penthouse Butler service, enrichment workshop classes and much more.

Category MmMmTravel Fare* Past Guest Savings
C3-Deluxe Stateroom 226 sq. ft with Picture Window $3,265 $75
C2-Deluxe Stateroom 226 sq. ft with Picture Window $3,530 $85
C1-Deluxe Stateroom 226 sq. ft with Picture Window $3,765 $90
B3-Deluxe  Stateroom 269 sq. ft with Verandah $4,475 $105
B2-Deluxe Stateroom 269 sq. ft with Verandah $4,585 $110
B1-Deluxe Stateroom 269 sq. ft with Verandah $4,670 $110
A2-Deluxe Stateroom 269 sq. ft with Verandah $4,735 $115
A1-Deluxe Stateroom  269 sq. ft with Verandah $4,800 $115
P2-Deluxe PURE Stateroom 269 sq. ft with Verandah $4,875 $115
P1-Deluxe Stateroom 269 sq. ft with Verandah $4,940 $120
PH-Penthouse 403 sq. ft with Verandah $7,315 $180
PS-Penthouse Suite 538 sq. ft with Verandah $9,805 $240
CP-Crystal Penthouse Suite 1,345 sq. ft with Verandah $19,410 $480

Place a 4-day courtesy hold by calling (831) 659-0151 or emailing us at Info@MmMmTravel.com with passengers names and preferred room category. To receive additional information about this voyage, please fill out the form below. 

*MmMmTravel Fares are per person based on double occupancy in US dollars.  Single and triple rates available upon request. Please note pricing is Crystal’s lowest fare but include a $200 per person service fee to offset the costs associated with safely shipping substantial amounts of  wine across the globe. Guests wishing to participate in all Blackbird Vineyards events aboard must book through MmMmTravel. Guests booking elsewhere, including directly with Crystal,  will be not be included in all Blackbird Vineyards events.  Cruise-Only Fares are per person in U.S. dollars, double occupancy and do not include cruise port, security and handling charges of $387 per person. Optional air add-ons are available from Crystal Cruises’ designated gateway cities in the U.S. and Canada, and include all government fees and taxes. All offers may not be combined with other promotions, apply to first two full-fare guests in stateroom or suite, are capacity-controlled, subject to availability and may be withdrawn or changed at any time without notice. Click here for complete terms & conditions. Crystal Cruises reserves the right to correct errors or omissions and to change any and all fares, fees, promotions and programs at any time with or without notice.

 

Ports

8317Venice rests three miles off the coast of mainland Italy and is considered one of the world’s most enchanting cities. Known as the “Queen of the Adriatic,” it actually comprises more than 100 separate islands. Laced together by a string of 400 intricate bridges, Venice is legendary for its labyrinthine network of canals. A whimsical stroll through the city can lead one to a hidden world of ornately decorated piazzas and shops. As you explore colorful marketplaces and busy town squares, marvel at a priceless legacy of Baroque architecture. Admire the richness of St. Mark’s Basilica and the lavishness of the Palazzo Ducale. Getting lost in Venice can be a truly delightful experience. The place of dreams, this romantic city will live long in your memory.

Combine everything there is to love about the upper reaches of the Adriatic – mild weather, the sunny disposition of the locals, Venetian architecture, traditions in olive oil and wine – and you have Piran, unfailingly billed as one of Slovenia’s prettiest towns. In fact, Piran may just be one of the world’s prettiest towns, as you will surely conclude as you walk along its narrow, winding streets, step into the oval-shaped main square graced by stately buildings, and enjoy a beguiling mix of cultures, abetted by Piran’s location within a stone’s throw of Italy and Croatia and not far from Austria and Hungary. Situated on a narrow peninsula reaching out into the sea, this well-preserved historical town is easily explored by foot, an ideal way to be lured up to the bell tower of the Church of St. George to admire the views or into a homey restaurant for a seafood meal.

Tucked up under the arm of the Adriatic where Croatia meets Italy, Rovinj reflects a cross-section of cultures, not just of neighboring Italy but also of Greece, Austria and the Slavic nations. Empires have been competing over this wooded and strategically located region for centuries, contributing to Croatia’s rich tapestry of history along the way. The resulting complex and vibrant fabric, ever-evolving as time weaves, is yours to discover with your visit. One of the most striking of Rovinj’s buildings is the Church of St. Euphemia, with its bell tower rising above the city. Around every corner seems a grand gesture of architecture or quaint cafe. If you aren’t careful, you may begin to think you are wandering the cobbled lanes of Venice, as Rovinj’s colorful facades and charming piazzas are not far from the once-governing canal city, just two hours away by ferry across the gulf.

Though it has only recently re-emerged as an independent nation, Croatia is by no means a new country. There were settlements along the Dalmatian Coast before recorded time. When Slavic people migrated here in the 6th century, they converted to Catholicism and adopted the local Latin alphabet. The region eventually became part of the powerful Kingdom of Croatia. Medieval Dubrovnik, formerly the Republic of Ragusa, was one of several walled cities established in the 7th century to guard the coastal approaches. Its fortification was completed in the 13th century and has remained relatively unchanged. The city walls are in excellent condition and today prevent invasion by automobiles. Within the walls, the lovely sleek lines of Venetian-style buildings complement a wealth of ancient stone architecture. Nearby islands feature beautiful beaches as well as intriguing ancient ruins.

Shaped like a scythe, the island of Corfu is considered one of the Mediterranean’s best-kept secrets. Its lush interior is covered in cypress and olive trees while the main downtown area has elegant Venetian architecture and a serene atmosphere. Strategically important due to its location, this island has managed to maintain its uniqueness despite numerous invasions by outside forces. Today, the culture of Corfu reflects its turbulent past as well as its origins.

Nazi occupation during World War II. The Great Earthquake of 1953. The earthquake swarm and wildfires of 2006. The idyllic isle of Zakynthos, located in the Ionian Sea, has had its share of not-so-idyllic events. But this “paradise on earth— also has its share of engaging sights and activities, thanks to a warm climate and photogenic scenery. Check out Navagio Beach, a cove on the southwest shore with high cliffs, turquoise waters and beach composed of white pebbles. Tucked into the cliffs around Cape Skinari are the Blue Caves, which get their distinct hue from the sun’s rays reflecting through the blue sea and onto the white stones of the cave walls and floor. The western shore boasts numerous rock formations, while the northern and eastern coasts feature wide, sandy beaches. Above Zakynthos Town is perched a small Venetian castle, from which you can enjoy panoramic views.

Nature and history have made Sicily a land of striking contrasts. The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily was for centuries the center of the known world. Its unique geographic position made the island vulnerable to attacks by foreigners, while also making it a meeting place of Mediterranean civilizations, a bridge between the East and West. The picturesque little town of Taormina enjoys a beauty comprised of light, color and sea. Taormina has no middle tones, no grays and no muted shades. Lying on a short terrace of the coast and dripping off the shoulders of the enormous Mount Etna, Taormina embodies the essence of Sicily.

As your ship approaches the Sorrento Peninsula, delight in craggy cliffs draped with flowing pink blossoms. Renowned for its serene way of life, this romantic port exudes a special magic. Its dramatic bluffs and surrounding flowered hills bid travelers welcome to a town overflowing with charm and character. It is easy to relax in this languid southern Italian atmosphere. The sensational Amalfi Coast and the haunting ruins at Pompeii are among the region’s highlights.

Long a military stronghold, Gaeta hosts fortifications dating to Roman times, has served as a NATO naval base since 1967 and is currently home port of the flagship of the United States’ Sixth Fleet. As formidable and significant as its old castle and naval disposition have been, this small walled city located about an hour south of Rome is delightfully charming with narrow alleyways, steep stone steps, rocky shores, typical Italian architecture and an affinity for food (especially tiella, a crusted savory, vegetable-filled pie). Whether you savor inspiring views or tasty cuisine, you will find yourself coming back for seconds.

Civitavecchia was founded by Emperor Trajan in the 2nd century. Today this port is noted for its fine seafood and attractive monuments. Located 90 minutes away is the Eternal City of Rome. Steeped in 2,500 years of history, Rome was for many centuries the center of Western civilization. It was both the focal point of the Roman Empire and of Christendom. Landmarks such as the Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon, Vatican, Sistine Chapel and Spanish Steps are reminders of the legacy of its rich past.

 

Michael Polenske

Michael Polenske, creative director, chairman and founder of Bespoke Collection, was born in Bermuda to a military family. His father worked as a hurricane hunter and later worked in the Presidential Support Squadron responsible for piloting Air Force One and Two under President Nixon. After an itinerant early childhood, Polenske’s family was later transferred to Travis Air Force Base near Napa Valley, where he spent most of his youth. His first exposure to wine came with family trips to California’s wine country.

During college, Polenske complemented his business studies with wine classes while majoring in finance at Chico State. His original intention was to provide financial services to the vintners of Napa Valley, but as fate would have it, he found himself working with the founders of the burgeoning technology boom of the eighties and nineties in Silicon Valley. Throughout his 20 years of investment management, Polenske observed the fact that many of his clients preferred investments that reflected their personal interests. Applying the same principle to his investments, he displayed an impressive sensitivity to the prevailing zeitgeist. He became a founding investor of New York’s storied Soho House, as well as Boulette’s Larder in San Francisco, an epicurean restaurant embracing the slow food movement. Some of his other investments are The Vines of Mendoza in Argentina; Gott’s Roadside (Taylor’s Refresher) in San Francisco, Palo Alto, St. Helena and Napa; Terzo, a sister restaurant to the acclaimed Rose Pistola; and Patina Atelier Antiques, which was an import business carrying European art and furnishings.

Michael began the current chapter of his life devoting his attention to “the business of leisure” with the acquisition of Blackbird Vineyards in 2003 and turning it into an ultra-premium label. He added curator to his resume when he launched Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley—“a life aesthetic”. Opened in the town of Yountville in the fall of 2008, Ma(i)sonry allows guests to appreciate and acquire art and furnishings, all while sampling artisan wines from 20+ collective winery partners, including all three labels that make up the Bespoke Collection. In 2009, Polenske added a Ma(i)sonry label to his wine portfolio followed by the launch of Recuerdo Wines with The Vines of Mendoza in 2011. In November of 2009, Polenske acquired the I. Wolk Gallery in St. Helena, as well as the sculpture gardens located at Auberge DuSoleil in Rutherford and MacArthur Place in Sonoma and added the sculpture garden at Solage in Calistoga in 2011. The I. Wolk Gallery merged with Ma(i)sonry to serve as Napa Valley’s premier destination for the appreciation of art and design and the galleries were renamed in 2014 under the ÆRENA Galleries & Gardens Brand in eight locations including a new location opened in 2014 on the Healdsburg plaza.

In 2014, Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley was sold to Restoration Hardware (RH). Michael joined the RH Management Team in June of 2013 tasked with developing the Ma(i)sonry wine bar concept as part of their full line design gallery locations currently being rolled out across the country in 50-70 locations. Philanthropically active, he is a founding board member of Festival Del Sole Napa Valley, which celebrates the art of life with components of music, art, food and wine. Prior to refocusing his time to Napa Valley, Polenske was active on various boards benefiting the San Francisco Ballet, Opera and Zoo. He was also a council member of the Woodrow Wilson Center, a nonpartisan think-tank in Washington, D.C. and remains as a board member of the Russian National Orchestra. Through September of 2006, Polenske served as a managing director of Quellos, focusing on financial and investment activities for private clients. Prior to Quellos, he was a managing director at Mezzacappa Management, LLC, an investment management firm. Before joining Mezzacappa, Polenske was president and CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank & Trust Co., N.A., heading up the private banking business in the Western U.S. Polenske joined Chase Manhattan Corporation from J.P. Morgan, where he served as the head of the private banking group’s west coast/north region. Prior to J.P. Morgan, he was the managing principal of the San Francisco region for American Express Financial Advisors and was co-founder of both the San Mateo and San Francisco offices.

 

Blackbird Vineyards

Purchased by Michael Polenske in 2003, Blackbird Vineyards (a former walnut orchard first planted with 5, 717 Merlot vines in 1997) is now an ultra premium label in its own right. Fittingly, the word ‘Merlot’ is French patois for ‘little blackbird.’

An early harbinger of Blackbird’s potential arose when Mia Klein of Dalla Valle fame created a Blackbird Vineyard designate for her highly acclaimed 1999 Selene Merlot (no less than 95% of the fruit in the bottle must be from the named vineyard). Three of the top wine critics in the industry – Robert Parker, Stephen Tanzer, and Wine Spectator’s James Laube – scored this wine in the 90s.

Blackbird’s inaugural 2003 bottling, culled from a small crush of grapes that weren’t already claimed by other vintners was awarded 98 points by Vinfolio, proclaiming it, “the best Merlot nobody had ever heard of.”ACME FINE WINES news was equally enthusiastic, saying, “it is with wines like this that we never question why we are in this business.”Blackbird’s 2003 Merlot was also given a score of 95 points by Vintrust, which praised its complexity and richness, proclaiming it, “hedonistic in length,” and our Flocking Merlot was born.

Since the premier release of our 2003 vintage, Blackbird Vineyards’ winemaking team has handcrafted truly expressive wines with a focus on the varieties of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. By utilizing the natural advantage of a 10-acre estate vineyard which produces exceptional Merlot in the Oak Knoll District-along with meticulously sourcing fruit of comparable quality-our portfolio reflects artisanal, terroir-driven wines of pedigree with each vintage.

With the designation of Napa’s fourteenth AVA in 2004, the Oak Knoll District is well poised to bring forth the prominence and elegance of Napa Valley Merlot-with an inspiration from the Right Bank. The Merlot based wines of the Right Bank have historically challenged the first growths of Bordeaux, a forbearer to Oak Knoll’s future. Similar to the Right Bank region of Bordeaux, the Oak Knoll District is akin in its soil composition, microclimate, and rural qualities. Our affinity for Merlot (and other Bordeaux varietals) is reflected in each wonderfully aromatic, rich, and polished vintage.

 

 

About Crystal

All-inclusive cruises include complimentary fine wines and premium spirits throughout both ships as well as gratuities for housekeeping, bar, dining and Penthouse butler staff. In addition to our Taste of Life amenities, Crystal’s all-inclusive value provides:

Fine Dining

  • Up to eight evening dining venues
  • Complimentary fine wines, champagne and premium spirits as well as dining in all restaurants, including specialty venues Prego, and Silk Road & The Sushi Bar by Nobu Matsuhisa
  • Open-bar service throughout the ship
  • Gratuities for housekeeping, bar and dining staff throughout the ship
  • The Bistro, a European-style sidewalk café, now with extended hours into the late evening
  • All non-alcoholic beverages including bottled water, specialty coffee drinks, soft drinks, fresh juices and Afternoon Tea service
  • Early embarkation luncheon
  • Welcome champagne
  • 24-hour room service

 

Enrichment & Entertainment

  • Computer University@Sea® classes with software instruction
  • Technology Concierge “how to” tips on latest high-tech gadgets and apps
  • Digital USC School of Cinematic Arts Filmmaking classes
  • Experiences of Discovery® theme cruises with focused programming on music, film & theatre, wellness, golf and more
  • Crystal Visions® lecture series featuring renowned speakers, authors, celebrities and destination experts
  • Interactive Ocean Views™ , and new Local Insights on select voyages where native experts come on board to share their unique, niche knowledge about the destination’s art, politics, archaeology or history
  • Award-winning Broadway-style entertainment including new productions Rocket Man!: a tribute to Elton John and Divas, plus piano bars and chic nightclubs
  • Magic Castle® at Sea offering intimate performances and educational classes
  • Recent-release films in spacious surround-sound Hollywood Theatre
  • Dance lessons
  • Art classes with Odyssey Art At Sea
  • Dedicated Junior Cruiser facilities and programs
  • Comfortable shuttles to town
  • Concierge services for personal arrangements ashore

 

Fitness

  • Gym with state-of-the art fitness equipment
  • Well-appointed separate men’s and women’s steam, saunas and whirlpools in the only Feng Shui-inspired spa at sea
  • Fitness classes including yoga, Pilates, “Tour de Spin” cycling, cutting-edge Kinesis™ systems and Tai Chi courses
  • Golf lessons with PGA pros
  • Walk-on-Water® weighted vests and Nordic Pole walking equipment
  • Paddle tennis
  • Exclusive 360° (wraparound) teak Promenade Deck for uninterrupted walks, jogs and sweeping ocean views
  • Ambassador Hosts, cultured and well-traveled gentlemen, are available on every cruise to socialize and dance the night away

 

Ship Specifications

Crystal Serenity
Crew: 655
Guests: 1,070
Length: 820 ft
Width: 105.6 ft
Speed: 20 Knots
Tonnage: 68.870

 
 

To make a reservation please contact us directly at 831.659.0151 or email us at info@MmMmTravel.com. For additional information about this enchanting voyage, please fill out the form below and we will respond to your request within 1 business day via email. Please remember that our response to your query may accidentally be directed to your junk mail folder.