0 Comments | Oct 09, 2019

Silversea Offers Outstanding Wine-Themed Cruises: Best Vintages, All Regions

Forbes Link:

Published by Lea Lane on Feb 6, 2019

Ultra-luxury cruise line Silversea has developed an all-inclusive wine program to burnish its reputation as a top purveyor of wines at sea. The cruise line’s Wine Ambassador, Lawrence d’Almeida, chose approximately 160 different wines for Silversea’s wine selection, one of the largest and broadest choices of complimentary wines aboard any cruise ship, with roughly 70 different labels.

Every major wine region in the world is represented in the complimentary range, as well as every major wine grape. Italian wines are particularly well-represented as an homage to the cruise line’s heritage, and local wines are also added to Silversea’s selection depending on the itinerary.

And now,  Silversea’s special wine-themed voyages allow guests to sample special and local wines and expand theirs knowledge while visiting spectacular wine-growing destinations. Designed with wine-related destinations in mind and hosted either by Silversea’s Wine Ambassador himself or by qualified master sommeliers, the program includes onboard lectures, tastings and shore-based excursions.

In October I cruised on Silver Whisper between Lisbon and Fort Lauderdale. Our voyage also docked in Casablanca and Madeira. We talked to local vintners who shared their expertise with samples of their vineyards, and we were introduced to superlative varieties and vintages with Silversea’s own Wine Ambassador.

Onboard we sampled approximately 33 different varieties of high-class Italian wines, provided by Comitato Grandi Cru d’Italia – a committee that unites the top Italian wineries to protect and promote the prestige of the country’s best wines. And an additional 19 varieties of America’s superior wines were available thanks to Silversea’s partnership with the American Fine Wine Competition (AFWC).

Vintners and AFWC co-founders Monty and Sara Preiser of Napa and Florida were friendly and informed instructors/hosts. The Preisers presented AFWC’s Double Gold Medal-winning wines and/or bottles from wineries named as ‘Winery of the Year’ to  voyage guests. (And also played a mean game of trivia, especially when wine questions came up.)

Giuseppe Vaccarini, former “best sommelier in the world,” accompanied participants on wine-related shore excursions, and Gennaro Buono, the “best sommelier in Italy,” hosted an accredited sommelier course; some of us even disembarked Silver Whisper with a recognized sommelier qualification.

Throughout the Atlantic crossing there was time to discuss, appreciate, sniff, swirl, sample, socialize and drink it all in, literally. Special were informal chats and wine before dinner with the Preisers, sommeliers and other on-board experts and interested guests. And a farewell party on deck with special vintages was a festive way to end the crossing.

I asked a Silversea spokesperson several frequent questions about wine-cruise offerings:

— How does the wine selection differ on wine theme cruises from regular cruises?

Silversea’s wine-themed cruises feature additional local labels to allow for an even more authentic experience of the wine culture in sailed regions.

— How are wines  chosen for complimentary drinking versus premium drinking?

Complimentary wines offer quality and regional representation. The number of wines from each country will depend on guest preferences and cruise itineraries. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from California, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Rosé (preferably from Southern France), Pinot Grigio from Italy, Australian Shiraz, and Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Roughly 70 different labels.

Premium wines in our ‘Connoisseur Wine List’ are prestige, superb wines from around the world, which are often rarer and less mainstream: top Champagnes, Bordeaux Grand Cru Classés, and top white and red Burgundy, with some Rhône included, from France; Supertuscans, Brunellos, Barolos and Amarones from Italy; top California Chardonnays and Cabs; and premium wines from Australia and New Zealand. 100 labels in total.

— Are all wines comped for passengers who are a part of the wine cruise package?

All guests who book a wine cruise have the opportunity to participate in the wine-themed activities. On the annual sommelier course (the one I attended), all the wines (more than 50) tasted during the program are complimentary.

The wine program also includes some voyages that are hosted by Silversea’s Wine Ambassador, Lawrence d’Almeida. He usually plans approximately four lecture tastings and two ‘Fine wine tastings’ (fee applies) of very fine wines from our Connoisseur Wine List.

— Is there a limit to wine-theme participants?

No, there is no limit; all guests on board can participate in the program, but a sign-up is required.


Here are the two wine-themed voyages scheduled for this spring:

  • Silversea’s Silver Cloudwill cruise between Lisbon and Amsterdam between May 1 and May 13, visiting Oporto, La Coruna, Gijon, Bilbao, Bordeaux, Belle Ile, Douarnenez, Saint Malo and Le Havre. The 12-day voyage will include opportunities to sample fine gastronomy from across the continent, especially in Bordeaux, where guests will enjoy an overnight stay.  Silversea’s Wine Ambassador will select different wines from each country on the itinerary, and guests will enjoy wine lectures and tastings on board.
  • Between May 19 and June 2, Silver Whisperwill cruise between London (Greenwich) and Barcelona, stopping at Honfleur, Saint Malo, Bordeaux, Le Verdon (Bordeaux), Bilbao, Lisbon, Cadiz and Malaga. Guests will be able to participate in the 2019 edition of the onboard accredited sommelier course, and can leave with a recognised qualification. Guests can also take private tours of prominent wineries throughout the voyage.