Cruising, whether ocean or river, is becoming more and more niche based.
The niche size varies from huge demographic groups (think family targeted mass-market cruising such as Carnival or Royal Caribbean) to very specific such as yachting the Galapagos Islands. Some niches are voyage or itinerary specific, such as the Christmas Markets or Tulip river cruises.
Today I’d like to focus on European River Wine Cruises. The combination of medieval Europe exploration with the history and atmosphere of European wine-making is captivating. This growing specialty of river cruising is increasing in popularity and appeals to all levels of wine “connoisseurs”.
I mean, really. How expert do you need to be to enjoy biking through French vineyards, going on a “truffle treasure hunt”, or learning the ideal pairing of French chocolate and a Bordeaux wine at a chocolatier's shop? Just a few examples of some of the activities available with these wine focused river cruises.
But, on the other hand, if you are a wine aficionado, imagine sampling Bordeaux wines in a wine cellar in Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux or a Moselle wine while admiring the turrets of a Rhineland castle?!
And it’s not just the traditional wine regions of France and Germany that have wine focused agendas. Cruise the Douro River and enjoy Spanish and Portuguese wines, as well as learning more about Port making in Porto. Or navigate the Po River from Venice to Bologna while indulging in Italian wines and delicacies.
Some wine cruises are itinerary specific such as cruising thru Burgundy from Avignon to Lyon or exploring the Bordeaux region winding along three different rivers in the valley. Alternatively, traditional itineraries with an added wine and culinary focus and including a guest expert such as a winery owner vineyard manager on board are also available.
These specialized wine cruises are fabulous for small to medium groups. Whether your group is expert or a new-to-wine experiment, these are a great way to experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of old-world Europe.