American Safari Cruises to launch 'Wine Country' sailings


SEATTLE -- American Safari Cruises is launching a series of California Wine Country cruises in October.

There are to be 13 departures between Oct. 6 and Nov. 17 of three- and four-night yacht cruises from the San Francisco waterfront, with what the firm describes as a "never-before-offered itinerary" that will explore Napa Valley and the Bay Area.

So far, according to Dan Blanchard, the firm's new president, the response to the program has been great.

"Our new cruises in California already are being well received," he said.

"We were showing a 72% prelaunch booking record; since [May 7], we are 80% booked," Blanchard said. Of these bookings, almost all are through travel agents.

In fact, Blanchard was quick to point out, the firm has a strong relationship with agents belonging to Giants and Virtuoso.

One of the primary factors for this interest, according to the executive, is that there had been a pent-up demand for such an elegant, high-end product.

"This itinerary allows us to bring our special brand of upscale, active and intimate yacht cruising to San Francisco, capitalizing on the natural blending of wine, food and art," he said.

As described, the program will offer private tastings at boutique and artisan wineries.

Also to be part of the program are personalized tours at private villas, exclusive dining in winery caves and on-board tastings with wine experts.

American Safari is using the 21-passenger, 120-foot Safari Quest on the itineraries.

The four-night Essence of the Wine Country operates Mondays through Fridays, with visits to Matanzas Creek Winery for lunch and tastings; Schug Cellars winery for a private lunch; architecturally distinctive Artesa for sparkling wines; Clos Pegase for a tasting, a luncheon and a tour of its art collection, and Trefethen for a private tasting in its upstairs cask room.

Guests also will have private tours of the De Rosa Preserve, with its extensive multibuilding collection of Northern California modern art, and the Carlo Marchiori Calistoga art studio and nearby villa, with its murals and period art interpretations, which is not open to the public.

The three-night Wine Country Getaway cruises Friday afternoons through Monday mornings. This itinerary includes a luncheon at Schug Cellars' cave-room; a walk through the vineyards and a tasting at Chappellet Vineyard; an al fresco luncheon at a Napa Valley vineyard; a tour of the De Rosa Preserve, and winery-hosted on-board tastings.

In addition, there is time for a walking tour of antique-filled, historical Petaluma and shopping in St. Helena.

Rates are inclusive of on-board accommodations, gourmet cuisine, daily wine tastings, shore activities, private transfers and all wine and premium liquors.

Rates begin at $1,395 for the three-night cruise and $1,795 for the four-night sailing.

Safari Quest's on-board amenities include deluxe en suite staterooms with video systems, a top-deck hot tub, a library and observation area, a salon, a dining room, a bar and a big-screen TV.

There is a nine-person crew consisting of a tour escort, a wine steward, executive and assistant chefs, a hotel manager, stewards, a captain and an engineer.

In addition, American Safari Cruises has two repositioning cruises scheduled aboard both the Safari Quest and the 105-foot, 12-passenger Safari Spirit.

The yacht cruises are from Juneau, Alaska, to Vancouver and the reverse.

The Safari Spirit departs Sept. 9 on its 10-night voyage that stops at Tracy Arm, Petersburg, Ketchikan, Foggy Cove, Prince Rupert, Lowe Inlet, Bishops Bay, Alert Bay and Vancouver. It is priced from $3,895 per person.

The Safari Quest departs Sept. 16, with rates from $3,695 per person.

American Safari Cruises
Phone: (888) 862-8881
E-mail: [email protected]

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