Cruise Critic on AMA wine cruise


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#1
Bucks County, PA
466 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Hi everyone. I'm heading out today for a week on AmaSonata. I'll be doing one of their wine theme cruises on the Danube. Let me know if you have any questions while I'm onboard.


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Chris Gray Faust
Managing Editor, Cruise Critic


Exploring the world, one ship at a time.

Carnival Fantasy * IWJ Diamant * Un-Cruise Wilderness Discoverer * Arabella * Uniworld, River Tosca * Un-Cruise Safari Endeavour * Grand Circle River Adagio * Viking Aegir * TDI Yorktown * Vantage River Splendor * Viking Rurik (Russia) * Alaskan Dream, Baranof Dream * Cunard, Queen Mary 2 * IWJ Sagitta * Norwegian Breakaway * Norwegian Getaway * Celebrity Summit Top Chef cruise * HAL CruiseTour, Alaska * Celestyal Olympia * Naming ceremony, Regal Princess * Costa neoRiviera, Arabian Gulf * Celestyal Crystal, Cuba * Carnival Triumph * Azamara Journey, Greece & Turkey * Celebrity Eclipse, Norwegian Fjords * Oasis of the Seas * Viking Star, Western Med * Seabourn Sojourn, Hong Kong to Singapore * Avalon Passion, Danube * America, American Cruise Lines * MSC Divina, Caribbean * IWJ Vela, French West Indies * Tauck ms Grace, Rhine * Fathom Cuba * AmaSonata wine cruise * Uniworld India * Viking Hild * Avalon Visionary * Scenic Diamond * Carnival Magic * American Duchess * CroisiEurope Douce France * CroisiEurope Deborah (French barge) * Silver Muse, SA * Grandeur of the Seas * HAL Zuiderdam Panama Canal * Disney Magic * (upcoming) AmaLea * (upcoming) Crystal Mahler * (upcoming) U by Uniworld The B * (upcoming) Pandaw Laos
#3
350 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
We are doing Christmas markets in a few weeks. Our first river cruise. I've always packed for warm, tropical ocean cruises so I'm a little stressed with my packing list.
I'll be curious how the wifi is so I can use whatsapp. I'll be looking forward to any comments.
Thanks
Marcia


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#4
Vancouver, BC
6,492 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
I'm really looking forward to an on board review of AMA. We will be on Prima next June.

Have a wonderful time.
#5
Florida
1,539 Posts
Joined May 2007
I would love it if you posted some photos We will be on the Sonata starting Dec 5th for the Christmas markets and I am curious if there are any differences from the Prima that we sailed on in 2014.

Would love to also know what the current dining menus look like if they are not special for the wine cruise, what are the standard wines being offered (not special wine cruise wines)

Thanks!
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AmaStella Captivating Rhine 7/30/18
Royal Princess Eastern Caribbean Treasures 01/26/19
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Celebrity Equinox Deep Southern Caribbean 10/16/17
Harmony of the Seas Western Caribbean 06/17/17
AmaSonata Christmas Markets of the Danube 12/05/16
AmaPrima Christmas Markets of the Danube 12/14
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Australia for 10 wonderful days 8/2006
#6
Ventura, CA
91 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
Originally posted by Cruise Critic Chris
Hi everyone. I'm heading out today for a week on AmaSonata. I'll be doing one of their wine theme cruises on the Danube. Let me know if you have any questions while I'm onboard.


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What makes a wine cruise different from any other river cruise? We are booked on our first river cruise next summer and it is a wine-themed cruise! Not sure what to expect.
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Future Cruises:
Norwegian Star - 2/16/2018 (Panama Canal from Miami - 14 nights)

Norwegian Star - 3/16/2019 (Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles-7 nights)
Previous Cruises:
Norwegian Dawn - 1/18/2015 (Western Caribbean from New Orleans-7 nights)
Norwegian Escape - 11/14/2015 (Eastern Caribbean from Miami-7 nights)
Norwegian Jewel - 2/17/2016 (Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles-7 nights)

Norwegian Escape - 10/29/2016 (Eastern Caribbean from Miami-7 nights)
AMALYRA - 08/03/17 (Paris/Normandy - 7 nights)
Norwegian Getaway - 10/29/2017 (Western Caribbean from Miami-7 nights)



#7
Bucks County, PA
466 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Hi! It's been busy, so sorry for delay.

Wifi is decent. I wouldn't use it to stream a movie but I've been able to stay in touch with email, texting and social media.

The wine cruise has added wine lectures, tastings, wine excursions and more! Very enjoyable. I'm writing up an article on this now and will post next week when it launches.

Because there's a guest vineyard onboard, we've been served a lot of those wines. Otherwise house wines are served at lunch and dinner. These vary, but are usually regional. There's also an always available California white and red.

The wines by the glass selection at the bar isn't great, although you can buy a bottle at a fairly reasonable rate. You can also bring wine onboard without charge. One night was "share a bottle," where we were encouraged to bring a bottle to the lounge to share. That was fun.

All in all, I'm very impressed with AMA, particularly the active tours they offer. Crowd on the wine cruise is also younger than you normally see, with more people in 40s and 50s.


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Chris Gray Faust
Managing Editor, Cruise Critic


Exploring the world, one ship at a time.

Carnival Fantasy * IWJ Diamant * Un-Cruise Wilderness Discoverer * Arabella * Uniworld, River Tosca * Un-Cruise Safari Endeavour * Grand Circle River Adagio * Viking Aegir * TDI Yorktown * Vantage River Splendor * Viking Rurik (Russia) * Alaskan Dream, Baranof Dream * Cunard, Queen Mary 2 * IWJ Sagitta * Norwegian Breakaway * Norwegian Getaway * Celebrity Summit Top Chef cruise * HAL CruiseTour, Alaska * Celestyal Olympia * Naming ceremony, Regal Princess * Costa neoRiviera, Arabian Gulf * Celestyal Crystal, Cuba * Carnival Triumph * Azamara Journey, Greece & Turkey * Celebrity Eclipse, Norwegian Fjords * Oasis of the Seas * Viking Star, Western Med * Seabourn Sojourn, Hong Kong to Singapore * Avalon Passion, Danube * America, American Cruise Lines * MSC Divina, Caribbean * IWJ Vela, French West Indies * Tauck ms Grace, Rhine * Fathom Cuba * AmaSonata wine cruise * Uniworld India * Viking Hild * Avalon Visionary * Scenic Diamond * Carnival Magic * American Duchess * CroisiEurope Douce France * CroisiEurope Deborah (French barge) * Silver Muse, SA * Grandeur of the Seas * HAL Zuiderdam Panama Canal * Disney Magic * (upcoming) AmaLea * (upcoming) Crystal Mahler * (upcoming) U by Uniworld The B * (upcoming) Pandaw Laos
#8
Bucks County, PA
466 Posts
Joined Jul 2013




Some menus


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Chris Gray Faust
Managing Editor, Cruise Critic


Exploring the world, one ship at a time.

Carnival Fantasy * IWJ Diamant * Un-Cruise Wilderness Discoverer * Arabella * Uniworld, River Tosca * Un-Cruise Safari Endeavour * Grand Circle River Adagio * Viking Aegir * TDI Yorktown * Vantage River Splendor * Viking Rurik (Russia) * Alaskan Dream, Baranof Dream * Cunard, Queen Mary 2 * IWJ Sagitta * Norwegian Breakaway * Norwegian Getaway * Celebrity Summit Top Chef cruise * HAL CruiseTour, Alaska * Celestyal Olympia * Naming ceremony, Regal Princess * Costa neoRiviera, Arabian Gulf * Celestyal Crystal, Cuba * Carnival Triumph * Azamara Journey, Greece & Turkey * Celebrity Eclipse, Norwegian Fjords * Oasis of the Seas * Viking Star, Western Med * Seabourn Sojourn, Hong Kong to Singapore * Avalon Passion, Danube * America, American Cruise Lines * MSC Divina, Caribbean * IWJ Vela, French West Indies * Tauck ms Grace, Rhine * Fathom Cuba * AmaSonata wine cruise * Uniworld India * Viking Hild * Avalon Visionary * Scenic Diamond * Carnival Magic * American Duchess * CroisiEurope Douce France * CroisiEurope Deborah (French barge) * Silver Muse, SA * Grandeur of the Seas * HAL Zuiderdam Panama Canal * Disney Magic * (upcoming) AmaLea * (upcoming) Crystal Mahler * (upcoming) U by Uniworld The B * (upcoming) Pandaw Laos
#9
Bucks County, PA
466 Posts
Joined Jul 2013


House wine served in bar




Wine by the bottle list at bar


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Chris Gray Faust
Managing Editor, Cruise Critic


Exploring the world, one ship at a time.

Carnival Fantasy * IWJ Diamant * Un-Cruise Wilderness Discoverer * Arabella * Uniworld, River Tosca * Un-Cruise Safari Endeavour * Grand Circle River Adagio * Viking Aegir * TDI Yorktown * Vantage River Splendor * Viking Rurik (Russia) * Alaskan Dream, Baranof Dream * Cunard, Queen Mary 2 * IWJ Sagitta * Norwegian Breakaway * Norwegian Getaway * Celebrity Summit Top Chef cruise * HAL CruiseTour, Alaska * Celestyal Olympia * Naming ceremony, Regal Princess * Costa neoRiviera, Arabian Gulf * Celestyal Crystal, Cuba * Carnival Triumph * Azamara Journey, Greece & Turkey * Celebrity Eclipse, Norwegian Fjords * Oasis of the Seas * Viking Star, Western Med * Seabourn Sojourn, Hong Kong to Singapore * Avalon Passion, Danube * America, American Cruise Lines * MSC Divina, Caribbean * IWJ Vela, French West Indies * Tauck ms Grace, Rhine * Fathom Cuba * AmaSonata wine cruise * Uniworld India * Viking Hild * Avalon Visionary * Scenic Diamond * Carnival Magic * American Duchess * CroisiEurope Douce France * CroisiEurope Deborah (French barge) * Silver Muse, SA * Grandeur of the Seas * HAL Zuiderdam Panama Canal * Disney Magic * (upcoming) AmaLea * (upcoming) Crystal Mahler * (upcoming) U by Uniworld The B * (upcoming) Pandaw Laos
#10
Florida
1,539 Posts
Joined May 2007
Thanks for the update! Glad you are enjoying the cruise
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Upcoming
AmaStella Captivating Rhine 7/30/18
Royal Princess Eastern Caribbean Treasures 01/26/19
Sailed
Celebrity Equinox Deep Southern Caribbean 10/16/17
Harmony of the Seas Western Caribbean 06/17/17
AmaSonata Christmas Markets of the Danube 12/05/16
AmaPrima Christmas Markets of the Danube 12/14
Celebrity Equinox Ultimate Caribbean 2/2014
Celebrity Equinox Med and Adriatic 6/2013
Celebrity Eclipse 14 night Baltics 6/2012
RCI Mariner of the Seas Eastern Med 6/2011
Carnival Dream Western Caribbean 6/2010
RCI Navigator of the Seas Western Med 6/2009
NCL GEM Western Med 5/2008
Carnival Legend Western Caribbean 7/2007
Australia for 10 wonderful days 8/2006
#11
Ventura, CA
91 Posts
Joined Oct 2014
Originally posted by Cruise Critic Chris

The wine cruise has added wine lectures, tastings, wine excursions and more! Very enjoyable. I'm writing up an article on this now and will post next week when it launches.

Because there's a guest vineyard onboard, we've been served a lot of those wines. Otherwise house wines are served at lunch and dinner. These vary, but are usually regional. There's also an always available California white and red.

The wines by the glass selection at the bar isn't great, although you can buy a bottle at a fairly reasonable rate. You can also bring wine onboard without charge. One night was "share a bottle," where we were encouraged to bring a bottle to the lounge to share. That was fun.

All in all, I'm very impressed with AMA, particularly the active tours they offer. Crowd on the wine cruise is also younger than you normally see, with more people in 40s and 50s.

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Thanks for the info and especially for the menus. Our cruise in August will be hosted by a California vintner. I'm especially looking forward to hearing comparisons btwn California and French wines. I'm really looking forward to it.
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Future Cruises:
Norwegian Star - 2/16/2018 (Panama Canal from Miami - 14 nights)

Norwegian Star - 3/16/2019 (Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles-7 nights)
Previous Cruises:
Norwegian Dawn - 1/18/2015 (Western Caribbean from New Orleans-7 nights)
Norwegian Escape - 11/14/2015 (Eastern Caribbean from Miami-7 nights)
Norwegian Jewel - 2/17/2016 (Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles-7 nights)

Norwegian Escape - 10/29/2016 (Eastern Caribbean from Miami-7 nights)
AMALYRA - 08/03/17 (Paris/Normandy - 7 nights)
Norwegian Getaway - 10/29/2017 (Western Caribbean from Miami-7 nights)



#12
Bucks County, PA
466 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Some initial impressions. Bottom line is I really liked this wine cruise. Seems like a great partnership for the line, the participating winery and the passengers. Let me know if you have any questions:

http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=7356
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Chris Gray Faust
Managing Editor, Cruise Critic


Exploring the world, one ship at a time.

Carnival Fantasy * IWJ Diamant * Un-Cruise Wilderness Discoverer * Arabella * Uniworld, River Tosca * Un-Cruise Safari Endeavour * Grand Circle River Adagio * Viking Aegir * TDI Yorktown * Vantage River Splendor * Viking Rurik (Russia) * Alaskan Dream, Baranof Dream * Cunard, Queen Mary 2 * IWJ Sagitta * Norwegian Breakaway * Norwegian Getaway * Celebrity Summit Top Chef cruise * HAL CruiseTour, Alaska * Celestyal Olympia * Naming ceremony, Regal Princess * Costa neoRiviera, Arabian Gulf * Celestyal Crystal, Cuba * Carnival Triumph * Azamara Journey, Greece & Turkey * Celebrity Eclipse, Norwegian Fjords * Oasis of the Seas * Viking Star, Western Med * Seabourn Sojourn, Hong Kong to Singapore * Avalon Passion, Danube * America, American Cruise Lines * MSC Divina, Caribbean * IWJ Vela, French West Indies * Tauck ms Grace, Rhine * Fathom Cuba * AmaSonata wine cruise * Uniworld India * Viking Hild * Avalon Visionary * Scenic Diamond * Carnival Magic * American Duchess * CroisiEurope Douce France * CroisiEurope Deborah (French barge) * Silver Muse, SA * Grandeur of the Seas * HAL Zuiderdam Panama Canal * Disney Magic * (upcoming) AmaLea * (upcoming) Crystal Mahler * (upcoming) U by Uniworld The B * (upcoming) Pandaw Laos
#13
1,078 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Thank you. We are doing a wine cruise in 2017 on the Ama Kristina. Off to read the review


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#14
Huntingdon Valley Pa 19006
1,778 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
Are you saying you are in the heart of Europe and the featured wines are from the Willamette Valley?


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Joe
Up Next
Seabourn Encore -October 2018 - Italy and Greece
Uniworld - April 2019 - Amsterdam to Basel

Past Cruises
Uniworld - April 2017 - Joie DeVivre to Paris/Normandy, River Royale to Bordeaux
HAL Oosterdam - Feb 2017 - Western Caribbean
Seabourn Quest - Sept 2016 - Canada and New England
Uniworld River Queen - April 2016 "Tulips and Windmills" Holland and Belgium
HAL Zuiderdam - Jan 2016 - Southern Caribbean and Panama
HAL Oosterdam - July 2015 - Alaska Cruise Tour (2 days in Denali) -
Uniworld River Ambassador- September 2014 - Vienna to Prague
Seabourn Soujourn - July 2013 - Baltic and St Petersburg
Carnival Glory - July 2011 - Eastern Canada
Carnival Dream April 2011 - Western Caribbean
Cunard Queen Mary 2 - July 2009 - Eastern Canada/Boston
Holland America Eurodam September 08 - Nowhere - Maiden US voyage
Celebrity Zenith July 07 => Azamara Journey 07 - Bermuda
Carnival Liberty July06 - Mediterranean
Carnival Triumph August 02 - Eastern Canada
US Cruise Lines Patriot July 01 - Hawaii
Holland America Statendam July 79 - Bermuda
#15
New York
9,033 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Originally posted by JPH814
Are you saying you are in the heart of Europe and the featured wines are from the Willamette Valley?
Wine theme cruises bring an expert from a US winery who brings lots of cases of their wine. This is in addition to shore excursions to wineries along the route, and the usual wines that are served with meals. The cruise is marketed through the winery's wine club, so the cruise line picks up a bunch of new customers.
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Email me: [email protected]
Blogs: Jazzbeaux Blogs

I am not an employee of Cruise Critic and I don't speak for Cruise Critic. All opinions are mine alone. Also, I'm only a Host on the various River forums -- everywhere else I'm "just plain Jazz."

Booked:
AMA Discover Africa 5-2018
Viking Sun British Isles Explorer 8-2018
Celebrity Edge Caribbean 1-2019
Ponant/Backroads Iceland 8-2019

Completed:
Azamara Quest Costa Rica 1-2018 / Crown Princess Classic Canada & New England 10-2017 / Norwegian Pride of America Hawaii 10-2016 / Azamara Quest Norwegian Fjords 8-2016 / Celebrity Constellation Greek Isles 5-2016 / AmaDagio Provence 9-2015 / Celebrity Xpedition Galapagos 5-2015 / Celebrity Eclipse Southern Carib 3-2015 / Fresco Tours A Kinder Camino walking tour 9-2014 / Crystal Serenity Mediterranean 5-2014 / Coral Princess Panama Canal 1-2014 / AmaCello Rhine 8-2013 / Coral Princess Alaska 6-2013 / Ireland Fly-Drive 9-2012 / Norwegian Dawn Caribbean 3-2013 / Celebrity Summit Caribbean 1-2012 / Oceania Insignia Mediterranean 5-2011 / Fair Dinkum (Erie Canal bareboat) 7-2003 / Costa Italia Caribbean 5-1974
#16
Bucks County, PA
466 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
There were wines from the winery at their events and tastings. The house wines at meals were regional, as were the wines at the wine shore excursions. On the special French dinner, French wines were served.


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Chris Gray Faust
Managing Editor, Cruise Critic


Exploring the world, one ship at a time.

Carnival Fantasy * IWJ Diamant * Un-Cruise Wilderness Discoverer * Arabella * Uniworld, River Tosca * Un-Cruise Safari Endeavour * Grand Circle River Adagio * Viking Aegir * TDI Yorktown * Vantage River Splendor * Viking Rurik (Russia) * Alaskan Dream, Baranof Dream * Cunard, Queen Mary 2 * IWJ Sagitta * Norwegian Breakaway * Norwegian Getaway * Celebrity Summit Top Chef cruise * HAL CruiseTour, Alaska * Celestyal Olympia * Naming ceremony, Regal Princess * Costa neoRiviera, Arabian Gulf * Celestyal Crystal, Cuba * Carnival Triumph * Azamara Journey, Greece & Turkey * Celebrity Eclipse, Norwegian Fjords * Oasis of the Seas * Viking Star, Western Med * Seabourn Sojourn, Hong Kong to Singapore * Avalon Passion, Danube * America, American Cruise Lines * MSC Divina, Caribbean * IWJ Vela, French West Indies * Tauck ms Grace, Rhine * Fathom Cuba * AmaSonata wine cruise * Uniworld India * Viking Hild * Avalon Visionary * Scenic Diamond * Carnival Magic * American Duchess * CroisiEurope Douce France * CroisiEurope Deborah (French barge) * Silver Muse, SA * Grandeur of the Seas * HAL Zuiderdam Panama Canal * Disney Magic * (upcoming) AmaLea * (upcoming) Crystal Mahler * (upcoming) U by Uniworld The B * (upcoming) Pandaw Laos
#18
Illinois
81 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
I do not think there are laundry rooms. The laundry provided by the ship is very reasonable and they did a great job. Clothes returned the next day. No dry cleaning.
#19
FL
14,466 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by Cruise Critic Chris

Because there's a guest vineyard onboard, we've been served a lot of those wines. Otherwise house wines are served at lunch and dinner. These vary, but are usually regional. There's also an always available California white and red.

The wines by the glass selection at the bar isn't great, although you can buy a bottle at a fairly reasonable rate. You can also bring wine onboard without charge. One night was "share a bottle," where we were encouraged to bring a bottle to the lounge to share. That was fun.

All in all, I'm very impressed with AMA, particularly the active tours they offer. Crowd on the wine cruise is also younger than you normally see, with more people in 40s and 50s.
We were aboard AmaSonata for a wine cruise last month, our 4th wine cruise with AMA and 9th with AMA total.

I agree with all you posted and we also find the demographic skews younger on AMA's wine cruises. There were more included excursions than ever and good variety. Wine host was our least favorite ever, but Sonata had a great staff and CM aboard and we really enjoyed our cruise.
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143 cruises since 1964, 16 on the river.
Looking forward to:
MS Joy - Magic of Advent, December 2017

Amadeus Silver III, May 2018
AmaStella, Christmas Markets, December 2018
Scenic Eclipse, April, 2019

Our river cruising history:
Avalon Luminary B2B- Christmas Markets, 2009
Avalon Affinity - Christmas Markets 2010
Avalon Panorama - Danube New Years Cruise, 2011
AmaDante -Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle 2012
AmaCerto - Budapest to Nuremburg, 2013
AmaBella - Tulip Time, 2014
AmaDagio - Provence, 2014
AmaReina - Holiday on the Rhine 2014
SS Catherine - Provence 2015
AmaSerena Christmas on the Rhine, 2015
Scenic Diamond, Bordeaux, April 2016, October 2017
AmaVida, Douro, August. 2016
AmaSonata, Romantic Danube - Oct. 2016
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017

Recent ocean cruises:
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017
#20
Texas
373 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
We have been on two AMA wine cruises, one on the Rhine and the other in the Bordeaux area. Both had US winemaker "hosts" onboard who brought multiple cases of their own wine. One winemaker was from California and the other from Oregon...both had excellent wines that greatly exceeded in quality the included wine that the ship was serving. We made friends with the winemakers at the beginning of each cruise and often enjoyed their hospitality at dinner even when their wines were not officially being served that evening. Ended up joining the wine clubs for both.
AMA at the time of both our cruises had a policy posted on their website of charging a corkage fee for wines brought onboard and consumed in the dining room and other public areas. However, the Hotel Manager on the Bordeaux cruise, when asked, told us we could bring wine onboard and consume wherever we liked with no charge. We had not inquired on the Rhine cruise.