Sip and Sail
Amawaterways lures passengers with curated wine cruises that reflect the ports of call.
BY KELLY MAGYARICS
WINE & SPIRITS
When a cruise line’s itineraries include jaunts to the world’s most iconic wine regions, from the Douro Valley to Burgundy, you can bet the liquid options on board will be just as stellar as what comes out of a château cellar. Among its many floating adventures, Amawaterways, a family-owned and -operated luxury cruise line with a fleet of 26 custom-designed ships, offers more than 60 exclusive Celebration of Wine River Cruises throughout Europe. As the ship navigates a wine region, passengers can sip and savor bottles whose grapes may have been grown on the very vineyards they pass and partake in interactive tastings, discussions and thoughtful pairings. Once on shore, wine experts lead guests on excursions including tours of notable producers and visits to local merchants, wine bars and festivals. “One of the most delightful aspects of the Wine Cruises is visiting Europe’s unique vineyards and wineries, such as France’s Saint-emilion or the Unesco-designated Residenz Palace, home to a beautiful wine cellar,” said Rudi Schreiner, cofounder and president. “These unique experiences allow guests to walk alongside artisans and vintners to discover how Old World traditional techniques are being influenced by innovative, sustainable practices introduced by a young generation of winemakers.” In 2011 Amawaterways became a member of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the world’s oldest international gastronomic society (founded in Paris in 1248), becoming the first cruise line to have been granted an invitation to the prestigious organization. Membership allows the company to provide guests an enhanced culinary experience, including wines hand-selected in consultation with renowned European sommeliers. During daily complimentary Sip & Sail cocktail hours on board, passengers are treated to wine; beer; spirits; soft drinks; and specially selected cocktails including cosmopolitans, lemon drop martinis, and gin and tonics. “Every evening before dinner, our guests come together to relax, sip a cocktail or two and share their travel experiences, creating memories with family members or newfound friends that will last a lifetime,” Schreiner explained. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the cruise line serves the Amatwenty, a signature cocktail that shakes gin with apricot juice, apricot schnapps and lemon juice, served in a sugarrimmed glass, topped with sparkling wine and garnished with a glazed dried apricot. (Sample this cocktail at home with the recipe at amawaterways .com/connections/amatwenty-cocktail-recipe.) Regardless of the itinerary, all guests on Amawaterways cruises enjoy unlimited regional wine or beer at every lunch and dinner. This might mean a vibrant and juicy grenache-based rosé while cruising down the Rhône in Provence or sipping rich, honeysuckle- and orange blossomtinged Tokaj on a Danube sailing passing through Hungary. Each year the cruise line evaluates the wine list to provide the best expressions from the region and changes selections daily to reflect the current destination. “We want our guests to be able to fully embrace all aspects of their travel experience,” Schreiner said, “[including] tasting local varietals that they would not necessarily find once they return home.”