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A Taste of Madeira


Learn Madeira’s wine secrets and enjoy a few tipples at historic Blandy’s Wine Lodge on two exclusive new shore excursion experiences created by Olly Smith

Olly Smith at Blandy’s vineyard

On cruises to Madeira, we’re proud to introduce two new shore excursion experiences for wine lovers, developed exclusively by wine expert and Food Hero Olly Smith

Whether you’re after a dose of local culture, prefer to get active or enjoy kicking back and taking in the views, a shore excursion is the perfect way to make the most of your time in port. And for avid foodies and wine buffs, authentic culinary experiences provide a unique opportunity to get a real feel for the place you’re visiting.


This year, we are delighted to introduce brand-new vineyard and winery shore excursions on selected cruises to Madeira, developed exclusively by wine expert and Food Hero Olly Smith. On the Taste of Madeira tour, you’ll learn behind-the-scenes secrets of the craft of winemaking at the world-famous Blandy’s vineyard, and taste the delicious varieties. And if you cruise to Madeira when Olly’s on board, he’ll host your tour personally.


Magical Madeira

Awash with vivid colours and brimming with exotic flowers, the islands of Madeira are known as ‘the floating garden in the Atlantic’. But perhaps the most famous association is the world-renowned Madeira wine.


Fortified and bottled on the islands using specific grape varieties, Madeira wine is aged using a unique heating process and is produced in a variety of styles – from dry wines that make the perfect aperitif to sweet wines to complement desserts.


The islands of Madeira have a long winemaking history, dating back to the 15th century when they were a standard port of call for ships heading to the New World or East Indies. Legend has it that on one particular round trip to India, unsold barrels were returned to a producer in Madeira, who discovered that their contents had improved considerably thanks to the heating of the wine by the high tropical temperatures during the trip. And so the story of Madeira fortified wine began.

Blandy wine-growing estate in Quinta de Santa Luzia

The historic Blandy wine-growing estate in Quinta de Santa Luzia

For more than 200 years, Blandy’s Wine Estate has been synonymous with quality Madeira wine at their stunning wine-producing estate Quinta de Santa Luzia, a rural oasis near the centre of Funchal. Now headed up by seventh-generation Chris Blandy, the family business is the perfect partnership for our two exclusive new shore excursion experiences.


Olly Smith’s Taste of Madeira (5-5.5 hours)

On Food Hero cruises to Madeira featuring Olly Smith (N717 and B726), Olly will go ashore with guests for a fortified fiesta and exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the Blandy Wine Lodge. You’ll learn about the growing and production process, and enjoy an exclusive-access guided tour of the vineyards, wine lodge and the family’s private collection of bottles, including one from the 1700s, hosted by either vineyard owner Chris Blandy or award-winning winemaker Francisco Albuquerque. Afterwards, Olly will be your host at a sumptuous three-course feast of regional dishes matched with local wines. At this unique and fun-filled occasion he will, of course, offer his expert tasting insights along the way.


‘The Blandy’s influence on winemaking on the island is second-to-none and the history is awesome,’ says Olly. ‘I can’t wait for this chance, brought to you exclusively by P&O Cruises, to taste these exceptional wines and enjoy a delicious lunch which I’ll host personally. Happy days!’


A Taste of Madeira, a tour developed by Olly Smith (4 hours)

On other selected cruises to Madeira, you can also enjoy an exclusive tour of Blandy’s, developed by Olly. After your personal guides have shown you the winemaking processes, you’ll meet Blandy’s experts Chris or Francisco to learn more about the secrets of their success and enjoy a unique tasting experience of Blandy’s fortified wines accompanied by some delicious local snacks.


To help you appreciate the wines on the day – and when you get back home –

Olly has a little surprise in store. ‘I’ve written my thoughts on the tasting pleasures of the fortified delights in a little notebook for you to take home, and I hope you’ll jot down your own tongue-tingling opinions on your wine adventure, too,’ he says. ‘I’ve also delivered you a signed copy of my book Eat & Drink: Good Food That’s Great to Drink With as a small gift from me and a memento of your wonderful experience.’


All shore excursions will be available to book approximately three months prior to cruise departure. Book your place before you sail through Cruise Personaliser


Find out more about cruises to Madeira >