Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Viking Line's Champagne cruise on MS Grace - go on, spoil yourself!


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Viking Line's annual Champagne cruise on MS Grace is a perfect way to spoil yourself and the one you love. After all - Champagne is a lot like love itself!

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Meeting people for the first time is always as frightening as it is exciting.

What if in reality your date looks nothing like George Clooney (unlike his profile pic...)? What if you're in for a husband and a father of 18, just looking for something on the side?

What if your date turns out to be a sociopath serial killing maniac and at the end of the evening you'll end up mutilated and chopped up in a sports bag which won't be found until years from now in a basement somewhere in Denmark?


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But the reason that keeps us trying again and again is the fact that the first date can also turn out to be a mind-blowing experience, which makes your insides bubble and leaves a smile on your face. Life feels like a celebration and everything feels possible. Eyes open and all of a sudden you're faced with a completely new world. 

Seriously? There are people like this out there in the world?

Senses sharpen as you don't want to miss a second. Every moment reveals something new and enticing about the other person, leaving your head spinning and wanting for more. 


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Prices for Champagnes sold by the glass at Seamore Lounge start at €8. In our glasses Dom Perignon 2006, €28/ glass.


Sure, they come in all shapes and sizes; them people. But the more you get to know them, the better you start to understand what suits your own taste the best.

And then, when you come across something that sweeps you off your feet and makes you see stars... you've got to get more of that.

Much like is the case with Champagne.


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The house Champagne onboard Viking Line's ships is Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve - an affordable find at the Duty Free for a mere €29.90 a bottle


Sure, the world is full of sparking wines. There's Prosecco and Cava. Sekt and Cremant. Sometimes you discover some real gems among them, too, but Champagne is the queen of all drinks. 

Part of its allure is based on the exclusivity. Champagne is only produced in a very small area, where people have spent hundreds of years mastering the craft with the aim of coming up with something which turns every day into a party and elevates the parties to a whole new level. 

It's something which at its best stops you at your feet. A bottle which, at its most spectacular, creates a celebration just by being opened. 


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Already the sound of the popping cork instantly lifts one's spirits. Then there's the quiet sizzle as it's being poured into a glass.

The gloriusly golden content. The ascent of bubbles sparkling like millions of diamonds. The aroma; toasty, bright, fruity.

The pious moment you take the first, long-anticipated sip and the way the first touch makes your mouth water. The richness, which caresses your palate, whispering promises of adventures to come.


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Champagne - my favourite tipple in the world. 

The only alcohol which is socially acceptable to enjoy any time of the day.

Drink that has throughout the history been devoured from a variety of vessels - some of them almost as legendary as the drink itself. 


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The most classic Champagne glass is said to have been modelled after the breast of no less than the Queen of France. In 20th century it was considered the height of decadence to drink Champagne out of one's lady companions' shoe.  

Let's face it - who couldn't use more decadence in their life?


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Like so many of the best things in life, Champagne was created by accident. Still today a lot depends on factors beyond man's control: poor weather conditions for instance can effectively ruin the entire harvest.

Champagne is associated with so much elegance and mystery; something that was only accelerated by the way it for a long time remained a pleasure only reserved for the royal courts.

The history of Champagne, however, is a history shaped by many strong and independent women. The (often early) deaths of men saw many of their widows (veuve in French, as in Veuve Clicquot) take control and in time they came to play a significant role in both developing new methods and the way businesses were run.


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Best Champagne is very much like love itself: it makes you wait for it. In order to reach its peak Champagne needs to be treated with care - starting from Pinot Noir, the grape that lends Champagne its body. It's a temperamental and a very dignified variety which doesn't put up with just any surroundings... or company. 

Champagne is also not a drink for the foolish or impatient - you have to give it time to mature. But once you do this... Oh là là.

The final result makes it worth all the effort. 


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Exactly a year ago I sat down in a wine bar for a first date which I had been looking forward to with an increasing panic gripping my every nerve. The cork had been popped about a week and a half earlier as we'd exchanged our first messages and already then I knew I was in for a rare treat.

And now, here he was - only an arm's length away.


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We drank Pinot Noir and stared at each other; overwhelmed. Both of us worrying what was going through the other person's head; each just longing to reach out into one anothers' arms. 

The evening was over far too soon. There was still so much to explore and admire. The date had left us both bewildered as if we'd been hit in the head. It was impossible to even try to sleep. 

We continued texting well into the morning until the dawn broke and the first birds started their concert outside our respective windows. 

What on earth had just happened?


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There was no doubt about it - I had to get more of this. 

This was a person I knew I wanted to take my time enjoying. It only took some weeks before I found myself onboard Viking Line (armed with Champagne, of course!) making my way across the sea -  and into his arms again. 


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The road that led to me finding this rare specimen was not an easy one, but worth all the wait; worth all the yeasty, corked, second-class tastings I'd have to suffer through.

The circumstances were right at last. Time had matured us both and we were ready for this moment; a moment one doesn't get many of in one lifetime. Some never do.  

There we were, ready to open and share our content with someone who'd appreciate and cherish it - down to the last drop.


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Now, a year later, we look at each other, still not quite believing our paths actually crossed. 

And I couldn't have thought of a better way to celebrate our first anniversary and love; spread across two states than the annual Champagne cruise on Viking Line's MS Grace, sailing between those two very countries. 


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Prices for 24-hour Champagne cruise onboard MS Grace (Turku- Stockholm) start at €157 pp (depending on the cabin class)


The journey it took for the time to be right for the both of us has been a long and arduous one. Perhaps that's why I don't want to waste another minute. I no longer want to wait any more than I absolutely must: I want to enjoy and spoil us right now.

He only deserves the best and that's why only MS Grace, the pride and joy of Viking Line's fleet, would do.


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A beautiful cabin and dreamy bed we can just dive in and forget all about the world outside.


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The wonderful meals at Oscar à la Carte, prepared by someone else so that for once we both can just sit down to focus on enjoying the feast... and each other.


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Menus at Oscar á la Carte start at €44 pp. (€66 including the wine pairings) 


A visit to the spa; lounging in the Jacuzzi and admiring the archipelago that separates us.




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Entrance to Wellness Spa €24/ adult. Ship's Champagne (Charles Heidsieck)  €27 / demi bottle




Seamore Lounge with its glorious selection of Champagnes by the glass along with all the rarities only available  during the Champagne cruise; each as unique as this moment.



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Deluxe breakfast at Oscar á la Carte, overlooking the sea view we both love so much.


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Deluxe breakfast is included in the cabin price from  Premium class upwards. Purchased separately the price is €19 (€17 when purchased in advance)

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Champagne tasting, which allows us to learn more not just about the Champagne, but each other, too. 

Charles Heidsieck, Henriot, Joseph Perrier, Veuve Clicquot, Moët Chandon, Taittinger, Ruinart, Dom Perignon... much like the bubbles in those endless glasses of Champagne we're finding it difficult to keep our feet on the ground. 

This is Heaven - we never want the cruise to end. 


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Ship's legendary seafood platter that neither one of us can get enough of. Little touches of luxury which will carry us with their wings for days even after the return. 


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Seafood platter €47 pp. Champagne (Taittinger Folies de la Marquetterie ) €72 / bottle


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And of course a trip to Viking Line's Duty Free, where (courtesy of their own impressive import and unbeatable prices) we choose Champagnes to take home with us.

Champagnes we've fallen in love with on this trip; bottles we'll open together and be instantly transported back to the blissful moments of these past days and all the wonderful memories we're now creating together. 


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Strong and independent. That's something I have been for a long time. But that's also meant alone. Now it's time to make room in my life for the most incredible of individuals and embrace all the adventures the possibilities of which at this point seem endless. 


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Our smiling eyes meet each other across the table as we raise our glasses. 

Let the journey begin!


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In collaboration with Viking Line

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ANYONE FOR SECONDS?


         


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