Crystal Cruises is putting a twist on its popular “Wine & Food” Experiences of Discovery motif by replacing the “wine” with lagers, stouts, IPAs, and “cold ones” that are barrel-aged, made with bacon, have names like “Funky Old Time,” and more – all for a new Microbrew-themed luxury cruise.
New, beer-focused Boutique Adventures, expert presentations, cooking and cocktail classes, tasting sessions, and dinners will all be on tap for the Crystal Serenity voyage, which sails from New York to Miami, via the East Coast and Caribbean, starting November 5.
“We’ve recently seen the growing interest in microbrews, from crafting to drinking, reflected in our own guests’ palates, leading us to add international specialty beers to our Connoisseur beverage menu in 2013,” says Toni Neumeister, vice president, food and beverage operations and hotel procurement. “A microbrew theme in 2014 is a natural extension of that interest, utilizing the programming format of our successful ‘Wine & Food’-cruises to expand travelers’ palates and minds in new ways that can last well beyond their cruise.”
Programming highlights include two new Boutique Adventures (intimate, exclusive Crystal Adventures that can’t be found on any other cruise line) created just for this voyage. The shore-side excursions take guests to micro- and nano-breweries (the latest trend in ultra-local beer craftsmanship) in and around New York and Charleston for exclusive behind-the-scenes access, expert insight, and diverse sampling of innovative, historic, seasonal, and limited-run beers, complete with a souvenir “growler” swag bag in South Carolina.
Onboard, guests can glean complimentary expertise from:
- Stephen Beaumont, writer and one of the world’s top authorities on all things beer - from production to education - and Victoria Tonini, a certified cicerone (think wine sommelier, but for beer)/brewer at Tenth and Blake Beer Company - a specialist in craft and import ciders, pilsners, IPAs and wheat beers – who will both lead tastings and microbrew presentations;
- Anthony Caporale, Art of the Drink TV host and producer, who will teach guests how to make cocktails using beer, then serve them up as guest mixologist behind Crystal’s bar; and
- Jon Ashton, a cookbook author and Today/Tonight Show guest chef, who will lead hands-on cooking classes using beer as an ingredient, plus create special beer-themed dinners for all guests in the Crystal Dining Room and for just 14 guests in the Vintage Room, the latter featuring seven courses of rare beers from around the world.
The itinerary overnights in New York City before sailing down the U.S. East Coast to Baltimore, Maryland; Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; Turks & Caicos/Grand Turk; Curaçao/Willemstad; Oranjestad, Aruba; and Miami, Florida. All-inclusive cruise fares for the 14-day voyage start at $4,710/person, with $1,450/person in savings if booked by June 30. A shorter, 11-day version of the cruise is also available departing from Baltimore, with “Book Now” fares starting at $3,700/person. The limited-availability microbrew Boutique Adventures start at $179/person.