Cruise ships are traditionally the domain of the brightly coloured cocktail, complete with paper umbrella and twirly straws. But a new breed of bar is creeping aboard, serving high-end artisan spirits, beer brewed in house and wines from boutique vineyards. Sit back and relax with your drink of choice – with not an umbrella in sight.
In 2015, Australian-based Dawn Princess debuted the line’s first dedicated whisky bar with a menu of 63 different drops from around the world. Guests can sip on classic Scotch such as Talisker, smooth Japanese blends from Hibiki or local whiskies from Australia and New Zealand. Bartenders provide advice on tastings and a daily three-whisky flight lets guests experience the flavours of a region.
RedFrog Pub/Carnival Vista
Launching in May, Carnival’s largest ship, Vista, will have an onboard brewery to produce small-batch ales and lagers unique to the ship. The fermentation and holding tanks will be at the entrance of the pub so passengers can see the beer being made. The ship will have its own dedicated brew masters and all stages of production will take place on board, right down to processing the grains with a specially built mill.
The Crow’s Nest / Britannia
What’s more British than a gin and tonic? P&O World Cruises’ thoroughly British Britannia has a dedicated Great British Gin menu in The Crow’s Nest bar with 20 gins on offer. Favourites such as Hendrick’s and Tanqueray sit alongside boutique brands from around the UK, accompanied by artisan tonic waters that use organically sourced quinine. Passengers can sit back with a classic G&T or customised gin cocktail, or sample the range at a gin-tasting session.
Cellar Door/Pacific Aria & Pacific Eden P&O’s two newest ships have a lot of innovative features on board, one of which is Australia’s first cellar door at sea. The line has partnered with the Hunter Valley’s Glandore Estate to give passengers the full winery experience with tastings led by Glandore staff via iPad. Masterclasses and seminars will also be held and passengers can buy a bottle of wine to drink with their meal at any of the ship’s restaurants.
Tucked away in a corner of the Martini Bar aboard Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice class ships, Crush serves more than 100 varieties of vodka. Bottles are stashed in large ice wells that run through the table and regional vodka flights are available as well as special vodka and caviar pairings.
Veuve Cliquot Champagne Bar/Queen Mary 2 & Queen Victoria
The stylish, Art Deco-styled Veuve Cliquot bar was first introduced on Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 when she launched in 2004. The space seats just 34 guests who can sample up to seven varieties of the French fizz by the glass or bottle. Champagne is served in Waterford crystal flutes and can be paired with delicacies such as caviar and foie gras.