Ten cruises with a chocolate theme, from a cocoa tour in Guatemala to a patissier’s masterclass
1 CITÉ DU CHOCOLAT
Set sail on a Burgundy and Provence river cruise to learn about Valrhona chocolate during a call to Cité du Chocolat in Tain-l’Hermitage, near Lyon. The twin epicurean prongs of chocolate and wine make this town in the Rhône-Alpes a winner with visitors, who can indulge in a pick ’n’ mix of decadent treats during the excursion from Uniworld’s five-star SS Catherine.
From £1,899 per person for a seven-night cruise from London airports to Marseille between March and Nov 2018 (0800 988 5873; titantravel.co.uk). Includes home-to-airport transfer.
2 BOOKMARK BELGIUM
Champagne truffles, violet creams and raspberry hearts are among the chocolate treats served with Taylors of Harrogate tea and coffee in the Bookmark Cafés found across the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines fleet. Chocolate-lovers can indulge further on the line’s flagship, Balmoral, during a summer cruise to Belgium and Holland, which features an overnight call at Antwerp, home to some of Belgium’s finest chocolate shops.
From £899 per person for a seven-night Diamonds, Chocolates and Canals cruise departing round trip from Rosyth, north of Edinburgh, on June 30 2018 (0800 0355 242; fredolsencruises.com).
3 ON THE BALL
At Chocolaterie de Pierre, in Tallinn, Estonia, Azamara Journey’s guests can join a master pastry chef ’s chocolate workshop to get an insight into the art of truffle-making. The bespoke tour (£139) also includes a talk on the history of chocolate-making. The cosy café is tucked away in Tallinn’s old town.
From £3,695 per person (cruise only) for a 12-night Baltic and World Cup Voyage departing Stockholm on June 29 2018 (0844 493 4016; azamaraclubcruises.com).
4 CHOCOLATE MASSAGE?
Indulge in an anti-oxidant chocolate body treatment (from £138) in one of Princess Cruises’ Lotus spas. Across the fleet, a 24-hour International Café serves chocolate specialities including milk chocolate mousse and chocolate Chantilly eclairs, while sweet sensations continue in the Vine wine bar where American chocolatier Norman Love’s hand-crafted chocolates can be paired with wine.
From £569 per person for a seven-night Northern California Coast cruise on Ruby Princess departing on a round trip from Seattle on Sept 22 2018 (0843 374 4444; princess.com).
5 STEAMING ALONG
Board a steam train in Picton, on New Zealand’s South Island, and travel through Marlborough country to the small town of Blenheim, where the cellar-door style set up at Makana Confections allows visitors to watch the brown stuff being hand-crafted into chocolates, before moving into a tasting area. After touring the boutique factory, guests on Celebrity Solstice’s Train, Wine and Chocolate tour (£142) can also sample fine wines from the Marlborough region during two hosted tastings.
From £4,309 per person for a 12-night New Zealand Holiday fly-cruise departing Heathrow on Dec 23, 2018 (0844 493 2043; celebritycruises.co.uk).
6 MEET MR CHOCOLATE
French-trained master chef and artisan chocolatier Jacques Torres, aka Mr Chocolate, sweetens life on board Holland America Line’s fleet with mouth-watering recipes including his legendary pumpkin chocolate cake. Jacques says: “Chocolate is one of those products that make people happy so for me this is not work, it is a vacation.”
From £1,399 per person for a 12-night Iberian Adventure on MS Koningsdam (including flights from London and selected regional UK airports to Amsterdam) departing Sept 16 2018 (0344 338 8605; hollandamerica.com).
7 WATCHING BRIEF
Only a resolutely non-chocolate loving passenger would snub the chance to see Jean-Philippe Maury, the awardwinning French chocolatier and pastry chef, at work in his chocolate studio on MSC Meraviglia.
Passengers can marvel at the chocolatier’s skills in the open kitchen, alongside a boutique, which serves hot chocolate delights such as a mint liqueur shot topped with cream. Chocolate recommendations by Maury also feature in the ship’s gourmet ice cream parlour and crêperie.
From £729 person for a sevennight Mediterranean cruise departing round trip from Marseille on Nov 11 2018 (020 3426 3010; msccruises.co.uk).
8 SWEET DREAMS
One of the highlights of Queen Mary 2’s £90million “remastering” was the opening of Godiva at the ship’s on-board café, Sir Samuel’s. The art deco-inspired outlet serves a mouth-watering range of Belgian chocolates, patisserie, chocolate drinks and ice creams developed in collaboration with Philippe Daue, the Godiva chef-chocolatier.
The Godiva afternoon tea includes two signature cakes and white chocolate key lime scones served with lime marmalade and clotted cream (£13.75 per person). To round off the day, an individually wrapped chocolate is placed on each guest’s pillow every evening.
From £1,508 per person for a seven-night westbound transatlantic crossing departing Southampton on July 13 2018 (0843 374 2224; cunard.co.uk).
9 FOOD OF THE GODS
The indigenous people of Central America have been harvesting the fruit of the cacao plant for more than 5,000 years. Oceania Cruises is offering passengers on its 684-passenger ship Sirena a shore tour to a cacao plantation in Santo Tomas, Guatemala. Here they learn that “theobroma” in Latin means “food of the gods”, watch how fruit is processed for chocolate, and discover how the Aztecs and Maya made a chocolate drink that was reserved for royalty.
From £4,109 for a 10-day Caribbean Celebration cruise departing round trip from Miami on Dec 17 2018 (0345 505 1920; oceaniacruises.com).
10 ROOM FOR PAVÉ ROYALE?
Master pâtissier Eric Lanlard’s creations are served during afternoon tea on board P&O ships Azura, Britannia, Ventura and Arcadia, and Pavé Royale is his show-stopper on the executive chef ’s menu during cruises of more than 12 nights. It’s a dessert that combines light and dark chocolate mousse, layered with hazelnut dacquoise meringue and praline wafers, coated with a gold marbled mirror glaze. Guests can meet the “Cake Boy” himself on Britannia when she sails to Norway in late summer.
From £729 per person for a seven-night Norwegian Fjords cruise departing Southampton on Sept 2 2018 (03453 555 111; pocruises.com).