Cruise itineraries are evolving rapidly, away from one-size-fits-all trips to those that cater to a particular interest. Windstar, for example, has constructed a cruise around the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix, while Avalon Waterways has Jewish heritage-themed river cruises. And Azamara offers best-selling golf cruises in partnership with PerryGolf. The most popular themed itineraries, however, are based on food-and-wine experiences. Among the many lines that offer such trips, Silversea stands out owing to its remarkable S.A.L.T. (Sea and Land Taste) cruises, originally conceived by New York-based food writer Adam Sachs, formerly editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine.
S.A.L.T. programs are offered on Silversea’s Silver Moon (the company’s flagship) and Silver Dawn vessels. Each shore excursion involves a behind-the-scenes experience intended to give participants a far deeper understanding of the food and cooking of the destination. In Naples, for example, the half-day S.A.L.T. excursion is hosted by Franco Pepe, Italy’s most famous pizzaiolo, who takes you to visit the farms that produce the tomatoes and buffalo-milk mozzarella he uses. This is followed by a pizza tasting at his restaurant Pepe in Grani, in the town of Caiazzo. More offbeat S.A.L.T. excursions include an Estonian cooking experience in Tallinn, which begins with a visit to a local market with renowned chef Tarmo Griffel, followed by a hands-on cooking class and lunch.
S.A.L.T. excursions also include wine experiences, like a rare-sherry barrel tasting at the eighth-generation family-owned Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain, and a wine-and-dine outing to the 500-year-old Bibich winery in Plastovo, an hour’s drive from Zadar, Croatia.