Here’s a fun way to experience the wonderful wines of my home state of Washington — on a cruise! AAA Washington and Holland America Line are offering the Wines of Washington (WOW) Coastal Cruise on board the ms Oosterdam. The ship departs San Diego on April 26 and arrives in Vancouver, BC on April 30. On the oenophile menu are exclusive wine tastings, wine maker lunches and dinners, and optional themed discussions.
Wine experts will be on board to offer insights into Washington’s booming wine industry. With 350 vineyards and more than 500 wineries, it’s now the second largest wine producing region in the nation. Local culinary experts complement the group with their knowledge of pairing wine with different types of cuisine.
The Wines of Washington Coastal Cruise, which offers two days at sea and one day in Seattle before arriving in Vancouver, will kick-off with an exclusive Wines of Washington cocktail party, featuring select Washington wines. While in Seattle, there is an optional tour of Chateau Ste. Michelle, the largest winery in the state.
Here are some of the speakers who will be on board:
· Tom Hedges, Hedges Family Estates
· Juan Muñoz Oca, Columbia Crest
· Eric Dunham, Dunham Cellars
· John Sarich, executive chef, Chateau Ste Michelle
· Armandino Batali, Salumi Artisan Cured Meats
Food and wine demonstrations and tastings will be held in the Oosterdam’s state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food & Wine magazine, as well as in the five-star Pinnacle Grill restaurant. The grill features such international touches as Frette linens, Bulgari china and Riedel stemware.
Guests may also sign up for wine-maker three-course lunches ($45) or four-course dinners ($95) in the Pinnacle Grill. Meals are hosted by a wine or culinary expert.
The itinerary allows ample time to enjoy Oosterdam’s many amenities and activities such as the swimming pools or maybe a soothing hydrotherapy session and/or hot-stone massage at the Greenhouse Spa & Fitness Center.
I was aboard the Oosterdam on an Alaskan cruise several years ago and it’s a wonderful ship.
Packages for the Wines of Washington Coastal Cruise are $399 for an interior stateroom and $449 for an outside stateroom. Pricing is per person, based on double occupancy. For more information or to book the WOW Coastal Cruise, call AAA at 800-430-9001 visit them at www.AAA.com
Photographs of the m/s Oosterdam by Sue Frause