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Bordeaux wine, Mexican ceviche & Estonian beer: Best Princess excursions for food & drink

Author: Harriet Mallinson

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Princess Cruises prides itself on fabulous cuisine onboard its ships, but high-quality feasting isn't only to be had at sea thanks to the line's foodie shore excursions.

Food is the focus for many cruisers, let's be honest, whether you're at the buffet, a speciality restaurant or tucking into room service.

Good cuisine can truly elevate the holiday experience and this is something you're guaranteed to get on highly respected cruise lines such as Princess Cruises.

However, while Princess has undeniably mastered food and beverage onboard (did you know, all bread and pastries are hand-made on the ships?) the brand also offers a range of food-focussed cruise excursions.

These not only see you munching on delicious meals and treats but also meeting local experts and learning all about the food and region through their eyes, whether that's making ceviche with a Mexican, baking Norman dessert with a French chef or beer-tasting with an Estonian brewer.

Here we look at just some of the foodie trips you can take when sailing with Princess.

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Cruise excursions for French food lovers

Princess passengers visiting Normandy and Paris might be well aware of the wonders of the Bayeux Tapestry, the battlefields and the Arc de Triomphe. However, a lesser-known activity while in this stunning corner of Europe is whipping up delicious Norman food.

Ideal for those who have already visited the region before and are looking for something a bit different, the Local Connections: Home Cooking With Seasoned Chef shore excursion includes a cookery lesson with a celebrity cook set amidst beautiful countryside.

- READ MORE: What you didn't know about dining on Princess Cruises -

Princess guests will join chef Brigitte Dumant in her country home in Saint-Etienne-La-Thillayes in Calvados (yes, of cider fame) to learn how to prepare two typical Norman dishes followed by, mais oui, eating them.

You'll get to make a main course and a dessert during the session, all the while picking up interesting titbits and tricks of French cuisine from Brigitte.

Don't forget to look up and admire the scenery, the Chef's Long House in the Marshes, its pasture speckled with cows and goats, is a picture-perfect setting. If the weather is nice, you'll also get to eat your own gastronomic creations in the garden.

Normandy: A lesser-known activity while in this stunning corner of Europe is whipping up delicious local food. Credit: Shutterstock

Cruise excursions for seafood lovers

Ah, fresh, tangy seafood, the salty scent of the sea air, the hot sun warming your face... welcome to Mexico.

Princess Cruises offers a variety of Mexican sailings - 10-Day Baja Peninsula & Sea of Cortez, for instance, or Seven-Day Mexican Riviera - which stop at the coastal city of Mazatlán, benefiting from a wonderful year-round climate.

It's also where you'll get to learn to make - and eat - Ceviche. The South American dish is typically made from fresh raw fish cured in lemon or lime juice (and yes it does go well with Margaritas in case you were wondering...)

On the shore excursion Local Connections: Ceviche Making With Renowned Chef And Restaurateur, you'll get to do exactly what it says on the tin.

Cruisers will head to modern seafood bar Compania Minera - just one of Chef Diego Becerra's three restaurants. A local restaurateur, he has taken the traditional foods of Mazatlán and elevated them to world-class dining.

- READ MORE: Celebrate in style with Princess' Ultimate Balcony Dining experience -

At Compania Minera, you'll be treated to a cooking demonstration in which you'll learn how to make a balanced ceviche in acid, flavours and textures.

You'll be working with the freshest ingredients and using techniques that apply to any seafood combination you can imagine - which surely gives you a few bragging rights next time you have friends round for dinner back home.

Tuck into a tasting of three different ceviches-aguachile of cooked shrimp, red octopus ceviche and black squid ceviche, all paired with local beer and Los Osuna, the last remaining of the blue agave spirits in the state.

Don't worry, there's time to explore the area, too. The restaurant is in Mazatlán's Centro Historico, or old town, and boasts centuries-old historic attractions.

The excursion includes a short, guided stroll taking you to highlights such as Machado Square, home to colonial buildings, canobio arches and the Angela Peralta Opera House - as well as the locals who often congregate here to relax and chat. Hola!

Ceviche is typically made from fresh raw fish cured in lemon or lime juice. Credit: Shutterstock

Cruise excursions for wine lovers

If it's top wine you're after, France is the boy for you, and those cruising to the vin paradise of Bordeaux can enjoy the Medoc Château & Wine Tasting excursion.

On this tour, you'll stop at one of the region's most famous estates where your hosts will take you on a tour of the cellars to learn all about Bordeaux's cherished Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc grapes.

Fun fact: 728 million bottles of Bordeaux are produced each year and the biggest importer of the wine is China!

- READ MORE: Drink your way around California's wine country with Princess -

And, if you're wondering if any will be imported into your mouth during the excursion, fret not. There are of course tastings and the chance to buy some to take home (no judgment from us if it's entirely for you). Did you know, 23 bottles of Bordeaux wine are sold every second throughout the world?

It's not just gulps of the good stuff you'll be treated to, the journey from Le Verdon to the Medoc chateaux offers up gorgeous views.

The famous Route des Chateaux passes through miles of verdant vineyard estates. Look out for road signs for legendary place names you'll likely recognise such as Chateaux Margaux, Latour, Cos d'Estournel or Lafite Rothschild.

Bordeaux wine country offers spectacular countryside as well as delicious drinks! Credit: Shutterstock

Cruise excursions for beer lovers

What's that? A shore excursion with a mixed flight of craft beers and a variety of snacks? Sign us up!

Yes indeed, on cruises to Tallinn in Estonia with Princess you can book onto the Local Connections: Old Town & Beer Tasting With Master Brewer trip.

This will take you on a walk through Tallinn's historic Old Town, which, notes UNESCO, is an "exceptionally complete and well-preserved medieval" city.

Built between the 13th and 19th centuries, the intimate neighbourhood brims with colourful houses, half-hidden courtyards, ancient guard towers and well-preserved churches.

The Town Hall Square is a highlight. It was once the centre of the Hanseatic League, a powerful trading network of towns around the Baltic and the North Sea, and goods were peddled from around the world in the central marketplace here.

Today the square is the ideal photo subject so don't forget to look out for the 615-year-old Town Hall topped with a red clay roof and decorated with waterspouts in the shape of dragons.

Next up is a 145-year-old harbour-front warehouse where you will meet Master Brewer Mario Lehis for a tour of the Kochi Microbrewery which prides itself on handcrafted beers.

- READ MORE: Deliveroo for cruise - how Princess' Medallion works -

Mario will share the secrets to his work and, of course, let you sample his authentic Estonian beers. In fact, according to the Kochi Microbrewery, there are health benefits to glugging the yeasty beverage.

Because the self-brewed beers have not been filtrated or pasteurised, they are left “alive” which enables the beer to retain all the vitamins. Indeed, one glass of beer is said to have your daily recommended intake of vitamin B!

The perks of beer don't stop there, says the brewery - the beer contains antioxidants from malt, making it good in preventing cardiovascular diseases and cancer; it's rich in potassium and poor in sodium, which gives it a diuretic effect; and it's abundant in magnesium and lacking in calcium, which makes helps prevent cardiac diseases and the formation of gall or kidney stones.

Oh, and it also has fewer calories than you might think, so go ahead and swig away!

Then, it’s back to the luxurious comfort of your Princess ship. Anyone feeling peckish?

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