Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Holland America’s Koningsdam to feature wine-blending experience

Holland America’s Koningsdam to feature wine-blending experience


MS Koningsdam
When the ship enters service next April, Holland America Line’s Koningsdam will feature a venue where passengers can blend their own bottle of wine to take to dinner.
The venue, called Blend by Chateau Ste. Michelle, is an expansion of the cruise line’s partnership with the winery.
The two Seattle-area companies announced the partnership at a luncheon on Monday at the Chateau Set Michelle headquarters in Woodinville, Wash.
Guests will choose to blend their wines from five vintages: two cabernet sauvignons, two merlots and a cabernet franc.
“I have to say, it is one of the most exciting, engaging activities that people can do,” said HAL President Orlando Ashford. “All of you who have a competitive streak, you’re going to love it.”
There will be a facility for wine blending on Deck 2, the first at sea, according to HAL. It will be a piano-shaped room enclosed by floor-to-ceiling glass on two sides, with a table for 10 guests. 
A package that includes a lecture about how to blend the wines, and a bottle to take to dinner, will cost in the $90 range, said Michael Smith, HAL’s senior vice president of guest experience and product development. Once guests have created a blend, they can have a bottle blended for them at dinner for a reduced price.
Lisa Anciaux, director of travel products at AAA Washington, said the idea plays into heightened interest in food and wine. “People are looking for that experience. It’s a perfect fit for HAL. It’s going to go gangbusters for them,” she said.
MSC Cruises also has a wine blending experience on some of its ships, but not in a purpose-built room.
Ashford said the idea is “taking something guests already enjoy and adding a personal touch."