Friday, December 5, 2008

Wine on a Disney Cruise - When you drink upon a ship, makes a difference what you sip

As I previously mentioned, we signed up for the 7 night Premium Wine Package on our Disney Cruise.  The cost was $292.00 plus gratuity.  After checking out the cruise ship prices for the wines we selected, how did we fair regarding value?

Here is a list of the wines we ordered, with just a few notes and the prices.

King Estate Pinot Noir – excellent wine, beautiful fruit and long finish.  This went perfectly with the duck we had for dinner.  $49.00

Kenwood Sauvignon Blanc – lovely melon character both in the aroma and flavor.  We liked this wine so much that we ordered a bottle for a separate occasion where the whole menu was seafood.  $35.00

Greg Norman Shiraz – nice wine but not as memorable as the others.  $38.00

Melipal Malbec – as Malbec is becoming a bit of a signature wine in Argentina, we wanted to try this one.  It was quite nice with a very distinctive smoky bacon character.  I would say that came most likely from heavily toasted barrels.  $42.00

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc – I had tasted this wine before but I wanted my family to taste the extreme end of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  As far as herbaceousness, this one is over the top.  While it is becoming very popular on restaurant wine lists, it is too intense for my taste, and compared to other Sauvignon Blancs from the region, I don’t feel it is worth the price.  $42.00

La Crema Chardonnay – light style chardonnay; nice, clean wine but not very complex.  Overpriced at $45.00

Franciscan Chardonnay – also a bit light for my taste.  I have had better offerings of Franciscan in the past.  There was very little oak complexity and it didn’t taste barrel fermented either.  I can’t say if this was just one of their styles of chardonnay or just the way they are making it now.  If it is a complete change, I would recommend they go back, as I have always been fond of Franciscan Chardonnay.  Overpriced for the style at $40.00.

Well, let’s add it up.  By my calculations, the total is $291.00.  So, as it turned out, we did not save anything, but we didn’t lose much either.  I would point out that, if you are very fond of  bubbly, there were 3 sparkling wines in the selection ranging from $50.00 to $55.00.  Had we chosen them, we would have been ahead of the game.

So my recommendation is this:  Since you sign up for a wine package at your first dinner, assuming you want one, ask for the regular wine list with the prices on it along with the brochure on the wine package.  Then do a quick calculation of the cost of the wines you would be likely to choose.  If you are not picking out all higher priced wines, you are not going to save the 25% claimed by the brochure.

By the way, I would like to point out, no matter what you decide, the wine service is impeccable and proper down to the finest detail.  There are many supposedly “fine” restaurants that could take lessons from the Disney staff.

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