Every once in a while you come across an experience that blends a couple
of your favorite things in a unique way. Some folks love cruising, others
love wine tasting. But believe it or not, there's a way to do both on
the rivers of the Napa/Sonoma wine region and San Francisco Bay. Michael
Murphy is captain of the Spirit of Endeavor.
"You get to see things from a unique vantage. You get to see San
Francisco from the water, Alcatraz from the water, just seeing anyplace
from the water is unique, explained Michael.
It's one of a small fleet of small ships operated by Cruise West out
of Seattle. The company's perhaps best known for its Alaska cruises, other
sailings take passengers to places like Baja California, Central America
and British Columbia.
But each fall, the Spirit of Endeavor offers three and four day trips
right here literally alongside some of Northern California's best vineyards.
Wineries like Saint Supery, Schramsberg, home of some excellent champagnes,
and Markham Winery in Saint Helena. The Cruise passengers not only got
a private tasting of some of their outstanding Merlots, Chardonnays and
Sauvignon Blancs, they were also treated to a gourmet lunch in the restored
125-year old wine cellar.
Speaking of gourmet experiences, let's talk about the food. The ambience
onboard the Spirit of Endeavor may be much more casual than the big ships,
but the cuisine is definitely four-star. Unlike many big ships, the focus
is on the destinations and the shore excursions rather than the vessel
itself. You may start in San Francisco, and then cruise to Napa and Sonoma.
Each morning brings a different destination. One of the ports of call
on this splendid little ship is the charming town of Sausalito just north
of San Francisco where passengers made their way to the high-end wine
shop called Bacchus and Venus to check out some lesser-known wines. This
and all your wine experiences are included in your cruise price.
If you're like to learn more about a "wine cruise" check cruise
west website at http://www.cruisewest.com.