An unprecedented number of wine and food-themed excursions and onboard presentations by the culinary world's brightest stars set the stage for Crystal Serenity's May 2008 Wine and Food cruise. Highlighted by a two-day overnight call in Bordeaux, the 12-day voyage from London to Rome offers 18 epicurian Crystal Adventures in the French wine country, Portugal, Spain and the French Riviera, as well as onboard events with Master Chef André Soltner and Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein. Connoisseurs short on time can experience new six-day segments of the cruise.
"From cooking lessons in Barcelona and the South of France to 'from the barrel' tastings at Chateau Mouton Rothschild, the region is rich in opportunities for authentic wine and food programs," says John Stoll, director of Crystal Cruises' land programs. "To visit the wine regions of Bordeaux, Cognac, St. Emilion, and Pomerol, as well as Spain's La Rioja region and Lisbon's Port Wine Institute on the same voyage is a rare treat. To pair that experience with onboard instruction and a multi-course dinner prepared by James Beard Award-winning Master Chef André Soltner, former owner of New York's famed Lutèce, is extraordinary."
Whether guests opt for the complete 12-day voyage or one of the two six-day segments, nearly 10 carefully crafted boutique excursions in each port of call help travelers make the most of their time ashore. Of the 57 shoreside experiences featured, a full one-third are devoted to fine wine and food, including:
* New Wine making and explore the cellars at magnificent Château Margaux;
* New Enjoy a tour, tasting and dinner at historic Château Smith Haut-Lafitte;
* New The famed Médoc wine road to visit the village of Soulac and its basilica, a
UNESCO World Heritage Site;
* New The Cognac region and learn how the fine liquor is crafted
* Wine tasting and the reserves at Spain's coastal Txakolí Cellar, the underground El Fabulista Cellar and the architectural marvel Ysios Cellar
In addition, new outdoor adventures allow guests to:
* New Experience a mountain safari in the Serra Sintra region outside Lisbon
* New Sail on a dolphin and whale watching expedition off the coast of Gibraltar
* New Bicycle through Barcelona
* Visit Bilbao's stunning Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry
* Scuba dive around Gibraltar for certified divers and beginners alike
Departing London on May 7, 2008, Crystal Serenity will call in Bordeaux and Villefranche, France; Bilbao and Barcelona, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and Gibraltar, United Kingdom; before concluding in Rome. The cruise can be experienced as a full 12-day journey or in two six-day segments (London to Lisbon / Lisbon to Rome). Fares for the full 12-day Epicurean Adventure from London to Rome begin at $4,595. Fares for the six-day segments begin at $2,530. All fares are listed per person, double occupancy.
Crystal's unwavering commitment to a superior wine and food experience is evidenced by the line's extensive wine cellars offering more than 230 wines and as many as 25,000 bottles, a reserve wine list featuring such rare vintages as 1959 Château Lafite Rothschild and 1971 Château Petrus; Crystal's own proprietary label, C Wines; and intimate Vintage Room dinners. All of the line's sommeliers have been recently certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers, enhancing a fine dining experience highlighted by collaborations with world-renowned Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Piero Selvaggio for its specialty restaurants.