Williamson Wines

Ports of Call



Athens, Greece

The landmark hill of the Acropolis looms over Greece's busy metropolis. This age-old symbol of Athens was built by the Athenians during the 5th century BC in honor of the goddess Athena, patroness of the city. The temple complex was regarded as a citadel of the gods, with the Parthenon standing out as the most architecturally sophisticated temple of that period.

In 1834, Athens became the capital of modern Greece with a population of fewer than 10,000. Today, about a third of the country's more than four million people live in the city. The central area of modern Athens is relatively small, stretching from the Acropolis to Mount Lycabettus. Its layout is simple: three main streets - Stadiou, Venizelou and Akademias - link the two main squares, Syntagma and Omonia. A stroll around the main squares or in areas off the beaten path can provide a feel of the unique character of Athens. Observe the activities at the central market or simply enjoy a cool beverage in one of Athens' many sidewalk cafés. 





Rome, Italy

Sprawled across seven legendary hills, romantic and beautiful Rome was one of the great centers of the ancient world. Although its beginning is shrouded in legend and its development is full of intrigue and struggle, Rome has always been and remains the “Eternal City.” Its greatest splendor was experienced during the 1st and 2nd centuries when art flourished, monumental works of architecture were erected, and the mighty Roman legions swept outward, conquering much of the known world.

Today’s Rome, with its splendid churches, ancient monuments and palaces, spacious parks, tree-lined boulevards, fountains, outdoor cafés and elegant shops, is one of the world’s most attractive and exciting cities. Among the most famous monuments is the Coliseum. As you walk its cool, dark passageways, imagine the voices that once filled the arena as 50,000 spectators watched combat between muscled gladiators and ferocious animals. Stop to see the remains of the Forum, once the city’s political and commercial center. In later times, Rome’s squares were enhanced with such imposing structures as the Vittorio Emanuele Monument, the monumental Trevi fountain and Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers, to name just a few.





Florence / Pisa / Tuscany, Italy
Livorno is Italy’s second largest port after Genoa. It also serves as a gateway to the Tuscany region and the great cultural centers of Florence,
Lucca, Pisa and Siena. Tuscany delights visitors with its picturesque small towns and classic landscapes. The gently rounded hills, accented by clumps of slender cypresses, have been immortalized in numerous paintings. Lush vineyards are the source of the famous dry, dark-red Chianti wines.

From this part of Italy the national language evolved with Dante and other great Tuscan writers of his period. Even more important is the impact this area had on the culture of the rest of Italy and Europe, adding immense wealth to the architectural and artistic heritage. The Italian Renaissance, with its most active center in Florence, lasted from the 1400s to the 1700s. Its greatest support came from the all-powerful Medici family who commissioned Italy’s most talented painters, sculptors and architects to create some of the most outstanding works of art. Names such as Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Giotto, Vasari, Botticelli, da Vinci and Donatello come to mind, all of whom worked and lived in Florence at some time. 





 


Monte Carlo, MonacoThe independent principality of Monaco is famous as the playground of the Côte d’Azur. With nice beaches, elegant hotels and a vibrant nightlife, this tiny domain is a favorite haunt of the jet set. In the possession of the Grimaldi family for more than 700 years, a treaty with France guarantees Monaco’s independence as long as the principality is governed by the Grimaldis.

The fashionable enclave numbers only about 32,000 inhabitants and is smaller than New York’s Central Park, but it boasts some of the most expensive real estate in the world. In addition to its luxury hotels and beautiful beaches, Monaco is noted for its mild climate and magnificent scenery. Once an exclusive wintering stop for Europe’s aristocracy, today there are more than five million visitors annually. Of the principality’s four sections - La Condamine, Fontvieille, Monaco-Ville and Monte Carlo, the latter two rank highest on every visitor’s must-see list.






Marseilles (Provence), France

Marseille is a vibrant, cosmopolitan port and the most populated city in the country after Paris. The craggy, mountainous interland of the Provence provides Marseille with a spectacular backdrop. It is the country's most important seaport and the largest one in the Mediterranean. The city is divided into 16 arrondissements fanning out from the Old Port. The large industrial port area virtually rubs shoulders with the intimate, picturesque old harbor, the Vieux Port. Packed with fishing boats and pleasure crafts, this is the heart of Marseille. Two fortresses guard the entrance to the harbor.
 
Several vantage points offer spectacular views, including the striking Basilica Notre Dame de la Garde. This prominent landmark, overlooking the city, is crowned by a monumental gilded statue of the Virgin Mary. Marseille boasts numerous fine museums that are well worth a visit. Relaxing at one of the many outside cafés or strolling through the Old Port area allows you to enjoy the unpretentious charm of this city. 






Barcelona, Spain
 
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia as well as Spain’s second largest city. Dominated by Montjuic, Vallvidrera and the Tibidabo Hills, sophisticated Barcelona is rich in ancient and modern architectural and artistic treasures. Many talented artists, sculptors and architects lived here, including Picasso, Miró, Mares and Barcelona’s best-known architect, Antonio Gaudí.
 
Barcelona’s beginnings as a major port can be found already in Roman times. However, the most significant period was during the Middle Ages when the city's wealth equaled that of the whole Catalunya province. Splendid buildings from the Middle Ages and a unique ambiance still make Barcelona one of the most attractive cities in Europe, drawing scores of visitors to see and enjoy the sights. In addition to its medieval setting and narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter, there are magnificent avenues through the modern part of the city, which are particularly noted for their landmark buildings of Gaudí’s design.

HIGHLIGHTS

Wine Program Highlights:
  • Personally escorted by winery's owners Bill & Dawn Williamson
  • Private events including a Welcome Reception, wine tastings, and winemaker’s dinner featuring Williamson Wines
  • Access to private group shore tours in Tuscany & Chateauneuf du Pape
  • Exclusive, optional 2-night pre-cruise package in Athens & the Nemea wine region
  • Free pre-paid gratuities and $150 shipboard credit for early bookings
 
Cruise Highlights:
  • 7-Night cruise on Oceania Cruises' luxurious ship, Riviera
  • Finest cuisine at sea, served in a variety of distinctive open-seating restaurants, all at no additional charge
  • Gourmet cuisine curated by world-renowned Master Chef Jacques Pépin
  • Epicurean enrichment programs, including immersive Culinary Discovery Tours 
  • Specialty restaurants including Red Ginger, Toscana, Jacques, Polo Grill and only Wine Spectator sponsored restaurant at sea, La Reserve
  • FREE Internet package PLUS your choice of 6 FREE shore excursions, FREE beverage package or $600 shipboard credit

ABOUT the EXPERT(s)


Bill & Dawn Williamson
Owners



Sam Williamson

INCLUDES

  • Shipboard accommodations
  • Roundtrip air to Europe
  • Ocean transportation
  • All meals & entertainment on ship
  • FREE unlimited soft drinks, cappuccino, espresso, and teas
  • Onboard Wine Education Program

DOESN'T INCLUDE

  • Airport transfers
  • Optional pre-cruise and shore tours
  • Travel insurance
  • All items of a personal nature

REVIEWS


AWARDS and RATINGS

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
2016 WINE COMPETITION


Total 12 medals won:
2 Gold  
8 Silver 
2 Bronze  

Double Gold Medal Winners:
2007 Clarissa Vin Rouge
2004 Amour Merlot