They say that "the best wines are the ones we drink with friends," and we can't think of a better place to sip and socialise than on a cruise. Luckily for wine lovers, many cruise lines have dedicated bars where you can enjoy a variety of reds, whites, roses and bubbly with like-minded passengers.
Cruise ship wine bars range from intimate spaces offering paired dinners to lively venues serving up cocktails, cheese plates and tapas, too. Many cruise ship wine bars have sommeliers available to guide your palate and educate you on wines from around the world.
If your idea of a perfect night is sharing a bottle of wine with good company, then take a look at our five favourite wine bars at sea, plus one we predict will be a hit.
1. P&O Cruises' The Glass House
Why We Love it: The Glass House's wine list -- including 32 varieties from around the world -- is created by sommelier, writer and TV presenter "Jolly" Olly Smith, who has added his flamboyant touch to P&O Cruises ' popular wine bar since 2010. Not only does Smith oversee the wonderful and varied wine list, he also develops wine tasting experiences, including pairings, for guests, who can also enjoy a selection of dishes to accompany their choice of wine. The Glass House on Britannia -- the line's newest ship -- is the biggest yet, occupying a prime spot overlooking the stunning triple-deck Atrium.
2. Celebrity Cruises' Cellar Masters
Why we love it: At Cellar Masters passengers simply swipe their SeaPass to sample a selection of the world's finest wines, which are served in three tasting sizes -- 28ml, 70ml and 142ml -- measured through Celebrity's state-of-the-art Enomatic dispensing system. Sommeliers are also on hand to guide people through the varieties of wine and how to use the exclusive Enomatic dispenser. Cellar Masters is spacious, with ample seating, and natural light filling the space.
3. Cunard's Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar
Why We Love It: Cunard's Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar serves up seven different varieties of the high-end drink bearing its name, plus a variety of other premium-brand Champagnes by the bottle, glass or Waterford crystal flute. Reminiscent of the 1920s, the space combines neutral colours, Art Deco patterns and framed vintage photographs. Caviar and other canapés are also available before and after dinner.
4. Princess Cruises' Vines
Why We Love It: Onboard Princess Cruises' Grand- and Royal-class ships, wine lovers can order single glasses or tailored flights -- such as the "Trio of White Grapes" and "Norman Love Confections," -- paired with Norman Love chocolates as part of Princess' Chocolate Journeys package. Made-to-order sushi and tapas are complimentary with any wine purchase (on select ships), too.
5. Royal Caribbean's Vintages
Vintages occupies a prime position in Central Park, the ships' wonderful tree-lined neighbourhood. It's a perfect place to while away a sultry evening, with comfortable inside seating and a number of tables outside. Wines are available in two- and five-ounce servings, as well as by the bottle and there are also a few wine flights on the menu -- three two-ounce glasses. There is also an extensive (and reasonably priced) tapas menu.