Small ship cruise line, Windstar Cruises has hired a team of Sommeliers to serve guests on sailings in 270 ports around the world.
These new wine experts provide a major guest enhancement as the northern Summer cruise season begins and builds on the trend for ongoing fleet-wide enhancements to Windstar’s wine, beverage and culinary programs in 2018.
The addition of the Sommeliers elevates the Windstar guest experience and draws on the influence and talent of the line’s hotel operations team and desire to best cater to the discerning palates of experienced travellers.
“Our new Sommeliers will offer their all-encompassing knowledge of wine to guests, as well as to our dining room and bar servers by holding frequent tastings and educational classes,” said Windstar Cruises Director of Hotel Operations, Peter Tobler.
“Travel is an excellent way to expand your wine repertoire. Our Sommeliers will share their wine expertise and tasting tips and make recommendations for varietals from nearby the ports of call. Most importantly, they will help guests select the best wine to pair with our gourmet food selections. When on holiday, this is the best way to complete each day,” said Mr Tobler.
Sommelier Program Available to Guests on Four Windstar Ships in 2018
Four Windstar ships now offer Sommeliers on board, with the program launched on the 310-guest Wind Surf which arrived in Lisbon in April for the northern Summer season in the Mediterranean. Windstar’s three all-suite ships serving 212 guests each cruise also offer onboard Sommeliers — Star Breeze and Star Pride sailing throughout Europe and Star Legend that kicked-off the roll-out in Asia in January and will arrive in Alaska for her maiden season in May; offering travellers kayaking adventures by day, followed by culinary and wine indulgences each evening, an attractive pairing.
All Windstar Sommeliers have been chosen for their training, knowledge and experience worldwide having worked in a broad spectrum of wineries, restaurants, travel and hospitality providers including Celebrity, Disney and Seabourn cruise lines, Hermitage and Radisson hotels and Le Cheval Blanc in Bordeaux.
Justin McAuliffe was the first to offer Sommelier services to guests sailing in Asia and joining him on the team are Antony Graz Pradeep, Vitor Da Encarnacao Custodio, Marko Pejic and Slaven Cosic, who will all rotate among the four ships.
Windstar Sommeliers lead wine tastings on board each cruise for a nominal fee, generally one to three are offered depending on the length of the voyage. In addition, the Sommeliers may accompany guests on culinary-themed shore excursions to local wineries and restaurants.
Celebrated Sommeliers Featured on James Beard Culinary Cruise Collection Sailings for 2018
Windstar recently announced a multi-year partnership as the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation. This year the culinary-themed cruises feature James Beard-recognised guest chefs and beverage experts hand-selected by the James Beard Foundation, including top Sommeliers from across the United States. Find the full list here.
Stars including Sommeliers Belinda Chang and Shelley Lindgren are on the roster in the coming months and will join forces with the onboard Sommeliers to provide Windstar’s most comprehensive and immersive wine programming. Belinda Chang joins Chef Maxime Bilet on 20 June to sail the French Riviera; immediately following on the 27 June Spanish Symphony cruise Sommelier Ashley Santoro, Wine Director of The Standard East Village joins fellow New Yorker, Chef Anthony Sasso, one of the youngest chefs to be recognised by the Michelin Guide for Casa Mono.
In August, Europe is the place for epicurean cruising as Sommelier Jon McDaniel of Gage Hospitality unites with Chef Sarah Gruenberg on discovering culinary Gems of the Adriatic on 7 August. Sommelier Katie Bell, who joins Chef Evan Hanczor on a Windstar sailing in Norway on 17 August, is no stranger to Nordic cuisine wine pairings having formerly worked at New York City restaurant Agern, known for its time-honoured techniques and flavours rooted in Norway.
For something completely different, guests can sail to exotic Tahiti in November as Sommelier Lindgren cruises with Pastry Chef Emily Luchetti, pairing wine with desserts inspired by the island’s vanilla farms.
Beverage Packages: Less Restrictive and More Affordable for Longer Sailings
Beyond the wine enhancements, improved offerings for beer and spirits have also been a priority as Windstar is now offering lower daily prices for any beverage package to guests sailing minimum 14-day back-to-back Star Collector Voyages. The boutique line unveiled a new beverage package program in the 2017 northern Autumn season, allowing for a variety of tiered levels of premium products. The innovative package offerings are available for purchase on a per cruiser basis rather than requiring guests sharing a stateroom to purchase the same package, which is a welcome change for non-drinkers and companions with different tastes.
The Voyager’s Adventure (USD32 per person per day) and Topmast Discoveries (USD42 per person per day) beer and wine packages include a healthy mix of New and Old World wines. Many of the selections come from regions visited on Windstar itineraries, including Bordeaux, France and Barcelona, Spain.
The Captain’s Exclusive (USD52 per person per day) package includes an array of wines, beers and spirits, including Dalmore Single Malt Whisky, distilled just outside of Invergordon, Scotland, a port visited on Windstar’s Gaelic Explorers and Norwegian Fjords & Scottish Isles cruises.
Bookings to be directed to your travel agent Windstar Australia on 1300 749 875 or firstname.lastname@example.org