Epicurean Shore Excursions to Savor

Sponsored by Holland America Line

One of the most satisfying reasons to travel is the opportunity to not just see and learn, but to smell, taste and savor the unique flavors of destinations worldwide. A perfect way to do this is on a cruise, because now, not only are cruises raising the bar with celebrity chef-designed and world-class cuisine onboard, they are also taking shore excursions to new gastronomic heights with food and wine tours at local venues.

Culinary fans know that the experts at Food & Wine® magazine are some of the most respected on all things “foodie” related. These aficionados are now offering cruise guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in the food and wine culture of delectable destinations worldwide.

Here’s is a tempting taste of some of the culinary shore experiences you can enjoy.

food and wine tours


The sparkling towns of the Mediterranean hold many of the culinary capitals of the world. On a shore excursion of a food and wine tour in Venice, Italy, you can visit the Venissa wine resort, where an ancient bell tower overlooks rolling, verdant vineyard hills. Dine on melt-in-your-mouth, local fish and vegetables, complemented by local wines. On another excursion in Venice, you can cruise the Grand Canal to a traditional Venetian bacaro to sample small plate finger foods (cicchetti), with five unique and flavorful wines that will dance on your palette.

In Florence, Italy, explore La Ménagère — a charming over a century-old houseware and cooking accessories boutique and savor a delightful lunch in a café, where vine-covered walls surround you. For a more hands-on experience in Florence, you can learn how to make an authentic panini in a sandwich shop set in the shadow of the famous Uffizi Gallery. Then, dine on your creations accompanied by a robust glass of Chianti.

In Naples, Italy, you can tour the eccentric Sansevero Chapel Museum, to witness its dramatic collection of veiled figured sculptures, then learn how to create a sublime pizza with perfect dough in Palazzo Petrucci Pizzeria. Bite into your own hand-made creation on the pizzeria’s lovely roof terrace.

food and wine tours

Shop in Barcelona’s famous La Boqueria and create an extraordinary meal with a renowned Spanish chef. The bustling market is where both locals and travelers flock for an astounding array of colorful fruit, piping hot coffee, all manner of pastries, fish, candy and just about all things edible. The people-watching is also a feast for the eyes! After your market shopping trip, you get to participate in a culinary workshop that guides you on how to make an extraordinary meal using the ingredients you purchased.

In southern Spain, travel to the sherry wine capital of the world — Cádiz. Admire the towns impressive Moorish architecture, then visit a local cellar to taste the region’s famous wine and tapas. In nearby Granada, you can gaze at stunning Spanish Baroque architecture and dine on the local area’s dishes, such as a refreshing, light pomegranate salad, oxtail croquettes and some of the world’s best Jamón ibérico – thinly sliced, aged pork, made from a unique breed of pig that is  fed mostly acorns, resulting in a refined and savory flavor.

food and wine tours

Northern Europe

On a food and wine tour or a shore excursion, see a distillery in Reykjavík, Iceland, and share a spirited toast of handcrafted spirits with the owner.

In Bergen, Norway, learn about “neo-Fjordic” cuisine in the one-of-a-kind setting of a power plant converted to an art museum founded by Norwegian chef Christopher Haatuft. Chef Haatuft specializes in creating cutting-edge dishes from his latest foraging outings.

Learn the art of making Danish rye bread with a variety of seasonal traditional toppings. Sink your teeth into the steaming hot, freshly made bread, topped with a variety of seasonal toppings, while you explore the local concept of hygge (coziness) in Copenhagen, Denmark. Follow your guide through an old hay market, now a food market, and sample both Nordic modern and international cuisine in Stockholm, Sweden.

Craving your own culinary discoveries? The longtime partnership between Holland America Line and Food & Wine has produced a selection of engaging culinary-themed shore excursions that you can experience on select cruises.

To satisfy your taste for adventure and the diverse and delicious food and wine tours of our world, contact one of our travel agents today.