Few could say no to the pleasures of a good cruise, while chocolate has also been known to hold a certain charm. While you may well imagine a cruise journey packed with top entertainment, cocktails by the pool and big, hearty dinners, chocolate is also a highlight onboard many of the world’s leading lines. Better still, some of your favourite destinations are also the best cruises for those with a sweet tooth. We’ve put together our favourite chocolate-infused cruise destinations and recommended some top cruise lines alongside each.
No chocolate-lovers’ cruise would be complete without a stop at Belgium, the beating heart of chocolate culture. P&O Cruises regularly visit the European locale, particularly the port of Zeebrugge, which is only a short distance away from the picture postcard town of Bruges. This pretty little town is full of chocolatiers, each one selling their own sweet delights. Be sure to try the famous Belgian praline, which was invented here in 1912.
If you’re taking your cruise in March, you’re in for the mother of all sweet treats. It’s here that the annual Chocolate Festival of Mons takes place, which sees the community’s narrow medieval streets come to life with the scents and flavours of chocolate. From milky whites to rich darks, this is one celebration that’s going to speak to your tastebuds. Look out for chocolate cakes so big they take teams of chefs to slice, as well as and models of local architectural marvels perfectly replicated in chocolate form.
Another scrumptious choice when it comes to chocoholic cruises is Zurich in Switzerland. Chocolate is a huge part of this peaceful country’s persona, so it stands to reason that more chocolate is consumed in Switzerland than anywhere else in the world.
Of course, you’re more than welcome to stop by and help them out on that front. A superb way to reach Zurich is by river cruise, which lets you take in the sights of several other stunning European cities en route, including Bruges and Paris, as seen elsewhere on this list. Both Avalon Waterways and Viking Cruises offer superb river cruise itineraries here, allowing you to visit the homeland of Lindt and sample the delights on offer.
Few cities in the world can match the style and culture of Paris, while among the patisseries you’re likely to find chocolate treats of every shape and size. Chocolate has been woven into the fabric of this city since the 1600s, and their favourite kind here is the opulent dark kind. In fact, given dark chocolate is said to be better for you, Parisians might just be onto something.
Befitting the same commitment to class and style as Paris, Celebrity Cruises® are a regular visitor to the city’s winding streets. With over 600 chocolatiers said to reside here, you’re in for one delectable shore excursion.
It’s not all churros for dessert after a fine paella in Spain. In fact, although chocolate is beloved across the Mediterranean, Barcelona has a particular fondness for the sweet stuff that makes it a brilliant place to stop on the chocolate cruise of your dreams. Thomson Cruises are a mainstay of the region worth considering.
Barcelona has been more involved in the history of chocolate than you may realise. It’s said that the world’s first chocolate machine was brought to life here in the 1780s, while Spain’s old colonial ways mean it was they who brought chocolate back from the Aztecs of Latin America. From here, they helped to re-purpose it from a spicy drink to a sweet snack. Barcelona is also famous for the 200-year-old chocolate shop, Las Ramblas, which is definitely worth some attention during your stay.
St Lucia, the Caribbean
There’s been lots of talk of European cities where chocolate reigns supreme, but let’s not forget the gorgeous islands dotted throughout the Caribbean. St Lucia has a legacy for growing cocoa that stretches back generations, and it’s become a hallmark of the tourism experience. As such, cruise lines including Royal Caribbean® love to weave it into their voyages.
Plantation tours are a given, although some, such as Rabot Plantation, add a little something extra special. It’s a fairtrade chocolate producer whose factory had its ground broken by Prince Charles himself, and having the plantation and factory side by side makes for a freshness and flavour you won’t find anywhere else.
The world is full of places to try the finest chocolate imaginable, and that’s before we even consider the sweet treats you’ll enjoy onboard. Better yet, you don’t need a golden ticket to tour these magical realms of confectionery, just a booking on your favourite cruise line.
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