While wine tasting classes are ubiquitous and available on just about every ship on the high seas, Holland America's new Koningsdam hosts the first ever wine-blending class. Created in partnership with Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington state's oldest winery, the class gives cruisers an opportunity to blend five red wines in varying amounts in order to create their own perfect bottle.
What It’s Really Like: The class starts with a tasting, in which students take notes on their preferences and determine which wine will be their base and which other blends they will add. According to the host, the three types of wine — Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc — were chosen because they combine well, if differently, in any variation.
Once you have decided what ratio to use, you take a beaker — which many people won’t have seen since high school science class — up to the casks and fill it up at your predetermined ratio. Then you pour it into a glass and taste your creation. You can do this as many times as you like; the class is very generous with wine.
The Details: The one-hour class costs $129 per person, and is offered three times a day. We hear that some cruisers have balked at the price, and while it does seem high at first, you could easily taste $129 worth of wine before you even make your own custom blend to take away. If you’re a red wine drinker who likes these varietals, it may feel like being a kid in a candy shop. If you’re, say, a white wine drinker, it could be a less exciting experience. Couples can also sign up as a pair for $179, but they only get to take away one bottle.
At the end, you walk out with a bottle of your self-named, self-labeled creation that’s corked with a glass stopper. That makes it hard to pack the bottle for a flight home, so many people take their personal bottle to dinner, or have it sent to their cabin to share on the balcony. Mine? It went perfectly with the steak at Tamarind.