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Europe’s Top 7 Gourmet Cruises

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You might think cruises are all about indulging in great restaurant fare – and it is – but true gourmet foodies can also get involved with every aspect of eating, drinking and honing their cookery skills onboard a luxury liner

Here are seven of the tastiest cruise options to choose from:

1. Top choice for wine lovers

Wine connoisseurs will appreciate the themed Wine Voyages offered by SeaDream’s Yacht Club. Wine director Ida Elisabeth Dønheim, formerly a chef at Heston Bluementhal’s Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, is leading wine masterclasses and visits to wineries on itineraries across Europe. An eight-day Civitavecchia (Rome, Italy) to Dubrovnik (Croatia) sailing, visiting Tuscany, Sicily, Puglia and Manduria, departs August 8 and costs from £4795pp including flights. Visit www.mundycruising.com

2. Get to the heart of Scandi cuisine

Scandinavian cuisine has been gaining popularity in recent years, with an emphasis on fresh, local produce. Now cruise line Hurtigruten has designed a ‘Norway’s Coastal Kitchen’ menu to accompany voyages along the Norwegian coast. Dishes served onboard will reflect different ports visited with 80% of the ingredients sourced from local producers. Enjoy lamb with grilled root vegetables in Tromsø and dine on baked King Crab with pumpkin puree in Kirkenes. A seven-day Classic Voyage North from Bergen to Kirkenes on MS Nordkapp departs August 28 and costs from £1,096pp. Additional flight and transfer packages cost from £395pp. Visit www.hurtigruten.co.uk

3. Combine fine wine with jazz

Take a leisurely cruise along the Moselle and Rhine rivers, which wind through some of Germany’s finest vineyards. Saga offers a seven-night cruise combining wine tastings, great food and jazz performances by the five-piece Savannah Jazz Band. Highlights include the Schwarze Katze (Black Cat) vineyard in Zell and the Doctor vineyard in the medieval town of Bernkastel-Kues. Depart from Folkestone on August 31, costing from £949pp. Visit travel.saga.co.uk

4. Discover the secrets of Turkish cooking

Learning how to cook local delicacies with a Turkish family is just one of the foodie activities available on an 11-night voyage to the Greek Isles, The Adriatic and Venice with Azamara Journey. Sip fresh lemonade on an open-air terrace while listening to tales of life in the mountain-backed Kusadasi countryside, followed by a session in the kitchen to discover regional cooking techniques. The Taste of Turkish Country Life excursion costs £129.50pp and can be booked as part of the cruise which departs on August 23 and costs from £2,949 including flights from London on August 22. Visit www.azamaraclubcruises.co.uk

5. Dine out on a mini cruise

Fine dining on water isn’t just restricted to large liners. This summer, Brittany Ferries is also operating themed gourmet mini-cruises to France. An overnight trip from Portsmouth to St Malo (available Monday to Friday from November 6) includes a four-course meal onboard, lunch in St Malo at a choice of restaurants, and cabins on both crossings from £109pp. DFDS also offer a two night break with meal and drink packages to Amsterdam from £152pp. Visit www.brittany-ferries.co.uk and www.dfdsseaways.co.uk

6. Learn from superstar chefs

Some of the UK’s biggest superstar chefs will be joining P&O Cruises on select Food Hero departures, with two-hour cookery classes available from £100pp. Each class fits 24 people and can be booked four months in advance. Yorkshireman James Martin joins an 11-night trip to Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar on Brittania, departing Southampton on September 14 (from £999pp). Alternatively, Marco Pierre White will be onboard Oceana for a 14-night Mediterranean cruise departing Genoa on September 2 (from £1499pp including flights). Visit www.pocruises.com

7. Best all-round dining experience

Princess Cruise’s 1,780 person Royal Princess was already off to a flying start when she was christened by Kate Middleton with a bottle of Moet in 2013. Since then, the ship has been named Best Cruise Ship for Foodies by USA Today, with dining options including a Neopolitan pizzeria, upmarket steakhouse and New Orleans café. Groups can also book a special meal in the wine cellar. Book the seven-day Mediterranean and Adriatic voyage departing May 21, 2016 from £999pp. Flights extra. Visit www.princess.com

*All prices based on two people sharing.

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