In addition to an itinerary that covers European wine capitals, Gastronomy Vineyards and Grands Crus features the on-board presence of Jean-Robert Pitte, geographer and wine historian, of noted sommelier Eric Beaumard and of cheese maker and affineur Bernard Antony. Two gala dinners will be prepared by the chefs Xavier Boireau from Rech, a seafood restaurant in Paris, and Francis Fauvel, from Ducasse sur Seine. Tastings of Grands Crus, lectures and activities focused on wine will unfold on board ship.
The cruise departs from the port of Leixões in Lisbon where guests can visit Belem Town and Jerónimos Monastery, both UNESCO sites. L’Austral will sail from there to Porto, the “city of granite,” whose historic center is also listed with UNESCO and is known for its wine. The ship then continues to Saint-Jean-de-Luz, where guests will discover the Basque Country on shore excursions that cover the French and Spanish sides of the region.
L’Austral will then make its way up the Gironde estuary for a stop in Pauillac, for several wine tastings at wine estates in the Saint-Estèphe, Margaux and Pauillac appellations. In the evening, the moored ship will have Château Latour as a backdrop for a gala dinner of food and wine pairings held on board ship.
Two days in Bordeaux will follow, including a stay in this wine capital of the world, with a visit to the medieval village of Saint-Émilion and other châteaux. The last stops will be Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Belle-Île-en-Mer and Guernsey before arriving in Portsmouth in the southeast of England, where the gastronomic cruise will end. Guests have the option of disembarking in Honfleur before the final port.
L’Astral is a mega-yacht with 132 staterooms. Fares start at $5,000 per person, which represents a 25 percent bonus reduction on the full fare.
For more information, visit www.ponant.com