How the Zaandam Does Wine, AKA, Eve Drinks on Alaskan Cruise Ship

You’re a wine writer on a cruise in Alaska, what do you do?  1.  Don’t tell anyone on board and hide behind a book all week.  2.  Avoid e-mailing the ship’s Public Relations rep before boarding.  3.  Don’t book any wine tastings, mixology classes or classes in their Culinary Arts Center.  4.  None of the above.

Stupid question huh?  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  This is Eve here!  It’s #4!

This is the Pinnacle Grill pictured above.  The place that Sarah Scoltock (PR) had in mind when she contacted Abigal Ran (Telephone Concierges) to schedule my interview with David Corey (Beverage Manager) and Rodrigo Geducos (Cellar Master) on Captain Andre Van Schoonhoven’s Zaandam and Paul A. Z. Muller’s hotel.  (Thanks all!)

I had a few questions for Geducos, the first, was what kind of training one would need to be the ship’s cellar master?  Did he have to be a sommelier, certified, WSET?  What?  “The line brings in sommeliers to train us.  We study with them and in turn, train our wine stewards.  Why, do you want a job?”  (Not yet…but what a way to retire.)

I found out that depending on where the boat is going, the liquor follows.  For the Caribbean they pour more rum, on this Alaskan cruise it might be more Alaskan beer.  Every day the “signature cocktail” outsells everything else.  (I had the Glacier Martini, Ginger Rogers Martini, Tanqueray 0010 and gave up my green apple martini to my sis-in-law Diane in our mixology class alone.)

White Zinfandel is the most popular wine on board.

There are at least 1000 bottles poured in a week, 500 of which are sold before they even leave port in gifts from travel agents and bon voyagers.

There are so many bottles of wine, liquor and beer that it has to be stored throughout one level of the ship; if kept to one side it would outweigh the passengers.

I guessed this right:  The wine bottles are stored upright.

Though there are different wine lists in all three restaurants, and a few “wine packages”, any wine from one restaurant, and Pinot Noir glassware, can be delivered to another.

So what does a Cellar Master do when not leading a wine tasting class or on one of the restaurant floors during dinner?  “Paperwork, parties, lunches, welcome events and inventory.  The Store Keeper manages the actual area where the liquors are kept and all requisitions go through him.  The Provision Master approves  all wet, and dry, movement – everything has to be approved on paper before it’s moved.  Anything that is slow to move is either removed in a promotion or to another ship.”

I would’ve liked to see the level with the wine but I didn’t have the top-secret clearance.  Since 9/11, no guest does.

What was his favorite part of the job?  “The turnover allows us to constantly meet new people, both staff and guests.  Sometimes we get a celebrity or sports figure on board too.

Want to know about the two wine tasting classes I took on board?  Tune into Elite Mag for the October/November issue.  I want this in print!

2 thoughts on “How the Zaandam Does Wine, AKA, Eve Drinks on Alaskan Cruise Ship

  1. Nice post!

    I'm thinking the wine list on the ship was better than any hotel I've stayed in, though I've certainly seen better in some land-based restaurants.



  2. You didn't get to see the wine list in the other restaurants on board, did you? They grew more upscale. Some were featured on the two tastings I had. (But this post got so long as it is – I thought it would be good to get that part in my print pub. You'll have to wait and see!)

    Thanks for reading and commenting Mike!

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