Wine Cruising: Can’t Make It to Europe? Head for Dana Point!

DanubeBoatWhen my fiancée and I were in Austria last fall, we had the opportunity to take an all-too-short cruise on the Danube as part of an all-day tour that left from our home base in Vienna.

This is a picture of the boat we boarded on that overcast day. Fortunately, there was plenty of behind-glass, interior space to protect us from the constant drizzle. So even though shooting pictures of the hillside vineyards lining the Danube was challenging, at least we managed to stay dry.

We shared a table with another couple from America… sipped some Austrian wine… and just relaxed. No WiFi… no email… no Facebook. Just gorgeous scenery in every direction. It was pure bliss.

Ever since returning from that trip, we’ve been talking about what we’re going to do next. An extended excursion on a riverboat — and there are several that traverse the waterways of Europe — definitely is on the table. Especially, if we can find one that is “wine themed” in some way.

Meanwhile, there is a much closer to home option available — sort of.

It involves 90 minutes rather than several days.

It involves a catamaran rather than a riverboat.

And it involves an ocean rather than a river.

Okay, I guess there really isn’t that much in common, other than an opportunity to drink wine while in a vessel that is floating on water.

The option of which we speak… er, write: the Orange County Wine Cruise, offered on Friday and Sunday evenings by Dana Wharf Whale Watching, based in Southern California’s Dana Point Harbor.

The excursion lasts 90 minutes, and takes place on the 63-foot Ocean Adventures catamaran, which comfortably accommodates 49 passengers. While built primarily for whale watching, it also has a viewing deck that’s ideal for sipping wine.

While on board, passengers get four tastes of wine (two red and two white), the services of a wine host who can answer questions, and a sampler platter of cheese, crackers, dried fruit and nuts.

And then there are the views. Depending on the time of year, passengers will either soak in the sparkling lights of Dana Point Harbor, or spy the sun-kissed south Orange County coast in all its magnificence.

Romantic? You bet.

The cost of the cruise is $49 per person. If you happen to be staying in the area, ask your hotel/motel clerk if they have discount coupons on hand. We saw coupons offering $20 off each ticket, indicating that the code to use when booking online was RETURN20.

You can learn more about the Orange County Wine Cruise here.

It may not be the same as cruising the Danube… but it’s definitely a fun way to spend an evening in “The O.C.”

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