Cruise Ship Sailing World Cruise With Special Cargo

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' Borealis 103-night world cruise with a cask of single malt whisky on the journey for its final year of maturation.

Cruise fans who love a splash with their whisky will want to raise a glass to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines in 2023. The cruise line’s Borealis will set sail this year with a cask of 9-year-old single malt as a guest.

Whisky Cask Joins Worldwide Journey aboard Borealis

When Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Borealis departed for a 103-night world cruise on January 5, a cask of single malt whisky joined the journey for its final year of maturation.

The UK brewery Adnams is supplying the cask. The goal is to age the whisky during the sailing using the sea’s motion to help more of the liquor interact with the wooden barrel. That contact will help provide the liquor’s distinct color while the sea air injects some saline tokens to the final flavor.

“This is actually a centuries-old maritime tradition,” said Thomas Rennesland, hotel operations director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. “In the days before glass bottles, spirits were transported in barrels from where they were made to where they were sold.”

Well-Traveled Whisky to be Served to Cruise Line’s Guests

Borealis set sail on January 5, 2024, from Liverpool. The sister ship of the cruise line’s Bolette, Borealis joined the fleet in 2020 after having been originally built as Rotterdam for the Holland America Line in 1997. 

With 702 cabins and suites, Borealis can accommodate 1,353 passengers with 642 crew. It has a gross tonnage of 16,849 and is designed to transverse some of the world’s lesser-known waterways. 

For the 103-night world cruise, Borealis will pay calls on such locations as Bermuda, South Carolina, Florida, the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Hawaii, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, India, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Cyrus, Greece, Malta, and Span. She’s due to return to England on April 17, 2024.

Nine-year-old cask on worlds cruise
Nine-year-old cask on worlds cruise (Photo Courtesy: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines)

“Weathered by its journey, the barrel will then be offloaded in Southampton in April and returned to the distillery,” Rennesland said. “Eventually the whisky will be available to guests onboard our fleet.”

Read Also: Oceania Cruises Touts Special Whisky For New Cruise Ship

During the sailing, guests can enjoy the ship’s pair of two-tiered main dining rooms in addition to specialty restaurants and other casual food options. A traditional afternoon tea service also is offered.

Two new lounges opened on Borealis in 2023 – The Earth Room and The Botanical Room – to serve as tranquil spaces where guests can peruse book and magazine collections while enjoying beverages.

Entertainment venues offer nightly shows performed by the ship’s cast while the Atlantis Spa beckons as a place for solitude and wellness treatments during the day.

A Partnership in History and Tradition

The pairing of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and Adnams would seem a natural fit. Both the cruise line and brewer are headquartered in Suffolk in the UK. Each has a history dating back to the 1800s. 

“The venture with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is more than just a collaboration; it’s blending history and tradition with the spirit of exploration,” said Bradley Adnams, head of export at Adnams. “We love to create distinctive and story-rich experiences for our customers, so when you open the bottle, it’s like we’re taking a journey together.”

Borealis Cruise Ship in Liverpool
Borealis Cruise Ship in Liverpool (Photo Credit: Wangkun Jia)

When it’s fully matured, the whisky in the well-traveled cask should deliver a sweetness akin to Medjool dates and ripe plums. Dried mango adds a tropical note.

“As the whisky unfolds, a delicate yet distinct layer of honey emerges, providing a smooth and luscious mouthfeel,” said John McCarthy, head distiller at Adnams. “The finish is warm and inviting, characterized by an assortment of baking spices. This lingers on the tongue and balances its fruitier notes, making this whisky a captivating and multifaceted experience.”

Read Also: Eight Cruise Line Crew Members Amass Over 270 Years of Service

Fred. Olsen Cruise Line and Borealis recently had another milestone worth raising a glass too. In November 2023, a guest celebrated 2,500 nights at sea aboard the cruise line. Keven Harrison of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, had sailed aboard Fred. Olsen Cruise Line more than 100 times over 30 years to reach that rare accomplishment. 

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