Wine and cruising sounds like the perfect combination and Celebrity Cruises have decided to combine the two, with a series of cruises from Southampton that takes in the famous wine producing regions of France, Spain and Portugal.

Departing on the 12 of October 2013, Iglu are pleased to announce that Oz Clarke will be your special guest sommelier on board for the final sailing of the Celebrity Infinity's wine cruise.

In a brilliant opportunity to be hosted and entertained by Britain’s premier wine critic, Clarke will run workshops, lectures and lead wine tasting events for the duration of the cruise. Enthusiastic about the prospect of the wine cruise, Oz Clarke told the blogger Captain Greybeard: "I can't wait to take my passion for wine to the high seas. Not only am I looking forward to learning more about the impressive wine selections, bars and restaurants from Celebrity Cruises, I'm also keen to talk to fine food and wine fans, share my knowledge... whilst having a great time onboard the ship. The chance to sail between some of Europe's best known wine regions, relaxing with a glass in hand, is just too good to turn down."

Oz Clarke is a hero among wine professionals for his informative approach to wine tasting. He is famous for encouraging the popularity of New World wines in the '80s and '90s and was allegedly banned from the Champagne region for suggesting the regional bubbly was becoming more expensive and less good.

The Cruises

The cruises are all onboard the recently refurbished Celebrity Infinity and they capture the finest wine producing regions in Western Europe. Whether visiting the vineyards and regions close to the ports or taking the extensive shore excursions taking you into the heart of the regions, there will be something for everyone — there is even a three day land tour, from Paris to Bordeaux.

Each sailing offers at least three over night stays so you can visit the area in full and make the most of the local hospitality as well the local produce.

Le Harve

Le Havre is the cruising gateway to Paris and the Champagne region. Onboard these cruises Celebrity will be offering various excursions to Paris, from a simple bus tour to sightseeing trip with lunch at the Eiffel Tower, trips around Le Havre and even to abbey of Mont Saint Michel. But this isn't why you're taking this cruise. From Le Havre you can partake on one of the first two 'tasting' excursions. The first is a trip to Pay d'Auge, which takes you through the Normandy landscape, before arriving at a cheese factory, where cheese tasting will take place including the likes of Pont l'Evêque, Camembert and Livarot. Afterward you will drive to Le Breuil en Auge, to visit the home of Calvados, the regions famous Normandy Brandy.

The second tour is a mammoth three day, two night land tour from Le Harve passing by Paris, the Loire Valley, Cognac, then Bordeaux before re-joining the ship at Le Verdon. The trip involves city tours, a vine and wine museum, wine tasting, cognac tastings and more.

Le Verdon (Bordeaux)

With two days and one night in the port town of Le Verdon you can enjoy the delicacies and vine yards of Bordeaux, one of the world's most famous wine producing regions. Over the two days you can chose from a Saint Emillion wine tour, a Medoc wine tour, a Graves wine tour, a Margaux wine tour, a Saintes and Cognac tour, tasting and dinner at the Chateau Rousseau de Sipian and more — you need to do this cruise about three times just to get all this in!

Bordeaux, along with Champagne and Burgundy is among France's most famous and probably most revered wine regions, so to be able to visit so many of these favourite wine regions would be heaven. St. Emillion is a given, but do you go for the Graves, Medoc or Cognac tour?

Bilbao

Arriving in Bilbao adds another new exciting dimension to the tour, as we move away from the renowned French cheeses, wines and brandys and onto Spain's wonderful Rioja, Tapas and the Guggenheim. Food, wine and culture, now that's easily two days worth of entertainment. There are tours of the city and the world famous museum, there is a Bilbao and Tapas tour (if you ask me, a must) and of course a visit to probably Spain's most famous wine region, Rioja.

Porto

Last, but by no means least on this short guide to what's on offer is Porto, famed for its port. Here you can tour the city and local attractions, enjoy a wine tasting at the Mateus Palace, enjoy the Douro Valley winery tour, or take in one of the Oporto tours and wine tastings. Well you can go to Porto and now enjoy a drop of port, that's like going to the Alps and not having a fondue!

The excursions are all being offered by Celebrity Cruises and £31.25, for a walking tour of Le Havre, to £125.50 for the St. Emillion tour, including a wine tasting session and lunch, all the way up to £692.50 for the three day wine tour from Paris to Bordeaux.

The Ship

In 2013 Celebrity Infinity will be your home on these wonderful sailings. As previously mentioned the Celebrity Infinity has undergone a huge refurbishment, as part of a project that has seen Celebrity Cruises spend $120 million Solitcizing their Millennium class ships.

If you find that you have taken to a new grape or vineyard while ashore, the ship will also be offering an expanded wine list selection from the ports of call. The wine tasting sessions start from as little £11, so you won't need to break the bank to carry on enjoying the regional specialties while sailing from one region to the next.

Excursions

  • Taste of Margaux The tour takes you to a pair of Bordeaux’s most famous wineries: Chateau Giscours and Chateau Kirwan, giving you the chance to taste the delicious output of the Margeux region.
  • Cooking Lesson with Daniel Garcia (Michelin Star Chef) & Dinner Take a cooking class with Michelin starred chef Daniel Garcia at his very own Bilbao restaurant, Zortziko. Discover why Garcia is regarded as one of the world’s foremost chefs, with a culinary odyssey into Basque cuisine, followed by a meal at Zortziko.
  • Paris & Reims, 2 days Take the chance to tour Paris and the Champagne. Spend a day seeing the sights of Paris, including a river cruise on the Seine, before departing for an evening in Reims. Spend the morning enjoying the city’s 803 year old cathedral before a visit to a champagne house and lunch, before heading back to the ship.
  • The Douro Valley Winery Tour The Golden Valley of the Douro is home to stunning scenery and fine wines. Visit the Romanesque town of Amarante before going to a wine tasting session at a vineyard in Regua.
  • Combarro & Pazo Capitana Cellars A wine tour through the seaside towns of Galacia. First visting Combarro with a local guide, the excursion later vistis the town of Cambados and the 15th century Pazo Capitana winery.
Special Excursions on Wine Cruising with Oz Clarke, 12th October 2013
  • Package 1(£89). Five events with Oz Clarke and Tom Forrest over five days of the cruise:
    —Wine and cheese pairing (14th October)
    —Introduction to French wine (15th October)
    —Wine Cruising with Oz Clarke (15th October)
    —Bordeaux Masterclass (17th October)
    —Spanish wine and sherry masterclass 18th October)
  • Package 2 (£69). Food and wine pairing with Oz Clarke over a six course meal at SS United States specialty restaurant.
  • Package 3 (£169). Oz Clarke leads a tasting tour to the St Émilion area of Bordeaux, visiting Chateau La Gaffelière and Chateau Siaurac. Includes lunch in a cave, with wines selected by Oz Clarke.

Be sure to book the Oz Clarke excursions well in advance, as spaces are limited.

Happy tasting!


© Iglucruise


Note: *prices and all-inclusive deal are correct as of 17th April 2013 and are subject to change by Celebrity Cruises.