Coffee is an important part of our lives. With shops – both chain and private – doing a roaring trade in sleepy tourist villages and sprawling cities alike and ever-increasing sales in coffee machines for our homes, this bean-fueled trend is only set to continue.
Luxury cruising and coffee are great companions. After all, greeting the day from the comfort of your own private balcony with a morning coffee and a croissant is a simple but satisfying pleasure and that’s not to mention the coffee bars you’ll be able to enjoy on-board. Then there’s your itinerary. It’s possible to visit a number of key ports and cities in countries which are almost as famous for their coffee as they are for the sights you can see there. In this blog I’m going to take a look at both – a rich satisfying blend if you will – of ship and shore experiences.
On both the Azamara Quest and the Azamara Journey, you can enjoy a coffee in the Windows Café and the Mosaic Café. The former is a casual outdoor dining venue and also a great place to relax with a cup if the weather’s fine. The Mosaic Café is an indoor venue and a great place to grab a complimentary espresso, sink into a plush chair and chat with fellow passengers.
Crystal Symphony’s Bistro Café is the ideal place to be for coffee at sea, evoking successfully the ambience of a chic French Bistro and offering some fine brews and appropriate accompanying pastries. It’s all about taking your time, with magazine racks, live music and some fine views from the café’s picture windows.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers something called the Coffee Connection, so you know it’s a line which takes its coffee seriously and indeed, there are specially-trained baristas on-hand to serve a fine selection of specialities. Spiced, flavoured, iced – it’s all here, along with a relaxed, lounge atmosphere.
The very heart of the ship, Seabourn Square is where you’ll find this line’s finest lattes at sea and it’s one of the ship’s most popular areas. A relaxing public space featuring shops, a library and a terrace it follows that a good coffee fits right in here, whether enjoying a cup mid-shop, taking in the views or relaxing with a book.
Early Risers Coffee is one of the best kept coffee secrets in the luxury cruising world. The clue’s in the name when it comes to why it’s overlooked by many cruisers on-board either of SeaDream Yacht Club’s identical vessels, as it really does get served on the top deck around sunrise. Comfy chairs and pastries are of course readily available.
Is a country synonymous with coffee – with the mountainous regions of cruise favourites Peru, Brazil and Guatemala responsible for producing a great deal of it. It’s such a part of the continent’s culture that on your luxury cruise, you’ll find a number of shore excursions which are specifically coffee-centric. Silversea’s Coffee Close to Culture expedition is one such trip, where you’ll visit the Filadelfia Coffee Estate in La Antigua Guatemala, located in one of the country’s key coffee-growing regions. If Sao Paulo in Brazil is on your itinerary, you’ll be in another of this cruise region’s coffee hot spots. Coffee Lab is one particularly popular tourist attraction, where you’ll be able to learn about how the coffee is made as well as taste it.
I’m far from a coffee connoisseur but have tasted quite a few cups of it on my travels. For my money, Italian coffee is the finest I’ve tasted and with plenty of Italian cruise ports featuring on a number of luxury cruise itineraries, you’ll be able to try it for yourself and see if I’m right. After all, it’s from this country that many of the types of coffee that we enjoy today originate from. St Mark’s Square in Venice is notoriously pricey if you decide to drink your coffee in situ and even if you take away it won’t be the cheapest coffee you’ll taste. However an espresso bought here will be exquisite and strong enough to keep you going all day. And then there’s Rome – a Mediterranean mainstay and a city boasting some of the finest coffee shops in the country. A coffee in the Eternal City is part of the experience and a must to accompany any people-watching session.
French is famous for its coffee in particular the way in which it’s served. A Parisian cafe visit is a must-do while in the capital on a cruise and stay if you want to immerse yourself in the culture but you’ll be drinking an espresso unless you specify otherwise, because a coffee in France is always very small espresso. That’s how the French drink it and that’s how it’s served. If you want a more traditional brew, however, you’ll have to ask for an American Coffee. Of course, a Mediterranean cruise which takes in such French Riviera ports as Cannes and St Tropez will give you ample opportunity to soak up some sun to accompany your caffeine, as well as some prime glitterati-watching opportunities.