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Norwegian Cruise Line has announced the lineup for the brand’s 2017/2018 Meet The Winemaker Cruises, a selection of cruises aboard Norwegian Escape and Dawn during which guests will have the opportunity to wine and dine with leaders and legends of the winemaking industry. The full series was revealed during the first Winemaker Dinner cruise of the season, held aboard Norwegian Escape.
The voyage featured Antonio Hidalgo, President of Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana. Hidalgo represents the 8th generation of the sherry winery, family owned and operated since 1792. The dinner series is hosted at the line’s popular wine venue The Cellars, and is a celebration of Norwegian’s successful ongoing partnership with the family and other beverage partners.
In 2015, the Michael Mondavi Family partnered with Norwegian for the line’s first branded wine bar aboard Norwegian Escape – featuring a curated wine list and service provided by a Court of Master Sommeliers certified Sommelier. The venue invites guest to participate in seminars, wine tastings, pairings, and workshops. The partnership was expanded when The Cellars opened on Norwegian Dawn in 2016 after ship-wide enhancements. The new series of sailings evolves from the popular visits Mondavi has made to Norwegian Escape in celebration of the partnership.
On the second day of each voyage, guests will be able to dive into the minds of the visiting experts with an open-form Q&A session, held in the atrium. Following, guests can purchase featured wines selected by the wine makers from the ship’s wine list, meet the expert, and have them sign the bottle as a memento. The forum and meet and greet are free and open to all guests.
For a more intimate experience, guests can take part in a wine tasting and educational seminar hosted by the vintner in The Cellars. They will take cruisers on a tour of the winemaking world and the elements that complement it providing insight into their specific area of expertise. The tastings will feature wines hand-picked by the expert and brought onboard for the seminar. Pricing will be $19.95 per person.
Those looking for a gourmet experience can attend a wine dinner, hosted by the vintner or industry expert. Five decadent courses will be paired with wine specifically chosen for each course. The cost is $59.95 per person. Seating is limited for both the tasting seminars and wine pairing dinner, and reservations will only be available onboard the ship. The full lineup of the 2017/18 Meet The Winemaker series includes:
- September 22, 2017 – Norwegian Dawn: Michael Mondavi, founder of the Michael Mondavi Family Estate, co-founder of Folio Fine Wine Partners and co-founder of The Cellars – A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar. Mondavi represents the third generation representative of the prestigious family of wineries in Napa Valley.
- November 4, 2017 – Norwegian Escape: Bill Whiting, Director of Wine Education at Banfi Vintners. As the grandson of John F. Mariani Sr., founder of Banfi Vintners, Whiting carries on the tradition of the award-winning Castello Banfi estate, founded in 1919 in the Brunello region of Tuscany.
- December 2, 2017 – Norwegian Escape: Aarón Sánchez. Famed TV Chef and James Beard award winner, Aarón Sánchez is the official ambassador and spokesperson for Terrazas de los Andes wines and is considered one of the world’s leading contemporary Latin chefs.
- February 17, 2018 – Norwegian Escape: Gerard Bertrand, renowned vintner of Languedoc-Roussillon. Bertrand, a legendary expert in the winemaking industry, boasts 20 years of experience and a breadth of awards and accolades.
- March 2018 – Norwegian Escape: Salvatore Ferragamo, heir of famed Italian fashion house and owner at Il Borro Winery in Tuscany, Italy. Salvatore, whose father Ferruccio, bought the beautiful Il Borro Estate in 1993, has replanted the family’s vineyard and has been releasing delicious Tuscan wines since 1999.
Norwegian Dawn sails to Bermuda from June to October, and to Canada & New England in September and October from her seasonal homeport in Boston. Norwegian Escape is currently sailing the eastern and western Caribbean from her homeport in Miami. In April 2018, Escape will reposition to New York City to sail to Bermuda on seven-day cruises every Sunday, offering a new ship for New York-area guests to enjoy.