If you think “cruising foodie” is an oxymoron, think twice. The high seas are now some of the best places for the ne plus ultra in food and wine experiences.
Best of Europe’s West Coast, Windstar Cruises
Oenophiles book this cruise early for the chance to do everything from sip port in Porto(!) at the circa 1751 Ferreira Cellars and tour the Waterford Crystal factory to throw back a pint of Guinness after a tour of the storehouse in Dublin. 8 days, Lisbon to Dublin, from $2,599 per guest.
Vancouver to Vancouver, Regent Seven Seas
The reason foodies love all Regent cruises? The rate includes almost anything you could want, from dry-aged porterhouse steak to Tahitian vanilla crème brûlée with balsamic marinated strawberries. On shore in Victoria? Hit the craft brewery tour with your choice of Belgian-style ales, or an iconic high tea at the 1908 Empress Hotel (white gloves encouraged). 7 nights from $4,999.
Pacific Wine Country, Princess Cruises
The only logical purpose for departing the Ruby Princess—home to menus crafted by star chef Curtis Stone—is to tour Sonoma wineries by bike (or horse and carriage) and hit the English-style pubs in Victoria. 6-day cruise from $499 per person, from L.A. to Vancouver, B.C.
Vineyards, Vintages, and Varietals, American Queen Steamboat Company
Attention, locavores: this is your cruise. As you ply the Columbia in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll also be tucking into smoked trout mousse, Pacific oysters Rockefeller, and duck breast in tart cherry pinot compote—a must in wine country. 9 days from $2,649 per guest, roundtrip from Portland, OR.
Amsterdam and Bruges, Cunard
A Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar with seven kinds of bubbly? Duck breast with fig butter and roasted butternut squash—served by white-gloved waiters? A day trip to the 1864 Heineken brewery in Amsterdam? That’s life du jour aboard the Queen Victoria. 4 nights from $669 per person, round trip from Southampton, England.
Athens to Athens, SeaDream Yacht Club
Both gluten-intolerant and gluten-aholics will have plenty to love aboard the 112-guest SeaDream II yacht, where indulgent menus run the blissfully caloric gamut—from filet mignon to raw capsicum and lightly blanched asparagus on the living food menu, produced in partnership with Hippocrates Health Institute. Shore excursions like shopping for fried loukoumades would make anyone gleefully take a diet detour. 7-day cruise from $4,499 per person, roundtrip from Athens.
4-Day Pacific Coastal, Holland America Line
Safe to say any cruise line whose tagline is “savor the journey” knows good food. Aboard the MS Zaandam, you can feast on Washington State’s Double R Ranch’s ethically raised beef and Alaskan king salmon—or take cooking and mixology classes—as you glide along the Best Coast. 4 days from $249 per person, from San Diego to Vancouver, B.C.