A taste of the Château d’Yquem, the most prestigious wine produced in Aquitaine, France, a little love note wrapped around the confection from the Perugina Chocolate Factory in Italy, a dose of the delicate Manzanilla sherry from the Costa de la Luz, Spain, a heavenly pairing of rose wine and garlicky aioli made in Provence, France – for a gourmet and an oenophile, Europe presents opportunities galore!

And what better way to explore the sights, tastes and smells better than a cruise.

A food and wine cruise is the perfect way to discover the best of the European palate, an indispensable facade of its people and culture. The best time to go on a cruise holiday from Southampton to the wine countries is when the grapes are harvested and the wines are produced. Or you can plan your itinerary to coincide with the food and wine festivals and extravaganzas celebrated throughout France, Portugal or Spain.

From the most celebrated, such as Paris or Tuscany, to the nearly secluded, such as Lyons or Champagne-Ardenne, Europe encompasses destinations of choices for the aficionados of food and wine. Whether you plan to take taste the gnocchi or rigatoni con pajatta in Rome, enjoy the sparkling Cremant de Limoux in Languedoc-Roussillon, experience the flavourful crepes in London or relish the port wine in Portugal, Europe would never disappoint you.

Go on board a food and wine cruise to experience the best dining destinations in Europe. At every port, stop and savour the stunning creations of master chefs and vintners. A sumptuous breakfast at a diner, an extraordinary buffet lunch at a bistro, a tasting session at the winery and an elegant dinner in a chic restaurant – the perfect recipe for a wonderful day in the life of a connoisseur.

Which wineries would you visit on your cruise? The Monte Vibiano Winery in Umbria, the Croft Port Wine Lodges in Porto, the Lustau Winery in Costa de la Luz – the choices are numerous. A cruise package may also include a visit to the Bordeaux Wine School or a stop at the La Cave de l’Ange Gardien in Beaune. If you plan your own cruise from Southampton – you get to pick from the best of the lot.

It’s not only at the stopovers that you get to enjoy the best European food and wine. Choose the right cruise and the fine dining experience continues all the way. The luxury liners are equipped with every amenity you need – and no luxurious experience can be complete without the best delicacies, especially in a food and wine cruise. Check out the selections available to find something you like.

A sophisticated French dinner, an authentic Asian lunch, a relaxed barbecue, or a casual Italian cappuccino – whatever your desire, a cruise liner houses restaurants, cafes, bistros, bars and lounges to cater to it. A wine and dine cruise is the translation of a foodie’s dream into reality! Do keep in mind though that if you have preferences or restrictions on your diet, you may need to specify this.

And when it’s a food and wine cruise, you can expect nothing but the best when it comes to the beverages! Bordeaux vintages, Chianti, Sagrantino, and Cremant de Limoux – the names themselves evoke images of luxury. Beautiful reds, whites and sparkling wines make the journey worthwhile. Wines are not your only choice; you can take your pick from beers, sherries, ports, and many others.

While you can choose to satisfy your taste buds throughout the cruise, it is not the only thing that you can enjoy on the journey. Europe is full of delights; even the most excited gastronomes are sure to appreciate the beauties that the European cities signify. The natural wonders of Spain, the architectural marvels of Italy, the art and culture of France, and many other sights and sounds make Europe a memorable destination.

Find a cruise that suits your specifications to make your holiday a remarkable experience.

Don’t miss the small details; any slip-up can lead to a hassle. For example, don’t forget to mention any food allergies you have. This can be the perfect recipe for disaster. Also, don’t forget to book the car parking space at the Southampton Port in advance. Otherwise, you may have to find a parking space at the last minute. It can be quite a hassle and can be quite expensive too.

Matthew Naylor, the owner of Parking4Cruises, has years of experience working in the travel industry. He shares an active interest in writing and blogging, especially about the niche he works in, the travel sector. He offers his ideas, tips and suggestions for travellers planning a cruise or flight from Southampton to regional, national and international destinations.

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